Mark Hoppus: Come To My Pod

MARK HOPPUS may just be the busiest man on the planet. Between his hectic studio schedule (both as a member of post-Blink-182 group Plus 44, with Blink's Travis Barker and Get The Girl's Carol Heller, and as a producer/collaborator with some of your favorite bands), his wildly successful Atticus clothing line and a record label in the works (not to mention a Lil' Hoppus running around the house), he's found the time to partner with Fuse television to bring his über-popular Hi My Name Is Mark podcast (found at justforthefofit.com) to the whole world--assuming you're smart enough to listen. We phoned the Man Of A Million Projects on a cold and dreary Cleveland afternoon, but the feeling definitely wasn't mutual: "It's 72 and sunny here in L.A.!" he brags. "I love it."

So as of right now, your podcast has over one million downloads. You've gone platinum! [Laughs.] Thank you.

What does it feel like to have that kind of listenership already?
It's great; it was really a surprise to me. I've been paying for the podcast all by myself from the beginning, and we went to the people that can provide the technology for it, and they estimated it was going to download a certain amount the first week, and it did 10 times that. So, from the start, it's been really a surprising success, and I'm stoked that people give a damn about what I have to say.

What do you chalk up to the success of it?
You know, I really just try and get the best bands I can to be a part of it, and speak from my heart about stuff that I'm passionate about, and I'm stoked that people like that.

Did you have any hurdles to overcome early on?
Well, it's a total learning process. Originally, we were just setting up in my living room with a microphone, and I would just start talking. That was how it started off. And now that Travis [Barker] and I actually own a studio in L.A., I actually go there and do it there, so it's a little more professional. But it's basically just me talking. [Laughs.]

You've done a number of interviews on the podcast, from Taking Back Sunday to American Analog Set. Did you have any previous interviewing experience before?
No. Being on the other side of interviews is a little nerve-wracking for me, still. I don't want to be one of those interviewers who doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about. So I just choose bands who I like a lot and already know a lot about, so I sound like I know what I'm talking about.

How will your podcast evolve with the addition of Fuse?
Hopefully, it will give us access to a lot more technological power. I'd love to do a video podcast, have bands come in and record live versions of their songs, have exclusive tracks of bands. What the podcast was originally all about was to try and expose people to new music and try and get bands out there. To be able to do that with Fuse is very exciting to me. Fuse is actually hosting the site now, so I can do a lot more different stuff, and not worry about how much bandwidth is going to end up costing, which is still something that I'm trying to understand. [Laughs.]

You mentioned earlier you were busy producing; is that something that you're planning on doing a lot more of?
Oh, absolutely. I love producing. I've been working with the Matches and Something For Rockets; I just worked on a track with a friend of mine named Renee Renee; I'm about to go into the studio next month with We Are The Fury; I've been talking to Mae about doing stuff with them; the good thing is that the projects I've been doing are not entire albums at a time, because I don't have time for that right now, with recording for Plus 44. So what I do is work with some bands where I can do three or four tracks at a time. I really want to do We Are The Fury's whole album, though.

When you're producing these bands, how involved do you get?
Every band is totally different. I think that you have to cater what you're doing as a producer to each band. Some bands--and some songs--need more work from a producer than others. I'll say exactly everything that I have in my head, but I'm also very respectful of the fact that the band is the owner and the creator of the song, and it's their art. I'll always give my opinion and push for what I think is right for the song, but in the end, if they tell me they want something a certain way, it's their album, you know? But I try and help with arrangement, and parts, and whatever a song needs.

You've also been doing a number of guest-vocal appearances recently, like on Motion City Soundtrack's "Hangman" and MxPx's "Wrecking Hotel Rooms." Does that come about spontaneously, or do you say to yourself, "I can hear myself there," and say something?
I never suggest that I should sing on anything. [Laughs.] With both of those bands, they asked if I would sing on it, and I said yes. I'm not trying to force myself on anybody, you know? Both bands wrote lyrics for me. Although on "Hangman," I altered the melody.

Were they okay with that?
Yeah. I don't just come in and say, "Fuck you guys! This is how I'm gonna do it"--although I should start. Every band I work with, I'll be like, "You know what would be cool in this part is me singing." [Laughs.]

Was she very apologetic after that?
No, she wasn't; she still told me to fuck off. [Laughs.]

You recently co-wrote a song with Less Than Jake for their new album, In With The Out Crowd, called "The Rest Of My Life." How did that happen?
I'd toured with Less Than Jake a bunch of times back in the day, and we'd kept in touch and continued to run into each other, and they asked if I'd be interested in collaborating with them. They had some ideas, I had some ideas, and we just put the song together. I actually wrote most of the music for it, and they made some changes here and there. Vinnie [Fiorello, LTJ drummer] gave me a bunch of lyrical ideas, and I helped him formulate those into a song.

Who else is on your collaboration wish list?
I would love to work with Andrew Kenny from the American Analog Set. I think he's really creative, and I think what they do is really exciting.

So you're not afraid of their music being so different from yours?
I think that's what's inspiring about it, working with people you would never normally work with. Something that's going to stretch you as an artist creatively is something that's very exciting for me. I also love [Emily Haines] from Metric; I think she has a great voice, and their new album [Live It Out] is amazing.

Speaking of Metric, you featured them on a recent podcast, along with fellow Canadians Moneen. Thinking of defecting anytime soon?
[Laughs.] No, I love where I live. I didn't even realize they were both from Canada until you just said it. I was actually going to do a podcast all with songs from and about Los Angeles. There's a great Death Cab For Cutie song called "405" that I think is really cool... I actually started a list, but I don't have it on me.

With the success of this podcast, you're obviously exposing these bands to new people; would you ever think about starting a label?
I actually have an idea in its very infant stages right now, so I don't really have anything to tell you about it yet, but it is in the works right now.

You're definitely a tastemaker in punk rock; where do you see yourself in this scene?
Mostly as an artist. My love is still writing and playing music, and that's my main focus and goal. I just love doing other things, too.

As an artist, you're currently working on your new project, Plus 44. Can you give us some more information on it?
I don't have a whole lot to say about it right now because we're still writing songs even as we speak, but we're all very excited with it and can't wait for it to come out.

Do you have a producer yet?
Right now, we're just writing and recording as we go, and I'm sure that we'll go back and re-record some things. We've talked about different producers, but we haven't made any firm decisions yet.

Do you see the album coming out this year?
Yes, definitely, through Interscope.

Do you see yourself touring this year with Plus 44?
Absolutely. Absolutely. We just want to write until we feel like we have the best record possible, and then release that and tour around the release of the album. But we definitely want to tour as much as we can and be on the road for a while.

Will you be debuting Plus 44 material on the podcast?
I would love to do that.

You're just about to turn 34, and you have a 3-and-a-half-year-old child. What is it that keeps you motivated to stay in this scene and not move onto "normal life?"
Normal life sucks! I don't ever want to have a normal life. I am so blessed to do what I do, and hang out with my friends, and create music, and produce bands.

This interview is running in our 100 Bands You Need To Know issue. What are some bands you think we should include?
Definitely Something For Rockets; definitely the Matches--they have an amazing album coming out; We Are The Fury--I just saw them play at the Roxy last night; they were amazing live. Basically, any band that I work with should be in the list. [Laughs.]

Even though Blink's currently on hiatus, the band still have a large presence in this scene, even going so far as to win the AP Hall Of Fame award last year-beating out the Beatles. Do you think Blink-182 are better than the Beatles?
I will never say that anything is better than the Beatles.

Would you like to apologize to Paul McCartney, then?
You know, he got knighted. I don't think that he's hurting for anything.

- AltPress.com

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