.

In the Studio: Panic! at the Disco (With Bonus Pete Wentz Video Interview)

November 16, 2007 12:56 PM ET

Panic! at the Disco guitarist-lyricist Ryan Ross is tired of computer-tuned vocals and software-tweaked drums. "People have taken technology so far, to the point where music is almost sterile these days," he says from the studio in Las Vegas' Palms Hotel, taking a break from recording sessions for the band's second album. "With all those old rock & roll records, you can really feel there's a character to them, because it was played by real people. I feel like a lot of that's missing now." It's a common argument these days, but Ross is an odd person to be making it: His own band's platinum debut, the Fall Out Boy-plus-synth-style A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, was a prime offender, overflowing with maxed-out pitch-correction and baroque Pro Tools trickery. "That's a valid point," Ross says. "That record is basically programmed to a T. I mean, everything is lined up and perfect."

For their second album, everything is different: The band is writing songs on acoustic guitars, not on computers. And even though the group members have a far higher budget at their disposal than the $10,000 they spent on the first one, they're recording the album live in the studio. "We do take after take until we get it right," Ross says. "It's a lot harder, but it's making us play better." They were still in high school when they recorded Fever, and it seems like they're faintly embarrassed by it: "I think that everybody kind of changes a lot between the time they're seventeen and when they're twenty-one or twenty-two," says Ross.

The growing process hasn't been easy. The band discarded ten or so songs for what would have been an entirely different version of the album, recorded in a cabin forty-five minutes outside Vegas. "It had a lot of cinematic instrumentation, and it felt more like a side project," Ross says.

The group cemented its current direction with a song called "Nine in the Afternoon." "It's influenced by the music our parents listened to: the Beach Boys, the Kinks, the Beatles," says Ross. "Our new songs are more like classic rock than modern rock. We got older and started listening to different music -- and this seems like the natural thing to do right now."

Related Stories:
Rock Bloggin' Fall Out Boy Breaks Upper Cankle, 'Tween Girls Line Up To Sign Cast
Panic! at the Disco Video of a New Song We May Never Hear Again
Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes Enjoy the Internet, Using Their Hands

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Promiscuous”

Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com