Jimmy Eat World have been busy. Their new album 'Integrity Blues' came out in 2016 and since then, they've been hitting the road hard. Today they're at Slam Dunk to close out the day. It's 6pm, and there's a lot of jetlag going on. Rather than looking towards a pause though, it's full steam ahead.
A week earlier, they surprise released two new songs. Showing off both sides of the band, anthemic and reflective, they're a friendly reminder that Jimmy Eat World are still a force to be reckoned with.
‘Love Never' is urgent and swift, a dash of basement grime with plenty of swelling arena comfort, it's a warning anthem about "the unrealistic expectations you put on relationships to fulfil you on a personal level."
‘Half Heart' is quieter, turning that brash encouragement into something vulnerable and uncertain, it shimmers in the moonlight as it looks at "just being present with people. That's the short version, the CliffsNotes," grins frontman Jim Adkins.
"We're always working on new stuff," he continues, excitement dancing on his tongue, but ‘Love Never' and ‘Half Heart' were designed to play off one another.
"We've just been working on new stuff. We have our own studio which we just upgraded with some gear, and we just went in and did them." No expectations, no grand plan. "It's fun now. There are no rules anymore about what you can do or what's available to you. We thought of it as a seven-inch, with an A and a B side, although most people will listen to it them in a playlist.
"Obviously, we have more songs than those two," he teases, "but we felt like those two would be best for the kinda release we wanted to do. They're drastically different," and see the band playing with what comes next.
In this moment, it feels like Jimmy Eat World are free to do what they like. Since the release of latest album ‘Integrity Blues', things have "been awesome" for the group. "It's been an amazing year and a half," reflects Jim as guitarist Tom Linton, choosing his words carefully, admits: "It's almost like it's better than ever."
"We have this odd thing that we've not had to deal with before," adds Jim, "where older fans might have gone away and are now coming back. It's a revolving door of support, and we're really grateful."
But the band are not about replaying past glories; writing new music is a big part of what they do.
"Old is always going to be there, you don't need to work on that anymore. So if you're going to spend your time, we choose to spend it working on new stuff."
There's a new album coming, because "eventually what you're working on becomes an album's worth of stuff." After the deliberate stances of 2013's ‘Damage' and ‘Integrity Blues', the next Jimmy Eat World album is still to be discovered. "It usually shows itself after a handful of tunes have formed. Right now, everything is too nebulas to give it a real direction."
Inspired by "continuing to try things that seem like a stretch of your identity," and "knowing there are fans out there that are interested in what you do," the band are still heading forwards. The more they adventure, "the more places it seems there are left to go."
As for their status as a band, "we're closing the stage, so people expect you to be a dick a little bit," Jim starts, tongue firmly lodged in cheek. "We don't want to ruin that. It would ruin the entire rock and roll myth if we were nice to everyone."
Taken from the August issue of Upset, out now.
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