I don’t want to take credit for the success of the record — but I mean, I have to, to a certain extent, because Ryan and I fought a lot. He wanted it to be a metal record, and if it would’ve been the record he wanted, it would’ve never connected the way it did. The record needed to have the melodies and the vocals the way that they were, in order for people to really understand how great the songs were. That probably took 10 years for Ryan to really understand.
If you look back, they didn’t hire me to do the second record. That’s how bummed Ryan was on how the first record sounded. He was really upset. He was like, “This record is a pop record.” He wanted to make something heavy, so they hired a metal producer to do the second record, which failed horrifically. It got them dropped [from the label] and it didn’t connect. I think in hindsight, Ryan understands it. But when he was a kid, he was so defiant on my process. It was really challenging for me. He worked at Papa John’s pizza. My job was to make sure he didn’t have to work at a pizza store anymore. I was really trying to give him a career.
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