"When you realise that facing reality isn’t as scary as you make it out to be in your head, and that moving forward in a way which is your choice rather than just as a reaction is actually possible." - Jim Adkins.
Jimmy Eat World have announced the details of their upcoming album 'Surviving', and dropped the first single! It's a good day to be a fan of Jimmy Eat World (which is basically all of us, isn't it?).
'Surviving' is set for release October 18 through The Orchard / RCA Records, and the lead single 'All The Way (Stay)' is out now, and you can check it out below:
We caught up with Jimmy Eat World frontman Jim Adkins to talk through their upcoming album, the inspiration behind it, choosing to actively change your own life, and more.
What was it that you were trying to convey with ‘Surviving’?
Says Jim: "I think when you’re younger you might not know what you’re doing, you just feel like you have to do it. When you’re creating something, it’s like ‘I have this idea! Let’s do this with it!' - you don’t spend a whole lot of time reflecting on it because you just end up doing it and then it’s there. As you get older, you start refining your process a bit and produce more and more material - there has to be an actual reason for what you’re doing. This is our tenth album. Why make a tenth album? It has to stand up against our very best work from our previous nine albums, and it has to actually mean something - otherwise why are we doing this? Maybe that’s why it takes us three years in between albums, because we have to have some life to live between it all so we have something new to say. A general theme will start forming after a few ideas have been worked on - you can tell that a pattern is floating to the surface and then you can go and explore that."
So what theme did you start discovering?
"For me, what I felt was something interesting to explore was how every moment of your existence you have a choice between continuing what you’re doing, and doing something different. There is always resistance in doing something new. If you feel anxiety or depression or general dissatisfaction in whatever your personal condition is like, it’s really strange that there’s still resistance to deviating from that. To explore that, you really have to come to a present choice - that’s the difference between existing and truly living. Like I say in the song, ‘You can survive but not exactly live’. It’s like anything would be better than what I’m doing right now, but I’m too afraid to change it. It’s not a natural response for us to change."
It’s easy to become a passenger in your own life, but actually taking those steps towards asking for help really put you on the right track to understanding the world around you again...
"Exactly. I think that the encouraging part is that there is a reward for doing something different when you realise you’re capable of doing much more than your current situation. That reward encourages you to take even more steps in a different direction, then all of a sudden you’re in a place that you never expected to be that you actually enjoy."
How did reaching that point affect you when it actually came to hitting the studio and working on music?
"The process is still identical to what it was - it’s about being honest with what we are feeling and being honest with what excites us. It’s about being honest musically with what we feel is fun and rewarding to do - the only real change that occurs is the theme. I wouldn’t say that there has been a real effect that the process of writing and recording has caused an effect on us personally. If you continue going through that process though, you will always find that reward and it will still inspire you to take on even more musical challenges."
What role do you feel that this record plays within the point that you have reached, both as an individual but also as a band?
"I feel like there is a lot of hope within this record. When you realise that facing reality isn’t as scary as you make it out to be in your head, and that moving forward in a way which is your choice rather than just as a reaction is actually possible. I hope that it’s an inspiring statement."
How did it feel to be able to look at these revelations and realisations manifested within the form of actual music, rather than musings in your head?
"A feeling of accomplishment. You give yourself parameters, and you give yourself a direction, and you set out to accomplish a goal - then you nail it and that feels great. There isn’t any real revelation beyond that really, because you’re being honest about what you’re feeling and you go ‘of course this happens this way, because it’s the truth’."
How has this outlook affected the way you process things in life away from music?
"There are a lot of parallels to how the fundamentals of struggle are universal across the board to what you have in front of you. I think it was Faulkner who put forward the idea of when you’re writing, to not be afraid to kill your darlings - that’s really true within the musical world. You may have this really cool idea that you want to base a song around, but the song just isn’t coming together. The solution is to get rid of that cool thing that you’re holding on to because that’s what is fucking up the song. It’s really hard to let that go. It’s a great metaphor for any sort of life issue outside of music as well - that thing you are trying to hold on to might be the very thing that you’re trying to let go of. It’s really hard to come to that point though."
Perhaps you can be your own worst enemy when you’ve been doing something a particular way for so long. You think you’re doing the right thing and you’re afraid to take that plunge and tell yourself that you may be wrong...
"Absolutely. Something I was really fascinated with when we were working on the ‘Surviving’ material was the idea of why your ego is trying to protect you from admitting you’re wrong about this one thing, when obviously this one thing is preventing you from finding the real solution to the core problem."
So ultimately, what do you feel as though ‘Surviving’ as a word actually means within the context of these songs?
"I think the difference between existing and living comes down to staying present and making decisions instead of reactions. If you want to be a faster runner, you’re going to have to run faster. You’re going to have to run faster often as well. Yes, you can feel instantly better about your life, but to make that stick you have to access incremental progress over time. The things I’m talking about on ‘Surviving’ and the benefits that I receive from them are certainly not overnight applications."
Jimmy Eat World's new album 'Surviving' is set for release October 18 through The Orchard / RCA Records.