We're the Dark Horses - An Interview with Switchfoot
Beliefnet discusses music and belief with members of the Grammy winning rock band.
BY: Stephen Russ
How involved are you in the writing process?
There are five guys in the band and I’m one fifth of the involvement in writing. I mean Jon writes the songs on his acoustic guitar and he presents it to us and then all of us will go in there and say “okay this song needs this.” So I mean it’s an involved process but all of us get really involved in it. There are songs where it’s like “okay this is a keyboard based song, we want more keyboards in this song” or “this song is more guitar.” It all depends.
Do you have any desire to go back to doing more industrial music?
You know, that’s funny. Right before I flew out to Michigan I looked in my garage and there are two-inch tapes of Mortal and I was looking at it going man, you know, I should remix some of these songs. Music has always been changing and for me I always want to do music that’s challenging and pushing me further as a musician. So whether it’s maybe doing an industrial album in the future who knows. But I’m totally open to it.
I want to hear the industrial Switchfoot album.
Oh I know! Well, I think there’s an album that I did with Mortal. It’s like a greatest hits album where I had Jon sing. So if you could find it somewhere, it’s there. It’s an industrial song and I had Jon come in and sing it. It was pretty neat.
I didn’t hear quite as much of that in the new album. What kind of led to that or is that just kind of in the moment?
Because the songs were pretty straightforward. When you start adding all these different elements, a lot of times you got to be careful that it doesn’t take away from the song itself. So I was very careful in choosing variants and for a lot of these songs I wanted a lot of space, and with that idea you have to hold back a little bit. There’s a song called “Thrive” where there’s a lot of electronics on there. That one, that’s a great song too. It’s a good song to vibe to.
What is your favorite old school Switchfoot song to perform with the band?
Well, okay, I’ve been in the band for a little over 10 years. I joined them right after Learning to Breathe came out. I didn’t record on that album. I love the song “Learning to Breathe” itself. That’s a fantastic song to play live.
How much of the older stuff do you all get to play now?
Oh man, it’s hard because now there’s getting to be more and more new songs, you know, you have to take out a few here and take out a few there just to even fit in the timeframe. We’re really excited playing the new songs so we try to sneak those in. So it’s harder to play the older songs when you’re trying to sneak in all these new songs to play. But we still try to, maybe one or two of the older, older songs like “Company Car.” We always will try to sneak it in maybe in between a new song or two.
How has the reaction been to this album so far on the road?
We are playing like a couple of the songs in there and so far it has been really good. It’s always weird when the album is not out yet to play your songs to people who have never really heard it but when we play it, people really get excited about it. It’s hard to tell because they’re listening. They’re not just singing out to you. They’re listening to it because they want to hear it and so you’re thinking oh man they might not like it but really they’re like just really listening to the song.