Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns
October 30, 2015 at 06:50 PM EDT

Former Thursday singer Geoff Rickly and his new band No Devotion, composed of former Lostprophets members, have endured a tumultuous last three years. Lostprophets lead singer Ian Watkins was charged with multiple sex acts with children at the end of 2012, prompting the clandestine end to the band. A year later, Watkins pled guilty.

Rickly tells EW that the members never independently liked each other’s past music, but No Devotion was created out of mutual respect. They released a strong first record, Permanence, on Sept. 25, but things were shaky leading up to release date. Martin Shkreli, the CEO of the recently infamous Turing Pharmaceuticals, was an investor in Rickly’s label Collect Records. News broke the week of Permanence‘s release that Turing skyrocketed the price of an anti-malaria and HIV drug overnight. Shortly after, Rickly ended the financial relationship for, what he says, was the sake of his label’s bands, some of which were threatened with boycotts. Within a week of all of that, Rickly was poisoned and robbed while on tour in Germany, leading to a canceled gig.

Rickly, still on the mend, is recovering and happy with where the band is. No Devotion is currently handpicking a support tour that should launch around the new year and still making music. (The group has sights set on soundtrack work.) Until then, Rickly caught up with EW to learn about the music that shaped him.

First Album I Bought With My Own Money: Pump Up The Volume soundtrack

“There are sort of levels of first. When I got older and CD players came around, by then I had already gotten into really kind of hip new-wavey stuff. In specific, I had gotten into that soundtrack, Pump Up The Volume. I loved that, because it had so many artists on it that I was just starting to be familiar with. That was really cool.”

The Song That Reminds Me Of Home (Dumont, N.J.): “Hungry Heart” by Bruce Springsteen

“When I was a kid, I couldn’t escape f–king Bruce Springsteen. The other day, I saw that Show Me a Hero series on HBO, and he’s always listening to Springsteen in Yonkers, New York. And I was like, ‘Oh my god, where I grew up might as well been Yonkers.’ It was so similar. Always at fireworks, you would hear ‘Born in the U.S.A.,’ but then like ‘Hungry Heart’ was the other one. ‘Hungry Heart’ was on f–king everywhere.”

The Album That Inspired Me To Make Music: Water & Solutions by Far

“I heard that and was like, ‘This is amazing. This is everything that I need, and yet I think I could write these kinds of songs. I think I could write songs that are simple, but raw and get to the heart.’ I just was like, I think I could do this. If Thursday fans haven’t heard it, I always tell them check it out, and you can kind of hear a little bit of the early Thursday stuff.”

What I Listen To Before A Show: Modern Rap

“I love hip-hop before shows. I love to pump it. I know a lot of hip-hop. I always say that if you grew up in the ’80s in the United States, you should be a hip-hop head. If you were there when it was just starting to become vibrant, then damn, you are f–king dead inside if you didn’t get into it, because it was so good. Specifically now, I want to put on Nothing Was The Same from Drake, or like Yeezus from Kanye. Those are kind of two touchstones of it, but I just love hip-hop.”

An Artist People Might Be Surprised I Like: Kanye West

“For a whole year of touring with United Nations, I would always put Yeezus on before we go on stage. Yeezus was so brilliant and such a brave record for somebody who’s totally famous and is a cult of personality. How often do people let out their most challenging work once they’re as lauded as he is? I was so, so happy when it came out.”

A Song That Makes Me Cry: “Civilian” by Wye Oak

“I’m all about crying to music — of course the kid from Thursday would say that. The last one that hit me like that was ‘Civilian’ by Wye Oak. Oh, man. Oh, man. If you go put that on, you’ll be in tears by the time the guitar solo comes: I guarantee it. What a song.”

The Song That Introduced Me To Lostprophets: “Last Train Home”

“I don’t even know the name of it, but I remember there was a video and a s–t ton of people, and the chorus was like, ‘We sing if we’re going nowhere!’ I was like, ‘That’s a hell of a chorus.’ At the time, I was probably annoyed by them, because I was annoyed by everybody at the time. In the early 2000s when [Thursday was] doing well, I felt so many of our peers were corny, and I was really, really critical. But when I heard that song, I was like, ‘All right, that’s a good chorus.'”

A Song I Wish I Wrote: “Helicopter” by Deerhunter

“I’m constantly saying, ‘Wish I wrote that song. F–k, I wish I wrote that song.’ That’s sort of one of my great hobbies: wishing I wrote songs by [other] people. That’s the song that I’m literally constantly being like, ‘When are we going to write our “Helicopter?”‘ It’s part of my flying dictionary.”

The Song I’m Most Proud Of: “Grand Central” by No Devotion

“It’s just so beautiful, it sparkles. I always say that the thing that I go for when I write songs is I always want them to be like a wet road at night: super dark, but sparkly, textured, smooth. To me, that’s a great quality.”

My Go-To Karaoke: “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson

“I usually lose my voice. A great karaoke song isn’t about being a great song, it’s just everybody’s heard it, everybody knows it, and everybody in the room can sing along. That’s it. If everybody in the room can sing along, then you’re going to have fun. To me, karaoke is not about music, it’s about all being together and having a laugh. To me, that’s a perfect jam. And there’s something really satisfying about when everything stops, then: ‘SINCE U BEEN GONE!’ You just belt it.”

What I Want Played at My Funeral: The Disintegration Loops 3 by William Basinski

“[Basinski] let the tape disintegrate until pieces of it were missing, pieces that were sped up, slowed down. I think that’s a really beautiful mediation on life. We all end up as the byproduct of everything that we lived through. I think people are most beautiful when they’ve lived through a lot. I think I would just love that little moment of meditation for anybody who came to the funeral, just to have some quiet and to listen to something beautiful and reflect.”

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