Panic! At the Disco October 11, Boulevard Pool. New albumToo Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! drops October 8.
You’ve said that part of your inspiration for the new album happened when you went to a Vegas club recently. Tell me more about that experience. When we were writing the first record, we were 17, 18, and it was tough to play show around there. Most of the venues were 21-and-over … so it was very hard to book stuff, and I think we were kind of bitter about that. So for the longest time, having the love I did for Vegas, it was kind of hard [because] I was mad that I couldn’t participate in all the stuff that Vegas is known for and stuff that I actually wanted to be a part of.
My family still all lives in Las Vegas, and until recently I was going back and forth between LA and Vegas with my wife, just kind of experiencing the part of Vegas I hadn’t really seen before. Going to clubs and seeing people let loose was kind of an eye-opener for me. I saw people not worried about other people watching them, just dancing and having a good time, and I wanted that to inspire the music.
There’s a lot of music tech and electronic elements on this album, was that influenced by the EDM wave in Vegas clubs at all? Definitely. Something new pops up [there] all the time, and I like that. I like being surprised. … When I go back, it’s a new wave of experiences. And that kind of influenced a lot of tech stuff we used on the record. We were getting into synthesizers and programs that I hadn’t used before. The music a lot of the clubs play was an inspiration. [The record] does have that party feel.
In terms of lyrics and songwriting, how did Vegas influence the record? An example would be a song “Vegas Lights” that is definitely an homage to the idea of Vegas. Which is, you know, a bit of the seedy side of it, but also a celebration of the party that I had so much fun participating in. I think it has kind of a club feel, but it’s more than that, it’s a little bit of rock. It’s just a celebration.
Why did you leave Las Vegas in the first place? From the first time I heard Bob Marley or even Sublime, I wanted to move out to California and be near the ocean, start surfing, start being a part of that whole thing.
Are you considering moving back anytime soon, with the whole resurgence of Vegas in your music? Yeah. I mean, I love being this close to Vegas. I didn’t want to move too far away, because I do enjoy being around my family and being close to them and being able to visit Vegas. Like I said, it was nice to spend a couple of years going back and forth and just stay there for a week at a time and soak up all the shows and performance stuff Vegas is known for.
Do you still feel like there’s a pressure to escape or separate yourself from the image and sound you had when you first came out, which you’ve been evolving away from in recent years? No, I think on the second record we felt that a little bit, but then really just wanted to do something so completely different to prove, not only to ourselves, but to other people who would hear the record that we could do something different. But now I don’t think about it negatively. You know, on the first record we’re pretty angsty, I’m pretty angry and we wanted to show people that. But I think our sound has changed pretty drastically from album to album, and this is another example of that. This record is my favorite by far, and I think we’re only gonna keep going.