Everyone has a lucky number. And for former Blink-182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker it's (+44), the country code you dial when calling the United Kingdom.Everyone has a lucky number. And for former Blink-182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker it’s (+44), the country code you dial when calling the United Kingdom. That’s where Hoppus and Barker first decided to embark on a new musical journey together after Blink-182 broke up almost two years ago.
Last week, the band’s first single, “When Your Heart Stops Beating,” entered the Pop 100 at No. 79. The album of the same name will be released on Nov. 14 via Interscope.
Hoppus tells Billboard.com that he “actually felt less pressure” making this album, despite the enormous success that Blink-182 had over the past decade.
“We were just locked in the studio for a year and a half, I really felt like I was out from under the microscope,” he says. “We were just doing our own thing, exploring music and writing the best album that we possibly could. I think I put more pressure on myself to try and step up my game than feeling any pressure from outside.”
Although its sound isn’t completely different from Blink, (+44)—which also includes ex-Nervous Return member Shane Gallagher and ex-Transplants member Craig Fairbaugh—did try to take some risks on the album.
“It’s kind of a rollercoaster, it’s pretty all over the place,” says Hoppus. “There are songs that are upbeat, energetic, straight-up punk rock songs like the first single, there’s some electronic stuff and there’s some mid-tempo rock songs. We used keyboards, but it’s still a rock record. There’s just all these different elements like hip-hop, dance and ’80s synth pop.”
As for the lyrics, Hoppus adds, “Every time I sat down to write a song it was very personal. I just felt like I needed to speak my mind on everything—not only the Blink break-up but stuff that’s going on in my personal life and in my head. The darkest stuff I’ve ever written is on this record.”
But fear not, Blink-182 fanatics. Hoppus and the gang aren’t looking to sweep the goofy good ol’ days under the rug just yet.
“Travis and I are not trying to divorce ourselves from anything we’ve done in the past and be like, ‘Oh forgot everything we did before now, this is the new us.’ I mean, this is the new us, but we love everything we’ve done in the past as well,” he says.
That said, don’t expect a reunion any time soon, though, since Hoppus and Barker didn’t part on the best of terms with fellow Blink bandmate Tom DeLonge.
“I haven’t spoken with Tom in almost two years,” says Hoppus. “The way he handled quitting Blink-182 was very disrespectful and ugly, I thought. I’ve always respected him as a songwriter and think that he has good ideas, but I don’t see myself working with him again. But 10 years ago I never would have guessed where I would be today, so I have no idea what the next 10 years holds.”
Right now the members of (+44) are just anxious to hit the road. Their first tour was originally supposed to kick off today (Oct. 13) but Barker broke his arm and several of the dates were pushed back to next month.
“It’s not as bad as it sounds,” Hoppus tells Billboard.com. “We’re really just postponing the first two weeks of the tour. We don’t want to miss any more dates than we absolutely have to, so we’re going into the studio on Friday to start rehearsing with him using one arm and his left foot. He’s pretty confident he can put something together that way.”