One week from today will mark Blink-182’s first release as an unsigned artist in nearly 20 years. We were lucky enough to catch up with bassist/vocalist MARK HOPPUS after a particularly busy day in the studio finishing the tracks for their forthcoming EP Dogs Eating Dogs to ask him all about this next step in Blink-182’s career, as well as get the lowdown on the end of his Fuse TV show Hoppus On Music and his thoughts on the Neighborhoods cover album currently circulating the internet.
INTERVIEW: Scott Heisel
What were you working on in the studio today?
Today, we were working on getting some songs ready to send to mix. Tom was recording some vocal ideas. I was finishing up all of my vocal parts. I played bass on a song. We’re wrapping up the session and getting ready to turn it into mix, so we had to make all of the hard decisions today.
So kind of a smorgasbord of things to do?
Yeah. Just wrapping everything up, the last bits and pieces we’ve been working on for the last couple weeks.
So the EP is called Dogs Eating Dogs. What can you actually tell me about the songs?
I can tell you there’s a song called “Dog Eating Dogs.” There’s a song called “Disaster,” but that might change. There’s a song called “The Day After Christmas” [now called “Boxing Day” –ed.] and it’s this folky, acoustic-guitar thing. It’s different than anything Blink have ever done. Travis played on this electronic drum kit behind it, so it’s got this real kind of indie, strange, cool vibe to it. It’s catchy and it makes you want to dance. “Dog Eating Dogs” is very punk rock [with] aggressive guitars. Tom wrote a song called “I Got My Eye On You” [now called "Pretty Little Girl" –ed.] that’s about his wife; it’s a love song. [The EP is] kind of all over the place, but we always like that.
So it’s not necessarily a holiday-themed release?
Yeah. There are no holiday-themed songs. The closest it comes to being about the holidays is [“Boxing Day”] but it’s actually kind of a sad lyric because the lyric is, “I’m empty like the day after Christmas,” like the day after Christmas, all the anticipation and everything and you open presents on Christmas day, then the day after Christmas you’re like, “Oh, I’ve got to wait another whole year. I’ve opened all of my stuff and there’s nothing really to look forward to. It’s all so far away now.”
Are you just doing a digital version of it or will it exist in some physical format?
We’re talking now to try to get it into a physical format, as well. Originally it was just going to be digital, but the response on Twitter and everything else I’ve seen has been that the people want something they can actually hold in their hands and collect, so we’re talking with our management to figure out a way to get physical copies made. I don’t think they’ll be made in time for the Dec. 18 release date, but we’re trying to get something in the future that people can actually have in their hands.
I’m sure you’re aware that your vinyl became really a big deal in the past year or so, with a lot of your older records getting reissued. Then there was a delay on the Take Off Your Pants And Jacket LP that Mightier Than Sword Records was supposed to put out. A lot of kids are still wondering what happened with that, and I know you previously expressed that you were going to be looking into that. Do you have any more information for your fans that purchased that?
The company that we were working with that licensed the albums to come out on vinyl ran out of money, so, as I understood it, someone else was coming in and taking that over, but I haven’t heard anything in months about it. It’s honestly something that is out of our control and not something that we are happy about happening at all. It sucks.
Since you have fulfilled your contract with Interscope, do you have less control over your back catalog now than you did before? Are you going to be able to do your own deluxe reissues if you’d want to down the road, or is that something they completely control?
It’s something that we would have to work with Interscope to do in the future. They still own the masters for those songs, and we didn’t leave Interscope on bad terms or anything at all. It was just a parting of ways, and if we wanted to reissue some things, I’m sure they’d be cool with it and we’d figure out a way to make it happen.
What are Blink’s plans for 2013?
We’re continuing to write more what I hope is great music. It’s exciting. It’s really been good because the band is in a better place than we’ve ever been since we formed and a long time before we formed, and everybody is in the studio and we’re working together as a band. For Neighborhoods, we’d get together and work on things and we’d split up, and it was kind of cool to do it that way because it gave us all space to do stuff. On this EP, we’ve spent a lot of time in the studio together, and I think that makes all the difference. Everyone’s really excited and bouncing ideas off of one another and it seems like there are no barriers or anything standing in our way to do whatever we think is fun. That’s all we want to do as a band anyway. When we started Blink, we had no ambitions or goals or anything other than writing music and having a good time doing it, and that’s where we’re back to now.