Take me into your studio. What’s the songwriting process? What’s the studio process? You’ve said that you produce “like a band.” Explain what that means.
Being a songwriter, a lot of times you go to a studio and producers will play you a track, and you have to write to a track. So you’re kinda constricted from moving around because you already have those chords. But we write as a band, so we take the guitar and bongos and percussion and sit around and try to come up with something. We’ll be just jamming and seeing what works and feeling it out.
What are you searching for?
You know, it’s always different. But to me the best songs are like a joke. Like, you have to set it up in a way that no one’s ever heard it before. And then the hook is the punch line. So in, “Nothin on You” I say, “Beautiful girls all over the world/I could be chasing/But my time would be wasted. They got nothing on you.” I ain’t saying nothing that ain’t never been said in a million love songs before. But I feel like the way it’s set up is what makes it magical. I’m telling a girl, “Look, there’s beautiful girls all over the world. Already that’s different. How you gonna tell a girl there’s beautiful girls all over the world? I could be chasing them… But they got nothing on you. There’s the punch line.
It’s interesting that “Nothin on You” starts with the chorus.
And “Fuck You” starts with the chorus.
And “Grenade” starts with the chorus.
Is that something you’re thinking about? Starting with the chorus?
I feel like sometimes you wanna smack ’em in the face. And I think those songs required that.
What have you learned over the last year?
Everything is new to me. The world is watching me learn right now. I’ve got these new in-ear monitors I’ve never used before to hear myself. I’m used to hearing my voice bounce back to me. I’m used to hearing a little bit of the crowd. Now you’ve got to have these things in your ears to hear yourself. There’s a lot of little things like that I’m getting used to now.
Do you need to hear people cheering for you?
No, not at all. It’s just about when it’s gelling. When the drummer’s with you and you’re just connected. I mean, I have fun rehearsing in the garage. I just wanna play. That’s it. I wish there were instruments here right now so I could just play. Just sing. I just wanna sing.
For five people?
I’ll take two. I’m good. I’ve done it before. That’s it, it’s just my comfort zone. I mean, I’ve been growing up doing it my whole life. That’s my sanctuary.