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Interview with Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach

After releasing their career-shifting 10th studio album ‘Who Do You Trust?’ earlier this year, Papa Roach have embarked on a global trek of touring that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. With the tour schedule finally finding it’s way back to the states, we had the chance to sit down with vocalist Jacoby Shaddix at the first date of the band’s ‘Who Do You Trust?’ US Tour in Dallas, TX to discuss the latest album.

ME: Can you tell us a little bit about the creating and recording of Papa Roach’s latest album ‘Who Do You Trust?’ Did the process vary much from past albums?

Jacoby: So, with ‘Who Do You Trust?’, we essentially picked up where we left off with ‘Crooked Teeth’. We went and worked with the same producers, we really found a good rhythm with them when we were doing our album ‘Crooked Teeth’ and they really helped bring just a different side of us and a different confidence out of us and that was really fun for us. We were supposed to go out on tour to promote ‘Crooked Teeth’ and we had a tour booked with Of Mice and Men, and the tour got cancelled. And so we had some time, we had like a month and a half where we could either twiddle our thumbs or we could be like “fuck it, let’s go back in the studio and see what happens” and so that was when the beginnings of ‘Who Do You Trust?’ started.

We went in for a month and we wrote like 5 tracks and really just I think nailed down some bangers and then we went and toured on ‘Crooked Teeth’. After that tour we took the summer off and we’ve never written or recorded in the summer, so we went back to North Hollywood with our producers Nick and Colin and kicked off the 2nd half of the album. During that we were just were like “man, I’ve always wanted to record on a beach, I really want to record on the beach”, and so the producers were like “fuck it, let’s bring the beach here”, and I was like huh? So then we googled this company that delivered fucking 2 tons of sand to the parking lot. So we filled the whole parking lot with sand and then brought in tiki torches and you know were just like let’s just go for it.

So we’re in the middle of North Hollywood, sitting around a campfire out on a beach, with acoustic guitars and writing riffs and ideas and it really just made for a very different experience as far as writing. I never wrote songs with the sun hitting my face, sitting outside. It was always in the wintertime inside a studio and it was just a different feel and so I think it affected the music in a positive way. There’s more songs in a major key, there’s a bit more like sunlight popping through the darkness on this record.

It’s a very sporadic album stylistically and that was intentional for us in the beginning for this album because we felt, after releasing ‘Help’ and ‘Born For Greatness’ as singles, that the fans were very receptive to it. They were telling us “hey, we’re ready for Papa Roach to kind of be nutty”. And we did it and I’m really proud of the record. There’s a lot of spontaneity on the album, a lot of things that just came together really fast. For instance, the punk rock track ‘I Suffer Well’, we were like “lets fucking just write something that’s just punk as fuck”, we were bouncing around the room and going crazy and so moments like that really just made it feel fresh and alive. You know some people on the outside didn’t really understand what we were trying to create, we were just like “listen man you guys trusted us on ‘Crooked Teeth’, you’ve got to trust us like don’t fuck with us, let us be us”. And we did that and we’re really proud of the album, I think everybody really got their voice heard on this album in the band.

Jerry in particular really just came unglued on the guitar work on this album, I was blown away. I would just sit back on the couch on late nights when they were working on the guitar parts and doing the pieces and the embellishments and I’m just like “you guys are coming up with sickest shit, this is so dope”. It really was just awesome to see Jerry just go for it, full out on this record. It was fucking dope.

ME: When people listen to ‘Who Do You Trust?’ is there anything in particular that you want them to get out of it or any common themes that span across the album?

Jacoby: Well, I think the thread that holds the album together is the lyric content. That’s the glue to this album and I think the narrative that we’ve always had is out of the darkness and into the light, struggle strengthens, pain is necessary… and I think that those themes are encapsulated on this album well and authentic. It doesn’t feel like “alright let’s just go write a song about struggling in your head” you know? It’s just, fuck man I don’t know. I’m just one of those people that kind of has demons you know what I mean? So it’s a good way to put that into the music and I hope that people listen to this album with an open mind. And I hope that people understand what we’re trying to accomplish with this album. It’s like fuck all the walls, tear them all down. Because we love all these different types of music and you know, we say we love hip hop but there’s nothing on the past records that’s just straight fucking hip hop. So when we drop the track ‘Elevate’ and those verses are just like that fucking trap rock hip hop, it’s just fun. And so I hope people find the sanity in the insanity of this album.

ME: Definitely, I think that’s kind of becoming more of a trend where bands are starting to get out of their comfort zone and experiment with blending genres. It’s really cool to see more and more bands doing that.

Jacoby: Yeah, I feel it’s necessary. It’s what we’ve done from the beginning of our career in a sense but just not to this extreme. I mean you have to be bold and just jump out there and do some new shit. Plus, it was our tenth album and we were like you know what man, let this be the album that we really just fucking make a statement and go out there and see what we can do.

Also I think another thing about this record is it’s got a reflection of the 90’s to me with some of the riffs and some of the sounds. You know there’s some Rage influence on this record and some Beastie Boys influence on the album but then it’s also very contemporary and modern.

ME: And you mentioned that fans were really receptive of the singles, but now that the album has been out a little while, how have you seen fan reception to it?

Jacoby: From where I sit… the way that I judge it is when we go perform. That’s my like barometer. You can go online and every record we’ve put out there’s a handful of comments that say it’s great and then there’s a handful of comments that are like “you fucking suck, you fucking need to do your own shit I hate you”. So it’s like “fuck off, that’s cool go listen to the old record then dude”. It’s really been a blessing to be able to come to a peace with that, as a creator. Because in the very beginning of our career it really just hurt my heart you know because the message boards like in the early 2000’s, I would go on and read them and just feel devastated, I’d just be hurt. And now that I understand the psychology of the Internet and the way that some people conduct themselves there, I just go… I mean it’s the fucking internet, you know.

And so I just keep it super positive and the thing is you can’t please everybody. There’s even songs on the record where I’m like “that’s cool, we could’ve done better, but we’ve got another fucking album” you know, so it’s just a snapshot of who we are at that point in time.

ME: Do you have a favorite song so far to play live off of the album?

Jacoby: I really, really like playing ‘Renegade Music’. That one’s just got a vibe to me, it’s got that Rage and kind of just punk electronic. Those are like all the elements that I just fucking love, all encapsulated in one. I’d say that song is it for me right now.

ME: With 10 albums out now I can only assume making setlists just gets more and more difficult…

Jacoby: There’s been a fight for the last three days and we’re just like “Fuck you!”, I finally just stepped out of the room I was like “you guys fucking write the setlist I’m tired of arguing with y’all fuck off”.

ME: So is there any rhyme or reason to it – is there a heavier focus on newer material or a pretty even spread across all albums?

Jacoby: So as far as the new record we’re playing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6… we’re playing 6 of the new songs off of ‘Who Do You Trust?’, we just feel that it’s important to do that you know, and then a handful of songs off of ‘Crooked Teeth’. We’re only playing 1 song off of ‘Fear’. We’re playing like 2 songs off the 1st record. We’re playing ‘She Loves Me Not’ which is on the 2nd record, we haven’t played that one in fucking years so that’s going to be cool. So it’s kind of a career spanning setlist and there are songs that I wish we were playing but sometimes I just have to let everyone put their ideas out there. I can’t run everything.

ME: Yeah, I feel like that inevitably happens when you have so much music out there, it’s so hard to narrow it down to a single setlist.

Jacoby: Yeah it’s like Jerry is saying one thing, Tobin’s saying another and I’m like fucking saying the opposite and I’m just like “can we agree on anything?!”. That’s why I think our music is kind of all over the place too, because we just see the world differently, each of us individually. Even though we’ve been together and we’re like a crew, we all see the world differently. You can ask one question and we’re all going to answer it differently.

ME: Is there any show on this tour that you’re particularly excited to play?

Jacoby: Tomorrow night in Houston is my birthday, that’s going to be fun! I’m excited about that. Obviously 1st night of the tour, Dallas, you know we’ve had great shows here, it’s good to be back here. I’m stoked obviously, it’s special because it’s the 1st night, but there’s always a certain amount of tension in the air amongst the band where it’s like I kind of described earlier, we’re at each other’s throat. All of us, we just care so much, and so we just want to have a good show, so let’s have a good show and then we can all loosen up and have a laugh but until then…

Detroit as well! It’s Detroit, rock city man… the Midwest they fucking rock and it goes off, so it will be fun.

Also New York City! Pier 17, it’s a brand-new venue, it’s fucking insane I can’t wait. Yeah, my brother is there tonight, he does a lot of our videography and stuff like that and he works for The Struts as well. So The Struts are doing a live DVD tonight. and this is the biggest live show performance he’s ever directed. And so tonight is a big night for my brother, I’m stoked for him.

ME: Lastly for any fans who are attending a later date of the tour what can they expect?

Jacoby: Well, I’m hoping it’s going to be fucking knock-down drag-out ill as fuck, I know that every time we step on stage we put everything we’ve got into our performance. And this is the biggest production we’ve ever brought around on tour before ever. We’ve always been one of those bands that just puts a guitar cap, and drums and a mic and a couple lights and we fuckin rip it. And I’m proud that we can do that but you know, this long into our career we were like “Dude I think it’s time we fucking step up the production end of our show” and so we partnered up with our promoters and they cut us a deal where we could put the money into the show, so we put a lot of money into our show this time.


Papa Roach US Tour Dates:

07/30 – San Antonio, TX – Sunken Gardens Amphitheatre
08/02 – Atlanta, GA – The Roxy
08/04 – Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
08/07 – Philadelphia, PA – Metropolitan Opera House*
08/09 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony Summer Stage
08/16 – Detroit, MI – Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
08/20 – Grand Rapids, MI – 20 Monroe Live
08/23 – Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom
08/28 – Salt Lake City, UT – Union Event Center
09/01 – Las Vegas, NV – Downtown Event Center
09/17 – Roanoke, VA – Berglund Center
09/19 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
09/20 – Albany, NY – Times Union Center
09/24 – Laval, Canada – Place Bell
09/25 – Quebec, Canada – Videotron Center
09/27 – Buffalo, NY – KeyBank Center
09/28 – Centre Hill, PA – Bryce Jordan Center
10/02 – La Crosse, WI – La Crosse Center
10/04 – Evansville, IN – Ford Center Martin Luther King
10/05 – Springfield, MO – JQH Arena
10/06 – Mankato, MN – Mankato Civic Center
10/08 – Bismarck, ND – Bismarck Event Center
10/09 – Winnipeg, Canada – Bell MTS Place
10/11 – Edmonton, Canada – Edmonton Convention Centre
10/12 – Dawson Creek, Canada – Encana Events Centre
10/13 – Calgary, Canada – Stampede Corral Arena
10/15 – Penticton, Canada – South Okanagan Events Centre
10/16 – Abbotsford, Canada – Abbotsford Centre
10/18 – Kennewick, WA – Toyota Center
10/19 – Boise, ID – Taco Bell Arena

Papa Roach online:

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