The all-American band Jimmy Eat World released their seventh studio album, Damage, back in June this year, and are currently on a UK tour and hitting the O2 Academy Leeds on Sunday. We managed to catch up with Rick Burch in Birmingham to ask him about the tour, the new album, 17th century instruments, and plans for the immediate future.
So how have things been recently in the world of Jimmy Eat World?
Things have been going fantastic. We’ve recently put out damage and we’re really proud of it, had a really great time making it and working with Al Johannes who is one of the most talented, nicest friend we have had the honour and privilege to work with, and since then, we have been on the road. It’s been great performing the new songs as well as the old ones, with the audiences receiving us nicely, and everyone’s been having a great time at our shows so we really couldn’t ask for more.
Are you straight off on the mainland European tour straight after you’ve finished in the UK?
We’re still in the UK for the next couple of weeks, hitting Leeds in a few days, but then we’re over in Ireland for a little bit, then back over to Scotland and then work our way back down in to England. We go back to the USA for about a month, and then I believe we’re heading back this way after then.
Let’s talk about Damage, what have you done differently with this album compared to the last six?
We did do something different this time around and it was because our last two albums were recording in our studio in Arizona, I mean, it’s fantastic to be able to record there, you know, your home turf, you’re familiar with everything, and we get great sounds there, but being that we hooked up two albums on our own there, we wanted to mix it up and just go and be somewhere else. It was more the fact that it would inherently be a different sound that we could create somewhere else, because we’re not in the same room, using the same microphones, using the same, you know, ambience. So being in a different place was definitely going to change the sound of the final product, and so we had been working with Alain Johannes who’s from Los Angeles, and he recommended that we go and record at his place. His studio also happens to be his home, so he has the place wired up for sound, so that we could make sound in any room so we did. We recorded drums in the back patio room, and in the front living room. Also, Al is one of the greatest people in the world, he is extremely dedicated to his projects; his bedroom is where the guitars were set up and recorded, and he had 20 guitar amplifier stacks in his room. Literally, every night when he went to bed, he had to climb over half stacks of amps, and he loved it. He said he wouldn’t have it any other way. He virtually lives and breathes the projects he’s working on, he’s such a great guy, and we had a lot of fun making Damage. The vibe was you’re hanging out at your buddies’ house and making music. It was a case of when you felt inspired, you could just make the noise there and then, it was a lot of fun.
Did you experiment with any new or different instruments on this album?
Yeah, we did. Al is a musician himself, and he travels the world with his own music which is incredible, and he’s played with any number of incredible groups, Queens of the Stone Age, he was the fourth man in Crooked Vultures, he’s legit and for real. He’s extremely musical, so when he’s travelling around he will pick up whatever instrument native to that country, and people won’t see him for days (apart from his performances, while he sits in his room and figures that instrument out. He will then come back with that instrument, shredding it like he’s played it since he was three years old. His house is a museum of musical instruments from around the world, and they’re all just laying around and out so if you want to try something out, you can. There’s a sitar right there, why not? Just go for it… We didn’t use the sitar for the recording but I had a lot of fun messing around with it. There’s some stuff in there, like a 17th or 18th century marxophone. It’s really hard to describe what it actually is, it’s like an autoharp, kind of. You push the little hammers which are connected to a spring, which in turn hits the string and rings out. It has a little bounce to it, so we used that. We just had a lot of fun with it, you know and a great time making this album.
September 15, O2 Academy Leeds, 7pm, £20.81. www.ticketweb.co.uk