After a three-year break between albums in which frontman Travie McCoy did his solo thing, Gym Class Heroes are returning big time. They just wrapped a co-headlining spot on the Warped tour, and released an infectious new single, “Stereo Hearts,” featuring Adam Levine. In this first look, Gym Class Heroes go behind the scenes of filming the video against New York’s cityscape.
Working with Levine satisfies a longtime goal for Gym Class Heroes. “My manager asked me [years ago] who I would want to work with and Adam Levine was one of the first people that came to mind,” says McCoy.
It’s fitting the collaboration comes on The Papercut Chronicles II because, as drummer Matt McGinley tells us, Levine and the rest of Maroon 5 were a big inspiration on Gym Class Heroes’ debut, The Papercut Chronicles. “We’ve been really big into Maroon 5 for years. Our first record that helped launch our career was The Papercut Chronicles, and usually when we go into to do an album we have somewhat of an idea of what kind of tones we want from the record. We actually rolled up there with a Maroon 5 album and gave it to our friend who was the engineer on that and we were kind of like, ‘Make our drums sound like this,'” McGinley says. “Of course, we also handed the guy a Roots record and we’re like, ‘Let’s find the middle states between Maroon 5 and the Roots.’ But he’s just a dude we’ve always admired and wanted to work with on some level.”
The new album, due October 25th, is not a proper sequel to the band’s debut, but it does share some themes. “It’s not really a concept record per se, but there are a lot of reoccurring themes and there are some characters that were on the first album that kind of pop up in a couple of lines here and there,” McCoy says.
But for McGinley it was about the feeling of making the record. “Not having the looming pressure to crank out an album and get back on the road was a luxury,” McGinley says. “The songwriting process for this album reverted to our early days as a band, which is four dudes sitting around a room making music. In the past, some of my favorite songs have come out of these type of sessions; ‘Papercuts,’ ‘Cupids Chokehold,’ ‘Make Out Club.'”
One track off The Papercut Chronicles II that may join that list is “Solo Discotheque,” which the band previewed this summer on Warped. “That song is really cool because that’s the first song we wrote for the album,” McGinley says. “I think it was cool because it kind of became the basis for where we wanted to go with this album. It had all the dark and moody elements we were driving for. It set the barometer and focused our writing a little bit.”