Lucas Vocos (OC Weekly): You guys have recently formed your own label, Heart & Skull Records, in a partnership with Epitaph after your last album was released on a major label. What was that experience like?
Matt Skiba: It's actually been remarkably easy. We got out of our Epic deal scot-free. They kind of restructured the label and absolutely eliminated the rock department because, as we all know, rock records aren't selling any more. Everyone that we liked there and trusted weren't there anymore and being a rock band, we really didn't have any business being on that label anymore. We were let go and we were grateful at how easy it was and decided that we're not gonna let ourselves get in that kind of position ever again.
We've been there before where we were very lucky cause it could have been very bad, but timing was on our side and we managed to slither around these sticky areas. So, now we are celebrating our good fortune with starting our own label so that we don't have to worry about that anymore. We went in and recorded the record and paid for it ourselves. We had plans to release the record on our own label and we were having meetings with these different companies that help you jump start your label and help you with the distribution and manufacturing and all the things that go along with putting out a record. And then Brett [Gurewitz] from Epitaph came along and offered us a very similar deal and said why don't you run the label through Epitaph and use our resources, let us put our name on the record, the two of us as partners. We wanted to be like Hellcat and Anti- and Dischord records. By bands for bands. That's what we're trying to do and with Epitaph in our corner its amazing. They started our company for us.
Very cool. This new album you guys have is going to be the first physical release from your new label. How did it feel forming your own label, writing this record and releasing it on your own?
It's pretty rewarding. It was rewarding going into the studio on our own dime and making the record that we wanted to make, knowing that we were gonna put it out and be in charge of that. We have people that are pretty close to us, our managers and also our friends, and we really trust their opinions so we would play them songs and hear what their take was on it. Luckily, everyone was in agreement that we were making a good record. It's very liberating. Every step of it I've really enjoyed and I'm really proud of.
Nice, do you see it as a more honest with you guys having complete control over it as opposed to a label giving their say on it?
We've never really had a label do that. We've had label people come in and listen and stuff but we've never had a label tell us what to do. We've been really really lucky in that aspect. We've never dealt with any of that pressure–ever. So I think every record we've made, from my perspective, is honest. I mean we wrote it. No one wrote the songs for us and nobody told us what to put on and what not to put on. People would pick singles but we weren't trying to write a single. We would write a record and people would choose a single. As far as being honest, they're all honest to me.
So you guys have been touring and playing for around 15 years now and I'm sure you've seen most there is to see while on tour, what keeps things fresh and inspiring and interesting to you guys?
Every time is a different thing and it's a different experience and we are all constantly inspiring each other and we are all good friends. I'm in a band with my best friends and I think us being that tight and having this much fun and enjoying what we do, we really inspire each other. We've said we would stop doing this band when it stopped being fun. It's our only rule. And it's still really fun. I couldn't ask for more. It's a dream job.