Mark Hoppus on (+44) and 'Letting the Ugly Things Pass'

The singer talks to SPIN.com about the Blink-182 split, personal lyrics, and why his new band keeps him "humble."

It took a year and a half, but with their album finished and a world tour underway, (+44)'s Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker are finally ready to talk about the breakup of their former band, Blink-182. "We didn't talk about it when it happened because we didn't want [our new project] to be about that," Hoppus told SPIN.com. "We didn't want to use the breakup of our old band to get people talking about our new band, so we just didn't talk about it...We made ourselves a promise that we were going to focus on the music. Sometimes you just have to let the ugly things pass and then you can go on with your life."

While Hoppus won't cut into former bandmate Tom DeLonge, who unceremoniously left Blink to start Angels & Airwaves by having a member of his camp call Hoppus and Barker, he will say that DeLonge's manner of leaving "made it easy to close the door and go 'alright dude, now you've shown your real colors.' It made it that much easier to just let that part go and continue on."

Which is exactly what the pair did. (+44) are a decidedly different band from Blink-182, a conscious departure, according to Hoppus. "The way we put this record together was different from anything we've ever done before," he said. "Before we would always pick up a guitar and play and go from there, and now we were writing from all different sources: Drums, keys, a bass part, a strange noise." And Hoppus himself is being more adventurous with his lyrics, as on the song "No It Isn't," which is about the breakup of Blink. "Those are definitely some of the most personal and most direct lyrics I've ever written," Hoppus revealed.

While people might not know all the (+44) songs just yet, fans are already grasping for bootleg concert videos made on cell phones and leaked tracks to learn the lyrics. "[Fans] sing along to the ones they know and people are learning more as we go along," Hoppus said. "It's really cool to know that people are even taking the time to go online and download a shitty bootleg and listen to that. It's really cool that people are that excited about it." Just don't expect them to play any Blink tracks, no matter how nicely you ask. "That seems like a really desperate thing to do," he said.

- SPIN.com

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