311 isn't slowing down. Nor are they touring less. In the years to come, the band plans to release shorter, more frequent albums while continuing to tour and host musical experiences like cruises and summer music festivals.
Their latest album, Universal Pulse (artist Sonny Kay designed the trippy collage featured on the cover, but “We were going to go with Mr. Brainwash — he was just too big and wants too much money,” drummer Chad Sexton jokes), was crafted and produced with a live audience in mind. The album adheres to 311's signature hybrid of rock, rap and reggae, infused with feel-good choruses and distorted guitars. The first single, upbeat summer anthem “Sunset in July,” is rapidly gaining radio airplay.
“It sounds more like us,” guitarist Tim Mahoney says of Universal Pulse from the Hive, the band's modest, cozy, two-story house turned state-of-the-art recording studio in L.A. “Listening to all of the old records getting ready for tour and stuff, it's like, man, this is the best-sounding record we probably have out of all of them. I know it's fresh in my ears and I'm excited about it, but it just sounds great.”
“Ask the people's faces — that's what I do every night — and I've never seen a disappointed customer,” bassist PNUT says of 311's dedicated fan base. “Well, except when we did the Sprite Liquid Mix tour and played in Chicago and everyone wanted to see Jay-Z. Those people were pissed. You do not want to open up for Jay-Z.”
311 are best known for their message of positivity and unity, principles the band members still feel as strongly about today as they did just starting out, when they all lived together in a house in Van Nuys. “I just think the positive attitude thing is something that we naturally grew into,” lead singer Nick Hexum says. “It's just a better way to live, to find stuff you like about the world rather than always finding the things you don't like.”
“We're from Nebraska,” vocalist S.A. Martinez adds. “I think that answers that.”
311's latest album, Universal Pulse, will be released July 19.