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Switchfoot at Soundwave Festival 2012

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by Rod Whitfield (subscribe)
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At the risk of stating the blatantly obvious, American rock band Switchfoot are far from the heaviest band on the Soundwave bill. They're also probably the least debaucherous and party-ready band in the lineup, with all members being staunch Christians. With all that said, they may seem an interesting choice for a massive bill chock-full of ungodly, murderously heavy bands such as Meshuggah, Slipknot, Lamb of God and Gojira. But bassist and backing vocalist Tim Foreman, speaking from his home in San Diego, welcomes the challenge of playing alongside such brutality, and is very confident they will give an excellent account of themselves.

No, we like mixing it up like that," he states with conviction, "we've been playing on those types of bills our entire career. Especially over here in the States. We grew up going to punk and metal shows, those are the shows that really got us into music as kids, you know? We're honoured to be on the bill, and I think it's gonna be a lot of fun".

We do a lot of these type of festivals," he continues, "here in the States and over in Europe as well. You get to see a lot of bands in one day, which we enjoy just as much as the people who buy tickets to go do. We're fans of the music just like everyone else, and a lot of the times it becomes a big reunion back stage. You see a lot of bands you played with in the past, so it's always good times."

Not only have they played on many bills of this nature in the past, the band tend to switch things up for these type of festivals, and bring their hardest rocking A-game to the fold, as Tim explains.

Well for Soundwave, we're gonna be bringin' our rock," he foretells, "and so it'll be a pretty high energy show. We tend to just go for it onstage. Jon (Foreman, Tim's brother and the band's frontman) is one of those frontmen where you never know whether he's going to jump into the drum set, or dive into the crowd. Anything can happen, and that's what I love about it, the recklessness of just getting onstage and going for it.

We're doing some headline shows while we're over there as well," he says, "we'll be able to catch our breath with those, and mix it up a little, be a little bit more diverse. Songs from the entire career that we've been a band."

Speaking of which, it's been a solid decade and a half that Switchfoot have been around. And it's been a pretty damn successful career to boot, with eight highly successful albums, a Grammy and many other accolades and mutiple chart singles under their collective belts. Tim often finds it hard to believe that so much water has passed under the bridge for the band.

It sure doesn't feel like it (15 years since the band formed)," he states, "but I think that's the truth, I think we just closed 15 years as a band. And that just feels unbelievable to say that. There's not many bands that I can just rattle off the top of my head that have been around that long. We certainly never expected to be still doing this 15 years later, that's for sure. So there's a lot to be thankful for. It's ironic though, because we still feel like a baby band. We're still figuring it out, and learning, and we still feel fresh, like we're still just getting going here."

Something that keeps them going for so long has been the pure joy of writing new music and releasing albums, and they have been quite prolific in that length of time. Eight albums since their debut was released in 1997 is better than a new record every two years, and they never seem to run out of inspiration to create new sounds and songs.

Yeah, we love makin' songs, it's what keeps us going," he enthuses, "the music, the songs, all have a story, and I think we write better through hard times than through good. We've been through a lot of adversity as a band, and I think music is a great way to deal with that. I guess we write more about things we don't understand than things we do. And the music that's always spoken to me as a fan has always been the same way, music that really takes you somewhere."

Another thing that spurs the band to keep going through tough times has been their faith. Plus while they don't actually consider themselves a 'Christian band' as such, it puts them in a very good position, where they are able to appeal to both Christan and non-Christian fans.

"You know, that's a funny one," he understates the situation, "we've always been completely honest about our beliefs, and where we're coming from. At the same time people are always trying to put you in boxes. Our music is just honest, it comes from an honest place, of beliefs and doubts and struggles, and I think it's something that speaks to a lot of people, but not to everyone...we write songs that a lot of people do appreciate, and the ones that don't, we couldn't care less about at this point. You kinda have to have that attitude these days, if you're gonna make music that you believe in."


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Why? Because they're a great band
When: Late February/Early March
Where: Australia wide
Cost: See Website for details
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