Mark Hoppus has certainly had his legs cemented in the industry for the last decade, more so than when Blink 182 started barely a decade before that. Hoppus' blog and tweets are followed like a cult and now he's getting the chance to take face time to his opinions and discussions with his upcoming show on FUSE, A Different Spin. Hoppus took time to talk about what this new project is all about, a few words on the current state of the industry and how we won't be waiting too long for Blink's next album.
Well first, give us a rundown of how this show all came about?
The end of last year, I got a call from Fuse and they were talking about this new music talk show they were putting together. I was really intrigued by the idea, because there's not really anyone carrying the torch of music right now. I flew up to New York and I read for them. Then I got a call asking if I wanted to do the show, and I said "Yes. What do you want it to be like?" They said [anything I wanted it to be]. I said "What do you want the vibe of the show to be?" They said "Whatever you want it to be." People here are so supportive. They're passionate about music. They're always talking about new bands and different bands and who we should have on the show. It's a great environment to run a show in. I hope that works as a thesis statement.
[Laughs] You're saying they gave you control of what you wanted it to be like. Did that put pressure on you or did you feel like Wonka in the candy shop being able to do what you wanted to do?
The second one. They were open to any and all ideas and the mood of the show and the vibe of the show. "What artists do you want to have come in?" or "Who do you want your co-host to be?" It's been very collaborative between Fuse as a network and me as a host in a very positive way.
One of the things that I kept thinking reading the press release and how this is going to go down, well, I keep on ESPN during the day and watch PTI and Around the Horn, and with their general discussions, I've always wondered "Why don't they do a show like this, but about music?" and it seems like this is what that show is going to be.
Yeah, there's going to be a good portion of that. We'll have me, Amy [Schumer] the co-host and we'll bring in two other panelists - either a comedian or sometimes someone from the music industry or someone in a band or radio DJ. [It's going to be] someone with a strong passion for music and we'll talk about what's going on in the news and going on currently. We'll have interviews, as well as live performances. We had a guy go out and cover the "Air Guitar Championships." It's hilarious. Super rad.
What do you want to hit on with these panel discussions? Would you like to talk about more of the industry or what's going on with band's creatively, or a mixture of both?
It's going to be a mix of everything. I think the first show we are talking about the VMA's. We're talking about Guns 'n Roses' performances in Europe. We'll talk about issues like "Are singles more prevalent than albums sales now? How is the industry changed now that people can pick and choose one song off an album as opposed to a whole album?" I have a take from inside the music industry. We have people [coming on who are] outside the music industry that love music. It's not one of those shows where we have people come on and argue, but people definitely will have their opinion. We'll have a good time with it. We'll be serious, but we'll have a good time as well.
You're a funny guy. How serious do you want this show to be as opposed to just having a good time?
I want the show to be a great time. Again, I want to have a guest on, and I'm not just going to make jokes the whole time. I want to know about artists. Where did they record? How did they get their start? Things that you want to know about. I don't want to have someone on and make dick jokes the entire time. Although, there will be lots of those. The good thing is that the first question I ever asked when they started talking to me about doing a show is, "Look, I want to be able to curse, so just bleep me out. I don't want to have to stop myself." They said absolutely, no problem. Even my co-host has one of the foulest mouths I've heard on anybody. That's coming from a guy that's in Blink 182 if that gives you any indication of what she's like.
I've seen her stand-up before. I do have a bit of indication of that. [Laughs] You're going to be the head of this whole thing, and whether people agree with you or disagree with you when tuning in for the show's idea or because of your association with Blink 182, you're going to be discussing these opinions with force of what to do, watch and bands to see. Do you feel any pressure or self-conscious that you're that voice? Or, is it just you taking the past couple of years of your voice on your blog and your twits and presenting it in a different media medium?
It's pretty much what you just said. It's everything I've always done. I've always been a supporter of new bands and new music and things that are happening. The thing is, I don't have to put on any other persona except to be myself. That's a huge weight off my shoulders to try and be something I'm not. The network doesn't want me to go up there an be this talk show host guy. They want me to go up there and say what I think and feel how I feel because that's honestly what this show is.
How responsive do you think people will be to it, sitting through discussions instead of quick fire videos? Not only this generation but others sitting through those discussions as opposed to how responsive the industry is going to keep a watch on the opinions talked about on the show? Do you think the industry will be persuaded in any way by the opinions discussed on the show?
I would think so, yes. If I didn't think people would be interested in it, I wouldn't be doing the show. I think between having great guests as panelists and truly gifted and passionate writers for the show, we're putting together something that's not going on on television right now. I grew up watching music on television and getting exposed to things, and this is what it's getting back to, a time when we can talk about music and listen to music and listen to an interview a different way than on a different show.
Speaking of discussion, you know about the hub that is Absolutepunk.net. How do you feel about the way people are reacting to each other on the Internet. Sometimes it gets a little too heated and passionate, but what do you think about the web-based community in general? Forums and file-sharing. What do you think of this "pop punk" revival, maybe on your end of the way you looked at The Descendants and ALL for inspiration?
I think it's great. All music is cyclical. There will be up and downs as far as "pop punk" music kind of goes. For a while, pop punk was popular and then something else was popular. I think that the Internet has a way for music fans to interact with one another and it's a great thing. If people are passionately bashing each other online or someone gives their opinion and is jumped for it, at least it's conversation. You know from your website, some people go online to bitch about stuff, and I just tune that out. [You can hear when] people have valid opinions, when they have a certain take. I think it's constructive to the conversation. I think it's great people get passionate about music. It's something they hold dear. Moments in people's minds are defined by a certain album or a certain band. Those are things that you can argue that may not be right or wrong. What I think is an amazing album, you may not like and at the end of the day we could argue about it forever. It's all music, and it's all art. It's one of those things that I don't mind people being argumentative about. In fact, I encourage it amongst people.
Very quickly, being in a band like Blink 182 and producing and really being part of this industry for the last ten years, what are your thoughts on the current industry model as far as the majors and the independents at this point?
You want a short answer for that? It's a very difficult decision for labels to be in, in that people feel like free music is some sort of a right. They feel they don't need to pay for it. It's really putting major labels in a difficult position. At the same time, major labels put buyers in a difficult position for a long time, releasing albums that had one or two good songs on it, and then you'd buy the album and [feel like] there's a lot of filler. I think consumers buying individual songs or singles really puts the pressure back on the artists to create really good music again. When people release a great album, music fans react to that and they go out and buy the whole album. The life cycle of music right now is very very short. Long gone are the days where a label would sign a band and there was actually a department called "Artist Development," where you would take a small band, release their album, give them tour support, keep them out on the road, build a small buzz, get them a radio single and build bands that way. Now it's like, "What's hot this second? How are we going to make money right now." I think that it's a very trying time for the industry all the way through.
Super quick, because I'm sure everyone wants to know - what's the status of Blink 182's Chinese Democracy?
[Laughs] No way! We're going to start recording as soon as Travis gets back from his boat trip across the Atlantic from a European tour. In fact, Tom and I were texting back and forth this morning talking about recording. All three of us spent a great deal of time over in Europe discussing ideas and getting things down. None of us want this to be an album that drags on and on. We want this to come out sooner than later. We're all dedicated to that and excited to have something come out there.