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5 Albums I Can't Live Without

5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: MOD SUN

Credit: Nathan James


Best known for Definitely my energy, trying to give up good energy, walking into a room and leaving the room better than the way I found it. That’s my goal in life.

Current location  Malibu. I’m looking at surfers on the beach right now.

Really want to be in I just spent the last couple of days in New York City. I have such a romanticized idea of New York City and just walking around all the time. My favorite city in the whole world is Paris. I absolutely love Paris, and I will end up living there soon.

Excited about  This next set of music that I’m going to release. Maybe that’s cliche for an artist to say, but I’m submersed in constantly evolving and leaving– Every time I release music, I look at it as something that’s more important when I’m gone one day than I do about currently while I’m here. We’re going to talk about a lot of my favorite music, but a lot of it is from so long ago, some people that aren’t here anymore, and I just look at music as something that lives forever.

When I release music, I try to put out something that will stand the test of time and be important.

My current music collection has a lot of Bob Dylan. That is my favorite artist in the entire world that’s ever existed. My favorite songwriter, my favorite artist to look to for inspiration, my favorite artist to follow in the footsteps of or at least try and look at the blueprint of what they did. I can always go to Bob Dylan.

And a little bit of   I guess ’80s rock is something that I’ve never dove into, but I love the fashion of it. I love how grandiose everything is.

Preferred format  Definitely vinyl. There’s mystical overtones in what the vinyls give off, more than the songs. Listening to something on vinyl makes– I’m obsessed with feeling like I’m in a different time period. Listening to vinyl, like I said, there’s a mystical overtone in the sound of music on vinyl.





5 Albums I Can’t Live Without:



Blood on the Tracks, Bob Dylan



My original instrument was drums. At a certain point, I decided to step out from behind the drum set and become a singer. I had actually just gotten kicked out of my childhood band that I was putting everything into, and that was my future. [laughs]

You can play drums by yourself, but you can’t be in a band that’s just drums. Whereas guitar, you can just be like, “I’m going to be a singer-songwriter, play guitar.” You need other people when you’re a drummer.

I grew up on a farm in Minnesota, a couple miles away from Bob Dylan’s farm. My parents love Dylan and kept trying to get me into it. It finally clicked, and the album was Blood on the Tracks.

I’ve done all the research on the album and everything. There’s this amazing story that he’d made the album already in New York City, came home for the holidays in Minnesota, and played it for his brother, and his brother was like, “I think you can do better.” He rerecorded and rewrote the album in Minnesota in a barn. I can hear that. I feel like I can hear the sound of a farm in Minnesota when I listen to that album.

If someone would ask me my favorite song of all time, it might be “Shelter from the Storm,” on that album. I think “Shelter from the Storm”is the most perfect song ever written.



Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, Blink-182



Travis Barker is my favorite drummer. I would spend every minute of every day playing this album on drums, front to back, for an entire year.

I feel the album before it, Enema of the State, was Travis’s introduction into Blink-182. With Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, I feel Travis was taking drum parts to a whole other world and stepping completely outside of the box, but still making things digestible.

That album completely changed my life. The aesthetic of it, the way they dressed on it, it became a complete part of my DNA.



The Con, Tegan and Sara



My introduction to Tegan and Sara was the album before, So Jealous. I considered that a happy album, very major chord and poppy, and then The Con came out, and I think it hit me the most to see the evolution of an artist, where my favorite artist tried to never make the same album twice.

The Con gets dark, and it talks about things that normal artists maybe weren’t talking about at the time, which was something for me, hearing these two women speak from a different head space than me, being a man. I think it really changed the course of my music selection.

Maybe just my connection to human beings, in general, changed with this because I felt so connected to these two women. Prior to that, I was listening to so much male-driven [music]. I just found such a connection to hearing this female outlook on life

I think it’s so special when an artist just writes a movie script and turns it into a song. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something so personal. It can be something that they dreamed of. The Con is just…such storytelling.


The 1975, The 1975



This 1975 album was an entire picture. It wasn’t just the music. It was also the look. It was the aesthetic of the band. It was the way they were making their music videos and creating a world.

When this album came out in 2013, I feel like the idea of creating an entire world around your music wasn’t being used to the fullest at this point. Not to say that, in history, it hasn’t. It was just, at this time it was not really happening vividly.

I got completely re-inspired. To see this band be so about being a unit and the family objective of it, it was incredible to me. They say that this is what they were going for it, so it’s not really me speaking for them, but it sounded like a movie score. The music behind the word, at the base level, sounded like a movie score. They say they were trying to make a John Hughes movie soundtrack.

The beauty in it and the atmospheric, sonic landscape of that album is something that I can always go to, and it just takes me away from reality, which I think, in a lot of ways, is the objective of music, to give you an escape from reality. The sound of that album was just completely incendiary. Matty from The 1975, I consider him a poet.

It just made me feel more free about the process of creating music. Every time I listen to it, it sounds brand new. I think that album is going to stand the test of time 100%.



Dizzy Up the Girl, The Goo Goo Dolls




I think I have to go with Goo Goo Dolls’ Dizzy Up the Girl. It was going to be that or Miles Davis, Bitches Brew, it would’ve been so nice to put a jazz one on there, but we’re going to go with Goo Goo Dolls.

One of the greatest songs ever written, “Iris,”sits on this album. That song spoke to me so much as someone who felt like an outcast.

This was why so much of original pop-punk music is about getting out of your hometown because you really had to go and search to find people that enjoyed the same thing as you. Now we got the internet. As much as we want to hate on it, God bless the internet because so many kids can connect with other kids that agree with them and feel the same way as them.

“Iris”–that was my childhood. That was my high school experience, right there in that song.

It just makes me feel like I’m being heard and like there’s other people in the world like me. Then there’s a song on that album called “Black Balloon”…. This album came out in 1998. I was young. I don’t even think until three years ago, I realized that song was about a friend of his that was addicted to heroin.

That is just songwriting at its finest.

Not to mention, the song Slide” is on that album. Oh, my God. If I could make an album that ever held up to something like that…. It’s incredible what this album means to me.