HITS Daily Double


Death of a Bachelor is the first record Brendon Urie has completed without any of the other original members of DCD2's Panic! at the Disco. Just how hands-on was the Crush-repped artist when it came to the recording process, and what would a Best Rock Album win mean to him?


What do the Grammys mean to you?
Well, they’re kind of a big deal [laughter]. They’ve been a big deal to me for a while. It’s just crazy, it’s really bizarre. You grow up respecting it, watching the awards. It’s a wild idea to be a part of it. I’m floored by it, floored to be included in something so cool.

I know this is a very personal album for you. It was the first one you did without any of the other original members of Panic. And thematically, it revolves primarily around your marriage and thusly your goodbye to bachelordom. How long did it take you to make it?
Overall, it probably took me like five or six months. I hadn’t really been writing for an album, I’d been just writing on my own, just song by song. So, I didn’t really have an idea or a vision of an album at first. You know, going from song to song, I just wanted to try different stuff. I wanted to copy Frank Sinatra, I wanted to copy Queen, so it’s kind of all over the place. I just love doing that—it’s really fun. I was so excited [when it was finished]. From song to song, I was excited. Each time I would finish a song, I was like “All right!” Because that’s the hardest thing for me—finishing a full song. I could have a million 30-second ideas, but it’s another thing to Frankenstein all these random acts together. Some songs are easier. Some songs are just done. But other times, it’s good to have a friend. I had a friend, Jake Sinclair, who helped me produce this album and he was there to tell me, “Yeah, dude… You’ve got to stop recording stuff. It’s just done.” That was nice.

You’re clearly very hands-on. I heard you played nearly every instrument.
Yeah that’s true. Everything except for the strings and the brass instruments.

You have a producer credit on this album. Was this your first time becoming actively involved in the production of a Panic album?
I’ve done beats, and I would do synthesizing and stuff like that. But this is the first time that I really just had full song ideas, so I kept a lot of that demo kind of magic, I guess. It’s nice to be able to record something and not lose that moment. It’s really nice to have it.

Let’s talk about the importance of solid production and what you’ve taken away from your studio time.
I’ve gone from doing a bare-bones song where it’s just piano and vocal to doing one that’s 150 tracks stacked together. I like doing both under the spectrum. I like to try different stuff across the board. But lately, it’s been less is more. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a bigger sound with the negative space, and that’s been really interesting to me. The music that isn’t there can kind of help build up the sounds that are.

How would you describe your sound? Because when I listen to this album, it’s like I’m hearing a modern Sinatra with a rock & roll soul hosting some musical circus under a discoball on a Broadway stage. There’s a lot going on, and yet it’s very focused at the same time.
Well, I think you have the best description I’ve ever heard. I mean, that’s wild. Sinatra, rock and circus music, yeah; that’s kind of the best thing. It’s all kitchen sink. Everything piles into one sound. I don’t know, and that’s the toughest thing. I have the worst time describing it. And you know what’s funny? I’ll be in an Uber, and I’ll get to talking to the driver and that always comes up. He’s like, “Oh, what do you do?” “Music.” “Cool, you in a band?” “Yeah.” “What’s it called?” I say the name, and most of the time they don’t know; they’re like “Panic at the what?” Especially when it’s older guys. And it’s just so cool to have that interaction, and when it gets down to the point of, “Oh, what kind of music is it?” I never know what to say. I kind of just say rock, because I guess there are so many different things that can fall under the rock genre. But I don’t know, it’s so weird. I’m just gonna start saying Sinatra-rock with circus freak.

You definitely push the walls of the genre box. I’d love to know what you think of the “rock is dead” narrative? Is rock really dead? Can it actually die? Or is it just evolving?
I think it’s fair to argue that “rock & roll” is dead; you can say that a million times over. You could say that nobody’s really doing that anymore. But maybe the only argument is that it’s not leading the business, as it were. So people measure it by the success in the industry. And I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. I mean, I don’t think so. I think it’s continually evolving and changing and becoming new things. It’s like hip-hop; EDM is hip-hop, in my opinion. I think it just evolved from this world that created an entirely new sound, and now new sounds are spawning from those. I just think it’s nice to explore new kinds of sounds. I think it’s awesome.

What can fans expect from you in the future?
I’m constantly trying to change what Panic means to me, and it’s never failed, and that’s due to the support the fans have given me. So I just want to say thank you. I love them very much. Continuously, they’ve surprised me in the best ways possible and I want to continue doing that for them. I want to see what other kind of trouble I can get into. I’m always working; I’ve got new music. I’m planning stuff for the tour next year and stuff for tours after that. I’m talking to some people trying to see what I can do in terms of musical theater too. We’ll see what happens.