“We’re not young boys anymore, we need to spark some curiosity to cut through the noise” - hmv.com talks to Simple Plan
As they release their new album Taking One For The Team (which you can preview and purchase on the right-hand side of the page) we chatted with Pierre Bouvier, frontman of big-selling Canadian pop-punks Simple Plan to find out all about making the album, why they wrote 80 songs and ended up choosing just 14 and why they need some guests to keep things interesting...
Your new album is out today, it’s your first for five years, you must be happy to be back in the game?
“Every record has been a bigger and bigger challenge, we need to raise the bar every time and make a better record than the last one, that becomes harder and harder every time. I think we’ve spent almost two years making this one, we never mean it to take that long, we always imagine it’ll only be a couple of months, but we’re perfectionists and we need to love an album top to bottom. We push and push and push until we have something great.”
You guys always write a lot of songs for your albums, how many did you come up with this time?
“We ended up writing about 80. We always have a lot of ideas, but in terms of complete songs it was about 75 - 80, always a lot. We all have a big pile, some will hopefully get used in the future, but it’s a lot to choose between.”
How do you get 80 songs down to the 14 that are on the album?
“To go from 80 to about 30 or 40 is quite easy, songs become special in the process and we all agree on that. It gets harder as you go from 30 to 25 and harder for every song after that. Our band is very democratic, always has been and we know we want a varied album, not one with 12 slow ballads, even if they might all be good, we need those high energy songs and to come up with an album that got a nice flow to it.”
You’ve got Nelly guesting on ‘I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed’, how did you get him to come on the album?
“It was a simple phone call to his manager. We knew the song had a different vibe and wanted to give it a more urban vibe. We thought of him early on, he was a real legend when we were growing up and he’s got his own style, I don’t think anyone does what he does. He came in, wrote his part on the spot and absolutely crushed it.”
You’ve got R City, Juliet Simms and Jordan Pundik from New Found Glory on the album too, do you love putting together collaborations?
“There’s so much music out there and so much noise and we need to find ways to keep things interesting. We always look for a guest vocal to enhance the song, but we need to make people talk about us. We’re not young boys anymore, we need to spark some curiosity to cut through the noise.”
Can you sum up the album lyrically?
“There’s only a few themes you can write about, unless you go political, it’s all about emotions, even if you write about movies or books, it’s still all about feeling. It’s about where we are now, most of us are married with kids and it’s an album about reaffirming your love to the person you’re with, how they still make you feel, embracing who you are and who they are.”
“We’ve come under fire throughout our career, a lot of haters, so there’s a lot about being okay with who you are and being tired of hearing what people want you to do, or want you to quit, just keeping going.”
Where did the album title come from?
“Titles are always hard things to find. You need a little catchphrase, a title that’s catchy and gets your attention. We love double meanings, adding a bit of comedy and a deeper meaning. It fits the album really great, we’ve been a band for 17 years, that’s a lot of compromises and sacrifices, being in a relationship with four different people is hard, especially for that amount of time. We don’t give up on each other, we don’t pick fights and we keep going.”
You spent the summer on Warped Tour, was it fun coming back to that after a long time away?
“It was great, but it made me realise that we’re the veterans now! We’ve always felt like underdogs, but now we have people coming up to us and telling us they looked up to us, that always means a lot.”
Finally you’re about to head out on tour for the album, how hard is it picking your setlist these days?
“It’s pretty tough, you want to play some new songs, you have to play the songs people want to hear and I’m not the kind of singer who can sing for three hours, if I do that I won’t make it to the next show. We just have to find the songs that aren’t that great and knock them off the list. We’ve always been a band who loves doing the ‘Greatest Hits’.”
Simple Plan’s new album Taking One For The Team is out now.