Like Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty and Collective Soul, Eve 6 emerged out of a mid- to late-'90s music scene that never really had an identity.
Nowadays, when most bands carry tags like pop punk, garage rock or rap rock, it's not easy being a little bit of everything.
Still, Eve 6 wouldn't have it any other way.
"I think that's what's unique about us," guitarist Jon Siebels said Wednesday from a North Hollywood recording studio. "There's so many bands that are just one-trick ponies. We like to do all kinds of different stuff. 'Here's to the Night' and 'Inside Out' were two very different things, and to me that's a cool thing. It shows depth.
"Bands in genres have a built-in fanbase and a built-in group of bands to play with, but for us, we just got to be a little more creative," he added. "It's also good news because five years later we're still putting out records and we didn't fade away with a fad. The bottom line is it's just about good songs."
Eve 6's third record, It's All in Your Head, due July 22, is the band's most diverse offering yet. There's pop-rock songs like the trio's 1998 breakthrough hit, "Inside Out," borderline ballads like 2001's surprise single, "Here's to the Night," and then a few completely different tracks.
The album's first single, "Think Twice," is a hard-rocking angst anthem about struggling for the courage to leave an unfaithful lover. "Think twice before you touch my girl," Max Collins sings in the chorus. "Come around/ I'll let you feel the burn."
Collins wrote the song about a friend, but put himself in the situation.
"It wasn't one that I wanted to be on the record, to be honest," he said. "It wasn't a completely personal experience for me. It was a different kind of writing. It sounded different and I wasn't comfortable with that. So I tried rewriting it, going in different directions, and that wasn't working. So I backed up and listened to it and started to dig it from there."
The biggest stretch for Eve 6 on It's All in Your Head is "Hey Montana," a mostly acoustic track with a campfire sing-along feel.
"That's the song we're more excited about," Collins said. "It started as a verse I had written two years ago. I played it for our producer [Greg Wattenberg (Five for Fighting)] and it was never really talked about. Then, towards the end of recording, we were doing vocals and I was having an off night singing and I went into a corner and started playing that verse. The guys were like, 'Let's do that immediately.' It was a good thing that came from a doldrums period."
In the vein of "Here's to the Night" is "Girlfriend," which features a string section accompanying Collins, who sings, "Another tear, another lesson learned/ Now it's time to let you go/ And I will not be broken."
Equally emotional but quite different is the opening "Without You Here," a punk rock song clocking in at just two minutes and 18 seconds.
"It's a simple song about missing someone," Collins said. "After our last date of touring, I went to New York for a couple months with the intention of writing. I got there on September 9 and then there was the 11th. So I didn't end up writing much there, but I did meet my current girlfriend. The first song I wrote when I got back was about the weird sort of culture shock of coming back to L.A. after being in New York when it was insane."
Before It's All in Your Head hits stores, Eve 6 plan to play a few club shows around Los Angeles to get used to performing again. Once the album is released, the group hopes to snag an opening slot with another band — any band.
"We don't really think about that," Collins said, addressing the identity issue. "I don't know if we have a specific sound that people can call upon, but we know who we are and what we are."