Has the songwriting process been different for you now?
Absolutely. I’ve probably written over a hundred songs with my band and with Mike in an exclusive sense. Things weren’t always fun. It wasn’t always a positive experience. There were times where we would finish songs and we wouldn’t even speak to each other. Most of our second record is about that. About the inner band tension and me being uncomfortable. And my anxiety as a result of that. Not since the first record have I fully been able to be myself and be honest and genuine fully with every aspect of my life. When you are on a team you have to consider everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and tastes and needs and wants. Which I feel like, when it comes to art, it can work. But I feel like a lot of times when compromise is put into the equation, when it comes to art and music, the vision can get muddled and watered down and disingenuous at some point. For me, I was unwilling to let it get to that point with the band because I respect so deeply what we accomplished and respect so deeply our fans. And myself as well. To the point where I wouldn’t want to fake it just to put another record out. So it really came down to necessity for me to be able to do it on my own. For us all to be able to look at what we accomplished, untarnished, and with respect and love.
As an artist, it must be difficult to compromise in ways that you might not see are for the better. Or ways that you could see diminish your art or make you unhappy. So has this just been really liberating for you?
Absolutely. I’ve never been happier in my life. That being said, I’ve never been through harder times as well. But in that, being able to purely look at my life through pure, honest eyes and perspective, I’m able to experience the highs and lows in a way that I have never understood before. I generally just have a more positive outlook on life and what I do. Through a more empowered perspective than I have ever had in the past. It’s great to know that win, lose or draw, I’m going at one hundred miles an hour with my own vision uncompromised. The way that I see it and the way that I envisioned everything. I’d rather win that way than win as a cheater. I’d rather hit forty home runs and not sixty but be on the juice.