Update 7/27/12: The Hoobastank show scheduled for Wednesday, August 1, at Martini Ranch was canceled.
Front man Doug Robb has been with Hoobastank for over a decade and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Their seventh studio album, Fight or Flight, is due out next month and is a symbol of the band’s determination and hard work. They’ve come a long way over the years and are still excited to try new things and challenge the changing music industry. College Times chatted with Robb about the album and what it means to take the band into their own hands.
College Times: What did you have in mind when making your new album, Fight or Flight?
Doug Robb: We just had one main focal point in mind and that was to do everything different. We had been working with Howard Benson for the previous three records and, for as much as we love the guy as a producer and as a friend, we wanted to do things differently. That’s the overall theme of the entire record, not only musically but all along the lines that if we’ve done it before, whether it was successful or not, we said, “Scrap it, let’s do something else.” It felt comfortable. We don’t want to change who we are. I think the music itself a pretty natural relation of the band. I think we did a little more exploring as far as textures and layers and sound. It’s like eating at the same restaurant for the last eight years. It’s like we love this restaurant, it’s great, but let’s eat somewhere else.
Tell me about the album title.
Well, it’s a track on the album but I think it’s one of those titles that we chose and with time it’s starting to grow. For me specifically, I think it kind of symbolizes the longevity of the band and how many opportunities we’ve had to pack it up. We’ve had some rough patches personally. [We’ve said,] “This is getting too much,” “Let’s take a break,” or “Let’s call it a day” and somehow we’ve persevered. We’ve been able to do this for over a decade. That’s (the meaning) for me. If you ask the other members, you’ll get a similar theme.
Not many bands stay together through all that.
We’ve had so many of our friends’ bands come and go and go out with different names. We’ve seen it happen, but it’s not like we didn’t see ourselves succeeding or anything like that. I just don’t think we ever sat around and thought, “What are we going to do 10 years from now?” That seemed like an eternity away back when we were just releasing singles. There’s so much to focus on in that moment you don’t think about the future.
A lot has changed in the music industry in the past 10 years.
Oh yeah, it’s been completely different. I think the transition from people buying CDs to people downloading everything affected us really bluntly in the fact that we decided to get off of our record label. We signed our record deal in 2000, kind of the end of the CD era, right when downloadable music was starting to catch on. We signed a record contract that was kind of considered old school by today’s standards. We basically got money to record a record, [then] you have a marketing budget, and then you go out and you tour and other stuff like that. Now all record deals because record companies have had to consolidate (because no one is going to CDs like they use to and probably won’t from this point out), they have to sign all these 360 deals where the company has a stake in touring and merchandise and all these other revenue streams that were only exclusive to the band traditionally. They’re sticking their fingers in everything else. After four records, we had a contract I think to go up to seven, they wanted to restructure our contract to be like a 360 deal, and it’s not what we thought was fair for us. We wanted to get off the record label because it had to change. I haven’t missed the record label at all. I’ve missed some of the relationships with the people, like the friends that we made of the years, for sure, but that’s on a personal level. I really enjoy being able to live and die by our own decisions. It’s refreshing.
Hoobastank w/Stella Revival, Stars In Stereo, Martini Ranch, August 1, 7 p.m., $10