Jeremy Enigk Biography
It’s been awhile.
That album, 1996’s Return Of The Frog Queen earned Enigk raves from critics and fans alike for its lush pop orchestration and enigmatic lyrics. Since then, he’s put out three more discs with Sunny Day, plus The Fire Theft’s debut. But now he’s back with World Waits to pick up where he left off a decade ago. And he starts, appropriately enough, with a triumphant track called “A New Beginning.”
“I realized that starting off the record with such a bombastic thing had a tie-in to ‘Return of the Frog Queen,’” Enigk says, “as if it were taking off where ‘Frog Queen’ left off.”
Of course, no one who has followed Enigk’s roller coaster career — band break-ups, band reunions, a controversial conversion to Christianity in the mid-‘90s — would expect him to be the same person he was 10 years ago. And he’s not.
“I’ve grown and changed, mainly spiritually,” he says. “I think I’ve become a lot more accepting of things I wasn’t back then. Through experiences, I’ve opened up a little bit. You just grow up.”
Enigk assembled the songs on World Waits over the course of the past decade. Among the 10 cuts are two that were slated for a follow up to ROTFQ that was interrupted by Sunny Day Real Estate activity, others that Enigk originally intended for The Fire Theft, and still others written as recently as six months ago.
He calls the ruminative title track his “love song to the world.” “There are simple solutions to simple problems,” he said. “People are starving — feed ‘em. As an American especially, it’s so easy for me to put on blinders and live in TV land. That frustrates me, that laziness to take responsibility.”
If World Waits has more rock and less chamber texture than its predecessor, they both share a timelessness in sound that has roots in Enigk’s lifelong love for The Beatles, The Who and vintage U2. Enigk co-produced World Waits with Josh Myers, who has arranged strings for artists ranging from indie songwriter Rosie Thomas to pop singer Mandy Moore. While Enigk primarily handled guitar and vocals on the album, he also contributed bass, drums and keyboards to various songs. Drummer Kaanan Tupper, bassist Nick Macri and guitarist Greg Saran round out the album’s primary players.
World Waits will be released October 17 through Enigk’s own Lewis Hollow Records, which will be distributed by Reincarnate Records through SONY BMG.
Jeremy Enigk grew up in the industrial and military town of Everett, Washington, about a half-hour north of Seattle. When his family moved to the Seattle suburb of Redmond, everything changed. At age 15, he met his future bandmate in Sunny Day Real Estate and The Fire Theft, drummer William Goldsmith. Goldsmith and SDRE/FT bassist Nate Mendel opened the curtain on punk rock for Enigk, and the rest is emo history. Between 1994 and ’99, Sunny Day Real Estate would release four albums for Sub Pop Records; a final disc for the Time Label came out in 2000. In 2003, Enigk re-teamed with Goldsmith and Mendel to form The Fire Theft and recorded a self-titled album on Rykodisk. (Shortly into Sunny Day’s career, SDRE’s rhythm section of William Goldsmith and Nate Mendel also signed on to play with Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters, a gig they still enjoy.) While The Fire Theft project is currently on hold, the trio still considers themselves a band.
These days, Enigk’s creative life isn’t that far removed from the years he spent as a kid holed up in his room playing with toys or absorbed in music. “I was extremely shy. I still am, I still carry those traits. I had a tendency to just shut out the world and focus on this creative land. Which isn’t a lot different from when I’m writing music. I’ll shut the door and say I’m going to be in my room for the next week or so just working.”
The world of Enigk’s famously diehard fans has been waiting 10 years for his new album. Enigk and his fans alike are thrilled the wait is over.