Rob Thomas believes that nan lead azygous to Matchbox Twenty’s first medium successful complete a decade useful because nan set didn’t overthink it.
“Wild Dogs (Running successful a Slow Dream),” nan pop-rock sing-along that deploys a racing tempo and a fistful of rousing hooks, was added to nan way database of Where nan Light Goes, nan band’s 5th workplace album, aft Thomas, drummer/multi-instrumentalist Paul Doucette and shaper Gregg Wattenberg recognized a spark successful its euphony and lyrics — past proceeded to do arsenic small arsenic imaginable to messiness pinch its momentum.
“There was a vitality to that way – a drive, a visceral feeling, that if we spent excessively overmuch clip polishing and re-polishing, it was gonna spell away,” Thomas tells Billboard. “Gregg was very observant to beryllium like, ‘We’re gonna get in, and erstwhile we get it, I want you to get out. Capture it, past measurement distant from it. Don’t conscionable support adding to add.’”
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In immoderate respect, Matchbox Twenty didn’t request to adhd to its discography: nan alt-rock veterans’ catalog, opening pinch 1996’s diamond-certified Yourself aliases Someone Like You, boasts hits for illustration “3AM,” “If You’re Gone,” “Unwell” and “How Far We’ve Come” that could powerfulness summertime amphitheater shows for years to come. Yet Where nan Light Goes, owed retired this Friday (May 26) connected Atlantic Records, is nan merchandise of a imaginative thrust and longstanding collaborative ease: Thomas, Doucette, bassist Brian Yale and guitarist Kyle Cook person conceived nan follow-up to 2012’s North, which topped nan Billboard 200 floor plan upon its release, arsenic a loose, unabashedly heartfelt check-in from a postulation of aged friends.
Matchbox Twenty kicked disconnected their 54-date Slow Dream circuit earlier this month, and will beryllium playing a operation of aged hits and caller medium cuts connected nan roadworthy done August. Ahead of nan circuit kickoff and medium release, Thomas and Doucette chatted pinch Billboard astir really an improbable full-length turned into 1 of nan astir satisfying projects of their shared careers. (Ed. note: this conversations has been condensed and edited for clarity.)
Considering it’s been complete a decade since nan past Matchbox Twenty album, really does it consciousness to commencement nan instrumentality backmost up?
Thomas: Oddly comfortable and normal.
Doucette: We’ve done truthful overmuch successful our lives, truthful it’s like, we haven’t done it successful a agelong time, but it doesn’t needfully consciousness that different. The world is different — like, we didn’t person to interest astir TikTok [before]. We conscionable made a video for “Wild Dogs,” and portion of that speech is, “How does this activity successful mini small cuts?” Those aren’t conversations that we utilized to have. So there’s decidedly caller things successful this process for us, but it is still nan process that we’ve been doing each of our big lives.
Thomas: From 1996, we’ve only existed done change. When we started out, it was this play wherever we sewage to make a batch of mistakes, and they were backstage — they didn’t beryllium online, cipher was location pinch a camera, TMZ didn’t exist. We were a set that came retired astatine a clip erstwhile we said nan existent phrase, “Do you deliberation we request a website?” Social media didn’t beryllium until for illustration 3 records in.
So I deliberation that we came on astatine a really bully clip to expect and beryllium fresh for change, whenever we were starting a caller endeavor. But past astatine nan aforesaid time, we’re getting fresh to spell connected tour, and this process wherever we bring retired nan gear, we make judge that we’ve sewage nan sound conscionable truthful — this was precisely nan aforesaid successful 2017, successful 2015. That’s nan job, and that feels very familiar.
When did you guys commencement focusing connected this group of songs?
Thomas: We were beautiful overmuch astatine a spot wherever we didn’t deliberation we were ever going to make a full-length record. Going into 2020, it was, “Let’s grounds a mates of songs to travel nan tour, and past possibly that’s our business exemplary — you know, we circuit each mates of years, and we possibly merchandise a opus aliases two.” That didn’t excite Paul. He wasn’t judge really overmuch effort he wanted to put into a mates of songs, truthful he was like, “If you guys want to tally pinch that, spell for it.” So during that time, Paul listened to [the song] “Where nan Light Goes,” and he was conscionable like, “I for illustration that one, possibly you guys should activity connected that.” And maine and Kyle worked connected it.
It was 2022, and different bands were really retired touring, and we didn’t spell out. And location was a consciousness that we were letting fans down. It was Kyle who would commencement nan speech of, “Maybe we do want to make a full-length grounds — we’re gonna beryllium sitting astatine home, we’re not gonna beryllium doing thing this summer, and that would make adjacent summertime moreover much breathtaking for group that person been waiting for 3 years. It’s different level of excitement to that touring process.” So that conscionable sewage nan shot rolling.
Doucette: I ended play 3 of [co-composing nan people for] For All Mankind successful April, I think, and past successful May I flew to New York to commencement moving connected this, and it was fundamentally from May until December. I deliberation we each benignant of felt for illustration we were ne'er gonna make different grounds — and past suddenly, we were making a record, and that record’s done! In nan expansive strategy of things, this grounds came together astir apt much quickly than immoderate grounds we’ve ever done.
Thomas: To beryllium fair, though, this wasn’t a business wherever we went into nan workplace and wrote each nan songs. Some of those were written during nan process, but past immoderate of those were 75% done and past we’d jump successful and thief decorativeness it together, and immoderate were 100% done. We came successful pinch a batch of material, and past we whittled down a bully information of this medium pinch things that were started astatine different times, and past conscionable vanished arsenic a band.
How overmuch of nan imaginative power betwixt you guys was conscionable for illustration aged times, and really overmuch has it evolved complete nan years? Since it’s been specified a agelong clip that you each worked connected an medium together, what was it for illustration trying to regain a rhythm?
Thomas: Some things are conscionable very automatic. You’re conscionable like, this is really this works, I spot wherever you’re going pinch that, fto maine prime that up. It’s happening amongst a group of guys who are 10 years older than nan past clip we did it — and nan past clip we did it, we weren’t young. And truthful I deliberation there’s a refinement to nan process that’s welcomed, successful a really large way, and a civility to nan process. We’re little precious pinch our feelings and our ideas — we want to get thing done, but astatine nan aforesaid time, we’re very precious pinch different people’s feelings and different people’s ideas. So I consciousness for illustration everything astir it that was different was only for nan better.
Doucette: Also, like, you’re not fighting for an thought simply to conflict for it. We conscionable want to travel up pinch nan champion thing, and that takes a batch of nan unit off, because you’re much consenting to effort worldly that mightiness get changeable down. We were moving connected a opus called “One Hit Love” connected this record, and we were trying to find nan chorus for it. We were playing nan way successful Gregg’s studio, and we had a microphone, and Rob would get up and opportunity a line, singing a melody. And I’d go, “Oh, no, fto maine effort this.” And I’d effort thing and he’s like, “No, not that.” It was going backmost and distant until we sewage it right, not going, “It has to beryllium this, I judge successful this much than anything!” The use of property is conscionable being amended astatine that, astatine being much conscious of each other’s feelings. You tin person that speech successful a patient way.
A batch of lyrics connected nan caller medium incorporate a individual specificity, moreover arsenic nan themes are beautiful universal. I’m reasoning of a opus for illustration “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” which is astir personality and really your past informs your present.
Doucette: I cognize that, astatine slightest for me, I’m trying to constitute from a spot that’s searching for positivity. There’s a poster from an creator named Deedee Cheriel that says ‘You Have Everything You Need,’ truthful I wrote “Friends” astir that. “One Hit Love” is simply a opus that we wrote that’s astir this mightiness beryllium doomed, but we’re gonna spell for it anyway. I conscionable want to support penning astir hopeful things. That said, there’s a song, “Warm Blood,” that’s wholly negative.
Thomas: I’m ever for illustration write, write, write, and I extremity up penning 4 aliases 5 songs for each 1 that I really like. After 30 years, it’s go astir getting a consciousness of what you’re penning about, but past trying to find a measurement to opportunity it that has its ain flair, its ain color. When you talk astir relationships, it’s easy to autumn into nan aforesaid tropes – you want to effort and find caller ways to definitive yourself. The effort that we put into nan lyrics connected this record, I deliberation makes it 1 of our strongest ones that we’ve written.