Jimmy Eat World shot to popularity in 2001 with the release of the "Bleed American" opus, eponymously retitled following the September 11 tragedy. With tours alongside Weezer and Tenacious D following, the album went on to be a huge commercial success.
Touring the UK to promote their latest release, the critically acclaimed "Futures", Soul Shine caught up with front man Jim Adkins backstage at the sold-out Portsmouth Pyramid Centre.
How is it being back to play in the UK? How do crowds compare with the US?
It's great being back, the shows [in the UK] are always great. It seems that over here people have already made their minds up to have fun when they go out for the night. In the States you kinda have to work harder and there's still no guarantee it's going to translate. It's cool to know so many people will be excited to come out and see us here though, it definitely makes it all worthwhile for us.
The new album "Futures" saw you change producer to Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters) after working with Mark Trombino (Blink 182) for 10 years, what prompted the switch?
We just felt it was time to get a fresh perspective, nothing to knock Mark Trombino's talent as we all still think he's one of the best out there producing records. You don't know how many opportunities you're going to have and so we decided to take advantage of the situation and work with somebody different. Gil's past work was something that drew us to him initially then we met him, hung out and hit it off. It just seemed like it would work.
Was much of the album already worked out or did it happen along the way, especially with having a new producer involved?
The majority of the album we did have worked out. We demo things at our studio at least nine or ten times before we go and record, but as prepared as you can be, there's always stuff that just changes around completely when you get in the studio. You have your outline and you shoot for that and along the way realize that in trying to do what you know you want there may be other things you need. There may be sonic holes that need to be filled up, having put everything into it you might then realize there is a section of it that still isn't all that interesting and needs something to go in there. Those are the types of things you only discover along the way.
Do you find it difficult trying to find a balance between working with what you have and the constraints of time and budget?
No. Making "Futures", if there was anything we could do we felt would make the song better then we would do it. We have enough freedom for it to be our call÷when it's good enough it's our call. It's pointless to let a record out there if you don't feel it's your best work.
Speaking of freedom, are you happy at your new label, Interscope?
I don't know man, Interscope is a huge, huge place and when you're a band like us you're often competing directly for attention at the label. When "Futures" came out I think U2, Gwen Stefani and Eminem had records just out. Right now, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails and Audioslave are all coming up so it doesn't stop. We're constantly going up against these huge bands for attention and that wasn't the case at Dreamworks. It makes sure we keep working hard I guess, it's an interesting place. Really, the only way of securing your priority status is by selling a shit load of records. They'll cut you some slack but only for so long if you're not selling, after that it's like 'What else is there'? Where we are right now definitely isn't where we expected to be when we got into this mess but the upside is that they do have quite a bit of muscle, so if they're into you then you're looking pretty good.
In the UK you're often seen as the pioneers of the neo 'emo' era, but do you even like the 'emo' tag?
No. Everyone likes taking credit for breaking "the next big thing" and so the tendency is when there is a new word to run with it, or the competition will. Critics definitely like to overly classify, and hype such as that is, in a lot of ways, one of the worst things that can happen to you as a band.
I got a lot of friends back in Arizona who put off buying records by the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes for the sole reason that so many people had said' oh, this is amazing, this is the best record of all time'. If something is the best record of all time then of course you're going to be let down when you pick it up. A lot of bands are like that, when you're bombarded by all these outside sources telling you how great and cool a band is, you're obviously going to be skeptical. It's gotta be like that. If all those bands want that sort of attention then God bless 'em, but we're not gonna go there.
The band's new single, "Work" is out now on Interscope. For more information, check out: www.jimmyeatworld.com
Writer: Dave Hardwick