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Third Eye Blind Talks Kendrick Lamar, New EP and Rising to the Defense of the Nation

CEEK

The music of alternative rock band Third Eye Blind will always be associated with the 90’s, when they first broke and when they scored all of their biggest and most memorable hits. Songs like “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How’s It Going To Be,” and “Jumper” are instantly recognizable to anybody who was alive when they were first released, and for older millennials, those tunes remain some of the most triggering, as they are generation-defining smashes. 

Having said that, the group isn’t living in the past, and while they have become known for taking long breaks in between records, that might not be the case any longer, as times have changed, and they still have a lot to say. 

We spoke with Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins about what the band has going on for the rest of 2017 and why they may never make another full album.

 

I'm pretty provoked right now. I'm pretty mortified and I feel like I've got to currently rise to the defense of the nation right now.

 

CEEK VR: Are you guys done releasing albums? 
Stephan Jenkins: No. We just put out the We Are Drugs EP, and I just recorded a new track, and we've got six more that we're recording in Atlanta next week. Hopefully, we'll have something new out called Summer Gods for the Summer Gods Tour. 

CEEK VR: Really? 
Stephan Jenkins: Yeah. That's why it's called the Summer Gods Tour. 

CEEK VR: I heard that you were done with full-lengths. 
Stephan Jenkins: Yeah, I'm done with that. That was something that was made for LPs so the record companies could make more money, and it turned into an art form and it's one that I love, but because there is flexibility in the way that you put out music, I don't want to adhere to any particular way of doing it. That's why I like Calvin Harris. He just puts out singles. Like every ten weeks, somehow Calvin Harris has got something going on. It's cool. 

CEEK VR: So the EP was last year and the album was the year before that. Are you speeding up the release schedule? 
Stephan Jenkins: Yeah, I am. I'm not engaging in all the self hate anymore and I'm just putting out music for fun. 

CEEK VR: What's keeping you creatively going to keep up that output? 
Stephan Jenkins: I'm pretty provoked right now. I'm pretty mortified and I feel like I've got to currently rise to the defense of the nation right now. There's a lot of music that I'm really liking, so it's a combination. Whatever is provoking me in the moment, so it's like the friction and relationships, or it's the life I see going on around me, or my interaction with music. Those kinds of things.

CEEK VR: Is this in the vein of “Cop Vs. Phone Girl,” this new EP? 
Stephan Jenkins: Not necessarily, but I wouldn't say that every song is outwardly political, but it's more about getting together and getting a hold of our ground. Finding each other and finding strength in each other. I think that's what it is. 

CEEK VR: When you were playing live, what percentage of the people there have been here for decades versus how many of them are new kids? 
Stephan Jenkins: Oddly enough, most of our audience have found this music recently. They tend to be pretty young.

 

CEEK VR: Really? What do you think is pushing that? 
Stephan Jenkins: I don't know. They steal it. It's really great for us. Streaming has really benefited Third Eye Blind because kids find it and it's new to them and then they keep our music alive in a way that I never expected. I really do think that's positive. 

CEEK VR: So you're totally on board with all things streaming. 
Stephan Jenkins: No. I'm saying that streaming, in some ways, has helped us a lot because it makes our music available and current to a whole new generation of people, and I think Third Eye Blind's music is an identity generation device, so they resonate with that. I love that. 

What I don't like... I want the means of making music and distributing it within the hands of the people who make it. I want those people to receive the benefit from it. There's a lot of bands who come up who haven't sold millions of records like I have, and they really struggle to be able to make music. Just to be able to stay afloat. So whatever goes out there, I want those people to get paid from it. 

What you have now is you still have the people who stream it. Even if they're not making a profit, they're still building the values of those companies, so they're still going to get paid. I would like that still to be more in the hands of the actual musicians. 

But other than that, I think it's great. 

CEEK VR: You also mentioned you're hearing some good music now that is inspiring you. What's going on? 
Stephan Jenkins: Yeah. Like everybody else, I just go around listening to Kendrick Lamar. I love that. I love Jessica Hoop. What else have I been listening to lately that I really like? Right now I'm really ensconced in making my own record. 

CEEK VR: So you’ve stopped listening to the outside. 
Stephan Jenkins: I tend to get pretty dialed into what I'm doing. 

CEEK VR: I've heard that from a lot of musicians and I didn't expect that at first. They stop listening when they're making. 
Stephan Jenkins: Sometimes, yeah.

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