Brendon Urie FAULT Magazine Online Covershoot

Words: Courtney Farrell

Photography: Miles Holder

Styling: Edith Walker Millwood

Grooming: Oliver Woods

 

This weekend,  Panic! at the Disco’s ‘Pray for the Wicked’ debuted at No.1 spot on the Billboard 200 Album Charts and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re proud to present our latest FAULT Magazine Online cover star is non-other than band frontman, Brendon Urie! You can also find more images and exclusive photographs within our next print issue but for now, enjoy our very special cover feature below!

 

“Hey Look Ma, I Made It”, one of the songs from your new album, Pray For The Wicked, opens with the lines “All my life been hustling and tonight is my appraisal / because I’m a hooker selling songs and my pimp’s a record label,”  Do you often find yourself torn between celebrating your successes and battling the evils of your industry?

Brendon Urie: It’s not too far from the truth, I am a hooker that sells songs. I’m a glorified t-shirt salesman. I go out on the road and I play songs to make people happy, and to interact with them and so that we can all celebrate, but at the end of the night I’m really trying to sell clothes, right? I’m like, “buy my merch please so that I can have a great life as well and we can all support each other.” It’s a weird contradiction the way the music industry is. Luckily I do this because I have a passion for it, and the byproducts of things I get to talk about ironically a little more tongue-in-cheek, like yeah, I’m a whore that sells my own music, and my record label is a pimp that pushes me to everybody, distributes me, talks me up, and gets as much mileage as they can out of me. It’s a dark realization, it’s a dark truth, it’s a very real thing, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. This is something that I’m so passionate about that I would never want to give up, so it’s bittersweet really.

 

You reference your childhood dreams coming true, but you probably didn’t expect to become somewhat of an LGBTQ icon for your fans. Between the success of Girls/Girls/Boys and your cameo in Love, Simon, it seems that LGBTQ positivity has become a big part of your brand. How do you feel about that?

BU: It makes me so happy. Growing up and having friends who weren’t accepted in certain circles, whether they were gay, not a certain religion or creed, or whatever, it’s nice to know that now I feel a part of a family that maybe I didn’t feel an affinity to in the past.

What’s even cooler than that, is that I write songs for myself about things that I’m feeling personally about my own life, and fans can take a song and completely give it a new meaning, which makes me so happy. I wrote the song “Girls/Girls/Boys” about my first threesome, and kids grabbed onto that and took it as a universal language for like, it doesn’t matter who you are, we can all love whoever we want to. That’s a way cooler idea, and the fact that fans have the mentality and the mobility to do that just inspires me to move forward in a more generous light and try to give as much as they’ve given me.

 

That song really has taken on a life of its own, when you play it live you’re handed rainbow flags and fans light up rainbow hearts. That must be amazing.

BU: It’s my favorite. When I look out into the crowd and I see how happy they are and how liberated they seem to be, that makes it all worthwhile. That’s better than any drug, that’s better than any other experience. That right there, that interaction, I get to see the immediate happiness that they receive from that. It makes me so proud to be a part of whatever this is.

Jacket – Ben Sherman | T- shirt – Brendon’s own

Pray For The Wicked is your sixth studio album, and you’ve managed to stay active and successful for the 13 years since your first album. Do you ever consciously think about staying relevant or is it not important to you?

 

BU: Honestly, I don’t really care about that shit. It’s not that I don’t want to do things, I only do things if I have a passion for it and I can see a greater outcome, not just for me. We get offered things all the time, whether that be endorsements or shows or whatever, and I say no most of the time. My manager will send me some stuff and he’ll ask what I think, and the majority of the time I’m saying no because it doesn’t feel right to do something just for a company because they’re looking for a handout or whatever it may be. I only do things if it feels right, if it makes me proud to have done that. I never used to think that way until the last year or two, so that has changed a lot of what I do for the better. I think it’s much better to do it that way, I just want to do better all the time.

 

That ties in with a line from “Say Amen (Saturday Night)”, which is “I can’t change into a person I don’t want to be.” It’s about honesty, is staying true to yourself important for you?

 

BU: Absolutely. That’s one of the most key things I think for any human as a trait. Honesty is one of the most important qualities to have as a human being. Other people say that politeness is key, and that’s fine. It’s good to be kind and polite to other people, but at the same time don’t change change your views. Have courage behind your convictions, know who you are. You’ve got to be you. You have to be unapologetic about who you are, don’t ever apologize for that. If people get offended, they’re just looking for something to be offended by, and if not they’re just offended by it and they have a more delicate sensibility and I couldn’t give a shit, you know what I mean? That’s not to say I don’t care, but I want to make sure that honesty and directness come across as more important.

 

You almost named this album “fame is the thirst of youth,” a quote by Lord Byron, which reminded me of “Dying in LA”. Is that a direct correlation, that as time goes on the less fame means?

BU: Yeah to a certain extent, that is a pretty fair summation. When I was younger, I thought it was going to be so cool to be famous, but I didn’t think about it a lot. I was still focused on the things that I loved, like just making music, performing, making music videos, doing records, wearing funny clothes, putting on makeup. All this stuff was so fun for me to do, so I wasn’t really thinking about what I’d do when we get big. There were a couple instances over a couple years that I maybe didn’t handle fame that well. I realized that I was never searching for it. I think my goal is never to be famous. I’m never trying to not be able to leave my house because I’d be noticed all the time, that would suck.

 

When you released “High Hopes”, you tweeted that you’d “worried about how it felt to fail,” and “had to aim high and fail, fail, fail in order to keep growing.” Have there been any moments throughout the years that felt like failures you wouldn’t be able to overcome?

 

BU: For me, failure in the moment always feels like I’ll never overcome it. I have to push past a certain point and almost have faith that I’m going to get through it because it’s happened every single time fear hits me. I just have to hit a certain point and trust myself that as long as I show up and as long as I’m doing what I’m passionate about it’s going to work out in the way that I saw fit because I tried and I did the things I was passionate about, rather than hoping that people like me, hoping that I get notoriety, hoping that I get a number one album. That’s all byproduct. It’s cool if it happens, but it’s not what I’m after. I’m after making something that I’m so proud of that I can share with however many fans. That’s something better than drugs, it’s better than most things in my life. Being able to be on a stage, connect with fans, meet them and hear their stories, see their tweets, read their amazing poems, and hear their covers of our songs. They inspire me and it’s really cool to know that as long as you’re doing what you love, how can you be wrong?

 

You’ll be headlining Reading and Leeds Festival later this summer, are you looking forward to it?

BU: I’m losing my mind! I’m losing my mind because it was billed as a co-headline show with Kendrick Lamar, but I’m not treating it that way. I’m treating it the same way that I treated the Weezer tour, like we are opening for Weezer. We are the warm up band for Kendrick Lamar, and that’s how I’m going to treat it because I have such a love and respect for Kendrick Lamar as an artist and a human being. His seems like his head is in the right place, he’s so wise beyond his years, and I’m just a fan of the music. I’m going to have to stay away, they’re going to have to get extra security. He just seems like the coolest person ever so it’s an honor to be on the same bill as him, I can’t wait to watch him live.

 

What is your FAULT?

BU: I feel like everything is my fault. This whole album is my fault. I didn’t expect to have an album out, but I’m so glad that I did. I’m so glad that I felt inspired, because I was not expecting it and it was the biggest, most pleasant surprise I could have asked for.

 

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