In Their Own Words 3: (+44)



The following is a collection of quotes taken from various cited publications that spell out the nature of (+44)'s formation, style, production, and basic thoughts from primarily Mark and Travis during the time of the group's conception and subsequent album release.




Travis and I are using the time off to start this project called Plus-44, which kind of started in Travis' basement. It's very exciting, like a breath of fresh air. It's all very electronic right now. We have a girl singing part of the vocals. She and I are trading off vocals. (source)

Right after Tom quit blink we started writing songs and channeling ideas in Travis' basement and in my dining room. But we really got to work last October. We went to the studio pretty much five days a week for 12 hours a day. It was really exciting because it was a completely different process to what we'd done with blink. It was really challenging and new for us. (source)

The first time we ever started talking about doing this band, we were in London. (+44) is the international dialing code for the UK. (source)

When you're doing electronic stuff people think it's less creative in some way, because you're using keyboards or programming, but it's a lot more difficult to create interesting-sounding things if you use electronic elements. I love the combination of the two. When we first talked about how electronic our record was going to be there were a lot of raised eyebrows at the record label, but we said "No, no - it's not an electronic band, we're just using these tools at the beginning to start off this thing." (source)




Plus 44 was born the day our manager told us Tom quit blink. It was completely unexpected - we were left with what we had and we wanted to continue. We took a step back from the routine. I never played keyboards, and I play all over the place. Mark's playing guitar and singing in a key he never tried before. It was like we were starting over. (source)

If Blink was the daytime, Plus-44 is the nighttime. It's such a departure from Blink, but it's amazing. I play all the drums, but they're electronic drums, plus I play piano and keyboard on it. And I've been making beats for it. ... I am just going to keep working on stuff. Everything's A-plus. (source)


Even before Blink was finished, Mark and Travis went out and started Plus-44, and I didn't even know until months later. I had to read about it in the press, and that's what I didn't understand, because the hypocrisy to me seems ridiculous. But I guess that at the end of the day, those guys had things they wanted to do with Blink, and I guess they couldn't do those things with me. (source)


Writing the album:


There's been so much written about the album without anyone hearing it, so it's cool to actually talk about some of the songs. 'Make You Smile,' is probably the most electronic song on the record, and it's one of my favorites. Travis had the idea of having a girl sing half the lyrics, and so we had [former Get the Girl frontwoman] Carol [Heller] come down and sing on it. But when we moved into the studio, I was taking over more of the vocals, and Carol wanted to go start a family with her husband, so she decided to leave. It was a mutual decision. But her voice is still on the song, and I think it's beautiful. Also, a lot of people have written stuff about this album being really dark and introspective, and that's sort of true. There's some really heavy, baring-of-my-soul songs, and then there are songs like 'Cliff Diving' or 'When Your Heart Stops Beating,' which are really positive and incredibly fun. (source)

It's exciting. People keep asking me if I'm nervous but it's more just excitement. We wanted to stay under the radar until now because we wanted to emerge as a complete band. We knew that we weren't going to have the luxury of being a 'baby band' who were starting out on square one. We knew we were going to be under the microscope because of what we did before. (source)

The first song we wrote was 'No, It Isn't' and that is about the break-up of blink-182. When I first wrote it, I didn't want to admit it though, hence the title. Then I thought, 'Why should I hide behind anything? I'm being just as honest as I've ever been so why shouldn't I just admit this.' That one is definitely about blink-182 but honestly most of the songs aren't. (source)

[When writing Little Death] I was feeling hopeful and defeated at the same time when I wrote that song. All the bad shit that we went through in the last few years has made us stronger and made us appreciate the good things in life. It's also about communication in the 21st century. There are so many more possibilities with emails and cell phones, text messing, instant messaging, but it doesn't necessarily bring us together in any way. (source)

The album's all over the place. We've got some straight-up punk rock, some songs with programmed beats, some electronic stuff, some acoustic stuff, some acoustic stuff...we just wrote a song yesterday that has a country influence stuff to it. The record is really schizophrenic. A lot of the record is pretty serious in it's lyrical content, and it's about everything that's happened in my life in the last year and a half, so Little Death kind of felt like an appropriate title. There's a song where I sing, "A little death makes life more meaningful," and that's kind of the double entendre. Going through hard times makes the good times that much better. (source)

[The lyrics] pull from everything that's happened in my life over the last two years, from the end of blink, to my family members being ill, to the inspiration of a new band...everything I have in my heart is on this record. (source)

It's a little strange to be standing in the middle now and being the only one doing the singing but I feel a lot more connection with these songs than I've ever felt with songs before. These songs mean so much more to me - partly because of the honesty in them and partly because they came from such a new time. (source)


The record is a rollercoaster. It's not all tragedy and sorrow. It takes you to different places. To me, it brings up feelings of, like, driving too fast or skateboarding down the street in the middle of the night. In fact, everything about this band has given me that feeling: Writing a new song, playing our first show, looking at the artwork for our first album, they're all ups. And that feeling is all over this record. (source)

I remember recording Chapter XIII. Mark had just written that song and I went in one day, tired out of my mind and recorded the drums and that first take is on the record. It was the first time I'd heard the song, which is kind of cool. Just before we finished the record I thought we were going to change it but the guys loved it. It was kind of special.

I really like Lycanthrope. It's really solid, straightforward sounding rock drumming but it's still interesting. Little Death is really fun because I went in there and played live drums, then sampled sounds over where I'd already played. There's a song called Make You Smile where I went in and programmed the song on my MPC then played drums over that. (source)

Life after blink-182:


It was a little strange in the beginning [not making a record with Tom], but it was one of the best things that could have happened because it pushed us to do things that we never did with blink. I never felt that I was restricted in blink and I don't think Travis did either, but we fell into familiar roles. But when Travis and I went into the studio, we really broke down everything - I was playing guitars. Travis was playing keyboards and there was a lot of crossover For me, vocally, it required me to do everything, so I had to push my voice to do things I wouldn't normally do and didn't know I could do. So it was very liberating. It was one of the hardest experiences that we've gone through but it made us realize what we're capable of.(source)

When the blink thing went down and we started writing songs, we did two interviews about (+44). At that time we were putting together ideas, playing around with electronics and things like that, but we knew things would change. So we just said, "Wait, we should stop talking until we have something to talk about." We couldn't talk about Tom and blink without talking about (+44) and we didn't want to talk about (+44) until we had an album to put out.(source)

Travis and I have always been great, great friends, and even when Tom quit blink it wasn't even a question that we weren't going to continue writing music together. It's only made us better friends.(source)


This is definitely a serious thing. It's not a side project and it's not a rebound to get back at Tom either. If anyone is having ideas like that then get them out of your heads. This is a bona fide band. We're four members and we're for real. (source)

We were left with basically nothing after what our man Tom did, but I love being left with nothing and having to make something out of it. I wouldn't want to be selfish and be like "I'll break up Blink and go be a rock star or whatever." (source)

You have to put yourself through things like that sometimes to make yourself grow and progress. I'm not saying that I'm glad anything happened but everything happens for a reason. (source)

I'm still shocked, surprised and hurt where I couldn't even logically think about [the breakup]. Life's too short to hold grudges but I'm not ready to think in that kind of tone with Tom right now. The blink breakup was such a bum-out at the time, but a lot of amazing things happened in the last two years that could never have happened if blink were still around. When all that happened we never told anybody so everyone just thought blink when on a big break and we were all cool with each other. We can't be cool with someone who didn't have the balls to come up and play a show for Tsunami victims. That's not cool. We didn't talk about it for a year. Instead of talking about it in the press it felt good to get our emotions out somewhere else. It felt great to write about everything that had happened. (source)



**In the next edition of In Their Own Words I'll chronicle the strange world inside Tom Delonge's brain over the years with a condensed Angels & Airwaves retrospective.**
Last edited by Elevator on Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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