By Gen Jallorina
Since skyrocketing to fame in 2002 when the tearjerker A Walk To Remember featured their songs, the band kept building to a crescendo and later hit music gold with the singles “Meant To Live” and “Dare You to Move.” Now, Jon Foreman (lead guitar), Tim Foreman (bass guitar), Chad Butler (drums, percussion), Jerome Fontamillas (guitar, keyboards), and Drew Shirley (guitar) have their own feature film titled Fading West. Find out where this insightful “band of brothers” has been, what they’re up to now and what the future holds for them!
It’s your 20th anniversary and you’re working on your 10th album. How have your music and your message changed since you started? How has it evolved through the different phases of your lives?
Jon: "It’s interesting because, on one hand, everything has changed. The band started with songs written when Tim was still in high school—now, we have kids and families. At the same time, nothing has really changed about the heartbeat of our songs. We’re still trying to tell the truth. As we pursue our new record, it feels like, in many ways, an awakening to where we’ve been in the past. There’s continuity, a thread that ties all the songs together."
Is there a danger to overexposing yourself in your music and lyrics?
Jon: "I actually used to be afraid of telling the truth, but I realized there’s a certain power to it as well. It’s not a weak thing, to be honest. It’s not a vulnerable thing. Within a song, it’s a position of strength because it’s a confession. There’s nothing I haven’t confessed in a song, so I feel liberated."
Tim: "Yes, it is dangerous. Good art is dangerous when you’re putting yourself out there, when you’re taking a risk. That’s a part of what’s necessary to make good art—to dig deep to make good art."
Where does the inspiration come from? How do you relate to an audience in your songs?
Tim: "We try to deal with things that we don’t understand, and that is something we can all relate to. Coming from different faiths, we can all agree we don’t have it all figured out. That’s a good place to start a dialogue and find a common ground."
What’s your favorite song to play?
Jerome: "Every night is different. Here in the Philippines, I remember the last time we came here and we played 'Dare You to Move' was very moving. The whole crowd was singing along. That kind of community getting together… That’s pretty magical."
After all these years, what has been the most challenging thing you’ve faced as a band?
Jon: "Balut! Ha ha!"
Tim: "Drew touched on us being a 'band of brothers' and we really mean that because we’ve been through a lot of highs and lows. I don’t know if I can pick one, to be honest. We just finished touring a film we made called Fading West, which kind of documents the times we’ve had to pull it together and carry each other through. I think that’s one of the things I love most about being in this band—I get to travel around the world with my best friends. We’re always trying to break down the barrier between the stage and the audience. You know, we’re one family singing the same song together. That was the chance to bring everyone on tour with us—not just to show all the happy moments, but to really bring everyone in the journey."
What can we expect from the new album?
Drew: "Hope deserves an anthem and we’re a band that likes to sing songs about important things. We like to sing anthemic songs, and I think this next record is full of that."
If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
Jon: "Why is Manila so far away from where we live? Ha ha!"
Image Courtesy of Church Simplified. Special thanks to Bebo Bharwani and Bebeth Timbol of Church Simplified.