Also, Mr. Andy Barron has updated the Daily Foot with a post about the new album
well hello daily footees. the guys are up here in my neck of the woods working on new songs. they have been hashing and cutting and chopping. no song is safe. frontrunners are now on the backburner. new songs are taking the lead as favorites. it's pretty crazy.
in case any of that makes you nervous, just know that new switchfoot music is being played in the background of me typing this, and it is good.
EDIT: Podcast 37 is finally here!
Things are a-buzzin' in Switchfoot land again. The final song list has been determined, so perhaps the recording process has begun to wind down. Of course, there's a long way to go. The album has to be mixed, edited, and prepared for marketing; but the new Switchfoot record is so close to being finished.
Does the new website layout have anything to do with the upcoming album artwork? And perhaps an album title will be emerging soon as well! Welcome back Switchfoot... we can't wait.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Switchfoot Tweeting on Twitter!; announces that they have put together the final Song list for the New Album!
Yupp! That's right. Thanks Susie from the message boards for breaking the news. We've got a few tweets from the band, and if you're not a twitter maniac, we'll post them all here for you. But do follow them if you are on twitter.
- "This is the official first post for Switchfoot" 7:58 AM Jan 7th from web
- "Just posted 4 new dates on the site... including Guatemala City" 11:01 AM Jan 10th from web
- "Just about ready to launch new splash page" about 9 hours ago from web
- "Just added new tour dates, visit http://www.switchfoot.com for more info" about 9 hours ago from web
- "Spread the love! To share this feed...let other know they can follow us here @switchfoot"about 8 hours ago from web
- "hi all, tim here. this is my first twitter, my maiden voyage if you will. we are in the studio, the final song lineup has been chosen! -tf" about 3 hours ago from web
- "... including one that we just wrote this morning!!! peace and love to you all, -tf" about 3 hours ago from web
I believe the signs of life from Switchfoot we have been waiting for is starting to emerge. The highlights about the new album have been added to our New Switchfoot Album page. Check it out for a timeline of everything the band has done with the upcoming album so far, from the early rumblings to right now!
Monday, February 23, 2009
Suburban Noize Records, Bill Silva, and The House Of Blues arranged a benefit show with performances from Jason Mraz, Switchfoot, Unwritten Law and Timmy Curran that helped raise over $49,000 for Unwritten Law frontman Scott Russo at a recent benefit concert. Russo and his family were left homeless after their Rancho Penasquitos home caught fire on Thursday, February 5th, and damages are estimated at $500,000.
"I'm truly grateful to everyone for their overwhelming support.” said Russo. “It has been a blessing to my family that people have shown us such generosity in our time of need. For friends like Jason Mraz, Switchfoot, Anya Marina, and Timmy Curran to come down and play with their busy schedules, was amazing. It was one of those deals where they had to play their set, jump off stage, and rush to the airport to get to gigs or other commitments. They could have easily said, ‘we can’t play Scott we’re too busy,’ but they stepped up and made it happen and for that I’m forever grateful. It was truly a special night for my family."
To date over $55,000 has been raised through fan donations, UNITE (Warped Tour Kevin Lymon's foundation), the San Diego Music Foundation and the sold-out benefit concert at the House of Blues. Donations for the Russo family can still be made through Pay Pal or by mailing a check to the address below.
For check or money order make donations payable to:
Scott Russo Family Foundation
9200 West Sunset Boulevard, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Switchfoot continues to be incredible people. More power to them, and Mraz, and Curran, and Unwritten Law. =)
Saturday, February 21, 2009
...in the following categories:
Category 11: Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song
*“Cinderella”; This Moment – Cinderella Edition; Steven Curtis Chapman; Steven Curtis Chapman; Sparrow Records
*“Give Me Your Eyes”; What If We; Brandon Heath; Brandon Heath, Jason Ingram; Reunion Records
*“I Will Not Be Moved”; Relentless; Natalie Grant; Natalie Grant; Curb Records
*“I’m Letting Go”; My Paper Heart; Francesca Battistelli; Francesca Battistelli, Ian Eskelin, Tony Wood; Fervent Records
*“This Is Home”; Chronicles Of Narnia:Prince Caspian ; Switchfoot; Jonathan Foreman, Andy Dodd, Adam Watts; Walt Disney Records
Category 4: Male Vocalist of the Year
Category 23: Pop/Contemporary Album
Bebo Norman; Bebo Norman; Bebo Norman, Jason Ingram, Rusty Varenkamp; Bec
Fall And Winter; Jon Foreman; Jon Foreman; Credential Recordings, Lowercase People Records
My Paper Heart; Francesca Battistelli; Ian Eskelin; Fervent Records
Relentless; Natalie Grant; Bernie Herms, Shaun Shankel; Curb Records
Revelation; Third Day; Howard Benson; Essential Records
Friday, February 20, 2009
Here is an incredible (in a bad way) story about some Counselor who was suspended. No, this is not some random story... she was suspended because there was "Christian" music playing at some beach where she took her foster kids. Seriously. Crackheads. This is appalling, whether you are Christian or not. Switchfoot gets a mention, but this story is bigger than Switchfoot, and I'm sure the guys would agree. If interested, please read on folks...
Article taken from Beliefnet.com blog.
OK, this has got to be one of the weirdest stories I've read in a while.
Apparently, a Southern California woman who is a counselor for foster kids was suspended after four teen girls who were on an approved outing with her overheard Christian music at the beach.
Seriously, the world has gone crazy.
The woman, who, according to a press release from Pacific Justice Institute, had almost 20 years of experience, took four girls for a 5K run and then stopped at the beach. While eating lunch there, they were exposed to the music from a beach fest called Surf Jam at the Huntington Beach Pier.
When they got back from the field trip, the counselor was ordered into a disciplinary meeting and when the incident was reviewed months later, was suspended for six weeks for "exposing children to unapproved religious activities."
You're kidding me, right? She was suspended for that? She has filed a lawsuit against Orange County to "recover the financial losses she suffered from the suspension and to vindicate her constitutional rights." Good for her.
The incident and event took place in 2006, so I did a little searching for Surf Jam to see what, exactly, the festival entailed. According to the Surf Jam website, the event was "a mix of top professional surfers, celebrities from the world of stage and screen, and Surfrider Foundation activists from across the country, to surf and compete with one another, all in an effort to help raise awareness and support for our nation's beach and coastal environments."
What the kids probably heard was Switchfoot, who is listed on the list of athletes/celebrities attending. The guys are really into surfing so I can why they'd be there. I don't know if the band played live, or if the event just played the band's music over loudspeakersm or if that's even what they heard. Sure, the guys in Switchfoot are Christians. But also on the list was Incubus. This was clearly not a Christian event, or an evangelistic event. Besides, Switchfoot is a very mainstream act.
What if she's taken them shopping and they'd been in store and heard Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take The Wheel"? Would that also have been an unapproved religious activity worthy of suspension? GIve me a break.
You can read more about this at the Pacific Justice Institute's website. The Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties. The organization works free of charge.
Please, if you can, re-post this story and share it with people. I don't quite understand what the deal is.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Breaking News: according Billboard, Switchfoot will be touring with Dave Matthews Band as a supporting act.
The dates will follow a previously announced spring run, which kicks off April 14 at New York's Madison Square Garden. Support acts for the summer shows include Robert Randolph, Femi Kuti, the Hold Steady, Umphrey's McGee, Old Crow Medicine Show and Switchfoot.
Switchfoot is also to play New York's State Fair along with 4 Tops and Sara Evans.
As you may know, Switchfoot recently played a show in South America. During the press conference, Tim Foreman said that the new record is coming along and they hope to have it done and out in July. See video:
Here's video of Switchfoot's performance of "This Is Home" in Guatemala. It's pretty intensely awesome. Check out more videos from the show at Liopo23's account.
Also, Relevant Magazine posted an audio interview podcast with Jon Foreman. Check it out here.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Happy Valentine's Day... or S.A.D. (Single's Awareness Day). Hope you all have a great day with loved ones, or with friends... =)
Here's a little bit of chart news for you all...
- Fiction Family's Album is still holding on the Billboard Top Independent Charts at No. 48.
-Jon Foreman's song, "Your Love Is Strong" is up two spots from last week, now at No. 18 on Christian CHR.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Sign On San Diego did a story with Jon Foreman about surfing!
THE REFLECTIVE POP STAR
While Woodard's music isn't directly influenced by surfing, Foreman uses the rhythms of the ocean to support his songs in both Switchfoot and his new Fiction Family, a band he performs in with Watkins.
“Surfing and music are parts of my life that are focused mostly on rhythm,” Foreman said. “There's the idea, that a song and a wave are both trapped in time. They will never happen twice in the same way.”
Though Foreman is on the road most of the year, he surfs every day when he's home. It's a habit, he said, that kept him out of trouble when he was at high school in San Dieguito, since he always wanted to be up early enough to catch the morning waves.
Even the name of his band, Switchfoot, is a surfing term that means adopting a stance you don't normally take.
“The ocean has a pace that's more meaningful than the absurd pace of the modern world,” he said. “It's certainly one of the reasons why I'm attracted to the water. The rhythm of breath can happen a lot more readily when you can look at the horizon and be reminded of the infinite.”
There's a new Third Day DVD documentary, and it will feature Switchfoot during the Music Builds Tour! Check it out
A Fiction Family concert review.
It's slow times in all things Switchfoot. We'll be updating occassionally now, until new news starts to pour in again! Be sure to keep checking back though! Thanks for reading!
Posted by Job at 2:22 PM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
HOUSE OF BLUES SAN DIEGO
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10
SAN DIEGO, CA – (February 9, 2009) – House of Blues San Diego will hold a benefit concert tomorrow evening featuring Grammy-nominated artists Jason Mraz and Switchfoot as well as Unwritten Law and Timmy Curran to help restore damages from the recent house fire affecting Scott Russo of San Diego band Unwritten Law.
Lead Singer Scott Russo’s Rancho Penasquitos family home caught fire on Thursday February 5, leaving an estimated $500,000 worth of uninsured damage.
“I am at a complete loss for words,” Russo says. “My entire family is now homeless, all our pets are gone and our earthly possessions have been lost. In these tough times, my family had been out of work and the financial burden was too heavy for me to afford fire insurance. The support from my friends has been overwhelming.”
An outpouring of music community support has helped create this benefit concert to raise funds for the family. Jason Mraz and Switchfoot will be performing a special acoustic set as well as full on rock performances by Unwritten Law and pro-surfer and musician Timmy Curran. House of Blues, Ticketmaster and all artists have donated their time and resources to support the cause.
Tickets for the Russo Benefit concert are $45 for general admission and $100 for balcony seats and will go on sale today, Monday, February 9 at 12pm. Ticketmaster will also hold an auction for the last remaining 100 tickets. Tickets are available via the House of Blues box office and Ticketmaster. The show is ages 21 and up. All proceeds of the concert will go to the Russo Family.
Donations for the Russo family can be made through Pay Pal or my mailing a check to the address below.
For Pay Pal donations go to https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cm d=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=3064788 or http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=3231403&blogID=469103892
For check or money order make donations payable to:
Platinum Financial Management, Inc. for the benefit of Scott Russo
9200 West Sunset Boulevard, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Posted by Job at 12:44 PM
Monday, February 9, 2009
Yes, it's all over. The first Fiction Family tour has finally ended, and it's bittersweet indeed. Anytime a tour ends, it's always a sad occasion, but the excitement of what's ahead for us is incredible. Swichfoot's new record is on the way!
Here's an end-of-tour blog entry from Jon Foreman, to sort of put some closure on it all:
The end of the best tours are always bittersweet... You are excited to sleep at home, excited to see old friends, and not as excited to leave behind the tunes and the times out on the open highway.
the whole west coast was a blast.
a summery: of cities and food
-Seattle: an amazing day - I had scallop chowder down by the water and burnt my tongue.
-Portland: ate at mothers.
-San Francisco: last show with Aaron, I ate some sweet cuban food downtown with Tyler and Sara.
-San Diego: ate at the venue and got a chance to see some old friends. Keith sat in and played with us on both the California Keith, man. Good dude. Also, Don Heffington sat in with us for the last two show. What a guy! who's he played with you ask? oh, Bob Dylan. That's right. After our set we went up to catch Aaron playing with the Greyboy Allstars. yes. a great night of music.
-LA: ate noodles next to the venue. Benmont Tench sat in on a lot of the tunes. Love that guy.
And so, all good things come to an end. I'm off to latin america. Sean's off to working on WPA. Maybe put another record out in the next five years...
to be continued...
Here's a pretty awesome interview with Sean Watkins.
In most of the articles I've read about Fiction Family, it says that you met Jon Foreman backstage during a music festival in San Diego. However, a couple writers have said that you met in high school. Do you guys really go that far back?
The high school thing is misinformation. But yeah, we met during a music festival in San Diego. After we met, we talked about collaborating since we live close to each other. We didn't follow up for a while just because we were each so busy, but then we ran into each other at a coffee shop, made some plans and this time we followed through with it.
Getting into the new album a bit, I love the crazy sounds at the end of "Please Don't Call It Love" and there seems to be a bit of it at the end of "We Ride" as well. What did you use for that? It reminded me of that frequency gadget that's on top of the Largo piano.
Yeah, I guess it does kinda sound like that. Well, the end of "Please Don't Call It Love" is just me in my garage with my pump organ and electric guitar with a spring reverb and bass. And then the end of "We Ride" is sort of a box that has filters and echoes—you just twist knobs and it makes it sound dismantled. All those sounds are from the recording, though, so nothing's synthesized. It's just taking sounds from the actual track and twisting them around.
In one of the songs it sounded like you're playing a sitar, and I couldn't figure out if it was an actual sitar or if you were just taking a guitar and doing some crazy stuff to it.
That's on "Throw It Away," and it's actually just a crazy buzz that happened that made it sound like a sitar, but it's not.
You've performed "Not Sure" a number of times at Largo over the last year or two. What made it such a perfect fit for this album rather than one of your solo projects?
It just came around at the right time. I played it for Jon and he really liked it. Usually this kind of thing just ends up being whatever songs you're working on at the time.
You've mentioned in previous interviews that in writing the songs for this album, you'd each start a song, then send it to the other for input. What did Jon's input add to your music, and what do you think you brought to his?
Well, we have a lot in common when it comes to the music we listen to, but there's also a lot that we're individually into that the other's not aware of, and so some ideas came out of that. Somebody else is always going to do something to the song that you wouldn't have ever thought to do. That's the beauty of a collaboration.
In Charts news, Fiction Family held on in two chart positions on Billboard:
Top Independent Albums
Now, moving on a bit, Molly Jenson is re-releasing one of her albums, and new to it is a song she wrote with Jon called, "Do You Only Love the Ones Who Look Like You?" Studio Subversion, the same publication that did an interview with Fiction Family a month or so ago, interviewed Molly and we have an excerpt here:
SSv: So you have a duet with Jon Foreman on this record.
Molly: Yes, it’s called “Do You Only Love the Ones Who Look Like You?”
SSv: How did this happen?
Molly: Well, I knew Jon and all the Switchfoot guys, and I was just…like my record came out and like at the very beginning of my record when I started working on songs, I would send a couple to Jon just to get his feedback. You know, he always gave great feedback and once the record was done and I was playing shows, I think once he realized I was serious about what I was doing and that I wasn’t just some other girl picking up her guitar and that I was actually serious about it, and once he heard it and we have a lot of mutual friends and so hearing them talk about it and him going to my shows, he just texted me one day. I remember exactly where I was. I was driving and he texted me and he said, ‘Hey, let’s write sometime.’
And I texted him back and I was like, ‘Okay. Whatever.’ I just didn’t really believe him because, you know, it’s Jon Foreman. I’ve been a fan of Switchfoot for a very long time and I’ve known those guys from the very, very beginning and then I worked for them for a bit. And then we became friends, so it was just like, ‘Oh, you’re kind of up higher than I am,’ you know? Like on a pedestal.
Molly: So then he texted me again or called me or something like a week later and he was like, ‘Seriously. When are we going to write? I really want to write with you.’ And so I said, ‘Okay. Don’t tease me because I’m getting my hopes up. Okay. Let’s get together.’ So we got together and we decided that we’d both come in with ideas of songs. I had started working on a song the night before and then I got to his house and he’s like, ‘Well what do you want to do? Do you want to do one of my songs? Do you want to do one of yours?’ And I said, ‘Well let me play something for you I just started working on.’
So I played it for him and he was like ‘That’s perfect! Let’s work with it.’ So I had started working on “Do You Only Love the Ones Who Look Like You?” and I didn’t know where it was going or anything, but I had some chords and lyrics and we just kind of went on with that and we connected so well.
And I’ve worked with other people, like Greg Laswell. I did my record with Greg Laswell, and I’d worked with a couple of people before him, but not on any of my own stuff. He was just the first person I really connected with. And then I worked with other people after Greg and I just never connected with anybody, and so I was nervous that I wouldn’t connect with Jon, but we totally connected.
And you just know, and when you can write with somebody like that, connect with them while you’re writing, it’s such a great feeling. So we’ve actually written three songs together and it’s awesome, but the first one we wrote together was “Do You Only Love the Ones Who Look Like You?” and we got to put that on the record. So I’m very excited.
To read about Jon's song "March: A Prelude to Spring," on the Spring Ep, and the writing process Molly and Jon took with that, along with some more of the interview and information about Molly Jenson's album, check out the SOURCE
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Pretty awesome story. Jon Foreman and Sean Watkins talk about they're beginnings at that infamous show, Street Scene. You know? The one with Wilco, R.E.M., Nickel Creek, and Switchfoot on the bill? Well, anyways, without further ado, here is the article, full and reproduced. I didn't write it. Sign on San Diego did:
HAPPY REALITY: Fiction Family debuts here tonight
Nearly 1,000 bands have performed at Street Scene since its inception in 1984, but Fiction Family may be the only one whose very existence can be traced back (or, at the very least, backstage) to the annual music festival.
In 2003, two of San Diego's most nationally successful bands -- the multimillion-selling Switchfoot, led by Jon Foreman ( shown at right, standing), and the multi-Grammy-winning Nickel Creek, featuring Sean Watkins (seated, with guitar) -- were booked to play at what turned out to be the --final Street Scene held in downtown's then-rapidly expanding Gaslamp Quarter.
In between performing with their respective bands and checking out the headlining gigs by Wilco and R.E.M., Watkins and Foreman met backstage.
"Living in the same town, we'd heard about each other," guitarist-singer Watkins recalled, speaking from a recent Fiction Family tour stop in Atlanta. "So, my sister, (Nickel Creek violinist-singer) Sara, and I were like: `Let's go introduce ourselves.' And we did, and Jon and I exchanged e-mail addresses."
"That's correct," said singer-guitarist Foreman, who -- given the benefit of hindsight -- now thinks the acknowledgments in the liner notes to Fiction Family's impressive new debut album should be amended.
"We didn't thank Street Scene. We should have, though," he said. "That was such a great day of music. And it brought us together."
Their brief encounter soon led to a chance meeting at the Encinitas Pannikin. It is about equidistant from the North County homes of Watkins and Foreman, who are both avid surfers.
Additional get-togethers at the Pannikin followed and the two began talking more seriously about collaborating on a musical project. Before long, they had co-written "Betrayal," a lilting ballad from Fiction Family's self-titled debut album. The duo, augmented by bassist-keyboardist Tyler Chester and drummer Aaron Redfield, performs here tonight at downtown's plush, all-ages Anthology.
Apart from a few cameos on violin by Sean's sister, Sara, and the use of a heavily processed drum track by Chad Butler from an unreleased Switchfoot song, all of the instruments on "Fiction Family" are played by Watkins and Foreman, who even breaks out his junior high marching band trumpet. ("My level of proficiency has only decreased since then," Foreman said with a laugh.)
What results is an invitingly organic melange that draws from folk, rock, blues, psychedelia, swing and more, including a whisper-soft version of jazz vocal great Abbey
Lincoln's "Throw It Away." There are also reverent nods to The Beatles, circa 1965 (on the gently infectious opening cut, "When She's Near"), and Bob Dylan, also circa 1965 (on the album-closing "Look for My Baby"), as well as nods to Radiohead (on "Out of Order" and the moody "We Ride").
"There are common elements Jon and I share musically and those are definitely two of them," Watkins, 31, said. "So we're happy to have people say it reminds them of The Beatles or Dylan, rather than Linkin Park."
Foreman, 32, agreed, adding: "For me, a lot of the songs on this record were influenced by that era, without trying to be a throwback record. And I think you'll find very few people making music today that aren't respectful of what Radiohead's been doing the past 10 years, with the places they've taken chord progressions and production."
Twelve songs strong, "Fiction Family" was released late last month
on ATO, the record label owned by the Dave Matthews Band's namesake. Yet, except for a few recent tweaks and the addition of a new song or two, the album was essentially finished and ready to go by 2006.
"It was funny," Watkins said. "We started to make the record (in late 2003), had it done two years later and thought it would come out then. But there was stuff to do with Nickel Creek and it kept getting pushed back. It was supposed to come out last spring, then last fall."
"Pretty much all the songs were done back then," Foreman agreed. "I mixed them all in the corner of this room at my folks' house a few summers ago. Because of the nature of the project, it didn't matter. We weren't on any timeline.
"From the moment we said, `Let's write a song,' we were making a record. Obviously, it was at an incredibly slow pace, since we were both doing other things, then coming back to it and enjoying each other's company --. and the process -- with no intent of doing a tour. I've always thought the best music is made when you're not hoping for any sort of anticipated result, and that's certainly been the case with this."
Fiction Family's debut U.S. concert tour kicked off last month in Michigan. It concludes tomorrow night at Largo in Los Angeles.
After that, well, nothing, at least for now.
"Part of me wishes we were completely free, schedule-wise, after this," Foreman said. "Because most of what has gone on so far on this tour has felt really natural, with Tyler and Aaron backing us. It feels like, `Wow! What if we made a record with this lineup?' It would be very cohesive, whereas the album Sean and I made is all over the place.
"Right after this tour, I go down to Latin America with Switchfoot and then we finish our next (album) project with Switchfoot. So, maybe after that, we could come together and record a few sings with Fiction Family. It's a great fit, musically. It really feels like a fictional family."
Nickel Creek is on indefinite hiatus, but Watkins is also keeping busy.
In addition to the possibility of doing some show with sister Sara in support of her upcoming debut solo album, the Watkins siblings hope to mount a summer tour with WPA, a new eight-piece band that teams the two with former Toad the Wet Sprocket leader Glen Phillips, Elvis Costello's rhythm section, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' keyboardist Benmont Tench (who also plays on Sara's upcoming album), pedal-steel guitar master Greg Leisz and Nashville fiddle sensation Luke Bulla.
Despite all this activity, Watkins shares Foreman's enthusiasm for reconvening Fiction Family as soon as their schedules allow. Meanwhile, what about directly competing -- at least in name -- with hip-hop mogul Puffy's Sean John clothing line?
"Initially, we thought we'd call ourselves `The Real Sean Jon' and try to get sued by Puffy," said Foreman, who used that stage monicker when he performed with Sean and Sara Watkins at the 2007 San Diego Music Awards at Viejas.
"That would have been our in -- we were the band that got sued by Puffy! But when things got close to the record being released, we talked to people close to Puffy's camp, who said, `Yeah, it probably would happen. You'd get sued and you wouldn't want to be there when it went down.' So, the reality of it didn't sound very funny."
Union-Tribune photos by Charlie Neuman.
Hope you enjoyed that. Happy Friday! :)
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Just a quick digest:
Fiction Family, “Fiction Family”
On paper, the combination of Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman and Nickel Creek’s Sean Watkins seems improbable — and risky. But as Fiction Family, the two San Diego musicians find plenty of sonic common ground and, most important, a dozen richly crafted and intriguingly rendered songs. “When She’s Near” and “Out of Order” kick off “Fiction Family” on a trippy note, establishing the duo’s airy harmonies. Offbeat sound effects and loops color several of the songs, but the strong songwriting is Fiction Family’s foundation. Foreman and Watkins are brothers in arms, which makes this partnership a fully functional “Family.”
New Christianity Today Interview
Fact or Fiction?
by Andy Argyrakis
Ever since Switchfoot's Jon Foreman and Nickel Creek's Sean Watkins met, they've talked about writing songs together. It took almost five years for it to happen—in the form of Fiction Family, which recently released its first album. Recorded in their respective home studios, the self-titled debut features both men stretching one another's artistic imaginations in unexpected directions. Christian Music Today recently sat down with Foreman and Watkins to discuss the project, the creative process behind it, and where they go from here.
You both grew up in the San Diego area, but had you known one another before working together?
Sean Watkins: We actually just met when we started this record.
Jon Foreman: And we started the record like four or five years ago! Nickel Creek and Switchfoot were on the same bill at a street fest in San Diego. It was cool to say "hi" since we were both from the same town. After that, we said maybe we should write a song sometime and traded e-mail addresses.
Who was the first to follow up?
Foreman: A couple weeks later, we saw each other at a local coffee shop. I had a melody and a thought, and I gave it to Sean. The next day he finished the song, and that was the first taste of the fun to come. After that, we started writing more, then after a couple of songs, we thought an EP would be kind of cool to have. We literally went from three to five songs making up a cool EP, to adding a few more and thinking we could make this a real record.
Given your busy schedules, how did you hunker down in your studios to finalize these songs?
Foreman: There was no hunkering! It was whenever we felt like it or had the time. There wasn't a moment when I was like "oh man, I gotta do that song for Sean." It was very much like true recess for school when you can go out and play. That's the best way to make music—there's no one with a timeline, deadline, or telling you "that should sound like this because this is our marketing plan," which kills music. When you're doing it with a friend for fun, it feels like the songs can be exactly what they're supposed to be—nothing more, nothing less.
Watkins: Especially for us, it was the only way we could've done it. We weren't in a position to record in a real studio and spend money on the clock. We didn't really know what we were doing at all and that's why we had to do it at home. It became kind of a musical vacation to work on between this busy season of touring with our bands. There was a lot of corresponding, sending MP3s and ideas back and forth pretty consistently throughout the last few years.
Did you set out with any specific musical goals in mind?
Foreman: I wanted to dive into a different world. As a musician, I still feel like there are areas of music I'm still lacking and want to improve in, that I want to explore. This is the vehicle to get there, both in the studio and live.
How different is the dynamic of recording as a duo versus your respective solo stuff?
Foreman: When you're by yourself, there's not a sparring partner. Sean would take the songs to places I wouldn't. It's amazing to think how we both put on two hats—the producer hat and the artist hat, and we both traded. It's allowed both people to be very artistic and free, but while keeping each other in check too.
Watkins: We know how to balance. Both of us have both of those sides, and we can switch. When one of us is being one way, the other one can balance it out.
Did you try to avoid the whole "Switchfoot meets Nickel Creek" tag?
Watkins: We didn't really set out aiming for anything or avoiding anything. For all we knew, fifty people were going to buy it, so there was no need to worry about what it would be. Our aim is trying to do something new, and since there were no stakes, it could be completely whatever we wanted to.
Given Switchfoot's popularity with both mainstream and Christian audiences, how will this material translate to both?
Foreman: I don't think either of those words exist in the way many people think they do. I believe in a God that transcends soul, matter, time, and space, so when I'm writing a song, I'm not thinking about the we/they. There is no we/they if we're all in a journey toward truth, though I suppose that can sound really new age-y. I'm a believer, but I think that the boxes that are commonly put on Christendom by the post-modern world can be really destructive to the way we produce art and produce love to those around us.
Your recent solo EPs quote Scripture much more than typical Switchfoot fare. How have non-Christian fans reacted to the more overtly spiritual songs?
Foreman: I work with all sorts of different people from all sorts of backgrounds—agnostic, Jewish, whomever—an amalgamation of different people with different perspectives. But "Your Love Is Strong"—which is mostly taken from the Lord's Prayer—is one of their favorite songs. I think in [believers'] heads, it feels like a real great divide, but I don't feel like the rest of the world sees that. I think the big deal for most people is the way we treat each other—that speaks much louder than any song. If you're a jerk, it doesn't matter how you're singing or what your faith.
The solo EPs were really personal, and I felt like I could dive into the personal part who I am. But for this album, it felt like an exploration of a fictional world.
Sean, considering Nickel Creek is primarily known with the mainstream crowd, how might this project widen your audience with Christian music listeners?
Watkins: If you're a songwriter, you're gonna write about the different parts of your life. I totally agree with all of what Jon said. To me it feels dishonest to leave one out of the other.
With Nickel Creek, we would just play the songs and it doesn't matter who comes and listens. We don't try to aim for one specific demographic or belief system. There will be people who come to you because they find similarities in beliefs, and that's cool. There are some that don't and they still like the music, which is also cool.
Is Nickel Creek still on a hiatus?
What's the status of Switchfoot's next studio CD?
Foreman: Some of 'em are actually recording right now. We've got our own studio and we're holed up. We've worked with a handful of people [including Charlie Peacock] trying to take the songs to different places and I think we've finally come to a place where we have a great team. We have 75 songs and we're trying to whittle them down to the top 12.
Is there a future with Fiction Family or this a mere one off?
Watkins: I would love to continue. Jon and I talked about more Fiction Family stuff; it's kind of open-ended when we have time. I also have this band called Works Progress Administration [including Toad the Wet Sprocket's Glen Phillips, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' Benmont Tench, Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins, and members of Elvis Costello's band]. We just meet as friends in the studio with everybody having fun and just sort of experimenting with music. We have a record and are now trying to figure out what to do with it, but it will probably come out in late summer. So that's the next thing, but we'll definitely Fiction it up!
Foreman: The Family reunion is coming!
New Music Reviews
And here's a sweet fanvid of the popular TV Show LOST, set to "This Is Home." I love this show, and seeing how its turning out, the song SO fits.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Fiction Family's management emailed us asking to find 2 merch sellers for the Fiction Family show in Seattle on Feb 3 and 2 for FF show in Portland on Feb 4.
If anyone is going to those shows and would like to help, shoot us an email at "firstname.lastname@example.org" and we'll forward the info to Red Light.
Posted by Job at 9:39 AM
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Billboard.com finally published the charts for last week's album sales, and Fiction Family did fairly well in all the charts it entered. Not surprisingly, it shot to the near-top of Christian retail, and fared well on the Internet and Independent front.
Here are the complete listings:
Billboard 200: #71
Billboard Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums : #20
Billboard Comprehensive Albums: #73
Billboard Top Rock Albums: #25
Billboard Top Internet Albums: #14
Billboard Top Independent Albums: #8
Billboard Top Digital Albums: #14
Billboard Top Christian Albums: #3
Billboard Top Christian & Gospel Albums: #3
Congrats Fiction Family! Keep telling your friends about the album! Speaking of which, the Fiction Family contest ends five days from now, on Friday. Make sure, if you haven't gotten around to posting the banner/video around, it's not too late! It might be too late to win a prize, but that's definitely secondary to helping out a great band! SIGN UP!
And, a nice Sunday treat. Jon Foreman rockin' the Kanye glasses!