"The little kid inside of me is just screaming every time we wake up," Tyler Posey enthuses. "It's the coolest thing in the world." The sun is shining in Los Angeles, and the actor-slash-musician is making the most of his time at home, working on new music and showing off the different pieces of Blink 182 merchandise he has scattered around his house. The cause of his enthusiasm? His recently released solo single 'Shut Up', a song which saw him collaborate with Phem and Travis Barker.
Asked how it felt to work with one of his musical icons, Tyler lets out a deep sigh, starts to stutter a response, then sighs again. "Okay, I've peaked," he finally declares. "My life can't get any better than this." His words are a total contrast to the lyrics of the song in question, a contagious riff on finding yourself caught up in a relationship and struggling to hear your own voice. The more he talks – be it about his childlike excitement the moment he realised Phem was going to lend her voice to the track, or about his adoration for the miniature and life-size Tom DeLonge guitars that decorate his home – the more energetic he becomes. "It's like a wave. It's this high that I'm riding, and I'll be able to ride for the rest of my life," he states, with a grin. "Where am I gonna go now?!"
It's taken him a long journey to reach this point. After parting ways with PVMNTS in 2019, Tyler formed Five North with Kyle Murphy and Scott Eckel ("my fucking HOMIES!" he beams), only for their plans together to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm an actor and a musician, so I've had no outlets to go do my career, you know?" he states. In the time since then, Tyler has struggled with – and worked to overcome – his battle with addiction.
"I was alone so often I was like, 'I may as well just do a bunch of drugs'," he recalls, "and then I was like, 'okay, I might need some help'." He pauses, then laughs. "So, you know, classic story." His sense of humour surrounding the situation he found himself in isn't flippant, but simply how he finds himself most comfortable. "I don't like to take myself too seriously because it takes the fun out of things," he conveys. This is an ethos that very much carries through to the music he makes. "Even though you're writing about stuff that's really serious or emotional, you can still have fun and still keep it light-hearted."
"It's almost like therapy," he adds. "You're reliving what happened to you, but you're doing it in a way where you're not letting it beat you." His road to recovery is what formed the building blocks for his first EP, to be released later this year. "It's about being sober. It's called 'Drugs'," he grins. A collection of songs written about his own experiences with battling addiction, this new EP (the first of two he's readying for release) is a powered-up, pop-punk take on all the sensations that go hand-in-hand with taking steps towards sobriety.
"It's getting to a point of addiction where you need to be sober," he lists, "it's dealing with it, it's dealing with things for the first time sober, it's hating sobriety and feeling like you're overwhelmed, it's loving your life in sobriety and how happy you are to see how far you've come..." The journey away from addiction didn't just influence Tyler's writing. It also changed the way he approached making music. "We would meditate before we'd do a session," he recalls of being in the studio with John Feldmann. Demonstrating a quick breathing exercise to aid with alleviating anxiety, his appreciation for what sobriety has taught him is palpable. "Any sort of negativity or any sort of anxiety you had before, you just shed that," he grins. "Then you go into the studio, and you write some sick ass songs."
So that's exactly what he did. With just a few finishing touches left to be made, the first of two EPs should be expected for release this summer. Promising "heavy, driving, don't take themselves too seriously songs," and even one that "sort of reminds me of t.A.T.u." (keep your ears peeled for 'Kerosene'), Tyler's enthusiasm to share what he's created with the world is boundless.
"Having people connect to your music is why you do it," he exclaims. It's been just over a year since Five North released their debut EP, and already Tyler can't wait to get the ball rolling with his new creative outlet as a solo artist. "The outcome of somebody loving your songs and singing your lyrics back to you and it really resonating with them?" he questions. "It's the best thing in the world."
Reflecting on the time he's spent touring in the past, his eagerness to get back to sharing the music he's made – both through releases and playing those records on the road – is entirely contagious. "People want to be connected with one another," he conveys, "so when you're in a room full of people who are all on the same wavelength, singing the same lyrics, feeling the same energy, it's the greatest thing."
What the imminent future holds for live music is still uncertain, but Tyler refuses to let that hold him back. "I want to be more creative and maybe do some live streams, find another creative way that we can bring music to fans without having to be in front of them," he expresses. "The year is young, and I'm excited to keep releasing and recording." Already in the process of recording with other artists and another producer, with a few different features set to see release soon, through the course of this interview one thing becomes clear: Tyler Posey is thriving.
"No matter what you go through, no matter how fucked up life can be, how hard it can be, how good it can be, just don't take it too seriously," he advises. "You can not take things seriously, but still have a huge heart and love, and know when to take things seriously. That's what I want people to take from my music."
Taken from the June issue of Upset, out now.
Featuring Waterparks, Rise Against, Tyler Posey and more.