Over the past decade, Craig Mabbitt has been one of the most influential figures in the post-hardcore and metalcore scenes. Of course, he is best known as the vocalist of Escape The Fate, but he has also had a hand in launching similarly big bands (blessthefall and the Word Alive). Throw a rock in any direction and you’re bound to find a band that he’s done guest vocals for. Even as he hits the 10-year mark in his career, he has no plans of slowing down. The proof? His project the Dead Rabbitts has a new record coming out this spring—the same time that Escape The Fate will enter the studio to record their sixth full-length.

“We’re really gonna go outside the box,” Mabbitt says of the next ETF record. “Me having Dead Rabbitts as an outlet to do stuff that’s more [for] me and [more heavy] just opens up the ability to be more outside the box with Escape The Fate. Every record in the past it’s always been, let’s do a ballad or let’s do a heavy song. And I feel like sometimes that has cost us a song or two here and there. Now we’re just going to go in and we just wanna write good music.”

In terms of specifics, the next ETF record is still largely a mystery to Mabbitt and the rest of the band members. This is the first time they will enter the studio without a road map. As for subject matter, Mabbitt is toying with the idea of exploring the benefits of unity and diversity.

“I think it’s very fitting for everything that’s happening in the world today,” he muses. “So we’ll see what comes out of it. I think it’s good to have that conversation. Us as musicians—I don’t care if you’re playing to 10,000 people a night, a thousand people a night or just a hundred people a night—we do something that people look up to and we have a voice that they listen to. I think it’s good for us to be vocal about these things that are going on and not be silent about it. I think we do have a responsibility to do that.”

Read more: Dead Rabbitts return with first song since 2014—listen

The Dead Rabbitts record, This Emptiness, is a different story, however. As it is more of a personal outlet for the vocalist, this album navigates his own struggles while trying to find a silver lining. The album artwork even reflects this idea of turning dark subjects into something more whimsical. The bunny on the cover was actually partly inspired by Mabbitt’s daughter, who came home one day with the book Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell. “The past two years of my life, just personally, have been pretty crazy,” says Mabbitt. “[There were] a lot of changes I was trying to make that ultimately just made me very, very unhappy. The main line in the chorus [of the title track] ends with, ‘This emptiness gives me room to grow.’ So it’s very optimistic. It goes to some dark places, but [is] just all around optimistic about it.”

As all of these plans unfold for Mabbitt in 2017 and he ponders how grateful he is for all he’s been able to do, he has to remind himself that he is still young and still has a lot left to offer. “I’m not even 30 yet!” he exclaims. “I can’t wait to see where the next 10 years take me.”