How was it for you guys making [Manners]?
We made the record at Gigantic studios in New York. It was a very emotional period for me personally. The entire record was turbulent; it was a taxing, draining period. We were there working 12 to 14 hours a day in a horribly hectic city. We were living in the lower east side and I’d go in with no material written. So when I write it’s a building process and I essentially drive myself insane to get it finished. I knew that I would finish it, but it would have to be a very painful experience. We were broke, we couldn’t pay for food. We had to have the label front us money. I almost got arrested because I couldn’t pay for a cab to La Guardia. The producer had to come and bail me out. There’s a really interesting article that was written on it. It put into words what I don’t think we could ever have put into words. We were so emotionally immature and we were thrown into a situation where you really need to have your shit together to come out golden. We were not ready. But we did it. I don’t know how we did it. It was so hard. I think we did it the right way. It had to be fucked up.
Did that imprint itself on the record?
Absolutely. The entire record is about inner turmoil. There are so many bad reviews talking about love songs. No one really understands the lyrical content, which is upsetting for me. It’s all about essentially masking everything, hiding everything, blaming other people for things that are essentially your fault. It’s always about something related to problems that you’d never want to admit to having. I have some issues, a lot of people have issues. There was a point where [producer Chris] Zane locked the door, took all our computers, took all our cell phones, put them in another room and said “I’m gonna fucking kill you guys. You need to sit yourselves down and tell me what’s going on.” And of course we could barely explain ourselves, it was just Nate and I sitting there, drained and out of our minds, and eating McDonalds every day and drinking beer. It was awful, but I think the record totally represents that emotional image [of] hurting. The entire record is about that. It’s about taking a pretty, pop, jubilant, ecstatic, overwhelming sound which just sugarcoats the pain. That’s the whole point of the record. At the end of the day I would go out and have a fun time, but I would come home and inside, I would want to quit.
When I look at what the backlash is going to be, I thought the backlash had already happened. Do you think that there is more coming? What’s the next step?
We are about to make a huge jump in terms of venue size and record sales. We have basically exceeded everyone’s expectations, especially in record sales.
What have you guys sold so far?
Over 30 in the US in a month.
Are you on the charts yet?
We were charting the first week. In Japan we are charting with imports. We’re just trying to stay alive. The adversity we will face is simply cynicism.
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