Helping to usher in a modern era of pop-punk, Ricky Himself today (Wednesday, 8th December) makes his opening statement: the 'Poser' EP. Featuring his sass-packed breakthrough single 'I Know You Like Black Flag', collaborations with scene staple Mark Hoppus and Brooklyn up-and-comer Chloe Lilac, plus a number of other future hits, it sees the 25-year-old California musician offer up a proper introduction for what's to come. Here, he talks us through the release from front to back.
This one is one of my favorites, me and Dylan Bauld (who produced this) were starting to get into a groove by the time we made this song. I think this one feels like we weren't just two dudes in a studio making a pop-rock song; it sounds like we're a band. The bridge going into the last hook gets me every single time; it sounds like it was just meant to be played live. I wonder what our imaginary band would be called.
Parasocial ft. Mark Hoppus
The experience of making this song is one of the most surreal experiences I've had in my time making music. I got the title for this song while I was watching a Paranormal investigation documentary; they said the word parasocial, and I thought it was just a cool sounding word, so I looked up what it meant, and it turns out that it's referring to feeling like you know a celebrity when you've never even met. Which is funny, that only a few weeks later, I'd be in a session with Mark Hoppus, who I've felt like I've known my entire life, because of the impact he and his band has had on me growing up in California. Goes to show that going down the YouTube rabbit hole of Ghost documentaries can sometimes really pay off.
I Might Die ft. Chloe Lilac
Who doesn't love some good melodrama now and again. To me, this song really encapsulates the feeling of extremes that people go through when dealing with a break-up; the verse is very laid back and has a feeling of me trying to come off unphased, only for the hook to open up into this big angry moment of release. The hook feels like the moment you get home from work and can let your emotions finally hit you after acting fine all day long. I love Chloe's verse; when you listen to the song, it sounds like an argument happening in real-time that crescendos into us yelling at each other in the last hook and then finally decompressing, our voices getting softer on the outro as if we're questioning if it was ever worth the fight in the first place. Love this song!
I Know You Like Black Flag
Let's see that Black Flag shirt; I know you've got one in your closet somewhere, we all do.
That's what's funny about this song to me; it's like poking fun at the elitist mentality in punk music while simultaneously participating in that elitist mentality; that's why I had to call myself an asshole on this song at least one time. But it's all in good fun; I love all the bands mentioned in this song, so the song is pretty much just making fun of myself, and I'm always down for a little self-deprecation. Working with Zakk Cervini and Nick Long for this song was so dope; I genuinely look up to them and love so much of what they do. This song really was the start of hitting the refresh button for me mentally and creatively. Thank you Zakk, thank you Nick!
F'd Up (But It's True)
Dylan wanted to introduce me to a friend of his, Peter Fenn, who is a super awesome artist and songwriter, and of course, the day of the session where Dylan wants me to meet someone is the day I end up waking up at the time that we were supposed to START our session. I hopped out of bed and started driving to the studio; showing up an hour and a half late, I run inside and sit down, we quickly get acquainted and then Peter asked me what I had in mind for the day song-wise. The first thing I thought of wasn't even related to the question he asked; all I could think was "I fucked up". I felt bad for showing up late, so I actually just mumbled out a version of that until it sounded like a song title and landed on 'Fucked up, But it's true', and then we crafted the song topic around the title. So there you go, Dylan and Peter; I bet you didn't know that song title came from internal panic! Love y'all.
This is my favourite song. I love every song on here, but this one speaks to the 12-year-old version of myself who's always wanted to be an artist. The duality of an artist is so interesting; the tightrope between narcissism and self-hatred is kind of the genetic make up of who we are as creatives and musicians. The space in between the narcissism and self-hatred is where the truth lays, and this song tackles that. It's about the fear of an audience finding out that you don't even believe yourself but have duped them into believing in you. There's a fine line between a pop star and a magician. It's all just sleight of hand.
Rick Himself's debut EP 'Poser' is out now.