The Best Of Voices Of The Undergound


For those that dont know, Voices Of The Underground was a series we developed to reach a broad range of opinions on some the topics we talk about here on the website. The idea was simple, ask a large group of musicians the same 15 questions, then roll out the responses one question at a time per week.   What resulted was an amazing ride through the hearts and minds of the artists that are creating the music you love. As we gear up for a new Voices Of The Underground, we thought it would be cool to highlight some our favorite responses from the 15 questions that we sent out months ago. Enjoy:

1.What do you love about music?

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust)
Music has the authority to move people… LITERALLY move them! From one emotion to the next. Music can save a life or end it. Music can change the atmosphere, good or bad. Music can start a needed revolution and quell a dictatorship. We receive music through our ears, but it is translated in our souls. Our brains deciphers the organized sound, but our hearts move us to action with the messages depicted.

2.What are some of your favorite albums/CDs?

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)
Favorite albums… I’d say the blue Jars of Clay CD was one of my all time favorites.
I wore that thing out… DC Talk’s Jesus Freak and Supernatural are right up there. Anything by Anberlin. I’m huge on the Beatles. People would be surprised to find that I love Michael Jackson. He’s a genius. I have a rare B-side track of his that is just the vocal tracks soloed from the song. It’ll leave you speechless

3.What is the best thing about making music?

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)
Amy Courts
I love all of it, really, because different parts of who I am, at my core, go into each aspect. In the writing, I’m forced to dig into the depths and offer what’s there, however it looks or feels, and suffer (yet enjoy!) a sort of vulnerability found nowhere else. But when it comes out in song, it’s utter relief. In recording, I love the daunting task of taking a skeleton of a song and giving it muscle, tissue, skin, and a face by doing my best – with the help of gifted producers and musicians – to make a full body out of the bones. And the live performance is like icing on the cake, where I get to pour my heart out and share something very raw and real with people who may or may not “get” it. And there is always such deep satisfaction in finding and knowing the people with whom it resonates. A new community is born.

4.What is your opinion of the music industry today?

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)
My opinion on the music industry is that it has lost its genuine quality…I mean you look now it’s all about the popstar and not about being the artist, it’s about selling records and not making amazing art…I mean you look at American Idol all the other stupid Idol competitions, and my personal opinion is that they have ruined the music industry…Yes great musicians and artists have come from these places but the way winning is advertised on these shows is that it is all about being a star. And I just look back and see like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles, and it wasn’t about being a star it was about writing what you had on your mind and making the best music possible…And what needs to change is that the record companies have to quit prostituting all the artist’s and their music…I mean just get behind an artist and let them write a great song…Not maybe a hit song but a song that can strike a chord with the people and not just another useless pop song…

5.What impact has the digital age of music had on the industry?

echocastbandwb8David ( singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)
I think the digital age of music has made it a lot easier for smaller bands to reach a broader audience, but at the same time, its a lot more difficult to make a living playing music…

6. Who is Jesus Christ to you?

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-c Vito (half of Asthamic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon)
The Welcome Wagon
I believe everything the Bible says about Jesus. He is God’s Son, fully divine and fully human. And though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. He made himself nothing, and took the form of a servant. Being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

7.What is Christian music?

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)
Brooke Waggoner
Anything that is created from the heart of believers: CCM, indie, rock ‘n’ roll, experimental – there’s Christians in all of these places.

8.What is your opinion of the Christian music industry?

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones(independent hip-hop artist)
Mahogany Jones
I think that there is good and bad. There are people with pure motives to minister the gospel to people who need to understand the importance of a relationship with Christ, and there are people who use their gift as a means not to promote the gospel but themselves, and I feel that if we aren’t careful to ask God to keep us humble that we may be in for a rude awakening.

9.Do you think the Christian music scene is still important?

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)
Chris Taylor
Oh, it’s important. So, important that Christians should know when not to participate in a lot of things that go on in the scene. Just like any scene there are pitfalls but for Christians the Supremacy of Christ should be the primary goal in all we do.

10.Do you think people are more receptive or against artists of faith today?

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)
Dominic Balli
If you’re trying to make an impact in the mainstream music world, branding yourself as a “Christian Artist” can be a hindrance for sure. Why? Two reasons I think. 1) True or not, Christian music has been stereo typed as not being as good musically as mainstream music. 2) The way that most Christian artists write music, the world can’t relate to it. The don’t know what we’re talking about when we use words like, God is “Holy” or “Glory to the King”. So they just brush it off as “Church music”.
So I don’t think it’s a matter of being taken seriously or not, I just think that to most people in the mainstream, they just don’t understand it and if they do understand it, a lot of the song writing is about 10 years behind the mainstream, so they’re not that interested in it from a musical stand point either.

11.Do you consider yourself a Christian musician?

runkidrundavidoneinhatDavid (lead singer/guitarist for Tooth & Nail pop/rock band Run Kid Run)
Run Kid Run
I hate this battle people put too much emphasis on this sure Christan musician whatever you want to call me..I’m a christian I play music our band plays tons of Christian events churches etc. So I guess you would say yes…but you wouldn’t label a doctor or a roofer saying yes I’m a Christian roofer..not that it’s a bad thing see it doesn’t matter people can call me a Christian musician or not it doesn’t matter.

12.What is the hardest part about being a musician today?

heathstripsinirons Heath(bass player for Holdfast Records metal band In Irons)
In Irons
Being a musician, overall, is hard. Its hard learning to play an instrument, finding people to play with, writing music, getting a band off the ground, finding transportation and just holding it together. It boils down to how bad you want it to happen. But if you’re able to get it all worked out, it can be some of the most fun you’ve ever had.

13.What responsibility (if any) does an artist have to it’s listeners?
dirt DIRT(underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust)
I have always found myself frustrated with anyone who thinks an artist does not have any responsibility to his/her listeners. If you hold that opinion then make music for yourself, play it to yourself, buy your own CD and keep it to yourself. Music should motivate. We all have to decide what messages we really want to convey through our art, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t motivate someone from one place to another, then what good was all our effort.
Sometimes people need to hate something… and music can make that happen.
Sometimes people need to realize something…. and music can make that happen.
Sometimes people need to be in love with something, fear something, grapple with something, revolt against something, embrace something… and music can make that happen.

14.Where do you see the music industry going?

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
Down for a while more and then up up up up up. I think music will eventually all be free and they’ll use that as promotion to get people to shows and generate other sources of income for their artists. That’s essentially what is happening now. Some people still buy music on line though so they’re keeping the system barely a float. When they stop I think this will happen.

15.What is the best memory of your career so far?

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)
Dominic Balli
Brazil, October 2008. 22 shows in 24 days. The most tired tour you can imagine but every single night we saw hundreds or thousands of people respond to the gospel. At the end of the day, the TV shows, Radio spots, screaming fans didn’t make the hard work worth it. Only knowing that thousands of people entered from death in to life. That’s the only thing that made it worth it.


  1. chuck says:

    This is the best thing One21music has done. The insight into the hearts and minds of these musicians is fascinating. Goog job Ian.

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