Interview: Travis Barker talks about Blink-182's new album

Barker says 'California' will be a fan-favorite

June 30, 2016

It has been a tumultuous few years for Blink-182 and their fans.

From lead singer Tom DeLonge joining, quitting, rejoining and re-quitting, the future of who would front the trio was up in the air. But that’s where Matt Skiba, lead singer of Blink-182’s often opening act Alkaline Trio, stepped in.

Drummer Travis Barker and bassist Mark Hoppus invited Skiba to join the band as they prepared to write and release their seventh studio album, California.

What was it like throwing a new guy at the helm of the Blink-182 ship?

“It was easy,” says Barker. “It honestly felt like we had written a ton of albums with Matt [Skiba> in the past.”

The new album started in Barker’s personal home-studio and and grew organically from there. After a month and a half of writing nearly 30 songs, they brought in producer John Feldman (Goldfinger, Panic At The Disco).

Barker, whose favorite album to date has been their self-titled 2003 record, says California is going to be a fan-favorite.

“Blink-182 was written over a year and a half. There were 14 songs on it and there were only 14 songs written,” Barker says. “This album we recorded in a month and a half and had 28 songs. The hardest part of this album was picking what 14 songs make the album.”

Barker described it as “creativity overload” and an “excess of ideas.”

The band is now sitting on a double-album’s worth of material (they aren’t doing that, Barker assures me), and is heading into the summer with a mega-band-sized tour that kicks off in late July. They are making 45 stops across the U.S., which includes two stops in Washington (Spokane [9/16> and Seattle [9/17>).

“As of now it’s the most extensive set-list we have ever had,” Barker says. “It has more songs than we have ever practiced in Blink’s career. We are going out with great bands and it’s going to be an amazing tour with a little bit of everything from all of our albums and stuff from our new album people haven’t heard yet.”

Blink-182 will be out on tour with A Day To Remember, All Time Low and All American Rejects at different times throughout the summer and fall. 

The band released the first single "Bored To Death" from California in late April and it went viral immediately. The full album drops July 1.

You can read my full interview with Travis Barker and listen to the full album California below:

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Branden is the Managing Editor of 1077theend.com. You can follow The End on Twitter at @1077theend and Branden at @BrandenMG. Have a story? Shoot Branden an email here.

Tell me a little about the process and getting back into the swing of things and getting the new album out?

It was really easy to be honest. We didn’t get into the studio really until about four months ago and we kind of warmed up and recorded some stuff at my studio, then about four weeks into that John Feldmann [producer> and I had gotten back in touch after years of knowing each other. I was telling him “I’m about to get Blink in with a couple different producers, why don’t we get in with you?” He said he would be honored and we got in with him the next day. We didn’t leave the studio for a month and a half. We made like thirty songs in that time period.

What was it like to work with a new producer? Did you know John from touring with Goldfinger previously?

Well for me I actually toured with Goldfinger when I was with the Aquabats. Blink was on some of those shows, but I wasn’t playing drums for Blink at the time. He was always a big brother to me on tour when I was very young and green and I was in a van touring the world with like, 15 dudes in a 12-passenger van having the time of my life. John was always super cool and I always saw that he was very musical and I know he was the brain behind Goldfinger, but I didn’t really know how great he was until I paid attention to all the stuff he produced outside of Goldfinger. He was great. I wasn’t even familiar until I touched base with him everything he had done. It just made sense that we would get in with him.

Blink hadn’t worked with a producer since Jerry Finn, and I felt like the last two albums we made, Neighborhoods and Dogs Eating Dogs, felt separate because we didn’t have an extra set of eyes and ears. The first day we got in with John we wrote three songs, one of which was “Bored To Death” and the comfort level was crazy. I had known him for years, but as far as work and chemistry, it was incredible.

What was the song-writing process like adding Skiba to the mix?

It was easy. It honestly felt like we had written a ton of albums with Matt [Skiba> in the past. I have been telling everyone that when you think back to Blink’s strongest album, at least my favorite in the past, the self-titled album was written in a year and a half. I think there were 14 songs on it and there were only 14 songs written. This album we recorded in a month and a half and had 28 songs. The hardest part of this album was picking what 14 songs make the album. There was creativity overload, an excess of ideas, great songs. We had enough material to come out with a double album. Obviously we aren’t doing that, but I think we’ll take what group of songs make sense after this release and do an EP maybe later in the year.

Where does the new album stack up to other Blink albums in your personal view?

I honestly think this is going to be a fan favorite. I think the single is just a small indication of how great the album is. I think there are so many colors and sounds in this album that it is one of our best pieces of music we have recorded yet. 

So what can we expect from your new tour?

We are rehearsing a ton up until the show starts. We have a bunch of shows before the tour starts -we have X-Games, we have a couple big festivals, but yeah as of now it’s the most extensive set-list we have ever had. IT has more songs than we have ever practiced in Blink’s career. We are going out with great bands like A Day To Remember, All Time Low, and All American Rejects. It’s going to be an amazing tour with a little bit of everything from all of our albums and stuff from our new album people haven’t heard yet.