I think all of my songs have been an expression of the moment I’m living in. There’s a basic desire for clarity from myself. That’s a big reason to write for me. I feel like most of my thoughts are very jumbled and I kind of go back and forth on a lot of notions.
I think art is communication. That’s one of its basic functions. I know when I’ve found something that I enjoy—whether it’s a book or an album or whatever—it makes me feel less alone, and that’s the greatest thing about it. And if what we do can serve that function for someone else, then I’d say we’re extremely happy.
I can remember the first time I saw the internet, I was like 12. A friend of mine’s mother worked for a university, so they had just the black-and-white text internet thing, and I remember him telling me, ‘Our computer’s connected to all the computers in the world’ and how crazy that sounded to me. And now it’s just like a given that everything’s completely connected.
I’ve given up trying to understand what people think about me. It seems like a lot of people don’t like the music we make and don’t know me, or something. It’s always the negative things that seep through into your consciousness. Most of the positive things just roll off real fast. I just try not to pay attention to it, because I’ve never read anything about my band that’s accurate. It’s either totally glorified and exaggerated, or it’s completely malicious and sounds like it was written by someone who never even listened to the music. And so at that point, what can you do? There’s nothing for me there. It makes me feel self-conscious, whether it’s nice or terrible.
I think the biggest thing I hope comes through with the songs in empathy for the fact that we’re all kind of in this together. And whatever plight or suffering you might feel, or have endured—everyone else has too. Maybe worse. Maybe more. Maybe less. I think that’s one great function of music and art and communicating through this abstract symbolism, is just that it can ring really true. It can soften the blow of living. You can realize that, OK, maybe some of life is completely unpleasant. But the fact that you can understand it and you can see it in other people and you can empathize with them, it softens the blow. I know that’s what I get out of listening to music.