Voices Of The Underground is a series that seeks to explore one question from many different angles. Every week, we will ask one question of many of your favorite music artists. We will post their responses below, and what you will find is that there is never truly one answer to every question, but instead a whole world of ideas that come from simple matters of taste, to deep held beliefs. Our hope is that through this series you are able to see past the promo pictures and the stage persona, and get to know the hearts of believers who are creating music every day.
Need to catch up?
Read Pt.1-What do you love about music?
Read Pt.2- What was your first musical experience?
Read Pt.3-What is your favorite/ultimate song?
Read Pt.4-What is the best live show you have ever seen?
Read Pt.5-If you hadn’t gotten into music, what would see yourself doing as a job?
Read Pt.6-Who is Jesus Christ to you?
Read Pt.7-What is Christian music?
Several months back, we presented an idea on this website that, as far as I know, is fairly unique to any other website like us. The issue of of “Christian music” is tough one. We as a staff have tried to explore the issue for a long time, and after a few trials and interviews, we wrote an article called The Many Facets Of Christian Music , which introduced the idea of our Categories system we now use in our artist database. Go read the article so you will understand, because it is very hard to summarize, but we decided to get our artists opinions on the subject. Go read the article, and then head back here…
What are your thoughts on (The Many Facets Of Christian Music)?
I think music, like any art, is looked at from many different perspectives and can’t be categorized so easily. One song could mean so many different things to different people. One person loves it, one person is annoyed by it, one person associates it to a significant moment in their life, and another hears it and worships the Lord. When I play our music it is how I worship the Lord, when a believer hears it they could be inspired by the lyrics, and when a non believer hears it they could just like the way it sounds. I feel like our music fits in the middle some where. We ask people in our music to wake up and find things out for themselves.
I saw on the site that you’ve put my group in the latter category, which seems appropriate. I’m sure that there is a lot of overlap between categories, but I can’t imagine that your efforts to break things down this way should or would bother anyone.
I think it’s important to recognize those distinctions, but our mentality as a band has always been to create great music that anyone who likes our style could appreciate, no matter what their faith might be. That said, the entire band shares a solid belief in Christ and that comes through in our music, but I would hope non-believers can take from our music and lyrics as well. Essentially, we want to spread a message of love and compassion, both deeply rooted in our faith, yet great ideals for everyone too.
I think the same thing. That yes there is Christian music that is made specifically for Christians, and Christian music that is made by the artist to get a message across to both non-believers and believers. I don’t really like that there are Categories for Christian music. I always get frustrated with Christians making music for Christians. I feel like, personally, that that’s just an easy way out, an easy way to say that “I’m doing gods work” yes believers should provide encouragement, but I would never want to aim my music towards people who are just like me who have already heard the message I’d have to give. I’d want to and always will strive to aim for unbelievers to provide hope, love, and encouragement, even show them that we have doubts sometimes. I just want to sing about real life, the good and the bad times. So I think our music would fit in the “Christians in a band, who take an artistic real life approach tho their music” Category.
Our first record I would say would be mainly music made by believers to encourage other believers. This new record I would say gets more towards music that is made for believers and everyone else. I can see how you could apply each of these categories. Worship stuff would fall more under the first category. Then, as you get into stuff that is less specific lyrically, you start to get into the last two categories.
That’s actually a really cool idea, it seems to kind of do away with some of the problems with the “Christian Music” label. I don’t really think about it too much, I would view our music as human expression, through our worldview. It just so happens that our view of the world is through religious eyes, but I feel that I am no better or different than anyone else, so I would hope our music would transcend labels and be able to speak to anyone who listens to it. Or anyone who likes it anyway.
Our music is just a tool to deliver our message. We feel it is for anyone willing to listen. We’re impartial as far as the categories are concerned, we just want to spread the love of Christ and help others realize they are not alone.
It seems like it makes sense. It is basically what we see in the scriptures.
The psalms are songs that the people sung about God and all that he has done for them.
The Lamentations are a collection of songs by someone angry at God and letting Him know how they feel He is unjust in His actions.
The Prophets often sang songs to the people to encourage them to stay close to God.
So, you see all three in the scriptures. I think most of my stuff fits under the “music made to encourage Christians” category. Allot of my stuff is prompting people to take what they believe about God (orthodoxy) and put it into practice (orthopraxy). I try and encourage people to take what they have recieved from the Lord and to let it flow from their own hands into the world. If we truly going to try and “be like Jesus” then we will offer grace/mercy/forgiveness/love/encouragement/sacrifice to all those around us… so thats what I sing about.
I would say that our music fits into all three of these categories. I play music for a lot of reasons. But I try to keep my heart and mind focused on the main one. That being to take any glory that, for some reason, might be aimed at us (as a band or individually) and reflect it back up to God. I believe that God gave me the ability and the passion to play music. I play it because it’s fun and I love doing it. But ultimately I wouldn’t even be able to do/be anything if it weren’t for God. And even though it’s not always the case, I try really hard to do everything with the sole intention of bringing glory to God. So finish the answer, I believe that we create and perform music (as believers) to encourage other believers AND non believers. In fact, hopefully more so the latter. I always pray that our music can have an impact on people who don’t believe the same things I do and if it’s
God’s will, have some part in a decision to accept the salvation of Christ. That is, after all, what God has called me to do: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” If God want’s to use a few of our songs to do so, then all the better!
I would agree that these 3 types exist. The guys and I frequently talk about this. There are band called to use their gifts in music in many different ways, and I do not necessarily think categorizing them is hurtful. I think Venia would fit into the catagory of music written for those who are believers and those who are not believers. We don’t write music specifically for any of these 2 parties. We try to write about the world we see, about our personal struggles, and the struggles of the generation we belong to.
I don’t think it’s that easy to categorize artists. For example Elvis had Gospel songs but he also had other songs the mainstream frowned upon. Johnny Cash also has some very lyrically spiritual as well as questionable songs.
I think our music is for everyone, we’ve met non-Christians that enjoy listening to our music as well as Christians who enjoy it. I don’t think our purpose is to just play music for Christians but we want to encourage the Christians that do listen to us.
I thoroughly agree with the article. I primarily agree with the particular category of music that is made for both believers and everyone else. Our music for instance is Christian based, so it gives Christ followers something to listen to, but also our music is classified as metal and I like to see our band being used primarily as an outreach. There is a big world out there with a big group of people that are attracted to the metal genre that are possibly not familiar with the Lord, if we as a band can reach their attention, then there is a chance we can change their life.
I think we need to just not categorize it. Like artists have their own way of expressing themselves. Its like denominations in music, usually it does more harm then good. I say we just make music and let God use it how He sees fit. One body, one purpose. If I had to be in any of those categories, Id hope to be appealing to both the believer and unbeliever.
Weird..I answered this in the last question before reading this one..haha. To add to that though, I think if you’re a Christian making music for everyone, categories can hurt. People automatically assume a certain thing when they hear “Christian” artist…good or bad, and that can be frustrating.
I don’t think the categories are necessary, but I don’t think that it is hurtful. We make music for both believers and non-believers, and are especially writing for those who don’t believe because we want to reach those outside of the church.
This subject has been a MAJOR issue with me all of my life. My dad is a preacher, a very sound-doctrine, let’s-back-it-up-with-the-Word preacher. I only listened to CCM when I was growing up. I loved Steve Taylor’s Squint. I’m all about the by Christians/for Christians category.
However, I didn’t become a true Christian until about three years ago. Before that I would say that all of the music I made was just pretty music- nothing more.
My last record, Gileah and The Ghost Train s/t, was the record that brought me home. But I was still struggling with what it means to be a Christian artist.
And now I’ve come to a very definite answer for my own life: I am a Christian. And I am going to make Christian music. I’m not going to be vague about the Gospel. How much I regret the years I spent being too cool to talk about Christ!
But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:33)
I’ve been soberly convicted about my avoidance of all things God in my music. And I’ve given my music to Him. I’ve said it out loud so that my friends and family will know to remind me if I forget in the future. I have to openly repent over the fact that I might have led some astray by being too cool to proclaim the Truth of God.