Far from hiding, Jeremy Enigk has been quietly busy. The new album that fans have been anxiously awaiting is now in the works, and his years of writing and creating privately have resulted in an enormous body of work that has every sign of brilliance. If the new songs he has recently been performing on tour are any indication, the new album will be well worth the wait.
Long-time fans of bands Sunny Day Real Estate and The Fire Theft are already attuned to Enigk’s enigmatic songwriting and the evocative power of his voice. His solo career up to now has shown his songwriting abilities to be expansive, and now it appears that the time between releases has further widened his range.
He has never shied away from experimentation, and has always been able to bring something unique to every project. It is for this reason that the choice to crowd-fund his album has been so heartily welcomed by his fans, who are cheering for his success.
Don’t miss a chance to participate in his PledgeMusic campaign here.
NYMM: When did you decide it was time to record a new album, and why make it a crowd-funding project?
JE: It took me a really long time to accept and embrace a crowd-funding model. It’s absolutely the best way for someone like me to put out a record. It took so long because I wasn’t fully comfortable with it. I’ve been on record labels my entire life, and in a lot of ways, putting out records has been handed to me on a silver platter.
The idea of taking on something this huge on my own was something that I thought was way beyond my capabilities. Over time, it just became clear that this was the best way to do it. I had to change my thinking, grow a spine, and do it. Because of that, so far, it’s been very rewarding. To see the outpouring of support has been amazing.
NYMM: Has your songwriting changed much? Should we expect to hear something completely different?
JE: It has matured substantially. On Return of the Frog Queen, the music was really simple, really basic. My newer music is basically the same thing, but it has matured and become more complicated. It’s all over the place. I’ve been writing for the past six or seven years since my last solo record, and so I have hundreds of songs and ideas. They range from the more stripped-down acoustic stuff to the hard-hitting SDRE sound.
It also includes some truly experimental stuff as well. One of the new songs I’m playing live is called “Right Now, I Am,” and I use a different tuning on my acoustic so it opens up some doors to use chord changes that I’ve never used before. There’s a darkness to it, but it’s also really hopeful. I guess my best answer is that you’ll have to wait and see.
NYMM: Do you still approach lyrical content the same way? Your music hasn’t typically been filled with “storyteller” songs.
JE: They’re really personal. I can’t really tell stories. I’m just not that prolific as a writer. Everything is abstract and personal because that’s easier for me. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past six years reflecting. When you do that a lot, you can’t help but be somewhat philosophical. It’s like constant meditation. So a lot of these songs have that element. That’s where I come from and what ultimately interests me. It’s never an intellectual venture for me; it’s a spiritual one.
Since I began, songwriting has always been about bringing the chaos and emotions inside you out. It’s always been about exorcising them. If I’m going through something, my “bottle” is music. Instead of going to a bottle or whatever, I vent things through music. It’s an opportunity for me to sit down and get it out.
NYMM: Back in the late ’90s, early ’00s, there was this school of thought that the music should speak for itself and the artist should withdraw to the background.
JE: Exactly. That’s why early on with Sunny Day, we never did interviews. For the same reason, I have typically shied away from interviews. It’s exactly that. We weren’t trying to be rock stars, we were trying to be musicians, and we felt like all that other stuff got in the way of the music.
Nowadays, it is more about the interaction. Fans want to know what their favorite musicians are like as people, and you don’t have to be a rock star anymore. You can be a normal person. With YouTube and all of the social media these days, I feel like that’s what people really want – to see that their artists are normal people too.
NYMM: What keeps you going – keeps you writing more music?
JE: I just have an innate desire to do it. It’s an extension of who I am and it’s what I need to do for myself. It’s a release. Sometimes I wish there wasn’t the pressure that goes along with doing it professionally, but sharing it with other people is so powerful. When people respond to it the way they have on this tour, that gives me a purpose. That’s why I continue to do it.
There’s still time to get in on the PledgeMusic campaign here.