Tobin Esperance on why Papa Roach still brings energy, emotions and guitar riffs – Metro US

Tobin Esperance on why Papa Roach still brings energy, emotions and guitar riffs

Tobin Esperance on why Papa Roach still brings energy, emotions and guitar riffs
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American rock legends Papa Roach have been wowing audiences with their hard-hitting, energetic songs and shows for over two decades — and they are showing no signs of slowing down. With a new album out and a national tour underway, the group feels better than ever and equally are way more involved with their live performances than ever before. Papa Roach’s bassist, Tobin Esperance, sat down with Metro to give us the scoop on the band’s latest studio album, “Who Do You Trust,” what to expect at one of their concerts, and more on why the band wants every show to truly be a musical journey. 

I wanted to chat about your 10th studio album, “Who Do You Trust.” What went into making this album?

It kind of all started with a lot of leftover songs that didn’t get finished from the record before, “Crooked Teeth.” There were just a bunch of ideas that we didn’t get to, and a lot of stuff that we didn’t finish. It just seemed like a good idea for us to come off of touring from that record and just keep the creative flow going. So we finished those songs, wrote a couple more and decided not to wait to put out another record. A lot of bands space things out: The old-school way was to put a new record out every two-and-a-half to three years, but I think that’s changed now. I think people’s attention spans are definitely shorter and they’ll forget about you if you don’t keep releasing new music. So we just decided to release another record real quick and didn’t overthink every little detail, really. We just wanted to pick up where we left off and just finish it.

The album definitely highlights the evolution of the band’s sound. Why was it important to redefine the music with “Who Do You Trust”?

It’s important for us to always have fun and make music that has a vibe and has an energy that’s kind of just our own. I think people might hear the songs on the record and they may think it’s way different from the stuff that we did 15, 20 years ago, especially with the production and sonic quality of it. But when you see us perform these songs live, I think it makes even more sense just because it fits the vibe and the energy from all the other songs that we have. We weren’t making heavy music where it was dominating loud guitars all of the time. I think we got tired of that a little bit. We wanted to try a different approach, so we did. That’s not to say that we’re ditching guitar riffs at all, because we love guitar riffs and we’ve actually been talking about writing a lot of them lately and we want to bring that element back. It seems like, unfortunately, guitar has taken a backseat nowadays. We want to fight to bring it back.

Any tracks from the new album that you would say are your personal favorite, or that stand out with those guitar riffs?

We started playing this song called “Feel Like Home” live and that has become my new favorite, pretty much because it’s just such a simple song and the beat doesn’t change and the tempo is up the whole time. A lot of our songs don’t do that, so when you have one [like that], it just feels good. I think it kind of makes us almost want to write more songs that just don’t let up and have more tempo. When we play that song live, we get the crowd jumping, and they just don’t stop. It’s a different kind of song. It’s not like an angry song, it’s not heavy. It’s just very reflective of a vibe that was very nostalgic for me.

How does it feel to be hitting the road with Asking Alexandria and Bad Wolves?

It’s cool. We’ve done shows with those bands before, and we’re all friendly. I think Asking Alexandria just dropped a new song called “Violence” and Bad Wolves is a new band pretty much, but I’ve known the singer for a long time when he was in other bands. But it’s basically a bunch of homies on tour, so it’s cool.

Looking back on your career, has anything changed over the years when you’re getting ready to go on tour?

The process of how we get ready for a tour has definitely changed. We are way more involved and we’ve definitely added a lot more with our production and preparation for how we perform songs and how we want the lights to look and the content of the video screens. We’re so involved with every little aspect of that, where before we didn’t really have much production — we were a little more punk rock about just getting up onstage and playing and that was it. Now we want to peak in the show, but then we want to take you down and vibe you out and take you back up again. It’s important for us to create these peaks and valleys, which we’ve learned how to do over the years. As far as being on tour, the actual tour lifestyle is totally different — much healthier.

What would you tell audiences to expect from a Papa Roach concert?

Really it’s going to be a journey, I think we always run the game of emotion in a Papa Roach show. We’ll make you laugh, we’ll make you cry, we’ll make you want to fight, we’ll make you hopefully feel a little bit romantic — all of those things. Hopefully, we make you want to lose yourself in that moment and jump out of your own skin and forget everything else. Put your phone away and just forget about all of your troubles and just connect with the whole vibe. This is definitely the most well-thought-out show we’ve ever done. We’re really excited about it.

Listen to Papa Roach’s latest album “Who Do You Trust?” on Spotify


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