Former Fall Out Boy falls into new role as solo artist
Published: Monday, August 29, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 17:08
When Patrick Stump first came onto the mainstream music scene with his fedoras and belting with Fall Out Boy, he accepted the role of front man rather reluctantly.
However, just as he organically fell into that role and just as Fall Out Boy naturally came to a stopping point after their 2008 release, Folie a Deux, the voice of FOB has kept busy with a few television cameos and producing records by Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship, Tyga and Lupe Fiasco. After releasing an EP last year, Stump cut his debut solo album, Soul Punk, set to release October 18.
Ahead of his pre-release tour, Stump talked to College Times about the process of rediscovering his lyrical voice, what it was like writing an album full of pop clichés and recording every single instrument that appears on the album himself.
College Times: When you first joined Fall Out Boy, you somewhat reluctantly fell into the role of the front man. Would you say that without Fall Out Boy, you wouldn't be cutting this solo album?
Stump: I definitely think so. I may have even fronted a band without Fall Out Boy. That accident may have happened. I found myself almost in that situation a couple times before Fall Out Boy. […] And no one was every as encouraging as Fall Out Boy, but I definitely don't think I'd be confident enough to be a solo artist without the band. I definitely think the two feed each other.
You ask your fans for a lot of input on this album. For example, choosing between two different versions of "Spotlight." Was that surrogate input [for band mate feedback]?
[Laughs] I know where I am. I know that most of my audience is coming from Fall Out Boy. […] So, that said, the majority of people will probably choose the more Fall Out Boy-sounding thing no matter what. So, I understand that. At the same time, I wanted to have a conversation with people. Especially when I don't know the answer [or] when I do have a question I want to ask the audience instead of asking my manager. Who you have an obligation to is your audience. Ultimately, for me, if I'm having trouble deciding between two songs I wrote – I wrote both of them, so it's still very much me: I'm not against either – if I need a second opinion, it's the best you can bounce off.
I feel that sometimes fans don't always have their artist's best interest in mind.
Sometimes it's hard to be objective as a fan. One big problem I face with a lot of – I always call it the personality – there's a lot of people who love everything an artist does, even the crap. Even the stuff they would hate. And I think that's really unreasonable, too. That's one of the things I really wanted to start from the get go. If you don't like my solo things, don't like it. Don't like it just because I was the guy from Fall Out Boy. I want people to be honest about it because I'm being honest and taking the risk and making different music, you know? […] And that's the thing, too. I have been really psyched on a lot of the reactions. I have gotten some people who have said some backhanded stuff, like, 'I don't like this so much, I like Fall Out Boy,' or, 'I hated Fall Out Boy; I love your record." [laughs] Like really funny stuff. As long as I'm doing something I believe in, that's the important thing. Before I show it to the audience, I have to believe in it. From there, I can have them pick out the whole record, if they wanted to.
How has the writing differed from writing with Pete [Wentz]?
For starters, Pete's lyrics are so different. And after years of writing with him, my lyrics grew to sound a lot like his. So, I had to kind of rediscover my lyrical voice or carve out a new one altogether. In terms of the actual process of it, it turned out to be surprisingly similar. Pete always started with words and that would always influence where the music would go so I was starting with words for my thing. It's been really interesting to see how similar that process is.
If you had to give Soul Punk a narrative, what would it be?
I think I made less of an effort to give this one a narrative than I did with Truant Wave. That one has more defined of one. For Soul Punk, I just wanted to have a bunch of small character studies in modern society in paranoia and frustration and kind of forgetting the golden rule. I don't think people are treating each other how they want to be treated and that's where a lot of our major problems worldwide are coming from. So, I kind of dissected it in a lot of really pop culture ways. I wanted to use some traditional pop culture clichés, like the idea of romantic love or drinking and partying and having a good time. And there's always the R&B cheating song. "This City" is a great example. I wanted to write about cities but acknowledge the things that aren't great about cities because we have these great names like City of Brotherly Love but no one is acting all that brotherly. So it's all kind of snapshots of characters, I guess, dealing with modern times and modern pop culture, which is very self-directed, self-absorbed kind of stuff.
In the song "Everybody Wants Somebody" there's this line that says, "Dress me up in bubbles."
Yeah, I say "Dress me up in bubbles/Save me from the troubles of my own skin." It's kind of that John Mayer "Waiting On The World To Change" kind of thing where we're just waiting for some kind of change. We're trying to put our heads in the sand until things get better. And then I was also talking about my own skin, the combination of feeling uncomfortable in one's skin because we're all insecure. And also I was thinking […] as the world gets more and more multiethnic – and I personally consider that a great thing – […] you have these extremists that are really […] I guess, ultimately, racist under the guise of somehow maintaining a culture when it's actually hurting a culture. […]