That’s awesome. I think that’s a great message to younger bands too who are just getting going.
So tell me a bit about your religious background.
Grew up in a Baptist church. My dad was a chaplain for the Navy so I moved around a lot. He was a Southern Baptist pastor chaplain so we went to Southern Baptist churches quite a bit. Grew up singing hymns, singing in the choir, doing youth choir shows like “Music Machine” and “Down by the Boondocks” or whatever it is currently. I went to college at a school that was also a Baptist school because my youth pastor went there and I thought it would be cool because he was cool. I had to find out things for myself there so I went through a couple of years of finding myself and then had a revelation, I would call it almost a revolution, in my life during college and I’ve been a slave to that ever since and in a good way.
You know, I think it’s a journey that I’m still on in a lot of ways because I look back over my life and I see times of happiness and sorrow. I see times of joy and sorrow. I mean for prolonged periods of time I think I would go through a season of a dark night of the soul, if that makes any sense. There’s a book that I read about that called The Dark Night of the Soul. Then times of just new life and rebirth and grace. So I think my journey right now is at a place of where I feel like I’m in my prime as a person more than I have ever felt before I guess and I’m wanting to be moving and shaking and alive and kicking right now.
That’s great. I get that feeling from this record actually. That’s really neat.
Yeah, I mean if I can reference the song “Dark Horses,” I think that’s us. We wrote it about these homeless kids and it definitely captures that but it’s also us. I feel like we are the dark horses. We are the ones who are running in sub currents of culture and spreading a good infection, if you know what I mean.
An interview with Jerome Fontamillas
Tell me a bit about Vice Verses.
Well, the title of the album came from a song that we recorded during the previous recording session for Hello Hurricane. We knew that the next album was going to be called Vice Verses. So we already had an idea for this album Vice Verses and so after a couple years, we started recording Vice Verses and it actually came in pretty fast. I mean it fell into place really well. We recorded like 15 songs and we did it in a two or three month span and we’re real excited about the outcome.
Is any more of this material from the last album or is it all brand new?
For the last album we recorded 90 songs and there were a lot of songs that we wanted to put in Vice Verses. [In the end] I think only maybe a couple songs made it into Vice Verses. Jon, he’s a writing machine so he just writes, and those songs are ones we’re really excited about. Vice Verses actually was one of the songs from the Hello Hurricane sessions that made it to this which is interesting because that’s the title of the album.
That’s interesting. I’m a musician and I can’t imagine recording 90 songs. What is that like?
The great thing is we built our own studio in San Diego during that time so it was a lot easier to just go in and just lay it all out there. We didn’t have any time constraints so we didn’t have pressure from anyone. We could just go in there and start recording and that’s the idea – to just go in there and record whatever is on your mind. Record whatever is in your heart, whatever, and all of sudden, you know, you have a collection of about 90 songs.
I know you’ve been in several different groups. How is the process of writing an album different in Switchfoot than in other groups?
I was in a couple bands before Switchfoot and those other bands stylistically were totally different from Switchfoot. I was in a band called Mortal that was like industrial Goth. Very electronic and Switchfoot is more of a rock band, but performing and writing with Switchfoot has been incredible because they said, when they asked me to join them, “you know, we really like the added element of what you bring and the skies the limit.” Whatever you think is great, or good musically, that’s what we want. They gave me free reign.
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.