Tuesday marks the release of “The Wonderlands: Sunlight,” the latest solo record from Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman. It's the first of four EPs he plans to release in the Wonderlands series, and the lead single off the record, “Caroline,” has already had so many clicks on Spotify that it rose to the No. 2 spot last week.
The Wonderlands project, Foreman told SoundDiego, has been some 10 years in the making: between stops on tour, between tours, between everything else, Foreman wrote the 24 songs (each representing a different hour of the day), working with as many co-producers to do so. The project was inspired by a moment in which potential chaos inspired a beautiful moment -- which is what he’s hoping to capture on this and the subsequent EPs, titled “Shadows,” “Darkness” and “Dawn,” respectively.
Foreman -- who’s well known in San Diego not only for his role in Switchfoot but also for hosting the annual Bro-Am surf tournament/concert/fundraiser at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas and his other good works -- talks to SoundDiego about the Wonderlands project and what comes after the “Dawn” (spoiler: LOTS of hyper-local, hyper-personal shows, in a very short amount of time).
Hannah Lott-Schwartz: Tell me about the Wonderlands project. Where did it start?
Jon Foreman: Music has always been this place that I could go to figure out the world -- the things I love, the things I hate, the things I don’t understand. So I thought, 'What if I created my own world, built out of music -- 24 hours that you construct a world all built in lyrics.' So that’s where this project was born.
HLS: Did you write each EP independently or did the songs come out more organically?
JF: A lot of them were written up to 10 years ago. They didn’t fit anywhere with any other projects I’ve done. So with a project that’s specifically geared toward light and darkness, a lot of these songs are really, really dark. And, of course, the culmination of this project will be 25 shows in 24 hours, all around San Diego. I was trying to picture where I wanted to play that song, what time of night or day. For me, rock & roll is like this megaphone where you’re shouting, and then the solo project can be a whisper. In many ways, the first solo project was born out of playing these after-shows. I’d play these parking lots, all acoustic, and maybe five people would be there, maybe 100 people, just Twitter out a location -- and I feel like this is an extension of that, keeping the music going all night long, keeping with that type of a dream.
HLS: You’re gonna be exhausted.
JF: [Laughs] It’s gonna be a wild one.
HLS: What spots are you going play? Has that all been figured out yet?
JF: I’m gonna try to hit my junior high, high school, the beach I grew up at … maybe a bar mitzva, a Mexican restaurant. I want to get weird [laughs].
HLS: If I know anyone who needs a good mitzvah, I’ll send ‘em your way.
JF: Yeah! Get the word out.
HLS: It’ll be the day that everyone decides to get married -- Jon Foreman will play your wedding! Finally!
JF: [Laughs] It’ll be the one day I play a wedding.
In unrelated news, there’s been a curious surge in weddings set for Oct. 24, which is when Foreman will be playing his marathon of shows in San Diego.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.