Consider us blessed that Singapore was the only Southeast Asian stop for Fall Out Boy’s ongoing MANIA Tour. True to its name, it was exactly what FOB brought to the venue of [email protected], which was packed with both older devotees reminiscing their emo yesteryears, as well as fresh-faced younger fans who obviously caught on to the FOB fever, complete with purple-dyed hair and skinny jeans.
Their return might have been overdue – the pop punk quartet last played in Singapore in 2013 – but there was nothing tardy about their rock party. Prior to their show, we caught up with Pete and Andy for a quick chat where they talked about their MANIA album, working together with RM of BTS, and the possibility of creating music with Justin Bieber. Well, they might be kidding about the last point. But then again, are they really? Read on.
Teenage: Let’s talk about your new album MANIA. Following the success of American Beauty/American Psycho, what was the musical direction you wanted to bring MANIA in?
Pete: We wanted to do something completely different. American Beauty/American Psycho felt like an extension of Save Rock and Roll as they were made so close together. MANIA was like taking a left turn.
Teenage: You’ve decided to scrape and rewrite MANIA, pushing back the release by four months – which doesn’t feel like a whole lot of time to redo the entire album. Could you walk us through how that was like?
Pete: Records used to take a long time to make, but you’re able to do so much on just your laptop now so four months is more than enough time. I mean, we really did throw away a large portion of the album; there’s little bits of pieces here and there but it didn’t feel inspired enough. For us, I think it’s better not to make a record than to make one that feels uninspired.
Teenage: Having been in the music industry for a long time, how much do you think the industry has changed since you first started?
Pete: I think it has changed so much, mostly in the way that people are able to listen to music in different ways now, you know? And they can curate their own playlists so it’s really interesting to see how genres have lesser meaning than it seems like.
Andy: Like [what Pete] said, you’re divorced from genres so you just like things and you’re not picking them out of a specific box just because they’re this or that. That’s really cool.
Teenage: How do you strike a balance between staying relevant in the music industry and staying true to your sound?
Pete: Now that we’re 15 years into the band, I think it’s important to make music for ourselves. We don’t want to be like a Burger King where we make whatever you want for your order, but at the same time we’re not ever trying to purposefully alienate people. Music is meant to be inspiring, we’re always going to think about our fans and perform around the world for them. Sometimes you nail it and they’re like “Oh my God, this makes so much sense” and other times you push too far or not far enough and they’re like “this isn’t great”. But you can’t just let that dominate; you just have to make the art you want to make and hopefully people will respond to it.
Teenage: What’s the most maniac moment you’ve ever experienced throughout your career?
Pete: When we went to places for the first time, like Moscow, and there were a ton of kids at the airport. It was pretty insane.
Andy: Yeah, I think airport moments and new places where we don’t frequent a lot. It does feel like it’s scariest, coolest and craziest thing all wrapped up in one.
Teenage: So… tell us about the llamas on the MANIA album.
Pete: Their names are Frosty and Royal Tea! They were in the music video for ‘Young and Menace’, which is supposed to depict what it’s like to live in a world of monsters and you don’t realise you are and you aren’t one. And they were just skateboarding with Post Malone and it just evolved into this thing that was never supposed to be.
Teenage: Some people consider Panic! At The Disco, Paramore and Fall Out Boy as the holy trinity of emo pop punk – and all of you performed in Singapore before! Would we ever see a collaboration between you guys?
Pete: (Laughs) We toured with Paramore once and with Panic! At The Disco countless of times. I don’t know, would it end the world if we all played together? We’ll never know. Did Justin Bieber say ‘Never Say Never’? Or we could just play with Justin!
Andy: We could compete with Avengers: Infinity War for the biggest crossover yet.
Teenage: Speaking of collaborations, your remix of ‘Champion’ with RM was a huge hit. Could we be expecting more team-ups with other K-pop bands in the future?
Pete: Yeah, definitely! I think it just has to be organic. How we met and all was a long story – we sent the song, he liked it and the rest is history. This was one collaboration that happened organically, which makes it more authentic. If it happens again, it would be cool.
Teenage: Lastly, what’s next for Fall Out Boy?
Pete: No more albums! You heard it here first – no more albums, until we get this Bieber collaboration done (laughs). Well, our record contract is done so we can do anything. You know how you always feel the most inspired when you do something completely new? We don’t know what it is yet though, wait and see!
Fall Out Boy MANIA Tour Live In Singapore
Nostalgia, non-stop hits and plenty of ‘Dance, Dance’ were the order of a pre-Public Holiday night, as the foursome made their third stop on Singapore soil. With the crowd amped up to full excitement, there was nothing to stop the FOB boys from kicking it into higher gear, dishing out songs like ‘Irresistible’, ‘Immortals’ and fan favourite ‘Sugar, We’re Goin Down’ back-to-back. Ever the most forward of the band, bassist Pete Wentz delighted the crowd with his quick quips in-between songs, at times from an elevated stage in the middle of the crowd, dressed in a neon-yellow construction jacket which demanded attention from all corners of the room.
Drummer Andy also had his moments to shine, thrilling audiences with a drum solo mashup that included heavier versions of Kendrick’s Lamar’s ‘Humble’ and Post Malone’s ‘Congratulations’, while Patrick Stump impressed throughout with his pitch-perfect vocals sounding nearly identical to the band’s records. While already individually talented in their own right, it’s truly captivating to see how all four members complemented each other during their songs, energy effortlessly bouncing off each other’s presence.
While the performances were top-calibre, assisted by visually arresting video backdrops and surprise cameos from their llama mascots, Frosty and Royal Tea, we did wish the band spent more time interacting with their ardent fans. But perhaps it’s due to their seasoned career for wanting to focus on the music instead, and who could blame them when most of the varied crowd were screaming back every line to their catalogue of songs?
15 years into their music career together, and Fall Out Boy proved that their solidarity and brotherhood together is still as strong as it was from their eyeliner-heavy days – and that’s why they’ll go down as one of the greatest bands not only of this decade… but for ‘Centuries’.
Image credits: Aloysius Lim / Alvin Ho for LAMC Productions