Many may be wondering what’s been going on with the iconic “Hey There Delilah” singers since their mid-2000s fame. To put it simply: they’ve been “livin’ life,” said lead singer Tom Higgenson in an interview with The Daily Californian.
Since the band’s 2015 release, the band has grown up on its newest album, Parallel Universe. The album, which focuses heavily on choices made and mistakes lived through, was released just this August to fans new and old.
“You need to live a little bit of life to make a good album,” Higgenson said. “We had to go out there and do some stupid shit and make some mistakes, learn some life lessons. Then that gave us something to write about.”
One of the tracks, “I Should Be Dead Right Now,” recalls a night Higgenson spent in Chicago at “some Demi Lovato private show.” Pulling back into the theme of “mistakes,” the song comedically tells of the singer’s eventful morning after the night’s escapades.
“Somehow, I like made it home and woke up the next day just a ridiculous mess of a human being,” Higgenson reminisced with a laugh. “For whatever reason, I just grabbed a guitar and bashed out that song — it was like exactly what I was feeling at that moment. It was like, ‘Man, I should be dead.’ Like, that was the dumbest night.”
Rather than writing a cookie-cutter Plain White T’s album, confined to its expected style, the band opted to go for the unexpected this time around. Compiling inspiration from artists the members are all currently listening to, such as The Weeknd and The Strokes, the group took an experimental route with electronic additions and modern-’80s synth influence.
“Before, we may have been a little bit afraid or just nervous to step outside our comfort zone to experiment with, like, the more electronic sound,” Higgenson said. “But now we’re like, ‘No way, we just gotta have fun with it. Let’s mess around and let’s just do something cool.’ ”
He continued: “Exploring is definitely a good way of just kinda broadening your mind and your horizon. Being uncomfortable can lead to a lot of really good things.”
On his favorite song off Parallel Universe, Higgenson joked that tracks one through 14 are definitely his top picks of the 14-song compilation. Nothing more than ecstatic to share the new material, the band is even more excited to be able to perform it live on the upcoming fall tour.
“Even right when the album came out, when people had probably only heard these songs once or twice so far, they were still super amped about them (at live shows) — singing along and jumping around and stuff,” Higgenson said. “It was like, ‘Damn … this is how we feel when we listen to the album.’ This is what we’re getting out of it, so it’s awesome to see that translate and get that same vibe from the crowd.”
The Chicago natives may not be out on tour quite yet, but after playing a couple small record store shows throughout Chicago and the East Coast, the boys have gotten a taste for what the upcoming string of shows may promise.
“The live show is more like celebration of the albums,” Higgenson said, “like get out there and just party with people and have fun. Play the songs, and just try to get everybody smiling and dancing and having a good time.”
The music is not the only thing on the Plain White T’s plate right now, either. The band’s frontman is currently in the process of creating a visual narrative around the storyline of the hit song “Hey There Delilah.”
“It’s insane that it still gets millions of freaking listens and spins like every month,” Higgenson said. “We’re so lucky to have written a song that has become kind of like a classic.”
Higgenson, who considers himself a big movie buff, is working with a team to create a full-blown story around the lyrics of the 2005 favorite, filled with dramatic and comedic elements. Currently being pitched to networks and production companies, the team is trying to find the right fit to produce their show.
“It’s still in (the) super early phases of being pitched and everything, but everybody seems to be reacting super positively,” Higgenson said. “Like, everybody thinks it’s a cool idea — (we’re) just finding the right partner right now. Anybody that’s passionate and can get behind it would be a good match.”
“To be able to write a song for a moment in this show, or movie, or whatever it’s gonna be that I’m also creating,” Higgenson said, “I just think that would be so cool and so fun. So hopefully I get to write a little bit for it — that would be the ultimate dream.”
The movie/series may not be coming out for a while, but the band’s tour is right around the corner. Go live life with the Plain White T’s at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on Nov. 5 for its “Parallel Universe” tour.