That’s all you can do.  Now that everything is a little more finalized, where in terms of lyrical content are you? What’s really standing out to you about the topics you are addressing?
There is a lot of personal experience from myself. I try to stray away from a lot from the girl aspect of everything. That’s another one of those things: When I was writing songs earlier, it was like, “Well, I don’t have an idea for this song. Why don’t you just talk about a girl?”  That’s the easy thing to do, in my opinion. It’s a lot more about personal experience, about personal struggle, and mistakes that I’ve made that I’ve tried to learn from. It’s kind of the story of my past couple years, the past year-and-a-half, two years.  It’s mistakes I know I’m making that I continue to make, the story behind it all and why I’m doing the things I’m doing.  Trying to make sense of it in my own head, even though I know these things are wrong.

I [also] wrote a song for my mother. My mom is the most emotional person in the world—she cries at everything, and so I didn’t even tell her that I wrote a song for her.  I was like, “Before I show you something, let me preface this by pleading you not to cry,” and right as I said that, she started crying. [Laughs.] She’s happy that it made the cut.  There are definitely hints of old stuff.  I would say more so, it leans towards the first record, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, as opposed to Black And White—just that pop sensibility that people were fond of to begin with. There are a couple tracks talking about good friends, good times, and getting in trouble.

It’s very eclectic. It’s got country stuff like I said. It’s a good balance of slow songs to uptempo songs. There aren’t too many mid-tempo songs, which I was really excited about.  I feel that’s where we kind of went maybe a little heavy on with the last record. I feel like there might have been too many kind of stand-around songs. We really tried to focus on mood—and after hearing a lot of music as of late, I feel like right now, music is 100 percent about mood. I can listen to songs—Tom Waits, I can’t understand half the stuff he says sometimes—but it puts you in a certain mood. Whatever it is, that’s what you’re trying to achieve—if you want people to be happy or be sad. That’s what we really tried to do.  So there are some songs that start out completely somber and dark, but at the end of the song, you feel a completely different way. We are just trying to take people on a roller coaster ride and really achieve different moods.

It’s cool the record is coming out this year. We’re seeing more and more bands who are finishing their albums and it’s like, “Boom!”–they’re coming out.
The instant gratification is not what we’re searching for.  We know that for our band to sustain—or at least we hypothesize that for band to sustain—we have to do something radically different. Not so different that people are going to be turned off by it, but still different enough to where people are going to notice it, care more and give our full album a listen, as opposed to our single or one song, in general.  Like I said, this is what has to happen, and we’re going to make it happen, regardless.  We’re just really excited.  It’s all about optimism.

That’s cool, too—it’s so easy to get jaded, cynical or feel downtrodden by the industry.
I think if our band wanted to be successful or if we wanted to take the easy way out right now, we would sound like a dubstep band or something like that. [Laughs.] There is something to be said for sticking true to yourself—and if this is what true is to us, I’m really not concerned with how people feel about it. I’d rather not make any money and put out what I want to put out than be rich and stand behind something I do not back.

Most of the time, if a band is doing something that they are not entirely invested in, their fans can tell.
Absolutely. I think that was part of the learning process with the co-writing. I’m very proud to say we didn’t fall into that again. We kind took this whole album into our own hands and really made it something for ourselves. That’s where I get back to people over-thinking things: We started out as a band doing the same thing that we just did, and somewhere along the way, we thought—or bought into the idea—that all these people have some secret that will make us get our music out to a million, a billion people.  It’s like: “Wait a minute. We got signed because of the songs we wrote and recorded at some shit studio in Arizona. Why does it have to be more complicated than that?”  I think that’s again where people are getting it wrong; they’re just over-thinking it and it just doesn’t have to be that way. alt