Fall Out Boy are releasing their seventh album, Mania, on September 15th, but so far they've said very little about it and let the singles "Young and Menace" and "Champion" do most of the talking. But with the release date closing in, we reached out to Pete Wentz so he could let fans know what they tried to achieve on the album. Among many other things, he reveals that the EDM sounds on "Young and Menace" aren't reflective of the LP as a whole. And in a way that only he can, he managed to cram two separate Flintstones references into a six-question interview.
What can fans expect from this album?
Pete Wentz: It feels like every once in awhile, you've gotta do a hard restart that clears the cache and erases the hard drive. I think that's what "Young and Menace" was – a big palette cleanse. I think it gave us the space to create something brand new. The world can be a big lonely place, especially for kids who are trying to figure themselves out. I think sometimes we can forget that... that's who Mania is meant to speak to. That's who I want to reach. I don't think that kids should feel like they need to adjust their empathy or selves to the world – I'd rather give them the belief that they can adjust the world to fit their empathy.
How does it differ sonically from American Beauty/American Psycho?
To me, American Beauty/American Psycho and Save Rock and Roll were basically one extended album cycle... it was an attempt to create music on the timeline that rappers and DJs do, instead of the typical rock band cycle – in some ways the two blur together to me. So maybe this one is the first of a new era... trying to goldilocks the recipe. There's the idea that anyone can do a magic trick once – there is a novelty to it – maybe twice, sure. But how do you get past people thinking it's a trick? How do you get to that place where they begin to wonder if it’s more than sleight of hand or wires? I think that’s where this album lands for me. Sonically, we are sewing multiple eras of – both our own band and own influences – together in a way that is completely new to us through both the production and writing process.
Is the album done?
No, it's not – we are a few songs away from Fred Flintstone sliding down the brontosaurus tail.
Where did you record it? Who is the producer?
We recorded in Burbank, the valley [in L.A.] and the suburbs of Chicago... we worked with Jesse Shatkins, Jake Sinclair; we are working with one of my favorites of all time: The Dream...
Does the album move you guys into more of an EDM direction?
I'd say "Young and Menace" is the only song on the record so far that sounds vaguely like a kitten chasing a laser around…
How do you find the balance between making music that sounds like your classic work while also moving forward musically?
I think we have to just move forward – that's the goal of us (I don't mean the band; I mean humans) – we just need to evolve. No one wants to be who they were two years ago or 10 years ago... it's great to have that snapshot, but it's time to hang up your hat when you think your glory days are behind you. I think the sound of FOB will always come with us because of the nature of how Patrick sings against the music – it is just inherently there. Though – speaking of Fred Flintstone – the idea is to create art that is bigger than the artist, you know? In the way that you can still find Fruity Pebbles cereal in every grocery store, even though the show The Flintstones is hardly as pervasive as it once was. And I think that's the goal of the record: to outlive the brand and exist on its own.