Interview: Justin Moore Isn’t Putting Pressure on Himself With ‘Kinda Don’t Care’
Justin Moore calls his fourth studio album, Kinda Don’t Care, his “most diverse” album to date. The 12-track disc (the deluxe edition is 16 tracks), released on Friday (Aug. 12) and available via Amazon and iTunes, touches on everything from heartbreak (“Goodbye Back”) and romance (“Got It Good”) to rebellion (“More Middle Fingers,” featuring Brantley Gilbert).
Moore recently sat down with The Boot to discuss Kinda Don’t Care, his eclectic song choices and why he doesn’t mind that he waited three years to release his newest project.
How would you describe Kinda Don’t Care?
This one, we pushed even a little further outside of the proverbial box in some places. I think it’s the best album I’ve done on the label [the Valory Music Co.], especially from a commercial standpoint. I’m excited about it.
We took three years to make this album, which is the longest we’ve ever taken to make an album. I’m hopeful that the extra time that we took in the studio, looking for songs, writing songs — I’m hopeful that the music reflects that.
Why did you want to wait so long between albums?
We’re not pushing it. We’ve always just gone boom, boom, boom with the albums and singles. When we got to the end of the last album cycle, I think I needed a little bit of a breath. I think the label kind of knew that; they said, “Man, just take six, eight months, or whatever.” I was still playing shows, but just to not worry about [new music], I think that allowed us to find songs that otherwise we wouldn’t have. It allowed me to really figure out what the next step was going to be, because I knew and know that this is an important step in our career.
“You Look Like I Need a Drink,” your first single from Kinda Don’t Care, was released in the fall of 2015, and is still being played regularly on radio. Can you explain what drew you to the song?
This was really early on in the process, maybe two years ago, and I was playing Stagecoach, out west, which is a big, huge festival. I’d gotten a Dropbox of, like, 20 songs or something from my producer. When I get songs, or a song list, I always just look down the titles; I always look through the titles, and the ones that kind of pop out at me, I listen to first. I thought, “How can I not listen to a song called “You Look Like I Need a Drink?””
It was nothing at all like I expected it to be. I thought it would be some tongue-in-cheek, humorous thing that Blake Shelton would say to somebody. I like when songs surprise me like that. I thought it was so unique, and it’s totally “me” as far as the musicality of it and the vibe and the feel of it. I’ve never heard a breakup song done that way, and so we decided to put it out as a single, because we had been off the radio with new music for 6-8 months.
We did some really different things on the album as it relates to things we’ve done in the past. We didn’t want to freak everybody out right from the start, so we thought, “This sounds like me.” Obviously it’s become a pretty big record for us.
With all the success you’ve already had, do you feel pressure to repeat that success with Kinda Don’t Care?
You know, I don’t, not really, to be honest with you. I’ve been so blessed and accomplished 10 times more than I ever set out to accomplish in the first place, so to me, everything now is just kind of the cherry on top. I want to continue to have success, obviously, and more and more success, but I just try to not put pressure on myself when things are not in my control.
I put pressure on myself when I’m in the studio, to sing as well as I can sing. I put pressure on myself when I’m on stage, to play and entertain as well as I can. I can’t control if so-and-so plays this or if somebody buys that; I just go make an album that I love and that I’m proud of, and then if it turns out to be uber-successful, that’s great. I feel pressure to be a good dad and good Christian, but I don’t feel pressure to put out good records.
"I want to continue to have success, obviously, and more and more success, but I just try to not put pressure on myself when things are not in my control … I feel pressure to be a good dad and good Christian, but I don’t feel pressure to put out good records."
You’ve been opening several dates for Brantley Gilbert, on his Take It Outside Tour. What’s it like being on the road with him?
It’s awesome. It really is. He and I, and Colt [Ford], who’s on the road with us, we’re all really, really close friends, and have been for a long time. It’s something we’ve discussed doing for years and never have been able to make it happen, so the fact that it actually came to fruition, it’s cool … Our crews get along, our bands get along. It’s really good.
You’re the proud father of three girls. Does your family ever join you on the road?
They do, quite a bit, especially in the summer. It was a massive change this year from previous years, because my [oldest] daughter [Ella Kole, now six years old] had to be in school. She was required to go to school, whereas in the past, in preschool, if I wanted to see them, I’d just throw them on the bus and we’d go for a week or two. Now, she’s required to be at school. Throughout the summer, I try to have them as much as I possibly can. But I’ll take the youngest ones [Kennedy Faye, 4, and Rebecca Klein, 2,] even if the oldest one is in school. I’d love to be on the road with them as much as they can.
What do your children think about having a famous father?
I think my two older ones are somewhat embarrassed by it right now … [T]hey’re old enough to understand it. Especially at school and stuff, kids will say, “I saw your dad on TV,” or this or that.
Hopefully at some point down the road, I’ll be the cool dad; I don’t know. Right now, I think I’m kind of an embarrassment to them. We’ll hope and cross our fingers that that changes down the road.
With all that you’ve already accomplished, what do you still hope to achieve?
Retirement — early retirement. I keep telling my band and crew, “Y’all better be saving your money. I’m going to pull a Garth Brooks, and I’ll be outta here.” [Laughs] I’m just kidding.
I want to continue to be better at being a dad and a husband and a Christian; I don’t think I’ll ever get to a place where I’m satisfied as far as those things go. In music, I’ve accomplished way more than I ever anticipated; however, I would love to be one of four or five guys up for Entertainer of the Year. I’d like to have that opportunity one of these days. It’s not what I’m doing this for, but it would be nice to be recognized in that sense at some point in my career.
I’m really thrilled with where we are in my career. I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve never chased this thing or this thing or this thing; we’ve always done it our way. The fact that we’ve been doing it almost a decade now is just phenomenal. At the end of the day, my main goal is to never get a “real job” and keep doing this for as long as I want to.
Country’s Greatest Love Stories: Justin + Kate Moore