"It’s feeling a bit lonely in the middle of a big beach party..." - hmv.com talks to Weezer's Rivers Cuomo
There’s no stopping Weezer at the moment.
After receiving rave reviews for their 2016 LP The White Album, they’ve got straight back to work and return this week with Pacific Daydream, another bright, bouncy collection of pop rock.
Unlike their 2016, which was very much a band record, this time the band’s eccentric frontman Rivers Cuomo has opened himself to pop’s hitmakers, with the likes of Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, Toby Gad (he helped Beyonce write ‘If I Were A Boy’ and John Legend pen ‘All Of Me’) and Jonny Coffer (both Rag’N’Bone Man and Emeli Sande wrote half their new LPs with him) among the credited writers.
As the album hits shelves, we spoke to Cuomo about why the band decided to follow up The White Album so quickly and why he loves writing remotely...
Why did you decide to follow up The White Album so quickly?
“I like making records and putting out records and I don’t much like waiting around, it’s kinda that simple.”
How did you want this album to move on from you’ve done in the past?
“I want something different from the standard Weezer sound. The White Album was a little too close to home. I threw out the distortion pedals, turned up the reverb and went for something new. I wanted a sound closer to the 1970’s British rock bands like The Clash and The Cure, but with Phil Spector orchestration and big sing-a-longs. I wanted it to be the sing-a-long at the bar at the beach.”
You worked with a few different writers on the album, can you talk us through the process of doing that?
“I wrote about half the album by myself, the other half, every song is a different guy. It’s still writing by myself, but it's over a track that was given to me by somebody else, somebody I’ve never met and probably never will meet. Some of them are samples, others are just other writers. I actually got really excited when I saw the name Morrissey on there, I was like ‘Wow, I wrote a song with Morrissey’, sadly it’s a different guy…”
How did you find that process of working so remotely?
“I love it. I get creativity from so many different people and different backgrounds, it takes me right out of my comfort zone and helps me come up with fresh ideas. But I also get to work by myself and I don’t have any of the anxiety that I get when I work with other humans. I can go to a deeper place.”
Normally when albums are made with lots of different writers, you have plenty of songs that never get finished, was that the case with this album?
“It’s more like for every 20 songs I write, only one will make the record. I’ve got this massive stockpile of songs that didn’t make records. Quite often the songs just don’t fit the theme, so every day when I wake up I’m not starting from a blank slate. Take ‘Weekend Woman’, that song actually dates all the way back to the Green Album.”
Is there a big Prince-like vault sat there ready to go one day?
“I don’t know. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m sat on hundreds of records. It’s more like a verse and a chorus that’s put with a song that sucks. I don’t know if I’m up for a box set. But it could all be leaked one day…”
What kind of album is this lyrically?
“It’s very beachy and uplifting, but there’s a lot of alienation too, not knowing where I fit in or where the band fits in the world of music, finding it hard to make real friends. It’s feeling a bit lonely in the middle of a big beach party.”
Finally, when did you decide that this album was going to get a title and not a colour?
“It was originally going to be The Black Album and I still have those songs in a folder, but this record came together first and it felt very strong and very unified. We’ve used Green, Blue, Red and Black is ready to go, so I felt like this one deserved a title.”