“This record is very colorful,” he told PEOPLE during the band’s concert live stream at YouTube Space in Los Angeles on Tuesday to promote their new album Evolve and upcoming tour. “Lyrically, I was in a really healthy headspace writing it, and then sonically we wrote from a more minimalistic approach.”
“I think this record was written after we had taken our first break as a band,” he continues. “I think that’s significant because during that year off we were really able to connect with real life again — to go home, be with friends and family, and do the things we used to do before the band kind of took us off in the world. We were grateful for [it], but it was really healthy for us to go home for a little bit, especially for me; mentally, I needed it.”
Reynolds describes Evolve, which is now available for pre-order from all participating digital retailers and due out June 23, as “an evolution of sound” for he and his band mates, electric guitarist Daniel Wayne Sermon, drummer Daniel Platzman and bass guitarist Ben McKee.
“It’s a step forward in that we peel back a lot of layers and are much more minimalistic,” he says, comparing the lyrical content to their 2015 album, Smoke and Mirrors, which was “a very dark, introverted record.”
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“All of it was looking in and this record was looking out and seeing the color and the beauty of the world, and then encapsulating it,” he continues. “It was an evolution for the band, so we knew Evolve was a good title.”
The Evolve Tour kicks off this fall, beginning September 26 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Aside from sharing his story with PEOPLE in November about battling Ankylosing spondylitis—often referenced as AS, which is a chronic inflammatory condition of the joints that can lead to extreme pain and in the worst cases, spinal fusion—Reynolds’ strong support system, including his band mates and his wife Aja Volkman, have been there to lift him out of a very “depressed” time in his life.
In fact, their first single, “Believer,” which instantly became a fan favorite and spent six consecutive weeks at number one at Alternative Radio, “looks back upon those years, which, for me, that record cycle was a really hard, dark cycle for me,” he says.
“I was really depressed and now I’m in this great headspace and colorful space,” Reynolds adds about the lively track, which he previously stated reflected on “specific things in my life that were painful, whether it was anxiety and dealing with crowds, feeling overwhelmed by that or the success of the band, disease, going through depression—anything that was a source of pain in my life.”
He continues about the meaning behind the track, “And just rising above that, finding a place of perspective where I could be appreciative of the pain in my life and make it my greatest strength.”