Jeff Fusco, Getty Images
I feel great. I love being a surprise again. I was always kind of anonymous, now I don't even look much like the guy people didn't recognize [laughs]. With this the audience might not even know me by name so if they enjoy it there's a tangible feeling of shock that I really enjoy.
Can you describe the sound you're going for now? How do you apply that to the upcoming 'Soul Punk'?
Less than going for a sound I just wanted to make what I wanted to listen to. My dad listened to a lot of '70s fusion jazz, I was really active in political punk, but I also really dug Prince and Michael Jackson. Somewhere in there is my love of Bowie's late '70s experimentalism and the lyrical wink of Tom Waits and Randy Newman. Whether or not all of those things come across, that mess of influences definitely informs a lot of my sound.
Watch Patrick Stump perform 'Spotlight' live.
In the video 'Patrick Stump Makes a New Album' you show off how you can play each instrument. Is this how you completed 'Soul Punk?' Did you work with anyone?
I wrote, produced, and played everything on 'Soul Punk' which was something I always wanted to do. I set out to track music that sounded like it could easily have been sequenced on a laptop (like most pop records these days) but actually perform live instruments to get there.
You've been posting a lot of home performances on your website, like your 'A Cappella Grammy Medley'. Is that a part of your DIY mentality? Do you still feel like you're a part of the DIY punk community?
I did want to play with that a little. It doesn't get much more "Do It Yourself," than beatboxing the entire song. I don't know if I'm still part of the DIY punk community. I know I came from it (especially some of the bands I was in before Fall Out Boy), I know I still feel as strongly about DIY ethics. The older I get though, I find I like being more subtle with my anger. Maybe it's more punk rock to scream it from the rooftops, but I feel like you've got a bigger audience to hear a message if they don't all immediately realize they're hearing one.
Several of the tracks from 'Truant Wave' really show off your handle on soul music. What was your inspiration behind the EP?
I wanted to set the tone, lay out my party platform, so to speak. I wanted to put out high-energy R&B music with lots of analog synthesizers and subversive lyrics. The one major difference between 'Truant Wave' and 'Soul Punk' is that on 'Truant Wave' I invited collaboration. I really dug working with Om'Mas Keith on 'Cute Girls,' and D.A. Wallach on 'Big Hype.'