What does a typical day look like in the life of Jon Foreman?
When I’m home I try to do the following at least once a day: record, write, surf, hang with my wife, read, and eat.
Most of our readers probably know about your seasons EPs, so you can briefly recap on that for those who don’t, and then we’ll go on to talk about your new release, Limbs and Branches.
The EP’s are titled Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. The music on each EP was recorded in season- Six songs a pop for a total of 24 songs to round out the year. On every EP my goal was to capture the sentiment of the season with production and lyrics that felt appropriate.
Do you think Limbs and Branches is a worthwhile purchase for those of us who already have all four EPs, or is it just an introduction to fans that are only finding your music now?
It’s the latter, an introduction. Limbs and Branches has two new songs that were not included on the previous EP’s. The rest of the songs were selected from the previous EPs.
Do the two new songs fit into any seasonal category, or are they more general?
I think “broken from the start” would fit on winter and “over the river” would be more of a summer tune- just my humble opinion.
In your opinion, which season turned out best? Why?
I’m not sure. I really need some distance to answer that. Fall felt very concise.
Do you find it easy to have your solo work presented fairly as Jon Foreman, or is it always talked about as “that guy from Switchfoot”?
Either way I suppose they’re telling the truth. We humans tend to talk a lot more than we listen… so as long as the music is heard, I could care less.
In general, the solo project seems to have some similarities with Switchfoot, but some things that are rather different. What role does faith play in each?
The EPs came out of a very dark time in my life- a lot of things in my life were dead or dying. So these songs were a true journey for me. The Messiah talked about how certain things have to die for true life to come about. I suppose this concept had a role to play in these EPs.
My friend is fighting cancer. And yet, he has incredible hope, joy, peace, and patience. Sometimes I wonder whether pain is the only way to learn these things. For the most part, I can’t imagine writing this song from any place other than pain.
Everyone has faith. Faith in something. Someone. Every act demonstrates some form of faith. Driving. Working. Having sex. Lack of faith is simply faith in something else. Even suicide is an act of faith. My faith is hard to sum up in a trite sound-bite. I struggle with my faith every day. Faith in a creator. Faith in a soul. Faith in a world that still has the promise of change. Faith in a redeemer who cares for the broken, the poor, and the marginalized. This faith influences my best actions. My struggle for faith is often on my mind so I write about it in my songs.
Tell us about Lowercase People.
Hmmm… Lowercase People is a long story that is yet to finish. It began as dream in South Africa. We met a group of singing kids called “the Kuyasa Kids” from Kayamundi near Stellenbosch, SA. These incredible kids had such hope. Such beauty. We wanted to support these children not out of pity but rather for the honor of being affiliated with these children. No, not out of pity because they had lost their parents to AIDs but because of their nobility, their strength, their beauty. So we recorded a record of these kids and printed CDs. They sold their own CDs. Their voices. Their beauty. Through this CD they funded their own education with their own voices
MLK Jr. said “Instead of seeking to do something with the African and Asian peoples, we have too often sought only to do something for them. An expression of pity devoid of genuine sympathy, leads to a new form of paternalism which no self respecting person can accept.” Lowercase People began as an attempt to make a beautiful CD with the Kuyasa kids.
Because we sing songs about beauty. Because beauty is attractive. Because truth is beautiful. We wanted to create a site where all of these collided. Unfortunately, the site really didn’t gain the traction that we thought it would. So after a season we realized that we could better direct our efforts by tying these efforts more directly with our touring. So the past three tours have raised money and support for Habitat for Humanity and TWLOHA. For now, we’ve started our own label lowercase people records to keep the dream alive while we support other folks. I still hope to do something with Lowercase People Justice Fund down the line.
On a similar note, what drew you personally to want to work so much with To Write Love on Her Arms?
I’ve known Jamie for many years. He has a great heart. I was honored to be there when he opened up his first box of TWLOHA shirts. I still believe in what he’s doing. I know from personal experience how necessary counseling can be. Getting these dark skeletons out in the open is the only way forward and TWLOHA is a great encouragement to younger folks to talk about these issues.
What are your next plans for Switchfoot after The Best Yet is released?
We’re tracking the next record in our studio in San Diego. It will come out on Lowercase People Records in the spring.
Do you think the solo project is done now that the seasons are done, or will you return to it with new ideas sometime in the near future? What does this have to say for the future of Switchfoot?
I’ll return to it someday, when the season is right. Before that happens I’m going to release a collaboration with Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek called Fiction Family. That’s coming out in January of 09. We’ll do a US tour around then as well.
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to talk with us. Would you like to say anything else to our readers?
Life is short, live it well,
Live for others- we rise and fall together…