Barker produced two US number one albums for MGK, 2020's Tickets To My Downfall and 2022's Mainstream Sellout, launched his own record label, DTA Records, in 2020 in partnership with major label Elektra, and has worked with pop-punk stars Willow, Avril Lavigne, Jxdn and more.
“I’m not going to take credit for the sky being blue or my tattoos being black,” Barker tells Billboard, “but we did bring that genre back.”
Barker admits though that rather than being a gatekeeper for the genre, he's more excited by artists for who pop-punk is only one flavour on their creative palate, citing Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish as two inspirational musicians pushing the boundaries.
Barker tells Billboard: “I like Olivia’s album, I love everything Billie’s done. I won’t say, ‘This is pop-punk.’ I’ll say, this music that came out, let’s say like Avril’s ‘Love Sux’, let’s say Jxdn’s ‘Tell Me About Tomorrow’, and ‘Tickets To My Downfall’ [Machine Gun Kelly], were all inspired by pop-punk.
“It doesn’t mean that it’s just pop-punk or has to be categorised like that. Olivia Rodrigo is probably going to make an album that has a little bit of pop-punk influence and some other influences too. Billie’s going to make whatever magical music she’s going to make and she’s going to be inspired by so much.
You don’t have to follow the rules or keep it as sterile as the record label or whatever the rollout plan may be.”