"I think we live in a manic period right now. Living in the US, and in the time that we live in right now, we live in the time of mania."
That's the inspiration behind Fall Out Boy's latest album Mania, as explained by bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz. Like countless other bands in the past year, Fall Out Boy tried in their new music to make sense of the political confusion, and often pure insanity, of our current climate - mainly drawing inspiration from the latter feeling.
"Mania starts with this euphoric feeling, and then it leads into the non-sleeping thing that becomes violent and reactionary and big and unthinking," says Wentz.
"We live in the time of big reactionary ideas… and I think that I want to talk about that, maybe not so much [to] cram my ideas down someone's throat, but just in the way that like, 'That's where we are right now, this is the time we live in right now'," he says.
While Wentz says they've never been an "overtly political band", involving politics in their music was never something they questioned or doubted. "We live in a time where if you don't take a stand, that's probably your worst bet," he says. "If you're drifting in the middle, or you're just trying to ride it out, this is not a time to do it."
Mania is Fall Out Boy's seventh studio album, a colourful and noisy record that finds the band blending elements of EDM, hip-hop and R&B with their regular genres of pop, punk and rock. The cover glows with a neon purple, marking their first album that doesn't carry either a red or blue aesthetic – which Wentz says is symbolic of a step in a new direction.
"From the very get-go, we started the band and we put out our first record called Take This To Your Grave, and that was a blue palette. The next record was red, next one was blue," he says. "We said that if we ever figured out a musical path that seemed a little off of that, we'd do a purple album – a combination of the two. That's what Mania is, and I think that the purple colour palette will inform the live show."
When Fall Out Boy take the stage at Auckland's Trusts Arena on March 7, it'll be their first concert here in five years; they were last seen on the Powerstation stage in 2013. The larger venue will allow Mania to be fleshed out in all its glory, as Wentz says the band is focused on lifting their live performances to a higher standard.
"There's a lot of DJs and a lot of rappers and pop artists out there who have these big, interesting shows, and I really want to make sure that there's rock bands that are doing that, that are also played on the radio and are within pop culture," he says.
"I think that it's important to have a cool, big show, so some kid out in the crowd is like 'Hey, I want to do that'. And they'll be the next whatever, you know, the next band that does that, and comes back to the United States doing that."
Perhaps unbeknown to Wentz, Fall Out Boy's influence in New Zealand already planted such a seed long ago; one that will link back to them on March 7. Opening the concert is local pop-punk band Openside – a group that may not have existed without Fall Out Boy's influence.
"They're basically the reason that I started playing in bands, and how I learned to write songs," singer Possum Plows told TimeOut last year. "All my early songwriting was the most derivative Fall Out Boy copy you could imagine, and I've seen them play live three times."
Plows is certainly not alone in that sentiment, with Fall Out Boy staying fan favourites over the past 15 years, consistently churning out chart-topping singles with every album. It's a long time for a band to stay intact, and one wonders how the band has managed to stay friends – but Wentz says tempers fray on tour as much as one would expect.
"We get sick of each other in a way that's like, 'I kind of want to kill this guy, but at the same time I quite like this guy", he says. "It's like being on a submarine with your siblings, where you're like, 'Well, I can't get very far away from you when I want to kill you'.
"You just go to the other end of the submarine. That's what it's like touring with the same band for 15 years."
Who: Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy
What: The Mania Tour
Where: The Trusts Arena, Henderson
When: Wednesday, March 7