Home > Media > Papa Roach on ‘Growing As People’ & Starting a Record Label: Behind the Setlist Podcast

Papa Roach on ‘Growing As People’ & Starting a Record Label: Behind the Setlist Podcast

Papa Roach’s music hasn’t softened in its nearly three-decade career, but the four-piece metal band from Northern California has become wiser with age and experience. “We’re growing as people,” guitarist Jerry Horton tells Billboard’s Behind the Setlist podcast, “and our music has matured as well.” The trick, he says, is “about “finding a way to grow up but not lose our edge.”

The band rose to prominence with a rap-metal hybrid that rubbed elbows with Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and Korn at the turn of the century. Papa Roach gained popularity in 2000 with “Last Resort,” a song about suicidal ideation built around an instantly memorable guitar riff. That song sent the band’s Dreamworks Records debut, Infest, to No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

“I use to bash the microphone into my head and just bleed,” says singer Jacoby Shaddix of the performing in the band’s early days. “I was burning myself with cigarettes just to get a reaction.”

“For the time period, for how old we were and that period of our lives, and also the type of music we were doing, all of that went hand in hand,” says Horton. “And I feel like for that time period, it wasn’t necessarily wrong. That’s just where we were. And pretty much all of our peers were mentally and stylistically — that’s just where everybody was at.”

The band’s latest album, Ego Trip, finds Papa Roach growing as businesspeople, too. After releasing albums for both major and independent labels, Papa Roach decided to release Ego Trip through its own New Noize imprint. “We always go back to something Davie Bowie said: ‘I had to become a better businessman to become a better artist.’,” says Horton. “It just kind of hit us in the face. We’re just like, this is what we need to do. Here it is, time to seize it.”

Launching a record label was a risk, but it felt right, says Horton. “It just feels like something we needed to do — whether we fell on our faces or not.” That means the buck stops with the band. “You can’t just say a bunch of shit,” says Shaddix. “It’s like, alright, let’s talk about how we’re going to create this and then let’s go find the people to do it, and then execute it.”

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