Photo by Tony Wooliscroft
(Editor's Note: This is a portion of the article featured in the new issue of Variance.)
Some bands have all the luck. At least that’s how a quick review of Jimmy Eat World’s history makes it seem. They signed with Capitol Records right out of high school in 1995 and have been with a major ever since.
Jimmy Eat World released its seventh studio album, Damage, June 11 on their new label, RCA Records. The long-anticipated follow up to 2010’s critically-acclaimed Invented, Damage is a labor of love produced by Jimmy Eat World and Alain Johannes, recorded in the fall of 2012 at the producer’s Los Angeles home studio.
“I think the biggest difference between Invented and Damage is really the method we used to make the record,” says Drummer Zach Lind. While not much has changed with the band’s creative process over the years, getting the ideas down and distributed is a different beast altogether.
“Invented was put together in a way where it took a longer period of time,” Lind continues. “We worked in our own studio so the writing process, the arranging process and the recording process all kind of blend into one thing. We decided for this record it’d be good to try something different.”
A change of scenery to Johannes’ home studio was enough to change up the process and give the band a different experience altogether. “This time around, each stage of the record kind of had its own defined space,” Lind explains. “The writing, the demoing and the recording all kind of happened in a more structured form and I think that altered our approach.”
Where the sound of Damage is concerned, well, consistency has been one of the traits that’s made the band so successful for the last 20 years. Fans can expect Jimmy Eat World’s timeless and iconic rock sound, while fanatics will notice the more live show feel of the arrangements.
“We used the tape machine a lot in the recording of this record and that kind of changes your methods, too,” Lind says. “It puts more emphasis on the performance and it ended up being a record based on more natural performances and a little more raw, human sounding.”
But even with the label switch between Invented and Damage, the boys of Jimmy Eat World don’t feel the least bit pressured to update their signature sound. In fact, according to Lind, they’re largely unaware of what that signature sound is.
“With each song, we go into the recording of it thinking of ways to make that song the best it can possibly be and it’s just a song-by-song progression,” he explains. “We’re not necessarily trying to reach for anything in particular; we just try to make every song the best version of itself and don’t really think about it beyond that.
“We don’t focus a lot of energy on steering the songwriting or the production in a certain direction; it’s just that we have a collection of songs, we feel like these songs are the best ones, and we go and record them and each individual song dictates what we do in that song.”
Read the full interview here.