INTERVIEW: Panic! At The Disco

Patience is a virtue (no pun intended) and PANIC! AT THE DISCO have recently discovered that. A certain part of their career wasn’t as bright as they thought it would be and with the spotlight on them, and burning ever so brightly, the group confirm they’re not calling it a day. Staying at the Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto, Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith took a bit of time out of their day to talk about growing up and how patience will affect their lives, their career and their future.

How vital is it to be open to new ideas and the thought of change?

BRENDON URIE: Very vital, especially for the writing and recording process because it’s kind of necessary. A lot of the time when we were a four-piece, coming to a compromise would happen a lot; you would say your ideas but you would have to work with other opinions. We were always trying to keep an open mind and it was good practice. If you have an idea that you know is set, you should still be open to hear what others have to say because they could help improve your idea or take it to a totally different place.
Are you the same guys you were in 2005?

URIE: I’d say I’m different.

SPENCER SMITH: Yeah I’d say that too (laughs). It’s kind of a weird thing because musically your influences and inspirations become different, but you don’t really change. We never had that time where any of us said “Oh, we’re this huge band”. We never changed over time as we were still in awe about everything, but we did grow and age.

URIE: Going back to what you said, it is vital to keep an open mind because it’s eventually going to help you grow into the person you are.
Can it be difficult to grow as an individual when you’re a musician?

URIE: Hmm, I’m not sure. Everybody can have their own individual faults. Like Spencer said, we were never really a band that looked down on people and said “Hey, this is who we are. We are Panic”. Having that mindset kept us grounded and we knew people that would keep us in line. Being challenged by those close to you will eventually make you the individual you are.

Everything just became different;
we didn’t know if what we were going through was okay or not because we were used to having no rules.”

Aside from the obvious, what are some examples of how the two of you have been challenged?

SMITH: I think not having any live experience when the first record came out was one. We didn’t really have any expectations for that record; we just wanted to tour in a band and make a living and make enough money so it could become a job. It was really exciting to see the success come along but we didn’t know how to handle it. There’s also the fact we’ve gone through a couple years, are now a bit older and were faced with having to write another record. Everything just became different; we didn’t know if what we were going through was okay or not because we were used to having no rules.
What was the label’s reaction to the idea of you two creating another record by yourselves this time around?

SMITH: I don’t know really (laughs).

URIE: Yeah, luckily we’ve kind of had this dynamic where we just do whatever we want and convince them to trust us and they just have to go with it (laughs). Early on, they weren’t even involved in the first record and that was kind of nice. We’ve kept this same mentality where this is ours and no one’s going to dictate what we do musically. They have their opinions, I’m sure, but we don’t let it deter us from our goal (laughs).
Did you receive any support from other musicians?

SMITH: Yeah, we worked with Jack Antonoff and Nate Reuss from fun. and since we’re big fans of their work, it was great to do a couple songs with them. They were very inspiring because we collaborated a few months right after the group split. We also worked with Rivers Cuomo on one song. Even though it didn’t lead to us doing more with him, it was still an inspiring moment.

URIE: We also had a few people play on the record too. We had this guy Michael Bolger from The Leftover Cuties play with us too. They played a show in the same neighborhood as us and he was just shredding on this accordion and it was amazing. Like how do you shred on an accordion, right? But he came in and played some stuff and we ended up putting some of it on the record. Working with different musicians and friends was a big inspiration for us.

With all these interactions, how personal is Vices & Virtues?

URIE: Very personal, especially lyrically. We had some things we wanted to talk about – the split being one of them – as we had just been through so much. The path we took in writing this record affected us lyrically and musically and conveyed a message about who we are. I think everything we’ve done as a band recently has been very personal.
One question mark is performing live; since you two recorded guitar and bass parts for the album, how is that going to transfer over to touring?

SMITH: We’ve been playing with the same couple guys since we split and it’s been nice because we didn’t like the idea of bringing on hired musicians who don’t feel like they’re in the band. So far, it’s been great. One of our friends Ian Crawford plays guitar and Dallon Weekes plays bass with them, the live show has been really inspiring so far. We’ve been waiting to do it for a while and it feels like it first did in the beginning when we first got into music. It’s been really cool to work with those guys and it could lead to some songwriting, especially since there will be some of that happening on the road.
Do you think Panic! At The Disco will ever expand as a group?

URIE: Hmm, I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about that. I guess it would just happen because everything we’ve gone through lately has been handled organically; if it feels natural to do it, then we’ll do it. If later on in life we do find people then maybe. You never really know because we could end up turning out like Slipknot where we have nine people on stage (laughs). We’ve never really thought about it, but we do like to keep an open mind.
What’s one life lesson you’ve learned recently that you plan to live by?

URIE: Patience is a pretty big lesson. It’s a hard one to swallow but ultimately it makes everything easier to deal with. Definitely patience..

SMITH: Yeah, it does sound like such a cliche but it’s true (laughs).Time heals everything. Patience can really help your relationships with other people.

URIE: And even the relationship with yourself so you can figure out what’s wrong with you.

SMITH: Yeah, what’s that one line Buddy says in Anger Management?

URIE: “Nobody cares” (laughs).

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  • Jackie says:

    It’s surprising to see they’re comfortable talking about the whole break-up. You think it’s something they’d rather not talk about in interviews.

  • Jackie says:

    Maybe there’s something we don’t know about the split?

  • bella says:

    I think it’s just something that every interviewer wants to hear about. By talking about it constantly, they’ve done better than ignore it. It’s old news, everyone knows what happened… It’s not something astounding. It happened. We know what happened. Now, people are moving on. It was a smart move.

  • James says:

    If you ask me, it shows their maturity and acceptance that everything isn’t going to be picture perfect or textbook and they are able to roll with the punches. Being able to discuss it openly shows they aren’t ashamed of the decision nor do they hide behind it. Keep up the good work P!ATD.

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