It took me a second to find the rhythm of the album. I became fascinated with that time in culture when John Hughes was making his classic movies. The music was so incredible — all these epic, unapologetic pop songs with incredible forward thinking production. I wanted to hearken back to a time when the hippest shit was also the biggest shit. It made me mourn the happy teen years I never had. I grew up in New Jersey and went to public high school and was tortured for being gay, and I’m not gay. But that’s how things were then. I felt really disconnected in that formative time. I think we all freeze at a moment in high school in some way. Hopefully you freeze in a moment were you feel like a piece of trash who needs to prove something and be better, not in a moment where everyone thinks you're a blast. It's where the name Bleachers comes from. It conjures feelings of that time for me in a non literal sense. I don't know why, it just does.
I wanted Bleachers to have a nostalgic element, so some of the emotions almost do feel a little John Hughes-y. But I didn't want it to be a retro album. It had to be fully pushed into the future while grounded in that moment that means so much to me. That’s why I brought in the producer John Hill. He is very modern in everything he does. He's always looking for new techniques and a way to differentiate the work. Vince Clarke, from Depeche Mode, Yaz, and Erasure, worked on a bunch of stuff as well and added the grounding in the time period I was inspired by. I mean, Vince literally made some of the albums that inspired me to do Bleachers in the first place. It was really full circle to have one of the people who inspires you to create create with you.