Last week, Travis Barker, Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus spent four days in a Los Angeles recording studio laying down a handful of new Blink-182 tracks, which they plan to release as a digital EP by Christmas. As Barker tells Rolling Stone, the new material is shaping up to be something special.
"To me already, this EP is a hundred times better than Neighborhoods," says Barker, referring to the band's 2011 reunion album. "Because we're all in a room together." The trio recorded nearly all of Neighborhoods remotely, emailing the tracks back and forth to each other. "There's some songs on there that I love, but for the most part it was disconnected," Barker recalls. "It was like, 'You do this part in your studio, and then you're gonna play on it and send it back to me.' When we're not in the studio together, you don't have the opportunity to gel off each other."
To make matters worse, Barker was still recovering from the horrific 2008 plane crash that nearly took his life. "Dude, I was still healing," he says. "I had scabs all over my body and was, like, a bloody mess. It was just way too soon."
Now, Barker says the band is raring to go. They've already cooked up five new tunes which the drummer describes as "really, really cool" – one of which he calls a "very folky" song. "I don't even know," he says, laughing. "It's way out. We all had some ideas. I went in the studio and I was just playing around. I had my electronic kit and I just played a straight drum pattern over it, and it sounded crazy. It changed the entire shape of the song."
The idea to get back in the studio came from Barker, who brought it up to DeLonge and Hoppus during their European summer tour dates. But it wasn't until a few weeks ago that the band decided to move forward on the project. "It was like three days after Halloween and Tom was like, 'Dude, we should do that!'" Barker recalls.
Now an indie band for the first time since their 1994 debut – Blink split with their longtime label, Interscope, last month – Barker says the EP is being made solely "for the fans. It's like a post-being-off-the-label celebration," he says.
And more new Blink music is on the way. The drummer says they'll head back to the studio in February after an Australian tour to begin writing and recording their next full-length, with plans to release it near the end of 2013.
The band's motto going forward? "The rule is there's no rules," Barker says.