“It is a two-way dialogue. We’ve always viewed music as a conversation,” said Switchfoot drummer, Chad Butler.
Switchfoot is bringing their conversation to Tulsa tonight at the Brady Theater. The popular Christian alternative-rock band will be doing more than singing songs from their eight albums.
The concert will be distinctive, with a mix of their “Fading West” film, open conversation with their audience and a mix of songs.
The film, which chronicles the journeys of Switchfoot and their travels, will premier in Tulsa, and then be released on Dec. 10 for worldwide digital showing and limited theater showing.
“Fading West” takes place in several different countries. During this time, the band wrote songs and, of course, surfed.
Butler said it was the diverse environments throughout their travels that gave them a fresh take on their music.
“When I’m out in the water surfing, [I’m] spending a lot of the time looking at this infinite horizon out in the ocean,” he said. “To me, it’s a place to reconnect, to really feel small in the scope of the world. I think there’s some beauty and connection between music and surfing.”
It is this type of thinking conveyed in their music that has created the band’s fan base.
“I think the goal first is always honest music,” Butler said.
On top of their usual honest songwriting, Switchfoot has brought a new level of transparency in their film.
“The film captures some very personal, honest, behind-the-scenes moments of the band that I think will surprise many people,” Butler said.
“We’ve never been this open about our lives off-stage and our families and the struggles and the tension that we wrestle with trying to be husbands and fathers and playing [in] a rock’n’roll band that tours around the world.”
The themes expressed in the film, and later in the songs, explore deep questions: Why are we doing what we’re doing? How do we find balance in life? How do we deal with difficulties?
“It’s much more than just a rock documentary or a surf film. It’s a very human story,” Butler said.
Switchfoot’s current EP showcases a few of the songs that will be on the “Fading West” album. The full album is set to release in January.
One of those songs, “Love Alone is Worth the Fight,” reflects the themes in the film.
“It kind of encapsulates the whole sort of theme that we were questioning, ‘Why are we doing what we’re doing?’” Butler said.
In addition to the “Fading West” film and an open discussion with the band, the audience should expect a full concert of all their favorites.
“Some of the songs are more stripped down and some are full on, and then [there are] a few of the new songs from our EP,” Butler said.
When they are done with their tour, Switchfoot will be returning to their hometown of San Diego, Cali. to finish with something close to the band’s heart.
Bro-Am is part musical festival and part charity surfing contest. It benefits local children’s charities that fight against child homelessness.
This summer will be Switchfoot’s tenth year to attend the event.
“For us, we just lit the match and it’s just grown and grown and grown, and the community has really fanned the flame in that effort,” Butler said.
After 17 years, Switchfoot is continuing to produce gripping music and, now, a vivid film.
“It’s very humbling to be in front of the camera, and realize that I think I’m much better at playing music than acting,” Butler said. “If I had to do it all over again, I would have hired better actors.”