Switchfoot in the midst of a ‘Hurricane’

In Music

By Portia Bode
Daily Titan Staff Writer

Alternative rock band Switchfoot, originally named “Chin Up,” have been rocking fans since 1996. Original members Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman and Chad Butler added Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley to form Switchfoot’s current lineup. Apart from their musical aspirations, they also started Bro-Am, an annual charity surf competition, and Lowercase People, which helps bands get discovered and reach their own independence. Switchfoot knows all too well about independence after recently breaking the chains from their major record label, deciding to produce a CD that challenged people to change the world. The resulting product, Hello Hurricane, which debuts Nov. 10.

Switchfoot’s bass player, Tim Foreman, set aside time to explain their inspiration for Hello Hurricane and the meaningful connection between Hurricane Katrina and the new album.

Hello Hurricane is “a record about that struggle and jumping into the turbulent waters that are brewing,” Foreman said.

Foreman got choked up as he discussed his experience working with Habitat for Humanity last year in Louisiana after the hurricanes hit in 2005. One home they helped build was for a woman who had lost her leg during the evacuation process.

Her next hurdle was learning to walk with a prosthetic limb, Foreman said.

“She said, ‘I walked out of my old house on my own two feet, and I’m going to walk into this (new) one on my own two feet.’ That really impacted me,” Foreman said.

He left that experience with the idea that the storms of life will come regardless, and there’s nothing people can do to stop them. But each person gets to choose how he or she wants to respond in the path of the hurricane.

Switchfoot’s latest personal hurricane has been the switch from major-label sponsorship to a smaller backing. “It really was a learning and grueling time for us. It was without a doubt the hardest record that we’ve ever made. The process was extremely challenging for us. We left Sony Records/Columbia Records, so we were an independent band. We built our own studio. We had all this freedom. No time constraints. No one breathing down our neck. And that in itself became the challenge. With no strings attached, what band do we want to be? When we were starting the record, we wanted to come up with a record title that would form the heartbeat behind the record and find a title so compelling that we’d have to write a song about it,” Foreman said.

During the writing process of Hello Hurricane the band recorded over 90 songs.

In the process of narrowing it down to the final tracks, the band found themselves asking, “What are the songs we want to die singing? What are the songs that are so important that we couldn’t imagine not putting them out and couldn’t imagine not singing them for the next ten years?” Foreman said.

In that process, the final 12 tracks became extremely obvious.

His “favorite” song from the new album changes every day, but recently, Foreman has really liked the song titled “Enough to Let Me Go.”

“It deals with a pretty heavy subject matter of co-dependency, and how often times what we call love is in fact possession … It’s the idea that people and relationships aren’t something to be held onto with a closed fist,” Foreman said.

Fans have also confirmed that they too love “Enough to Let Me Go,” and other sneak-previews of the album, “Mess of Me” and “Yet” in many reviews.

“It feels like these songs have an urgency that is very immediate for our listeners,” he said. “It’s been amazing. It’s really staggeringly positive … This record has been the most well-received by our fans than we ever have had for a new album. That’s exciting for us.”

Knowing how fans have received Hello Hurricane, Foreman believes that the high price of wrestling and struggling with the making of the album has been worthwhile.

“Often times the hardest times of my life are the moments that yield the best fruits and most growth,” he said.

Foreman believes people can learn from the difficult times in their lives and use those lessons to impact the world in a positive way.

Every person’s life is so important, he added.

“Every day you’re alive, you can change the world. It could be for the better or for the worse. It can be big waves or small waves. The very fact that you’re alive and breathing and walking outside, going to class, whatever it is, you’re changing the world with each footstep. There’s a lot of weight to that,” Foreman said.

The band poses the question to listeners, “Now that you’re aware that you are changing the world, what would you like to do with that?”

Hello Hurricane is their response to this question. It will join their catalog which already includes chart-toppers like “This is Your Life,” “Meant to Live,” and “Dare you to Move,” “Stars” and “We are One Tonight.” A Walk to Remember and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe soundtracks also feature music by Switchfoot.

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