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Interview w/ Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind

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Interview w/ Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind

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Third Eye Blind, who dropped classic tunes such as “Semi-Charmed Life”, “Jumper” and “Never Let You Go,” will be back as one of the main attractions of SXSW 2013.

Frontman, Stephan Jenkins, and company are working on their fifth studio album to follow up 2009’s “Ursa Major” which debuted No. 1 on the digital charts that rocked capacity crowds in Austin in 2010. Third Eye Blind have quietly kept a pulse as a cult favorite selling out venues wherever they go and it’s sure to be a hot spot when they hit the stage.

The lineup has change since their last appearance with Kryz Reid taking over at lead guitar for Tony Fredianelli, and Alex Cavalier its latest addition on bass. Third Eye Blind’s core still remains with Jenkins and drummer, Brad Hargreaves.

This late addition to the already stellar 2013 lineup will be a crowd favorite. Jenkins took time to talk with ATX Music Mag about what fans can expect to hear at the show and what lies on the horizon for Third Eye Blind.

You guys played at SXSW in 2010 and now coming back again. How was the experience last time around?

“Oh, God. Last time in Austin it was kind of off the chain. We were very much in the same situation that we had a new album but we hadn’t played it before. Here we are with a new album and we’re doing it again. Doing a similar type thing.”

Your last album Ursa Major debuted at No. 1 on the charts and you’ve been selling out venues wherever you go. What do you attribute that to?

“I was really surprised about the culture that developed around Third Eye Blind. I think it’s about some combination that happens at live shows and what people find with each other and the connection they make. I think with the lyrics [the fans] feel the need to come back. They find a lot of joy in each other at concerts.”

Third Eye Blind fans are not only fans of the sound but a big part of the following is because of the lyrics. How is the new album coming along and when we might see it?

“All we’re doing at SXSW is playing new songs. If someone calls out “Jumper” they won’t because they are kind of experts, they’ll want to hear new songs too. We look at ourselves as a new band that wants to go out there and gun for the gig. That’s the mind set we get into.”

You’ve mentioned in a prior interview that Kryz (Reid) has reinvigorated the band and also the new addition with Alex (Cavalier). Could you talk about the new members.

“It’s always been me and Brad Hargreaves. I really enjoy the energy of these people. They have this kind of excitement that is really adhesive and that I get out of them. We haven’t taken many keyboards with us, sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t but that seems to be happening more so. [Reid] got a lot of energy and mischief, which he’s just looking for trouble. He’s kind of a prankster and I like that.”

In Out of the Vein, you brought to life a demo favorite of many fans “Wake for Young Souls” is there a chance any previous tracks or b-sides make the new album or is it all fresh?

“It’s totally fresh. There won’t be any old songs on it. Part of what I really wanted to do on this album was get a hold of my state of presence at these times. So, after we put this album out we’re going to release lots of old songs. This album is going to one complete Side A and Side B of new material.”

I know you’ve recorded in London and San Francisco but remember seeing on the Ursa Major video that you used playing live shows as a tool in the making of the album? Are you implementing that on this album?

“No, I’m really not (and) I wish I could. The problem with it is you play a song and you refine it and refine it, then everybody gets upset because they get attached to something else. So, if I change a lyric for whatever my internal logic is then it just turns into all kinds of stuff. We play new songs all time but we’ll probably have not it recorded on this round.”

You’ve mentioned before that this will be your last traditional album, but URSA MAJOR went No. 1, so why hang it up?

“I’m not actually hanging it up per-say. What I really mean to say is making an album for me is so painful and difficult for me. I find it really difficult and I’ve made eight LP’s and two EPs, five with Third Eye Blind, and the rest with other bands. I’ve got 50 songs for this record. After this, I’m going to put them all out. I’m going to put every single song out. The exact way we might do that is we might have our own YouTube channel or our website. However, whenever I have a song ready I’m just going to release it. I’m not going to have to over think it; I’m just going to put it out to the universe. And, when we have a collection of those songs that really work then we’ll put out an EP or do an LP after the fact. I’m going to stop saying I have one cohesive album.”

So, it’ll end the process having decided what songs do or do not make the cut on future work.

“Absolutely. Even though people don’t really listen to records anymore I still want it to be one cohesive piece that you can listen to all the way through. Very few people try to do that anymore. I think Frank Ocean’s Orange album has a real cohesiveness to it. But a lot of albums to me have a lot of just songs.”

Where do you see the music industry going and Third Eye Blind in the future?

“For us, I can see more of gearing towards the needs of connecting towards the audience. Using the elements that are available to have a direct exchange with the audience. I think people are going to continue to innovate with direct impact. So, we can talk to people through Twitter, Facebook and have YouTube channels. What I really want to do on the next album is I want my own channel and develop my own content, to have people enjoy and touch in with.”

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