Mark Hoppus might be best known for playing bass in pop-punk world conquerors Blink-182 but he's also a multimedia force in his own right, having branched out into production work, podcasts and the TV world with his show Hoppus On Music. Following his relocation to London earlier this year, we caught-up with him to find out how he's settling in and to see if exposure to "proper British pubs" and supporting Chelsea will have an impact on Blink's next album...
How the devil are you? "I'm good. I just did a photo shoot at a proper British pub and had a pint and now I get to go home and have dinner. Yeah, today is good."
We hear you've been working on new Blink-182 songs... "It's just ideas at the minute, me at home playing around on guitar. We haven't had a chance to get together as a band just yet to work on stuff so at the moment it's just some stuff to show Tom [DeLonge, guitarist] and Travis [Barker, drummer] once we eventually start writing together again. I actually write on guitar instead of bass. I wish I was better at guitar, that I could do more but I get by. [laughs] We're going to tour this summer then hopefully we'll be back in the studio soon after that."
What has been your inspiration for the stuff you've been working on? "I've been listening to a lot of straight up rock stuff. I loved the Joy Formidable last year, that was a great record. I liked how as a three piece they made this giant wall of sound. I love their musical sensibility. Same with The Naked And Famous. Great band."
How are you looking forward to your Blink-182 UK tour this summer? "Very much so. I can't wait for the summer. It'll be well worth the wait. We had to postpone the tour we had planned for last time because the record wasn't done yet which was a very difficult and painful decision but we ended up writing some of our best on the album during that period. The show that we're bringing over this summer is the most ridiculous, best looking show we've ever taken on the road. There's going to be a lot of really cool lights, lasers, movie screens, new songs, old songs and a lot of really dirty jokes."
Are you surprised at the enduring popularity of the band? "I never had any idea we'd be as successful as we have been. Our only goal was to play this small club in San Diego. To have a sold out tour coming up in the UK and playing huge arena shows throughout Europe and the rest of the world is beyond anything any of us could have ever imagined could be possible. It's actually really cool - there are people at our shows now who have been fans since day one, people who have never seen Blink before, people who grew up on Blink bringing their kids, older brothers bringing their siblings... it's like a really good mix. I'm really glad we're not just one of those static bands, that the people who liked us just stayed there. It's been that and new people coming to the shows. It's really gratifying."
Why do you think that is? "I don't know, man. I'm very grateful for it. I think we write music from the heart. I think we write music people can relate to. People can tell we're honest, not only in the music that we write but in the way that we present ourselves on stage. We're not putting on any kind of act. We're just being exactly who we are, you know? I thin that connects with people."
Is life on the road slightly more sedate now you're a little older? "Well, we were never too crazy out on the road. We're actually kind of boring backstage - pretty mellow, always have been. Usually after we play I'll have a drink, Travis will either work out or go back to his bus to watch Ultimate Fighting and Tom usually retreats early and watches crazy UFO movies in bed. Yeah, we're pretty sedate."
Are you working on any non-Blink projects at the minute? "I produce records but I'm not working on anything like that at the minute. I actually have a new TV show though in the States. It's called Hoppus On Music and I fly back and forth to New York every other week to do the taping of that. It's a lot of work, a lot of travel but it's worth it. It's a TV show that I think is really cool and it's a lot of fun. Does it make me the punk Conan? [laughs] Oh, I would love to be the punk Conan. I'll strive to be that."
How do you see your band nowadays? Punk? Pop-punk? "You know, I don't think I would call us a pop-punk band. I see us just a straight up rock band. I don't see us as limited by one simple descriptive. Some people call it punk, some people call it pop, I don't know. Whatever. We just write music that we love and that's all we can do."
During Blink-182's hiatus, you and Travis released an album under the name +44. Do you think you'll ever return to that project? "It's dead in the water right now but I would love to go back now and make another record. It was such a fun experience to tour and record. But all my energy right now is spent on Blink-182."
How long do you think Blink-182 will go on for? "As long as we're having fun, I can see us going forever. That's the goal. To tour as long as it's fun. I hope that lasts forever. Our relationship is really strong. It's strange to think I'm still touring with these guys I was friends with twenty years ago. So much stuff has happened in our lives and we're still here together. We've come to respect each other a lot more: our differences, our talents, our weaknesses. It's been a long road together."
Finally, is it true you've become a Chelsea fan? "Yeah! They're the closest team to where I in Mayfair. We moved over here in October. My partner and I just love London and we wanted a change, to live in a different city for a while. If Fernando Torres or John Terry wanted to come on stage at one of our gigs, they could come and sing a song with us if they want." Al Horner @Al_Horner