You’ve spoken about wanting to be for your fans like how Linkin Park were for you. How did you approach a goal like that?
“I would never try to be Linkin Park, and I want to approach music in my own way, and I want to be honest about my inspirations and my influences. There’s a lot of country dirt roads here, and I’ll drive my truck to the local supply store and buy chicken feed (laughs), and during that whole day of errands I just listen to all the music that I grew up on, as well as all the stuff that I like right now. And whether I want it to or not, the music that I listen to will always influence the music that I make, and I’m not afraid to wear my influences on my sleeve. And it’s just cool that I can be in a position to inspire kids in a way that Linkin Park did when I was younger.”
You’ve got a ton of really great guest spots – from Pete Wentz to Static Dress – on the album. What is the common thread between them all?
“I grew up listening to post-hardcore, metalcore, beatdown hardcore, a bunch of straight-edge hardcore… I’ve been consuming this music for almost 20 years now. These are artists that I admire and that I love to listen to. All these artists are in my Spotify likes (laughs). I wanna work with musicians that I think are rad, and are good people as well – it’s not some forced industry collab by some suit.”
Given your background in emo-rap, was it important to you to show the alternative scene how cool it is to get other bands jumping on your songs, and you can still make a cohesive album out of it?
“Yeah, I feel like alternative music really missed the mark with collaborations, and they definitely need to embrace it more. You look at any rap album – any Drake album that came out in the past 10 years – and there’s tons of features. There’s features on almost every song! And I saw bands that I admire and I was looking at records going, ‘Why aren’t more people doing this?’ I just saw the opportunity to get a lot of amazing artists on this one project, so it almost sounds like a compilation or something. Everything was done remotely, but it would be cool to get people up here [to the barn] in the future. But technology is pretty wild…”