Jimmy Eat World performed at this year's Download Festival before playing a single date at London's KOKO and then starting their world tour! New album Damages (produced by Alain Johannes) has just been released to public with critical success and the band aim to continue their successful run with a UK tour in September. We spoke with guitarist Tom Linton whilst on site at Download Festival.
CM: How was your trip to the UK? Is it good to be back?
Tom: It feels really good to be back. It's been a few years I think, so it's definitely good to be back with the new record. It just feels good to be back on tour.
CM: We're currently at Download Festival where you're playing the Zippo Encore Stage at 18:20. Over the years, have you personally or the band collectively formed any rituals or traditions that you do before playing a gig?
Tom: We don't do anything too crazy. We do these nerdy vocal warm-ups and do a little stretching. Sometimes there's a guitar back there and we'll just play a little bit, maybe practise a little bit. Nothing Satanic or anything like that.
CM: Are there any bands/artists who you want to see over the Download Festival Weekend?
Tom: We have our own show tomorrow; it's going to be at KOKO. We don't leave until 3am so I want to see Alice in Chains. Iron Maiden would be cool to see. We played with Queens of the Stone Age on the last couple of shows but they play when we're playing so we won't be able to see them - it's kind of a bummer.
CM: So you played Download in 2008, do you remember how that was and will you be doing anything different this time?
Tom: I think just check out more bands. I think last time I didn't really have the chance to do that. If the weather holds up - I do have an umbrella in the bus that I'll go grab and that's something I'll do, to walk out. Last time I didn't have the chance to see many bands and that's something big to do on my 'to do' list.
CM: Looks like the weather is clearing up just for you. You've brought your weather with you.
Tom: Yeah, I was in catering and it just started raining so hard and it just cleared up out of nowhere. It's really cool.
CM: Eight albums down the line and you're still going strong! Damage has just been released, are you happy with the finished results?
Tom: Yeah, we're really proud of it. We kind of did what we did with Bleed American in which we saved up enough money from touring where we were able to pay for the making of the record with our own money. We were really proud of that. The last couple we recorded at our own practise place - it's kind of a studio. On this one we went to LA and recorded with a guy named Alain Johannes and it was inside a small house with a lot of soul and Al just had a lot of ideas. An awesome musician with tonnes of ideas.
CM: Was the personal funding of the album to do with the transition of the record label?
Tom: Yeah, Invented was our last record with Interscope.
CM: You mentioned Alain Johannes. What was it like working with him?
Tom: He just had tonnes of ideas and was really experienced. Inside of his house he has hundreds of instruments from all over the world! In between takes it was kind of fun. We would all grab one of these crazy instruments and start playing all of this weird music. Just the vibe - he's a really happy guy and understood what we wanted.
CM: After 20 years of being together do you still find it as easy to find inspiration for a new material? Are there records you always turn to as staples?
Tom: It comes from a lot of different things. For Jim on the last record, he looked at photos and would look at the photo and tell a story about what he thought was going on in the photo and write a song about that. With this record he just started off writing a lot of songs and a lot of it is kind of adult break up songs and you can hear that in some of the record. Some of it is not strictly adult but it deals more with the real heartache of break ups like the worst part.
CM: You've got a date in London before starting the world tour. Over the years have you felt the need to change the main dynamic of your live gigs? Ever felt the need to turn a bit AC/DC and buy a giant blow up lady or is it still all about the music?
Tom: For us it's all about the music. This time we brought Robin Byning, he is singing, he's playing keyboard, he's playing guitar so it's nice to have that extra person filling in the little gaps we're not able to fill in live with just the four of us. Usually, when we do our own headlining shows and it's not during the day we'll bring out a lighting person and we'll have a good light show. We haven't got too much into the crazy props.
CM: How do you pick a setlist when you have a limited timed show?
Tom: It's hard for us because we want to play a lot of the new stuff but we know a lot of the fans don't want to hear that. Today we have, 30 to 40 minutes so we'll just play a good portion - we'll probably play one, two new songs and the rest will just be the older songs so everybody will get a piece of each record.
CM: Do you ever have any personal disagreements with other bands members in terms of things like setlists?
Tom: Sometimes. It's like stupid little things. We all get along and we don't really fight about stupid things too much but when we do, it's about things like that.
CM: You've been in the industry for twenty years. Have you got any advice for anybody trying to get into the industry?
Tom: I think the best thing to do is find people who you get along with. Just have fun and not really think too much about trying to get big. Just play out shows live and let it all form naturally.
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