The One21 Interviews For Today

l_bd0b8eae5749454da0cfc0aada350a82

from left to right: David (drums), Mattie(vocals), Brandon(bass), Ryan & Mike (guitars)

Iowa’s For Today have been making a huge name for themselves ever since they popped up on the hardcore scene over a year ago. After signing to Facedown Records, they released their first full length CD, Ekklesia, in 2008 to widespread positive response.  Their combination of brutal  mosh hardcore with harmonic metal overtones was well received all over the country by metal and hardcore fans alike. At the eve of their next chapter, with the upcoming release of their latest effort, Portraits,  in June, For Today are ready to take over the game.

I recently was able to catch these guys on their tour with fellow Christian metalheads, MyChildren MyBride, at EMOS here in Austin (that’s TX kids). After putting on devastating show full of high energy and evangelism, I got a chance to get to know the guys a little bit, and asked them a few questions. Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to interview them live, but they were kind enough to answer my questions through correspondence. What follows is my interview with bassist Brandon and drummer David:

One21: Tell us about the bands story, how did you guys get together, how long, why and so on?

Brandon (bass):Well we pretty much started as David (our drummer) and two other guys. They wrote 2 songs and then Ryan joined and there was a bassist named Jon. Then mike joined on guitar. When Jon left the band to go to college, I started playing bass in the band. It made sense since Ryan and I are brothers. Me, Ryan, David, and Mike have all been in the band for the past 3 years at least.. pretty much since the beginning. We had a singer named Matt for about a year and a half. He left to get married, and then Mattie joined. And there you have it..

One21:You guys were working on an album not to long ago, how do you feel about the finished product?

David (drums): Technically, it’s not a finished product till April when we get the recorded, mixed, and mastered version. I am, however, VERY happy and excited with the songs that we wrote. We literally did EVERY single thing that we wanted to do on the album. The breakdowns are heavier, the lyrics are catchier and way more blunt and in your face, and the metal parts are way more metal!!! We’re all dying to hear it recorded.

Brandon: We love it. It turned out awesome. I love all the songs. Definitely tops everything we’ve done.

One21: What is your writing process? Who does what and so on..

David: Ryan & Brandon (brothers) work on lead parts, riffs, and other ideas at home, while I would be at home writing rhythm parts, patterns, breakdowns, crunching transitions, etc. and then would meet with me 2-3x a week for a few hours to work on it all. Then when we would complete a song musically, we would actually record each song on my webcam and send them to Mattie to write lyrics for, and Mike to learn the riffs and make the harmonies for the leads, etc…
Mattie, the newlywed was in Alabama 90% of the break with his wife. When he came back to Iowa with his wife, Candice, we started practicing every day with all 5 of us for about 2 weeks. It was pretty intense!

One21: How would you describe your sound?

Brandon: Let’s see.. Lots of breakdowns, kind of ridiculous guitar parts at moments, and still trying to be catchy.. Some awkward time signatures and lots of guitar harmonies.

David: Heavy, passionate, technical.

One21: How would you describe your live show? Do you think that your sound works well live as
well as on disc?

David: We’ve always been told that our live show is better than our album. I couldn’t agree more, and I see that as a compliment. We make sure we don’t put any fake drums, or record stuff that we wouldn’t’ be able to play live – because that would be L-A-M-E.
We’re pretty bold and up front about who we are live – Mattie & Mike do an incredible job at conveying the true purpose of life to the kids at our show – and that is being sold out for Jesus Christ and doing all that’s in your power to bring his Kingdom back to this earth.

One21:You guys are on a decent size tour (with MyChildren MyBride and The Ghost Inside) right now, is this typical for you guys? How do you think it is going?

Brandon: Yeah we’re out with Mychildren Mybride right now.. It’s been an amazing tour so far. All the shows have been awesome, and the bands are really cool dudes. We’re not used to touring with bands bigger than us though. Usually we’re always drawing more than the bands we’re on tour with, even if we’re not headlining. It doesn’t always make sense to me. I think because we haven’t been on huge tours yet, we aren’t expected to have a draw, even though we’ve been touring non stop for the last 2 years. But this tour is a little different. We’re definitely winning over new fans at every show, especially because MCMB fans will most likely be into our band. It’s a really good tour for us.

David: Things like tours, shows, etc. have been getting bigger and bigger for us in the last 6 months or so. It’s been really incredible and we’re honored to be touring with the band’s that we’re out with. It’s going VERY well and we’ve been getting incredible responses every night.

One21: Do you see a purpose for your band, or is it about the love of music?

Brandon: We are definitely a band for the purpose of spreading the gospel. I love music.. but I think it’s amazing that I can play this style of music for the glory of God. This music scene is one that REALLY needs more of that.

One21: What is the hardest part about being in a (the) band? What is the best part?

Brandon: For me, the hard part isn’t missing home or friends (most of my friends are in other bands anyway), the hard part is staying focused on what the band is called to do. It’s so easy to get caught up in worrying about the crowd, or looking cool or something when i really should be listening for God’s voice. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we wouldn’t be anywhere without God. The best part though.. man, I really just love everything about tour. I get to hang out with my best friends, see new places, and meet some of the most awesome people ever on an everyday basis. It’s the best.

David: Best – Never ending adventures, God’s glory being displayed constantly, making new friends, seeing new places.

One21: What is memory that has stuck with you that makes being on the road worth it?

Brandon: There’s so much… I’ve gotten to see so many kids come to Christ since we’ve been doing this. I think that is enough motivation to keep doing this.

David: One word – Healings

One21: What do you guys do for fun on the road?  To let off steam and relax..

David: On off days, myself and a couple of the other guys like to find adventurous outdoorsy things to do – hiking, climbing, exploring, swimming, etc… For some of the guys it’s just nice to get out of the norm and spend some time alone, etc.

Brandon: I sleep a lot in the van. And I eat more candy and drink more soda than anyone *takes a drink of mountain dew*. We’ve been playing lots of C-Lo with the MCMB guys and the Ghost Inside on this tour. Mostly I lose money haha.

One21: What kind of music do you guys listen to?  Who is at the top of your playlist right now…

David: Right now I’ve been listening to a lot of Sleep For Sleepers, Winds of Plague, Copeland, etc.

Brandon: A lot of the stuff I listen to on tour isn’t metal or hardcore at all. I get sick of it after seeing so many bands that sound like that every night. Lately I’ve been listening to Between the Trees, Copeland, Sigur Ros, We the Kings.. stuff like that

One21: Who is Jesus Christ to you?

Brandon: God in the flesh. A man who came to the earth, lived a perfect life, and set an example for us.

David: DA MAN!

One21: What is Christian music?

Brandon: Anything that glorifies God.

David: A music industry run by rich non-Christians out of Nashville with a bunch of fake artists and a few good one’s….they sell thousands and even millions of records to naive comfortable church goers that get something out of it.

One21: What is your opinion about the Christian music industry as a whole?

Brandon: I think people, including myself, and bands need to step it up. If you’re calling yourself a Christian, your purpose in life should be spreading the Gospel. If you’re calling your band Christian, your band’s purpose should be spreading the Gospel as well.

David: We are proud to be a part of what we feel is one of the only legit Christian record labels (Facedown) that focuses on ministry as a whole, and thankfully in the hardcore and metal realm of the music industry – Facedown Records and our family.

One21: Do you think that it is hard for bands who are Christians to integrate their faith in their art? Is it hard to use that faith as part of making the band successful?

Brandon: I don’t think so. If you’re passionate about something, it should be apparent in the way your art is.. Sometimes people won’t listen to something just because it is “Christian” even if it’s better than the non-Christian version.

David: It really comes down to your faith and bravery. You can’t tell me it’s an issue of your calling, it may be an issue of your initial gifts (ex. public speaking, wisdom, etc), but God already called us to The Great Commission at the end of Matthew, so I think it’s definitely VITAL to integrate it within your music and take it beyond just worshipping him. Don’t hog Jesus to yourselves!

One21: Do you feel that the body of Christian artists have evolved over the years?  Is more diverse and talented, or is all just the same?

David: We’re definitely seeing more amazing music every day come out of all scene’s, and the Christian scene is no different. if you look at the quality of recording studios, band’s, guitar players, drummers, etc. – seems to constantly progress. Here here for good music!

Brandon: I think right now, some of the best artists out are Christian bands.. But it definitely hasn’t always been that way. There’s always the lame, less good Christian version of secular bands.

One21: Why do you think Christian music is important?

Brandon: Everyone listens to music.. If people can get into a band, they’re more likely to be influenced by the lyrics or what the band says from stage.. Which is hopefully something about Christ.

David: Myself included, it’s sucky to really like a band’s music and disagree 110% with everything they sing about.

One21: Do you think that the mainstream public is more receptive to Christian artists today?

David: Much more so than they used to be referring to the mainstream public – meaning top 40 radio and CCM music hasn’t been too against Christian music as much as the bold kids we see in the hardcore and metal sub-culture music scenes. It seems now-a day that there are fewer neutral scene’s in the underground music scenes. They’re usually either wearing “f**k God” shirts or “Our God reigns” shirts!! Think about it……

Brandon: I think it’s always pretty much the same. The style we play isn’t mainstream, but i think a lot of non-Christians like our band. Non-Christians probably always skip over the K-Love type of radio stations and dismiss them as “weird Jesus music” haha

One21: What would you want to see happen in the Christian music industry in the next ten years? What would you like to see change?

Brandon: I’d like to see more bands that aren’t ashamed of their faith. I’d also like to see the whole “God Free” trend disappear, as I’m sure it will.

David: Politics removed, passion integrated.

One21: What does the future hold for you guys?

David: We finish this tour with MyChildren MyBride in 11 days and then go straight into the studio in North Carolina with Jamie King to record our new CD which we’re STOKED about!! After that we do a headlining tour with Recon and our buddies in A Plea For Purging, etc… That includes Facedown Fest in Pomona (LA)! After that we head out to a fest on the east coast, and before you know it PORTRAITS will hit shelves on June 9th!

You can buy For Today’s music digitally on For Today

Or you can buy their CDs on Amazon: Ekklesia

You can check out For Today at their myspace:  www.myspace.com/fortoday

Here is the band preforming their song “Agape” from Ekklesia in 2008 (please watch till the end, its very very cool)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The One21 Interviews For Today [...]

Speak Your Mind

*