PAPA ROACH Frontman: 'Making Music Is My Calling'

Music Photocalypse recently conducted an interview with vocalist Jacoby Shaddix of California rockers PAPA ROACH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Music Photocalypse: What was the biggest challenge in making this record [half-live, half-studio set called "Time For Annihilation...On The Record And On The Road"]?

Jacoby: Well, with the new songs — just really trying to come up with something that's fresh and original and different, but also still true to the core of what PAPA ROACH is as a rock band. The new songs are personal to me, 'cause I write a lot about my life and what's going on in my life and put it in the music. But also with the sound it's fun to push it in new directions. Songs like "Kick In The Teeth" or "Burn" they got a bit of a modern kind of flare to it with some of the sequences, keyboards and loops and stuff inside the song that make it fun for us to keep making music. I kind of equate music with sex: if you do it the same way with the same person, same repetition, it gets boring.

Music Photocalypse: Can you tell me more about the conflict you had with Interscope?

Jacoby: Pretty much we fulfilled our contract with them and towards the end of our relationship with them we just wanted out. We didn't see eye to eye on music or on anything, so we left. We were done, we didn't have to do another record for them, we were like, "Cool, thank you guys, peace, we're moving on." As we were in the plans of releasing our live record with five new songs, they were like, "No, we are just going to release a 'greatest-hits' record while you guys were on tour." We didn't feel that it was the right time for our band to release a greatest-hits record; it just doesn't feel right to me. But they did it and it is what it is, but … Fuck off, I'm done. That was my last experience with them, so I am glad to be where I am at right now — at an independent rock label where we have full control. We've always had full control of our creativity in the way we marketed it, it was just… We would get on the phone with this new record company and we were like "Alright, we want this guy to produce the record and we want this guy to mix the record, we want to work with this guy to do the music videos, these people will do the CD layout and these people will do the web site," and this is the artistic vision all in one phone call. When on a major label it's like, "OK, you gotta talk to this guy and they gotta wait to get a call from this person," so it made everything slower. Everything got done, it just got done slower. And for us — it's not how we wanna work. I'm glad we've gone too, 'cause Interscope and Universal America — NINE INCH NAILS left and then it was MARILYN MANSON, then it was QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, then it was us, then it was WEEZER, then it was AFI — you know all of these bands, but they don't do rock music anymore, so it's a good thing that we are not working with them anymore, because rock music isn't really a priority to them and I'm in a fucking rock band.

Music Photocalypse: You seem to be more concerned with social problems, so music for you is different than just sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Why are you doing music in the first place?

Jacoby: People are always looking for a meaning in their lives: like what is this whole thing we call life, what's my purpose. I've had the same question about myself [when I was] growing up. And when I found music I didn't have that question anymore. That was it: it just feels like making music is my calling. I'm driven by that and so it's an opportunity to be myself, be a free thinker, travel the world — it's a beautiful thing. I fucking love it; I don't know what I would do without it.

Music Photocalypse: You mentioned that one of the motives to start a band is to get out of the "9-to-5" society. What's so scary about it?

Jacoby: I went from "9-to-5" lifestyle to the 24/7 lifestyle, you know, that's music and rock 'n' roll. I was working the day job and I just didn't see myself doing that for the rest of my life, 'cause when you get into the work force … Sometimes I'm sad 'cause I miss my family, being away from home, sometimes it gets hard. But then I think of so many people who would just love to be doing what I'm doing. I try not to take it for granted.

Music Photocalypse: What would you say are the best and worst memories about going from a high school band to being rock stars?

Jacoby: The best thing is being able to see the world, meet new people every day and experience new things — that is amazing. And then the worst thing, like I said, is being away from your family: I got two kids and wife and I'm away from them a lot, so that's really hard. But this is the life I chose, so you gotta take it as it comes at ya. After this tour, we get two months off. I can't wait. I haven't had two months off in years, so I'm ready for it.

Music Photocalypse: Your music has helped a lot of people to go through some dark moments, so what music helped you to pull through when life was hard?

Jacoby: There's one record in particular by SOCIAL DISTORTION called "White Light, White Heat, White Trash". It came to me at a point of my life where I was just… "fuck it"... In a dark place and I heard this music and the lyrics were introspective, but then also about the world around him and it was about his frustrations and his anger, but also about his love for himself or the world, or things in his life. So it was a record [which had] love and hate just scattered all over it. And it spoke to me. It was that record that I had for a while and I didn't really listen to it and then one day some shit happened in my life and that record just meant everything to me. I still put it on and I listen to the lyrics. I think it's one of the best records lyrically.

Read the entire interview from Music Photocalypse.

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