LOS ANGELES – It has been ten years since multi-platinum rock group Matchbox 20 released a studio album.
Tuesday that drought ends, as the band's new album "North" drops.
“It used to be that I would write a bunch of songs and bring them to the band to arrange them, but for this record we started at the very beginning with me, Paul (Doucette) and Kyle (Cook) all writing together,” singer Rob Thomas told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “So the whole thing is automatically different, it’s not coming from the same source. It’s a great feeling when you can collaborate.”
Thomas did admit, however, that getting through such collaboration without killing one another “was a feat in itself.” Bandmate Cook concurred.
“There were definitely arguments in figuring out what songs to put on the record, there were songs some of us loved personally, and thought were going in the right direction, whereas others didn’t think so at all," Cook said. "It can be frustrating, but you have to go through that process.”
Between records, each of the members has gone on to successfully do their own thing, most notably Thomas, who released acclaimed solo albums and almost filled the shoes of the late rocker Michael Hutchence in the band INXS.
“There was talk last year of me going out singing for them and doing a tour, but the timing just never worked out,” he said.
But Matchbox 20 was always bubbling in the background even through the solo gigs, and it turns out the band has a key formula for successfully staying together: treating it like a marriage.
“We’re all friends and have been friends for a long time. We are all very aware and very precious about everybody’s life and their time. We are more understanding than when we were younger, we understand the need to work around everybody’s lives and schedules,” Thomas said. “You have to get to that place of good communication, it is like a marriage. If you are honest about the way you’re feeling than you know where everyone stands. We said a long time ago that if we stopped enjoying it than we would stop doing it. But we haven’t stopped enjoying it.”
Yet the biggest challenge the guys faced in creating “North” was not teamwork, it was balancing the new with the nostalgic – keeping the flavor that made them worldwide sensations when they catapulted onto the scene with “You Yourself or Someone Like You” in the 90’s, while embracing the musical trends of 2012.
“I wanted to make a record that sounds current and sounds like it was made today and should be on the radio, but at the same time sounds nothing like what is on the radio right now, so it sounds as though we are making our own noise and have our own voice,” Thomas explained. “We didn’t want to make the same guitar-driven 90’s album.”
But Matchbox fans should not fear as we were assured that many of the new songs have the same epic choruses as their classics, coupled with some more “dance-y tracks” that borrow from the popularity of electronic music today. And even with tens of millions of records under their belt, the band isn’t too big to count their blessings.
“We don’t take for granted that we exist in this very charmed life,” Cook noted. “We all have a lot of talented friends that didn’t make it to the next level. We realize we are blessed.”
Thankfully, they don’t take themselves too seriously either. Even when it came to coming up with a title for the decade-in-waiting album.
“We had this dry erase board with the idea of putting up serious titles, but after months of recording in the studio it just became these ridiculously clever titles with everyone entertaining themselves. We ended up trashing the whole board,” Cook added. “Eventually Paul came up with ‘North.’ It’s just reference to finding your emotional north, finding direction. ‘North’ is a symbol of that.”