This is a phone interview that was conducted with Jimmy Eat World front man, Jim Adkins
The main reason we are here today is speak about the new album, Chase This Light. First and foremost there has been a pretty large gap between the release of this record and Futures, almost 3 years. Why have you made us suffer and wait this long for a new Jimmy Eat World record?
Jim: [Laugh] Well touring eats up most of our time, I think we were on tour for nearly a year and half straight. But I guess that is just how long it takes us man. [Laugh] We have done everything we can to streamline the process in putting records out, but we can’t seem to get our act together in less than 3 years. But I guess we were just trying to live somewhat of a normal life. Be at home and write songs in our studio.
That’s right, I heard you guys built a studio at home.
Jim: Yeah, we’ve been more and more recording ourselves every album. It seems like the more of what we demo on our own ends up being in the albums. So when we went into make Chase This Light, we wanted to take our budget and outfit ourselves with the right equipment to just make a record at home from top to bottom.
Well going further in-depth with Chase This Light. As far as the approach to making this record, other than doing it at home, was their something new or different you were trying to accomplish with this release that you have done with your previous releases?
Jim: Umm, no, I don’t think so. Not anything different. I think with the resources we have now, writing and recording is kind of like the same thing now. We are not like a band that sets around and pumps ideas in to it, and then takes it to a producer and then makes a record off of that. We record ourselves doing a lot of different ideas for awhile before it gets to a point where we feel like a song is ready to be submitted to the record contender pile..[Laugh]
Now, I have read numerous reviews about Chase This Light. And one that stuck out in my mind is the Rolling Stone review. It seems like that guy kept throwing out the Emo tag…..
Jim: Yeah that was weird, it was like we weren’t Emo enough for that reviewer person there.
Yeah, do you get tired of that Emo label that sometimes follows your band?
Jim: I don’t know, I guess there is no wrong opinion. Art is always up for interpretation. But it is discouraging to me. I guess I would rather hear why or why not a song produces or fails to produce a reaction in a listener. That to me is more interesting rather than if the song is bad… or whatever… insert adjective. I don’t know with Emo, I have given up with trying to…I don’t know…that word is just…
A lame tag.
Jim: Yeah man, I am just so beyond that education mission [Laugh]. People are going to call it what they are going to call it. They might call it an Emo failure or they may call it the return of Emo. They might even call it a shit sandwich.
[Laugh] Definitely not a shit sandwich
Continuing on silencing the critics. This album also has that true essence of pop, but again I have read critics say that they believe this album was a safe release for you guys. What do you think when you hear that?
Jim: Well conscientiously going into making the record, we knew we wanted to make the songs concise. That kind of was what our goal was. There’s no conflicting hooks, just simple. That's what interests us, that’s what is challenging to us. If a song is 45 seconds long or twelve minutes long; it just about weather or not we feel its complete. We’re not about experimentation for just fucking around. Its got to be contributing to the tune. I would make a very challenging, very inaccessible ambient kind of song if I felt I had a song like that, or if I had a song we were working wanted to go that way. But very little consideration is paid to what is going to happen to a song after we are done recording it or writing it, or what anyone is going to think of it or even if it going to be a Jimmy Eat World song. We are just working on stuff that the song needs.
Its not about if this song is going to be a single, if it going to be a album song…or if it is going to be an Arby’s commercial. I don’t know…. [Laugh] An Arby’s commercial…I don’t know where I thought of that. But I guess I can say we are not trying to go for any specific album whether it’s safe or not. But I can agree and say it’s not groundbreaking for us, but it is the best representation of what we are into doing right now.
Well that is what is supposed to be about right?
Jim: Yeah, Yeah like I said its all about the songs. It’s the songs we want to record and this is the best way we thought we could bring them into existences.
Well aside from what the reviewers or the cynical critics say. How do you personally feel Chase This Light stands up against the rest of your catalog?
Jim: I guess I can only think of it is in terms of…this is the best record we know how to make right now. I mean your tastes change, your ideas change. All you can do is sum up everything you have experienced up until this point. But I don’t know… I would love to go back and fix things on Static Prevails or go back and change things on our first self-titled [Laugh]. But I guess they were the best records we knew how to make at the time. But I can look back at those records and be proud of them in that sense. But I am a different person than I was in 1996.
Another thing I looked at was the track listing. It seems as you strategically place your softer songs like how “Somebody’s Blues” is in the middle and “Dizzy” at the end. Were those songs place there on purpose?
Jim: Yeah, for me its (Somebody’s Blues) like the side break or like the side one closer. As far as sequencing goes. That is why that guy is there…or she, depending what kind of song you think it is [laugh]
What do you think it is, a he or she?
Jim: I don’t know yet. Yeah it could be either
A few final few questions. Your band is obviously a huge influence on a lot of bands. What is your personal take on today’s music scene or the new bands coming up?
Jim: It is very exciting, its an exciting time in music. I don’t know if it is just me or… but 2007 is a way better year for music than 2006. It seemed like everything I listened to last year reminded me of older music. But there are a lot of albums out this year that I love.
I don’t know [Laugh]. Put me on the spot. But it is just an exciting, volatile time to be making music. It’s awesome to be here doing it I guess.
Now to finish up our interview, we asked for questions from our user that they felt they wanted you to answer. And it seems like there was one that kept coming up…
Jim: Why do you guys suck so bad? [Laugh]
[Laugh] I hope not.
Well the question was, why did “Be Sensible” not make the record?
Jim: Well…when all the songs were done, and we were going through which songs were going to be on the full length. We wanted to make a pretty tight, concise album. And we felt like “Somebody’s Blues” and “Dizzy” were the two somewhat downer songs we wanted to have. And for better or worse, we felt those two songs kind of accomplished the role that “Be Sensible” tried to do more effectively in the context of the other songs we’ve chosen.
I don’t know, it’s a tough choice. We are proud of all our songs. But one thing that does make it easy in deciding what songs make the album is the knowledge that sooner or later all the songs will be available on line. So I guess I am trying to say is that, not putting a song on the album is not like shelving a song and hiding it away for all eternity.
Very true, kids these days have the ability to access almost anything they want to.
Jim: Yeah man with digital distro. But I guess for those who aren’t computer savy we are still trying to find a way to get “Be Sensible” released domestically in North America, but we haven’t found a way yet.
Final user question. 23…a bunch of kids wanted to know what the meaning is behind that song.
Jim: Well, probably not much more than what they think it means. Making mistakes, life experiences. What do they think it is about Illuminati?
What the Illuminati? *
[Laugh] I kind of thought you might say that. I read in other interviews where your band says you explain that song with that reference.
Jim: [Laugh] It depends on the interview. You can usually tell within the first five minutes if the interviewer buys themselves an asshole license. And from there we can tell them anything we want, like that the band is all about the Illuminati. Because I remember when Futures first came out…people where like this is all about the Illuminati? I was like what are you talking about. So we kind of ran with that in a couple interviews.
Jim: Yeah so it is possible that we will tell you its about something more that what it really is. But yeah its probably not about anything more that what they first thought it was.
Well thanks so much for spending this last fifteen minutes or so with me talking about the new record and such. I do appreciate it.
Jim: Yeah no problem, thanks a lot.
* rationalistic society founded in Germany soon after 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, a professor at Ingolstadt, having close affinities with the Freemasons and seemingly organized on a Masonic plan. While briefly very popular among German rationalists, it had limited influence. The Roman Catholic Church, which Weishaupt left in his youth and rejoined before his death, condemned the Illuminati; in 1785 the Bavarian government dissolved the organization. It did not long survive. In Spain and Italy in the 15th and 16th cents. the term Illuminati, or Alumbrado, referred to persons claiming direct communion with the Holy Spirit, so asserting that outward forms of religious life are unnecessary. Their claims led to persecution by the Inquisition. Other groups using the name have included the Rosicrucians, and certain followers of Jakob Boehme and Emmanuel Swedenborg.