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Life — and new album — is a beach for Switchfoot

Published April 22, 2014 10:52 am

Music • San Diego band films documentary, records album at surfing spots around globe.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As the band Switchfoot often does, it took to the waves to surf and ruminate about its ninth album.

Once in the ocean, the San Diego-based rock group decided to stay.

The band's ninth album, "Fading West," is a companion piece to its recent rock documentary of the same name. It was inspired by the undertow and ebb and flow of the sea, which, members say, is as integral to the band as guitars and drums.

"Our connection began in the water," said drummer Chad Butler. "We became friends at the beach before we ever played music together. I think the common love of the ocean has fueled our desire to see the world together and to take our music to new places. The time we spend in the sea staring at the infinite horizon is grounding. It's a reminder of your small place in a big world."

The 2003 hits "Meant to Live and Dare You to Move," for which the veteran band is best known, established Switchfoot as a mainstream band after earlier success in Christian rock.

Butler answered questions about the ocean, surfing, and why music fits so nicely with both.

Where did you get the idea for the film?

The quest to find inspiration for our ninth album was the catalyst for a journey chasing songs and waves around the globe. We grew up watching surf/travel films like "Endless Summer" and music docs like "Rattle and Hum." Surfing and music seem to fit together naturally.

Which came first, the idea for the film or the album?

Instead of the usual process of writing and recording a new album at home, we booked a world tour around our favorite surf spots. We wanted to put ourselves into new challenging environments where the landscape and the culture could shape the songs. With such an epic journey planned, it seemed fitting to bring a film crew and document the adventure.

What's more physically demanding, surfing or playing a show?

The ocean is unpredictable, and the changing conditions really determine the amount of energy you spend there. It can be a relaxing session catching mellow waves with friends, or an adrenaline rush pushing your limits in bigger surf. The live show, however, is always high energy. Onstage we give it our all every night. There's never any gas left in the tank.

What was your favorite surfing spot in all the world?

During our travels and making "Fading West," we visited Bali. It's a magical island of beautiful, welcoming people and perfect waves. Put it on your bucket list.

What does 2014 hold for Switchfoot?

Now that the film and album are released, it's been incredible to hear everyone singing along to the new songs live on tour. It's a privilege to deliver this album live firsthand around the globe. There is a real emotional connection to the experiences that these songs came from, and much of that is documented in the film. It feels like the honesty of the film has allowed everyone inside the creative process and that these songs mean more because of that.



When • Tuesday, April 22, 7 p.m.

Where • The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $25 in advance, $30 day of, at SmithsTix