With members of Yellowcard spending the last few months scattered across the country — in New York, California and Florida — what better place to reconvene than sunny Orlando, Florida? After all, it is the nation's favorite vacation destination.
"Yeah, we didn't really come down here for vacation," guitarist Ben Harper laughed. "We're playing a couple of shows at [Disney World's] Grad Nite, and we figured here was as good a place as any to finish up the saga [of] writing our new album."
Since January, frontman Ryan Key and bassist Pete Mosely have been living in New York, writing material for Yellowcard's follow-up to Ocean Avenue (see "Yellowcard Feverishly Working On New Album ... Starting Tomorrow"), while other members of the group went about their lives, scheduling the occasional trip to the Big Apple to check on the album's progress. And after more than four months, it appears the writing stage of the album is all but finished.
"We have somewhere between 16 and 18 songs," Harper explained. "Ryan and Pete manufacture them, and we all make them into Yellowcard songs. There are songs written on just piano and some written as a whole band. We just had preproduction for two weeks in Los Angeles, and we all have a really good idea of how the record will sound. Like, we have a concept now — what we want it to look like and themes of the songs are all clear. It's going to be a real rock record."
Harper is tight-lipped on just what that "concept" behind the new album is — "I can't tell you much, just let people know it's not a concept album," he laughed. He did say the band is once again working with producer Neal Avron and that Yellowcard are headed back to L.A. to begin tracking the album with him soon.
As for how the new album will sound, Harper promises surprises galore, naming legendary hip-hop duo Gang Starr as big-time inspirations (honest) and promising a more, uh, "masculine" sound this time around.
"The balls have dropped on Yellowcard. We're older and we've got the resources to make the record we really want," he said. "Most rock bands don't make records this way, as a whole record, just like Gang Starr did. We've updated the formula. This time out, every song has a life form."