You spent about two years making your latest album. How did you know when it was finished?
It definitely feels like a long time. I think there’s a little bit of an intangible feeling when something feels complete. On this record I wrote a lot more than I have in the past. I had a lot more options in terms of trying to craft what I thought would be the best story and best collection of songs. At a certain point it just felt like I had it and I was just continuing to write so I kind of had to cut myself off.
How did you choose the songs that ended up on the album?
I narrowed it down myself and then I kind of did the girlfriend and best friend tests. That’s kind of how I chose them. From that, there started to become a close consensus on which songs would make it. I did a crowdsource thing. I did a secret livestream for like a hundred fans and gave them eight songs and they didn’t know what they were listening to. I would just gage their reactions and pick which songs from those eight worked the best.
You seem to be doing more singing on this album than in your past projects. What influenced you to direct your sound in that way?
The singing came as a result of trying new things. I’ve really tried to do that stuff but over time, especially with touring, sometimes your voice is a little stronger and you’re able to have more confidence. You’re experimenting more in the studio and stuff.
You have a few different featured artists on your album like the pop punk band State Champs. What’s it like to record with a full band compared to collabing with a single artist?
I think the big difference is there is a little bit more of a collaborative process because there are multiple guys in the studio. I’ll come in with the song finished for the most part and I just knew there was something missing from it. I hit them up and they liked it and they were able to transform it in a whole new way. It was really great to collaborate with them.
It seems like your fans already really love the new album. When it comes to listeners who aren’t really familiar with your music, what are you hoping that they’ll get from it?
My music usually falls under the pop and hip-hop category. [The Hype] very much fits there but at the same time I don’t think it easily compares to other artists in the pop genre. [My album] doesn’t really rely on the trendy sounds and what’s popular. It’s very distinct. That’s the biggest thing for me.