Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba Talks Their New Album: "I'm Forcing It on Everybody"
Alkaline Trio's songwriting formula works -- Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano share vocal duties in a Jekyll-and-Hyde-like fashion, singing songs about heartache and the macabre. The band has progressed quite a bit from the tongue-in-cheek breakup anthem "Stupid Kid" from 2001's From Here to Infirmary.
The band's latest album, My Shame Is True, takes a very personal look at Skiba's recent breakup. "[The relationship] just didn't work out and it was really sad, and I wrote a record about it, and now it's getting better," Skiba says on the cathartic songwriting process.
We recently caught up with Matt Skiba to discuss My Shame Is True, what it's like working with Milla Jovovich, and the meaning behind the song "5-3-10-4." Check it out after the jump.
How much of your live set will comprise new songs?
We shall see. I think a lot of it [will], but we also want to play a lot of stuff that we haven't really played much at all in the last 10 years. We're going to bring out some stuff that people haven't really heard live before, some older stuff. There will be a bit of everything. We put out a record that we're very proud of, so there will be some new songs from it for sure.
My Shame Is True is about a recent breakup. How did writing the album help you cope with the breakup?
This [record] is a little more heart-on-sleeve and less play-on-words or use-of-metaphor, except for the album title, of course. It was very cathartic. Anything that we do is cathartic in one way or another, but this one especially. It was a bit of sting . . . And I don't mean Sting the performer, that Sting was over a lot.
It stung a bit, but everything's cool. [She] and I are still friends, and I don't hang onto anger or resentment or things like that -- it's just baggage. It just didn't work out and it was really sad and I wrote a record about it and now it's getting better.
Have you received any feedback from her about the record?
She was the first one to get a copy. She's actually on the cover of the record, so she knows about it. I'm just fucking forcing it upon everybody.
You guys have written your share of love and breakup songs. Does it feel strange to revisit any of those songs or feelings today?
It's romantic, it's a story from the days of yesteryear. That happened and it's fun to sing about it now. And even this thing that's pretty fresh, it feels good to sing about it. The catharsis comes from writing the song and playing it live, which is just a fucking blast, having a party with a bunch of fans. It's really easy to get over things when you have that outlet and have that response from other humans.
Do you and [bassist/vocalist] Dan [Andriano] generally sing the songs you write personally?
We just sing the songs we write. We have one song on the record, a song called "Emma," that I wrote and Dan sang, that's the only time that's happened. We definitely help each other; like if Dan gets stuck on bridges, we'll talk about what the song's about and I'll help him work out melodies or lyrical ideas. But they're usually based on his ideas and what he's trying to say. We generally sing our own songs.