Panic At The Disco burst onto the music scene with their debut 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out' back in 2005. Now after two albums and the departure of members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker Panic At The Disco are back with new album 'Vices & Virtues'.
Gigwise caught up with Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith about their third effort, their love for Arcade Fire and the future of Panic At The Disco.
How does it feel being back?
Brendon - It's been really great thanks. It's good to finally be able to talk about the album as especially last year we spent it recording all of our ideas that we wanted for the new record.
Did you tour last year?
Spencer - It was really like one-off shows here and there no proper full tours. So it's been a long time for us and I think we're more than ready to get back out there now. Last year we somehow went to places that we'd never been to before like Argentina, which is amazing but it just makes you wish more that you were on a full tour.
There's been a lot of press surrounding the departure of Ryan and Jon – how did you both find that period?
Brendon - Yeah with anything like that it's bound to be weird. There was a couple of months where we didn't really talk to each other or Ryan and John for a while but kind of made sense as they had immediately sprang off and started doing their own thing. So we spent much of that time deciding how we wanted to carry on. So after the couple of months we spent the year and a half just writing and recording. We just immersed ourselves in that.
Was there any point when you thought that's the end of Panic!At The Disco?
Spencer - We never knew exactly, there was a point where we were unsure but we never scrapped the idea completely of not continuing on with the band. We obviously realised that there was always the possibility to start a new band but what we wanted to do next was kind of get back to what we did with our second album and we wanted to do it with this band. We had worked for the past five years building the band and we're proud of all our unexpected success so young but we didn't just want to throw it all away. With all the work that we had done we just thought that it made sense to carry on.
When did you start recording this new album?
Brendon - It was two separate people who we worked with John Feldmann and Butch Walker. We started working with John Feldmann like a year and a half ago.
Spencer - It was more demos at the time, most of the stuff we recorded then hasn't made the record. Really it's only been in the past nine months to a year that we've been recording. It's a pretty long period but at the same time I think we weren’t going in and recording stuff every day. Some of the time we were writing or just putting ideas together.
How do you find the writing process now Ryan has left?
Brendon – It's been very different. I wouldn't say it was completely different but it is a change especially for the purpose of writing for the band. Especially lyrically for me I never considered myself a lyricist, there was a couple of songs on 'Pretty Odd' that I’d written on my own but they were kind of light hearted and fun. I'm not knocking them but it's definitely different to what this record is. It took me a voice and a message that I wanted to convey for both of us. We wanted to touch on stuff that we had both been through in the last couple of years; the split and relationships we'd been through.
Your new single 'The Ballad Of Mona Lisa' has a similarity to your debut album – is that the sound we can expect from 'Vices & Virtues'?
Spencer - That song I say was more than any other track on the album. There's a couple that do and there's also songs that carry on over from influences from the second record. There's a lot of songs that wouldn't have fit on stuff we'd done before. I think that the record is a good mix of what we've done and some new stuff.
Did you have a lot of material to choose from for the album?
Brendon – God yeah. We had a lot of songs to choose from.
Spencer – They may have not all been fully formed songs but a lot of them had the potential to be really good. Even working on songs at the time that we wanted to make the record we probably had twenty five songs that were fully done. We kept writing new ones and kicking off old ones.
Are there any musical influences on the new album?
Brendon – We still listen to a lot of the same bands that we did on the first and second record but I guess for us Arcade Fires new record is such a phenomenal piece of music. I think especially when we were in the song writing process towards the end listening to that record just got me so frustrated. Listening to a record that good can also be inspirational, we love the lyrics, the music and it's frustrating wanting to do something that makes you feel that good.
Have you learnt anything new from making this album?
Brendon – Yeah that fact that we can make a record with just us two. I think when we were in the middle of the process we didn't really think about it but looking back now we both have enjoyed what we have created and it's something that we're both very proud of.
Are you looking to take on any permanent members after touring?
Brendon – Hopefully, we've been talking about it and we have Ian and Dallon who've been touring with us for a year and a half. I think that's something we've considered and it may be a possibility.
What's the plans for Panic! At The Disco this year?
Spencer - We have a couple of weeks in the UK planned out for a full tour then a couple of shows around Europe and then back over to the US. Hopefully we'll have some festivals lined-up for later this year the frustrating thing is they don't book you till last minute and it's all kept under wraps. It's always fun to see your old fans and hopefully some new ones with this record.
Brendon - Touring this album will be a lot different from when we first started out but I’m looking forward to that. We used to tour with such a big production and outfits but it will be good to get get the new record out there.