“I’m not going to lie, pop music can be very, very dumb,” Butch Walker said over the phone with a laugh. “I’m not interested in doing that for myself. I mean look at me. I’m 43; I’ve got grey hair and I’m covered in tattoos. I don’t need to sound like Katy Perry.”
Walker has been leading a double life. The man has made a career out of writing and producing music for the likes of Taylor Swift, Pink, Fall Out Boy and Gavin DeGraw. In 2004, Avril Lavigne’s album Under My Skin, a record that he co-produced, debuted at No. 1. Soon after, he became a hot commodity in the pop world. But on the side, Walker has been able to pursue his own surprising and often drastically different sounding solo career.
The two worlds have been able to coexist, unconnected and undisturbed, due to his preference for privacy and avoiding the Hollywood scene at all costs. His latest project, however, goes against that mantra.
Butch Walker: Out of Focus, a documentary by Peter Harding and Shane Valdés turns the camera on the illusive hitmaker for a rare look at his life. The film is being released in conjunction with his latest five-song solo EP, Peachtree Battle, and came about through a small behind-the-scenes project during a brief residency with his band The Black Widows at Santa Monica’s Basement Tavern two years ago.
“They were going to film those shows and the making of the record for, like, a promo piece,” said Walker. “And then, next thing you know, they made a movie.”
But it wasn’t exactly that easy. At first, Walker really struggled with the idea of being the subject of a film, mainly because it felt “so narcissistic” to be followed around by cameras. But after seeing an early cut, Walker changed his mind.
“When I got it back, I was like, ‘You know, this is actually pretty good,” he said. “There’s a lot of candid, raw emotions, and I thought, if anything, it would be nice for people to see what it’s like … on the not-so-glamorous side of music.”
Another plus was the support of his biggest fan, Walker’s father, “Big” Butch Walker, who, along with other family members, appears in the film. “When he found out some guys were making a movie about me, he was like, ‘I got to get a copy of that!’ And then, next thing you know they show up to interview him,” Walker said.
Although Walker Sr. passed away a month ahead of the film’s release, Walker assured us that he did get to see it and, as always, was very proud of his son.