Listen: Switchfoot's Tim Foreman talks with Hope 103.2's Laura Bennett about the band's new album 'Interrobang'
Switchfoot’s new album Interrobang was produced by a staunch atheist. That may seem like a pretty mundane fact to point out, given people of different faith backgrounds work together all the time, but in this case it meant the band’s album was completely infused with the philosophies their new music is trying to convey.
“One of the things we set out to address was ‘How do we do this thing called life with people that we disagree with?’,” bassist and vocalist Tim Foreman told Hope 103.2.
“I feel like we’ve lost [the ability to do that] as a country, as a planet, as a society. All I see is polarisation and division, and rather than disagreeing and staying in the fight, people just hang up and disengage.”
“I feel like we’ve lost [the ability to do life with people we disagree with] as a country, as a planet, as a society,” – Switchfoot’s Tim Foreman
While not a “Christian band” per se, Switchfoot’s members all have a Christian faith that influences their music and the ideas they wrestle within it, and they’ve never shied away from asking how their Christian beliefs should affect the way they live and show love to the world.
Tim said our disengagement from people who are different from us “is a real shame because that’s how we grow: by being challenged by differing viewpoints”.
“Growth happens when both parties who disagree find common ground and walk away with something new that they learned,” he said.
When it came to their producer, Tim said, “We showed up at the studio everyday and we fought about all sorts of things, and disagreed about all sorts of things and still made a beautiful album together”.
“[Our work] became this experiment of, ‘Can you make something beautiful with people that you strongly disagree with?’ I think you can, and I think we need to.”
“Can you make something beautiful with people that you strongly disagree with? I think you can, and I think we need to,” – Switchfoot’s Tim Foreman
Their dynamic brought to life the concept of the album title.
“An ‘interrobang’ is a question mark on top of an exclamation mark,” Tim said.
“It’s two differing viewpoints living together at the same moment.
“That’s what 2020 was for us and that’s what the process of making this album was.”
The interplay between asking questions, speaking up and being willing to confront opposing perspectives is something Tim believes can benefit all of us.
“I think entering into relationships and conversations and moments with the anticipation that you have something to learn is truly beautiful,” Tim said. “The older I get the more aware I am of that.
“I think entering into relationships and conversations and moments with the anticipation that you have something to learn is truly beautiful,” – Switchfoot’s Tim Foreman
“Getting older, being married, raising kids – these are all humbling endeavours. These are not things that puff you up and make you feel like you’ve got it all figured out.
“There’s an opportunity for that [humbling] to be wonderful if it allows you to look at the world as something to learn from.”
Switchfoot’s news album Interrobang is out August 20, with singles fluorescent, i need you (to be wrong) and the bones of us out now.
Listen to Tim Foreman’s full interview with Laura Bennett in the player above.
Switchfoot Drummer Chad Butler on Band’s New Album and Cultivating Empathy
By David Esquen
Switchfoot has stuck around for the last 25 years as one of the most recognisable names in Christian rock, and there’s a reason for that.
They’re unafraid to explore the complex minefields of religion, relationships, politics and the human condition. They’ve even referenced Kierkegaard and Saint Augustine on their 1997 debut, when the band members were barely over the age of 20.
Their latest album Interrobang is no different when it comes to exploring difficult themes, and is their most mature offering yet.
Produced by Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Paul McCartney), the San Diego quintet find themself in the zeitgeist of the 2020s, while remaining timeless and asking more questions, rather than having any answers.
At the heart of the record lies questions about what it takes to get to a state of higher love and real empathy. That is, to love someone not based on common interests or agreements, but rather in spite of our differences.
I caught up with Chad Butler (co-founder and drummer of Switchfoot) to talk about the album’s themes, including how growing up in Europe helped influence his worldview and cultivate empathy.
Listen: Switchfoot’s Chad Butler chats to FRESH host David “Esky” Esquen
Interrobang releases August 20 through Fantasy Records. Find Switchfoot on the FRESH playlist on Spotify.