In a new interview with Kyle Meredith, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament spoke about the progress of the songwriting and recording sessions for the follow-up to the band’s 2020 album “Gigaton”.
“I think I heard Stone [Gossard, guitar] thought that the record was done, but I know for a fact that it’s not. I don’t think all the songs are done.
“The hardest part of making a record a lot of times is figuring out which songs go on the record and do we need to record another song, and what’s the artwork and what’s the title, and all that stuff,” Jeff explained. “And I know for a fact right now everybody wants the summer off, because last summer was a bit of a grind. For me, in a week, I’m shutting everything off. And I know at that point, the record’s still not done, so come September we’re still gonna be… The questions we have about where we’re at and whatever, we’ll ask those questions again and we’ll revisit them. But I think everybody hopes that we have a record out next year. If we have a record out next year, that means we’ll probably play a few more shows. There’s a couple of places we haven’t played in quite a while. I think we have stuff penciled in.”
Regarding the inspiration for Pearl Jam’s new material, Ament said:
“Well, we’ve talked a lot about, in the last three or four years, how we’ve sort of earned the right to do whatever the fuck we want to right now. And so why wouldn’t we go all the way with that? Saying, like, ‘Everybody, make a list of the 10 things that you wanna do in this band before we’re done. Where is the city that you’ve never played? Or where is the venue you wanna go back to? Or what’s the kind of song you wanna write? Or what’s the cause you wanna get behind within the context of the band?’ Those are sort of the things I talk about.
“It feels like we’re sort of at this point where we should be able to turn a big corner,” he continued. “We’ve earned the right to sort of, like… And that’s tough, because there’s five of us that are pulling the cart. And so sometimes you end up pulling the cart in opposite directions. It’s, like, just embracing all of that — embracing everybody’s ideas and everybody’s hopes and dreams and wishes and styles.
“We have this amazing community as a band and the families within the band, and the people that we work with and the people that have worked with us for, like, 32 years in some cases. It’s taken us this long for it to work this efficiently. We should be killing it right now in every way. I think that’s what we hope for musically. I think we wanna turn the corner and I think we wanna access all the best parts of each other and we wanna flourish within that. We just wanna support the best parts of each other so we consequently make the best music.
“Sometimes there’s a lot of ego involved, and if somebody feels like they’re working harder than the other person, or whatever the stuff is, but if you can just leave that stuff behind and focus on how do we support each other so each person brings the best to the song we’re working on right now,” Ament added. “And I think that’s what we’re trying to do. The stuff we’ve been doing the last couple of years, it sort of feels like we’ve hit on that in a few instances.”
Pearl Jam will hit the road in August and September performing nine shows across St. Paul, Chicago, Indianapolis, Fort Worth and Austin.