PAPA ROACH Bassist Talks About The Making Of ‘The Connection’


Kristyn Clarke of recently conducted an interview with PAPA ROACH bassist Tobin Esperance. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. How did you enjoy working with James Michael as a producer [on the new PAPA ROACH album, “The Connection”]?

Tobin: I think the best part of it was that we were friends first. A lot of times when bands are in a position that they are working with producers, you don’t always know what you are getting into, meaning you pick some guy based on whatever work he has done in the past, but you don’t really know the person. You go to some foreign place and get to know each other in the process of being creative. We know James really well and we had a great time. He knows us and he knows how to get the best out of us. He was also willing to let us experiment and try new things so us working together really brought this record to where it needed to be… We spent a lot of time just talking about this record before we even started making it and I think that helped. Obviously, when that chemistry is right between the artist and the producer, you can really create a great thing!

Tobin: Yeah, we would listen to music together, we would talk about it. We went to shows together, we hung and partied, we had drinks together, we got weird and had fun. That whole vibe had been missing for a long time. We had been so busy and rushed and we are always in off places making records very quickly and this time we could do it in our town in our studio. We purchased all the gear and got everything together and really just took our time. I think it shows and we had a lot of personal stuff that was going on while we were making the record; there was some drama here and there and I think that kind of crept into the lyrics, like therapy for Jacoby [Shaddix, vocals] and I think the music and the lyrics came together pretty easily on this one. Do you partake in any part of the writing process yourself?

Tobin: I am usually the one who kickstarts the initial writing process. Musically, our ideas form first and a lot of the songs on the records were ideas that I had written on the road on my laptop. That is kind of where the electronic tinge comes in from because I had constructed the ideas while traveling around the world with just a computer and a mini keyboard. It was weird how some of that just stayed, how it was from the initial idea, and we ended up using it on the record. Some songs we just tore apart and re-did and some songs were just initial jams, spontaneous things that we wrote and recorded on the spot, but the lyrics didn’t really come together until the very end. I think he [Jacoby] was really searching for something to write about and he kind of had writer’s block at first, but then when the stuff started happening to him — you know, he got sober during the process of making the record, he was separated from his wife that he had been married to for like fifteen years — so it was like the world was crumbling down on him and we just had to be there for him and I know he definitely had stuff to write about after all that stuff was going on. It definitely looks like you guys have been able to embrace this rise of technology with the way that people are sharing music and the way artists are doing promotion. How do you feel about that uprise?

Tobin: I just try to embrace it. I mean, it is a lot different for me now to how it was when I was growing up when I was idolizing rock stars and stuff. I did not know everything little thing about them and it kind of weird how people divulge so much information now. People want to be invested in the artist and they want to be a part of everything little thing that they do so I have to try to get up on that whole Instagram/tweet stuff.

Read the entire interview from