Blink 182’s new album is done, drummer Travis Barker revealed earlier this week. He announced the news during an interview Musink Fest in Orange County.
“The album’s done, I’ll be honest with everybody. It’s just a matter of picking what 12 to 14 songs are going to be on the album. I think we wrote 26 or 27. So everyone right now is really pushing for their favourites.”
The drummer commented on working with John Feldmann, whose production credits include All Time Low, Good Charlotte, Escape the Fate, The Used and Atreyu.
“It’s been a crazy three and a half/four weeks. We’ve been working probably 15 to 20 hour days. It’s been a lot of time in the studio and a lot of time with everyone in the studio: Matt, Mark and myself, and of course Feldmann. He has a great team.”
Barker said working with new guitarist/vocalist Matt Skiba, of Alkaline Trio, has been a smooth process.
“It’s been great, just having someone who wants to be in the studio all the time with us, it’s has been amazing. I think the days of making great records, at least with Blink, the proof has shown that it’s great when we’re all in the studio together. Sending tracks and sending ideas back and forth, it can’t be as collaboratively as it should be. I love us all being in the studio and just throwing out ideas and really collaborating.”
Stormy past for pop-punk vets
Barker’s comments are referencing the recording of their last album, Neighbourhoods. The 2011 effort was their last full-length recorded with former guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge. The album’s tracks were recorded individually by the band members in different studios to allow them to attend to their existing commitments. This arrangement was suggested by DeLonge.
Similar work arrangements led to DeLonge’s apparently permanent departure from the band last year. The guitarist’s commitments with Angels & Airwaves and other projects led to delays with recording a new album. Barker has previously commented on how difficult it had been to lock down DeLonge:
“He’d always agree to go on huge tours and record albums, but when it came down to going into the studio, he’d find some excuse not to. And we wouldn’t even hear from him; it would be his management. It comes to a point where you decide you’re not going to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do and it’s time to move on.”
Skiba joined Blink 182 to allow the group to fulfil an existing commitment to play Musink Fest in March 2015. It seems fitting that the completion of the new album was announced at the same festival a year later. Skiba made his name as a founding member of Alkaline Trio, a Chicago-based punk outfit formed in 1996. His live performances have polarised fans so far. DeLonge’s live vocals were often inconsistent, so many fans have welcomed Skiba to the band. However replacing a frontman as iconic as DeLonge was never going to be easy.
Feldmann heads production for Blink 182 new album
The selection of Feldmann – the frontman of Goldfinger – as producer would have been a big decision for the band. Blink 182 had a longstanding working relationship and friendship with producer Jerry Finn. His untimely death in 2008 affected the band members and they have self-produced their only full-length since then. Feldmann commented last month on working with Blink 182:
“It’s a new version of Blink, so it can’t be Alkaline Trio. It can’t be a Blink cover band with Matt trying to sound like Tom and me trying to recreate something. It needed to be something in the new zone, a new band, but keep the legacy going because I love Blink. I want that fun. My wife said early on, ‘When I think of Blink, I think of going to have a good time and partying and having a great, fun show.’ Keeping that essence of her being a fan, I wanted to have all that. It’s been a great experience, overall, positive.”
Barker keeps busy outside of Blink
Barker has not been taking it easy outside of work with his main band. Last month the drummer released a rock/hip hop crossover single Out of Control, which has been billed as Travis Barker x Yelawolf. Barker has previously collaborated with the Alabama rapper on the 2012 EP Psycho White. The song is mostly driven by Barker’s hypnotic beats, although he adds a short drum solo at the end.