Travie McCoy's been a busy guy.
His hit songs — from "Cupid's Chokehold" to "Billionaire" to "Some Hearts" — have been all over the radio, and now he's on tour with his old buddy T-Pain.
McCoy called us from Indianapolis, where he and the rest of Gym Class Heroes were getting ready to perform for VH1 at a Super Bowl concert.
Q. How did you put this tour together with T-Pain?
A. I've been talking to Pain about doing a tour. We finally made the arrangements. Grieves, we actually met on Warped Tour. He's a super, super-talented kid from Seattle. Budo was his sidekick. He's multitalented. The kid plays every instrument ever made. They're an amazing duo.
I'm really looking forward to it. I'm glad we finally got it worked out
Q. Your solo record was, at times, a little more personal.
A. It was a little introspective, but a little more fun. I had just gotten out of a highly-publicized breakup (with Katy Perry) and whenever I did interviews, people would only ask about it. I said, "I'm putting out a new record. Let's talk about that." So a lot of the songs were sad, depressing, whatever.
When I wrote "Billionaire," I thought, "This is the route I want to take." Then Pain and I did "The Manual," and everything just got brighter from there. It was therapeutic, you know what I mean?
Q. Did your writing for that affect writing the Gym Class Heroes album?
A. I think it sharpened the ball a little bit more — being out there on my own and grinding while the guys were at home and enjoying time off. And they were writing as well.
It was cool. Then coming back to Gym Class Heroes, I felt like I came back with new skin, you know what I mean?
Q. Where did the idea come from to revisit "The Papercut Chronicles" and make the new album "Volume II?"
A. It was just an idea I had, honestly. It came out of nowhere. I was hanging with Matt at the time and was like, "Yo, what if we did a sequel?"
On this record, there are a lot of themes, musically and lyrically, that reference the first record. It was one of the records that the kids connected with the most. I wore my heart on my sleeve with the first record. People took to it.
This time, we wanted to use the first record as fire for this record.
Q. The song "Stereo Hearts" with Adam Levine, did you think that was going to be a big hit when you made it? It seems like it's everywhere now.
A. We knew it was something special, you know what I mean? We didn't know exactly how special, but we knew it definitely had some go-power.
There's a lot of double entendres and a lot of slick tongue action. I like to do a lot of that with our records. I like to write stuff that when you scratch the surface and you go, "Oh. Oh! Oh!" (Laughs)
Q. You have a great collaboration with Neon Hitch. How do you get all these collaborations?
A. We never work with artists for name sake. We work with them because they're talented. Neon Hitch is an up-and-coming artist. When I did "Billionaire" with Bruno (Mars), he was just in the studio writing. He was a studio rat, and now he's on top of the world.
We work with people who we feel not only fit the song but take the song to another level. We're lucky enough that we're all fans of everybody that we collaborate with first and foremost.
Q. A lot has changed for you guys since the band started. Some of the guys have kids and you're all a little older. How has that changed the music or how you perform?
A. I just turned 30, so I'm not that crazy 22-year-old I was when we first started touring. I definitely don't party. None of us really party as hard as we used to.
I think it makes us sharper, you know what I mean? For me, my onstage banter in between songs is a lot more witty than when I was under the influence.
The live show is so important for us because that's kind of where we get to separate the men from the boys. Anyone can go into the studio for a few days with a big producer and come out with a big record. But the live show is where you connect with the fans.
We're in this for the long run. We're about 15 or 16 years deep into the band already. We're trying to stick around for awhile. Self preservation, you know what I mean?
Q. Now I've got a question not about music. I wanna talk about your tattoos. Are you still getting them?
A. Yeah. A friend of mine, Greg, is designing my back piece. My back, it's completely untouched. He's putting the finishing touches on it right now. Then I've got a little space on my stomach. And once that's complete, I'm done. (Laughs)
Every tattoo I've gotten is my life in a nutshell. More than a nutshell, I guess, but each time I look at it, it shoots me back to that time when I got it.
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