Matt Skiba: The Problems Blink-182 Had While Making Latest Album 'California'

UG exclusive: "The songs were good. It was cool but it didn't sound like Blink."

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Matt Skiba: The Problems Blink-182 Had While Making Latest Album 'California'

Guitarist Matt Skiba discussed the creative process behind Blink-182's latest album "California," telling UG interviewer Steven Rosen:

"I was trying to write a song a day.

"I would bring a song into the studio, we'd work on it or I would send a very crude demo to Mark and Travis and then go in the next day and kind of learn it and everybody bring their own thing to it. We would track it at Travis' studio.

"We were doing this for several months. The songs were good. It was cool but it didn't sound like Blink. The songs I was bringing in sounded like [Alkaline Trio].

"I've been playing in my own band for so many years and writing songs for so long that I have a sound and a style and you can't just shake that. I was listening to a lot of Blink and obviously learning a lot of those older songs.

"Listening to them and thinking to myself, 'What made this band so popular? What made these songs so great and these records so good?' I tried to write from a different perspective, which I think I accomplished to an extent. Mark and Travis both had ideas and we were jamming for several months and it was starting to take shape.

"But it was still missing something. Both Mark, Travis and I have had the pleasure of working with Jerry Finn over the years who is unfortunately no longer with us [Finn passed away in 2008 and was both Blink's and Alkaline's longtime producer].

"None of us had really worked without Jerry or worked without a producer. Some bands can do it on their own but for me I think it's good to work with a producer. I think it's good to have somebody in there that isn't afraid to hurt people's feelings.

"[The music we made up to that point] was good but it wasn't mind-blowing and it wasn't great and it wasn't quite Blink yet. It was like, 'If we are going to make a new Blink record with a new guy and really go for this, it has to be at least in our minds the best Blink record that's ever been made.'

"It has to be something special, powerful and something the fans are going to absolutely love and we just weren't really getting that. We were talking about different producers to work with and John Feldmann was one of them. He was the first guy we went into work with and the first song we wrote together was the first single off of 'California,' 'Bored to Death.'

"We left the studio that day and were like, 'This is the guy.' Something clicked and we just wrote that song from scratch together with John and from that day forward for the next two months, we wrote and recorded sometimes two songs a day.

"So there was something really magical that happened and things just really clicked. At that moment it really felt like, 'OK, here is the guy we need to do this record with' and we all really started to feel it gel that this is the new Blink and this is what it's supposed to be and this what hopefully the fans are going to love.

"Luckily they did up ultimately loving it. It turned out pretty well.

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have enjoyed the album, though in my eyes its just not a Blink 182 album. I don't mean that in a sense that Matt's the wrong guy, or they NEED Tom, but its a good album on its own merits and its a Superb side project. If this is Blink, how is Boxcar racer not blink? Or, how is +44 not Blink. Angles and Airwaves in my opinion is the only one that is really a separate entity. It doesn't sound like a blink album to me because first and foremost the production is all wrong for a Blink album, its pop oriented and very, very clean - there is a complete lack of the little sloppy moments that made Blink unique, second the humor is also not there, also Blink albums to me were LOADED with memorable Riffs. This album has great songs, and it sounds great, I think Matt and Mark work great together as vocalists, but its sounds like a different project, a good project, but not a Blink project.
    I haven't listened to blink in ages but I think the +44 record really was going somewhere different and deserves praise as an unique thing. While you could hear how Boxcar Racer was a chapter between Take Off and the self-titled, +44 still had something of blink but also had an alternative-rock edge that makes it feel way more mature, different from what they did before
    the difference : DELONG can made good melody. not them. they use the same intro pattern in half of their songs
    But anyway I think California was pretty good I mean they sound good and still like them the album just isn't as good as the enema of the state
    That's actually what I wanted. I wanted the dark & energetic side of Skiba to blend with Blink. I didn't want another Take Off Your Pants & Jacket. That being said I still enjoy the album.
    Travis looks like he is about to pull a Molly Shannon and get a whiff of his armpits.
    It -sounds- like you wrote a song a day, with the predictable structures, lack of riffs, terrible lyrics and na-na-na's. Maybe take your time next time. You aren't Lennon/McCartney, you can't just shit out greatness. A poor album, but I looked forward to the deluxe edition for them to redeem themselves. The deluxe songs are even worse.
    Tom was missing. Thats why it didnt sound like fucking blink. Sorry.. thats why it doesnt sound like em.
    I think they may have already made the best album y'all listen to enema of the state best album everrr!!!!
    It almost sounds to me like it's missing energy. Old Blink-182 was very energetic
    It happens. Rare is the band that can maintain their youthful energy when they're no longer youthful.
    the album would've been way better if it sounded more like alkaline trio. at least then there would've been memorable riffs. 
    Little known fact - Travis actually jogs to his photo shoots, and he is posing like that because his nipples are sore from severe chaffing