“The fact that we’re even here, talking about the music that I’ve made is crazy,” starts Brendon Urie backstage at Reading Festival. “It blows my mind. It’s the coolest thing in the world.”
Later, following this interview, Panic! At The Disco return to the main stage nine years after their first time. Despite the nostalgia of the event, “Every time we play a song from the first album, I remember recording it. How I felt then is always something that just rushes back to me,” Brendon is excited by what comes next. There’s a finished fifth album that Brendon can’t wait to release.
“I think people are going to be really excited,” he begins. “I’m just excited to show people this album because it’s so different. I don’t know how to describe it. Someone asked me which of our previous albums is it most like, and I said the first album. At that moment in time, it was the most exciting shit we’d ever done. We’d never done anything remotely close to that before, and that’s how I feel now. That’s how it felt when I was writing this record.”
Every Panic! Album marks a confident leap forward and that evolution is why the band have retained such relevance.
“I think it’s important for people to make an effort to change, to make a serious effort to do something new,” Brendon explains. “It’s scary because it’s so easy to fall into a pigeonhole where you’re known for one thing and just do it very well all the time. To be able to push yourself forward and reinvent is awesome.”
“There’s a hint of that baroque pop,” says Brendon of album five. “I can’t get too far from that because it’s part of me. Plus my voice hasn’t changed, it’s been the same since I was 18, so that’s a good through.”
“Writing a song on piano and putting it with hip-hop beats is very cool,” ventures Brendon of how the as-of-yet untitled album came together. “I produced a lot of the album. I just sat there, making beats all day, then I’ll go back to it the next day and sing over it. I wrote a song ‘Death Of A Bachelor’,” he begins before pausing and pointing out, “actually that might be the first time I’ve said that,” highlighting just how fresh the album still is.
“I wrote a song called ‘Death of a Bachelor’ on piano. It’s very jazzy, very Sinatra-esque so I sung it that way but then put it with this beat that sounds like Beyonce’s ‘Drunk in Love’. It’s a bizarre mix but it’s so cool. I‘m really excited for people to hear that and all the songs really because they’re all like that, very different.
As for the lyrics, “it’s more honesty,” says Brendon. “It’s how I felt over the past three years. It’s been a huge change for me, dynamic wise with the band and in my personal life so ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ is succinctly about that. It’s about me putting to bed the past, still having my history but not being that guy anymore. It’s about being so proud that I’ve found someone to spend the rest of my life with. In that sense it’s very romantic in that Sinatra way, but with the mentality of ‘fuck it, I’m done being a bachelor. Let’s kill that part of me and be reborn as a married man. I love it, it’s amazing.”
This fifth album will be the first full-length with Brendon as the sole member of Panic! At The Disco and that’s had its impacts.
“It used to be a marriage of four guys in the band and now I‘m left alone. It’s a divorce,” he smiles. “That dynamic has change directly. I like to write alone so I just dance around the studio. It’s hard to connect with someone on a deeper level to create something that’s great. It’s why I work with people I already know, so last time I worked with my buddy Jake Sinclair and our friend Morgan Kibby who does White Sea Music. It’s all people I like to be around and feel comfortable with. It really makes it important. A lot of that’s to do with this new album too. There’s another song about that, living in LA and being devoted to a city that I didn’t grow up in but I just feel such a part of.”
Brendon might be alone behind the wheel but the upcoming album is still very much a Panic! album rather than a solo venture.
“It made sense to me at the time to not make a change,” Brendon offers. “The moment it was talked about briefly was when the first two guys left. Spence and I had spoken about it for a little bit, ‘Do we change the name?’ It was a pretty quick decision, because it still felt like Panic!. It gave us this unwritten law to create whatever – no rules – just do whatever the fuck we wanted. It made us feel free, and I’ve always loved the name anyway. It’s just fun,” he continues. “I just love to see the reaction. What the fuck is that name? It’s not a band name, it’s just a sentence.”
With the album sat at the record label, waiting for a release date, Brendon has a few months to kill before a new tour cycle kicks off. Coincidently, ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ hits ten years this September.
“We’ve talked about a couple of parties. Right now it’s a Piñata filled with various objects that I won’t reveal just yet. I’m talking to three different people, management and whatever. I want to be shot out of a cannon, I want to set myself on fire, I want to do this thing right but we’ll see what happens. Maybe we’ll just do an anniversary show.”
“Originality,” is what Brendon hopes people can hear in his art. “I really hope people hear a uniqueness in the voice I’m trying to create. It’s important to me, just as someone who likes to create, that someone sees something different. They hear the music and they know it’s very much this person,” he offers. “If you can create a certain sound, that’s important. It’s dangerous, but it’s so incredible.”