How have you applied what you’ve learned in the lessons to your songwriting?

It has affected the songwriting in that there’s a broader array of chords. Things I’ve always loved listening to, say in jazz standards, but haven’t made their way in 311 songs. But that said we’re not going all jazzy. We’re keeping it simple. I’ve always loved catchy music and sing-along moments so that comes out in our music. But there’s definitely a broader array of textures in there now.

Do you have a new record finished?

We have finished half of it–well almost half of it. Now we’re breaking to tour and then we’ll come back and record the other half of it in the fall. It’s a very exciting group of songs. I think our fans are going to flip.

How do you think going on tour in the middle of recording a record will affect the way it turns out?

I think it’s going to have a really great affect on it. That happened naturally due to a scheduling thing, but I think it’s really going to affect it. It will inject the energy we have from playing live in the record. Sometimes I’ll walk offstage and have a melody in my head that wasn’t one of our songs and instantly going straight to my little tape recorder while I’m still sweaty from the stage. So the more the you’re in music, the more you think music. When people are home and they’re fixing up their house or getting into all these grown-up distractions we get into, you start thinking about music slightly less in my opinion. It really just makes us live and breathe music every second and I think that will have a great impact on the record.

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