After releasing six studio albums that was followed by years of touring, what Switchfoot was going for on its new record was to somehow capture the vibe and energy from one of their live shows on a record produced in the studio. Drum roll please. Tah dah. Welcome “Hello Hurricane” the band’s seventh studio album, released in November of last year.
“This was the most difficult record to date. We built ourselves a studio in our hometown and just held up with a bunch of songs and ended up tracking 80 tunes and really feeling freedom,” Switchfoot front man Jon Forman told Alternative Addiction. “We had kind of bailed what we were doing over at Sony. We didn’t feel like there was a family for us anymore so we went with our thing and we had complete creative control. That kind of turned into a monster halfway through after you finish 80 songs you really push the boundary. You end up with an identity crisis of who we are and what are we trying to do.”
Having had more freedom to be creative was a good thing, but it also produced some challenges for the Southern California band, who took their name from surfing stance that means to take a new stance facing the opposite direction, in other words, to take a different view of approaching life and music.
“Looking back I feel like it (making the new record) brought us to this crossroads of existence, getting all exponential here, I feel like we had to come up with a reason why Switchfoot was around,” Foreman said. “What is that one thing that Switchfoot does? What do we want to say, what is the one song we want to sing? Though it was a difficult process, I don’t feel like we would have arrived at those questions or those answers any other way. I do feel like it was the most challenging record to make but at the same time I’m more proud of this record than any other record we made.”
Switchfoot has developed a dedicated fan base that supports their live shows since they caught a break and had four of their songs featured on the movie soundtrack “A Walk to Remember.” That success led to the release of their major debut record, “A Beautiful Letdown” that sold over 2.6 million copies and featured the hits “Dare You to Move” and “Meant to Live.”
“I feel like we’ve had so many people that we look up to and respect come to the shows and say ‘I wish the CD’s represented the energy you guys have live.’ That’s always been the goal is how do we put that energy into a CD. I feel like this is the closest we’ve ever come with this record,” Foreman said. “We wanted to hand deliver this album to people. That was kind of the biggest challenge we’ve ever undertaken trying to make 12 brand new songs engaging. So many times with the live experience you go to see a band for the songs you know not because of the songs you don’t. For us that was a challenge. But it was also a lot easier. We couldn’t have done that with any of the records we’ve ever made. This record was definitely from the top down, thought of as a live experience.”
The hope is to get the best of both. The live energy of a show recorded in the studio. Is that possible? It’s about is likely as finding a bad day to surf in San Diego.