Interview: Zach Lind of Jimmy Eat World
The kings of emo, Jimmy Eat World, just happen to be sports fans. So it was pretty much a slam dunk when ESPN asked if it could use the Arizona band's songs "Big Casino," "Feeling Lucky" and "Always Be."
"I think we're pretty much all sports fans," said drummer Zach Lind. "ESPN came to us and they wanted to use some of our music going in and out of [basketball] game segments. We were fine with that. We're into that. We watch sports, so it's not too big of a stretch."
The band, which also includes singer/guitarist Jim Adkins, guitarist Tom Linton and bassist Rick Burch, roots primarily for Arizona teams in its free time--not a bad choice considering National League baseball team the Diamondbacks are in first place and the Suns are in the NBA playoffs.
"Well, we're from Arizona so for college sports, we're typically ASU fans," Lind said. "We support the Diamondbacks, the Suns and all the Phoenix teams."
Jimmy Eat World has paired up with Paramore--a 2008 Grammy nominee for New Artist of the Year--for a tour that wraps up April 28. Festivals in the US and Europe will follow, as will a hometown show in Phoenix. Recently dubbed "the Judd Apatow of pop-punk" by a critic, Jimmy Eat World is touring in support of its sixth album "Chase This Light."
Lind talked to SoundSpike about "Chase the Light," working on the album with three different producers, and the group's songwriting process.
SoundSpike: How's the tour going so far?
Zach Lind: It's going really well, actually. We're having a really good time. The crowds have been really good.
What are you going to do when this tour is over?
We're going to go to Europe and do a few weeks of European festivals, and then we come back home for a little bit, and in July we're going to head up to Canada and Australia. We're looking forward to it. It should be a good summer.
On "Chase This Light," you worked with three different producers. What was it like working with them, and what did they each lend to the album?
We worked with three very different producers. The executive producer of the record is Butch Vig. He's definitely a legend in the alternative-rock world. He's been involved in some of the great records of the '90s like [Smashing Pumpkins'] "Siamese Dream" and [Nirvana's] "Nevermind." There's been an endless amount of really cool records that he's been involved in. It was great working with Butch. There was another guy named John Fields, who we worked with. He is a really insanely talented guy and a lot of fun to work with. Working with him was a great experience for us. Our engineer, who we also gave a production credit to, Chris Testa, he was the guy who was with us every day. He was the only other person outside the band that was actually with us every day in the studio, in the trenches, riding out the music. He's a really talented guy as well, and a joy to have around the studio every day.
Who did you learn the most from?
To be honest, it's really spread equally over all three of them. That's one of the best things for us, is working with different people. When you work with different people, and they're involved in what you do, you get an opportunity to learn from them. I think we took away a lot of really good insight and approaches to making records that we can hopefully apply to future records.
Why did you decide to name the album "Chase This Light"?
Jim had [written] this acoustic song and he showed it to us. As soon as I saw the title for it, I thought, "What a great album title that would be." We talked about it as being the album title. It kind of just stuck. We thought about it a lot, about naming it something else. Nothing really seemed to fit. Nothing fit as well as that. We went with it because it just felt right.
Is it tough to come up with album titles?
We come up with our own titles relatively easily. They pretty much have all come from song titles or lyrics, and usually it presents itself at some point as being obvious. Maybe [2004's] "Futures" was the hardest one to name. We weren't sure what to name it. But "Chase This Light" was pretty much determined way before the album was done. I think whatever we come up with in terms of titles, they're always tentative titles until the artwork's done. For some reason, album titles haven't been overly difficult for us.
How was the songwriting process on "Chase This Light"? Any different from previous efforts?
There's a multitude of ways a song can come together. Sometimes Jim brings in a song idea and we don't stray too far from that. Sometimes a song starts out with a drum beat, a bass line or a guitar riff. It kind of depends on the song. A song like "Always Be" started out with a drum groove, a drum loop and Rick put a bass line down, and Tom and Jim put guitar parts down. That was kind of how it started. But then there's other songs like "Gotta Be Somebody's Blues"; that was really a song that Jim flushed out almost fully and it ended up being on the record that way. We ended up adding some strings to it. It's pretty much similar to Jim's original version.