FALL OUT BOY

Closing In

Fall Out Boy are cur­rently in the thick of record­ing their next album, but in the mean­time they’ve released the track ‘Cen­turies,’ which rep­re­sents an evo­lu­tion of the band’s sound while still being recog­nis­ably Fall Out Boy. Con­tain­ing a vocal hook from Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner,’ the sin­gle sold a butt load right out of the gate, and its suc­cess bodes well for the band’s slot on Sound­wave 2015. We caught up with bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz to talk tour­ing and song writing.

So you’re com­ing back to Aus­tralia, this time for Soundwave!

Yeah! We’re stoked! We haven’t played on a fes­ti­val in Aus­tralia yet and this one is a pretty big deal. We grew up as a band and came of age play­ing fes­ti­vals, and in some ways that’s where we’re at our best I think. When you’re play­ing a fes­ti­val crowd you’re play­ing to a lot of peo­ple who prob­a­bly aren’t there to see you, so you have to earn them. So for us tra­di­tion­ally it’s what we thrive under. So we’re stoked to come down and do it.

And of course Sound­wave is a good one to play at because it’s Aus­tralia which means there aren’t many gigs but there’s plenty of time in between to go and have adventures.

Totally! We’re stoked to go on those adven­tures and run around. I think it’s really cool to be able to play with Mar­i­lyn Man­son — he’s a guy we grew up lis­ten­ing to.

You guys just released a new sin­gle, and I dig how you teased its release with a lit­tle cryp­tic Morse Code thing online…

Yeah! Years ago, before we took some time off, we always had the idea to do these shenani­gans and viral mar­ket­ing, where you have to pay a troll under the bridge to give you the magic egg to get the thing or what­ever. In the time we took off there were a lot of bands and movies that did that, and some­how that becomes big­ger than the piece of art itself some­times, or bet­ter, or more thought through. So we thought we’d try to do anti-marketing or, like, no mar­ket­ing. So Morse Code is about as sim­ple as you can get. It was just “Here’s the song name. Now we’re going to put out the song.” You don’t have to do the tricks!

It’s a cool song too, with the ‘Tom’s Diner’ sample.

On paper it seems like it wouldn’t work. I love that song but it’s a sad song in a weird way… but then when it’s strung together it makes sense. It jux­ta­poses the cho­rus in a weird way. I’ve had ‘Tom’s Diner’ in my head since the 90s so it’s cool to get it out there again.

The great thing about the orig­i­nal ver­sion of that song is that it’s a cap­pella so you can kind of put your own chords behind it in your head. 

Right, totally! That’s the thing. We were able to incor­po­rate it into our song’s pro­gres­sion, but at the same time there’s an atti­tude to the deliv­ery of the vocal that I think could rub the wrong way in the wrong song. It’s interesting.

So how far along into the new album are you guys?

I have about five songs recorded and about ten total writ­ten. So I think we def­i­nitely could have an album out in Jan­u­ary, I would hope.

Is ‘Cen­turies’ an indi­ca­tor of what the new stuff will sound like?

I think so, in the same way that           ‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up) was an indi­ca­tor of the last album, or ‘Sugar, We’re Goin Down’ was an indi­ca­tor of From Under the Cork Tree. Those are the songs that we’ll build a body of work around, but then there will be other things. Like, that’s prob­a­bly the dead cen­tre of the way the record will sound, but there will be other things far to the left of that and far to the right of that. We’ve always been a band that cares about our body of work. Our albums are impor­tant to us. They’re not some­thing to just throw away. So the whole album’s not going to sound like ‘Cen­turies’, but that’s a good indi­ca­tor of where we’re at and what the stuff will sound like son­i­cally. We’ve ben­e­fited from great mix­ers and pro­duc­ers like Butch Walker. Some­times it sounds big­ger when you add less to it. Some­times that’s hard for a young band to wrap their head around.

I’ve noticed that the song­writ­ers I inter­view tend to fall into two cat­e­gories: they either pluck the songs out of the air some­how, or they ago­nise over every detail and are mis­er­able until they get it. Where do you fit?

I feel like Fall Out Boy is a band that’s some­where in the mid­dle of that. ‘Cen­turies’ just appeared. ‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark’ did not appear. It showed up and it was under­dressed and not ready to party, y’know what I’m say­ing? I guess it’s less ago­nis­ing but more like ‘Now the bridge will be here… no, let’s try this,’ and you keep play­ing with the Legos until they fit. Unfor­tu­nately some­times they don’t fit. Some­times those songs just don’t end up any­where and that’s where they end up hit­ting the cut­ting room floor.

What basses are you using at the moment?

I’m using my sig­na­ture Fender. I have two from the Cus­tom Shop so they’re a lit­tle bit jacked. They have Sey­mour Dun­can Quar­ter Pound pick­ups and they’re a lit­tle more jacked, but they’re not far off from the Squier ver­sion. I play the Squiers onstage quite a lot. I run a pedal or two but I run DI with a SansAmp, and then a hot fuzz pedal to get just a lit­tle bit of a dis­torted sound.
 

Fall Out Boy will be per­form­ing as a part of Sound­wave in Feb­ru­ary. For more infor­ma­tion visit www.soundwavefestival.com

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