Interview with Stephan Jenkins (Third Eye Blind)
There’s no question that Third Eye Blind’s current run of shows with Dashboard Confessional has been one of the most buzzed-about tours of the summer. Recently, we got to chat with Third Eye Blind’s frontman Stephan Jenkins about the band’s newest album Dopamine, how the audience response has been to the brand new material, his incredible cover of Beyonce’s “Mine,” and what it will be like to close the tour in the band’s hometown of San Francisco.
NoiseTrade: Your brand new album Dopamine is your first since 2009’s Ursa Major. What’s the band been up to in the last six years?
Stephan Jenkins: First, we spent a good year and a half on tour for Ursa Major. It was our first album to go #1, so that took us all over the place. Then, we changed personnel. We brought Kryz, Alex Kopp, and Alex LeCavalier into the band and it takes a minute to develop real chemistry. But most of the time was really spent by me hemming and hawing over lyric choices. Kind of silly in hindsight, really.
NT: What let you know it was finally time to get back into the studio?
Jenkins: I think it was the excitement over the material and the enthusiasm we've felt from fans when we play festivals.
NT: Dopamine is the second album you guys have released under your own label Mega Collider Records. Was there anything that you learned with Ursa Major that made things any easier the second time around?
Jenkins: No, it's always uniquely hard in it's own way each time. I think though, I've been a lot happier in making this record. So, I had more fun!
NT: Dopamine was released in mid-June and you’ve been touring these new songs since the end of May. What’s the response been like to the Dopamine tracks in the live setting?
Jenkins: Everyone goes off to "Everything is Easy" because it was released early. "Something in You" went over immediately without needing to be heard. Now, towards the end of this run, everyone has the album. So things seem to go seamlessly. We tend to lean towards the more pulsing tracks live, but "Get Me Out of Here" goes off too.
NT: Appropriately enough, you guys are closing the tour with two hometown shows at The Masonic. What’s it like for you guys when you play San Francisco and have you got any surprises in store that you can tease here?
Jenkins: Oh, it's so much pressure and I like it. There are people coming from all over the country to those shows. So we will make the set list accordingly. As for a tease, well... We hope to record a live EP over those two nights.
NT: As a band who has successfully traversed the recording industry boom of the 90s to also find success in the current wild, wild west of today’s music scene, what advice can you offer to new up-and-coming bands that are just getting started?
Jenkins: Develop your intuition about your art and then stick to it. Then you'll have something authentic.
NT: Finally, earlier this year your incredible cover of Beyonce’s “Mine” gained quite a bit of buzz. What’s your approach when crafting a cover song?
Jenkins: When I cover a song, I look for what resonates to me and then I just sing to that. "Mine" is one of my favorites and thank you for your praise of it. I'm glad you like the version. I obviously love the original as well.