We're the Dark Horses - An Interview with Switchfoot
Beliefnet discusses music and belief with members of the Grammy winning rock band.
A producer once asked us, you know, “what are the songs that only Switchfoot can sing?” I think we’re honing in on those songs on this record more than any other record that we’ve ever done. Musically, it’s got a focus on the drum and bass that we’ve never pushed for but that we’ve got. So there are some songs that you will hear that are new from us. It’s like we’ve gone into our experimental cave and what felt right for us this time around was less guitars right up front and a focus on the rhythm section. There are even a couple songs where Jon does like a free form talking vocal lyric which is cool and different for us. It’s fun to push the envelope. It’s fun to find new boundaries and this record does all of that.
Explain what you mean about this being the most soulful record to date.
“Dark Horses” is the first single which people are hearing now. It’s charged with like unity for the underdog type of spirit and it has a lot to do with the homeless kids that we’ve been in contact with through the Center for Kids San Diego, that we give money to. There are songs like, gosh, the last song on the album, “Where I Belong” it’s called. That song brings me to tears sometimes. It’s very much a song about who we are as people and about finding our place in not just the musical world but in the actual world that we live in as men.
There’s a longing in this record which I think Switchfoot is known for. We’re known for that sense of sort of longing, asking questions that make people think. We’re very much a band that asks more questions than gives answers. Songs like “Where I Belong” and “Restless”, those two to me are very much kind of worship songs, they have like that spirit in them of worship where it’s a longing or reaching, a seeking. “Selling the News” has a lot of social commentary which is another kind of song that Switchfoot does very well. And then “The War Inside” is an honest song about struggling to live out what you believe on the inside and that has a lot to do with our soul. When I say it’s the most soulful album, I guess that’s kind of what I’m thinking. Our struggles, our personal struggles are out in the open on this record.
How involved do you get in kind of the writing process?
Well, a typical song on a record, John will write it on an acoustic guitar, bring it to the band in a rough format and say “look at this.” We’ll all listen and take thoughts in, we’ve been a band for awhile so no one is precious about their stuff and Jon isn’t precious about his writing. He’ll allow quite a bit of input. The lyrics are mostly, you know, Jon writes and Tim will jump in sometimes as an editor. Then the music is more of the full collaboration and I guess that’s where I come into play. I think I do a lot more inputting on the music; the guitar sounds, the parts, the arrangement, the how to express those words in sounds.