Interview With Sean Michel

We first saw Sean Michel perform on American Idol when he auditioned with “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”  However, that is not even close to who Sean Michel is as an artist.  We have seen him perform on numerous occasions and he is an unsanitized, gut-rock Delta blues musician. Sean Michel combines a a soaring voice, ripping slide guitar skills with a good guitar from a surprising number of alternatives and a fiery passion for God into a foot stompin’, hip swingin’, glory shouting Gospel party, ShowerHacks mentioned.

Sean Michel‘s new album Back To The Delta showcases the power of his music and his message.  From the opening track, “When The Saints Go Marching In” to the end, “I Wanna Be More Like Jesus” there is no question that Sean Michel is as true a bluesman as those sharecroppers who walked the dirt roads of the south in the “30′s and 40′s.  Every song showcases Sean Michel as powerful a preacher as any televangilist. The middle set of songs, “Hosea Blues”, “The Curse Is Broken”, “My Jesus”, and “He Is the One” is hot enough to give you radiation burns, or should I say, Gospel burns.

Sean Michel was kind enough to do an interview with us on the occasion of the release of Back To The Delta.  We strongly reccomend that you go to and order Back To The Delta.

Interview With Christian Bluesman Sean Michel

One21:  Many of our readers have never experienced Sean Michel‘s music. Can you take us back to the beginning and give us the story of Sean Michel the musician?

Sean:  I was born down in the swamp, outside New Orleans. I didn’t wanna wait for no hospital, so I came out my momma right down in those river bottoms surrounded by cypress trees adorned with garlands of the hanging Spanish moss. Matter of fact, my family told me some of that Spanish moss got caught up in the breeze and landed right on my face after I was born, so as I had a long beard as soon as I took my first breath.

When you got that big river in you from birth like I did, it aint but a matter of time before you got to express all that soul that pent up inside you. I used to sing and all that as a boy – but it was when the Holy Spirit got involved that I really had something to sing about. A few years after that, I picked up an old guitar for the first time and it was like a crawdad found a mud hole. It felt like home. I been trying to figure out how to make it all work since then and truth be told I’m still tryin to work it out. But for me, the story ain’t really about me bein’ a musician – its about a music that’s bigger than me that done got inside me, and is tryin’ to work its way back out.

One21: Modern music fans have a difficult time reconciling the delta blues of Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker with the modern Christian outlook of comfort and happiness. What inspired you to express your faith through a musical style that is traditionally associated with pain and despair?

Sean: Well, all this music started with the slave songs out in the fields. And as they began to sing gospel songs, they could understand an aspect of the gospel that many of us struggle to comprehend. They were a people living in a land that was not their own, far from their home. They understood the longing for that other place. It was not entirely unlike the Jewish exiles. And it parallels the situation of believers in Jesus nowadays – we’re living in a land that is not where we belong, just like Peter said in the good book. And I think the perfect music to reflect that situation is the blues. I got a real problem with what you termed “the Christian outlook of comfort and happiness”, cause if a Christian is comfortable and happy in this world then it means they ain’t longing for the kingdom come. I ain’t comfortable, and I ain’t happy. So I sing the blues till Jesus comes, and I’ll holler and moan in front of the whole world until the day I see His face.

One21:  In today’s music scene, your music is mostly relegated to specialized “blues” clubs or honky-tonks. How do the audiences react to your overtly Christian stance in the setting?

Sean: First of all, we play in all kinds of venues. We play in high churches, low churches, dive bars, juke joints, and just anywhere music is played. I don’t know that we’ve played many honky tonks, actually. We did play a strip club once… but that’s another story. But no matter where we play, its always the same set. By that I mean, we don’t try to water down the Truth just ’cause we’re in a bar and we don’t try to mellow out the rock n’ roll just ’cause we’re in a church. And we find that we have more problems with churches accepting our rock n’ roll than we do bar crowds accepting our faith. I remember a conversation with a guy at a bar in Philly, and he said, “I don’t believe what you believe, but I believe that you believe it.” The sincerity and passion I have for Jesus and making Him known comes through in my music, and I think more than anything, real music lovers just want authenticity. And I think they sense that I’m just being real. And the bottom line is, if you’re good at what you do then that’s all most folks care about. Playing good music makes ‘em give you the benefit of the doubt. The negative reactions have been few and far between and greatly outnumbered by a welcome and warm reception by people who don’t yet believe in Jesus.

One21:  How do you think the general public and the mainstream music industry view faith based music?

Sean: I think they see it as a taboo. They don’t want to touch it. They think you have to water it down, use pronouns or vague metaphors. But what they forget is that the most succesful artits back in the day made Gospel records. Johnny Cash, Elvis, Al Green, Little Richard, Sam Cooke… the list goes on and on. So we have this heritage of rock n’ roll and soul music that is greatly intertwined with the Gospel, but the general public – and particularly the “industry – sees them as incompatible. I’ll never understand that. Gospel and Rock n’ Roll were made for each other.

 One21:  How do you measure success?

Sean: Skip James had a song called “I wanna be more and more like Jesus”. That’s my measuring stick right there. I just wanna be more like Jesus – more holy, more righteous, more pure. And I want the life I live and the music I play to not only reflect that, but inspire others to pursue the same kind of success. That’s it. For the Lord to look at me and say “well done” is the only kind of success I want.

One21: What responsibility do you think an artist/performer has to its listeners?

Sean:  A huge responsibility. We have a saying – “serve the audience”. What’s the point of doing this in front of people if you don’t make it about saying something to them and involving them? Lauryn Hill talks in her Unplugged album about not giving people what they want, but instead giving them what they need. I think that’s huge, and really that’s what love is. If we really love the people in the audience, then we’re more concerned with their soul than just tickling their ears. We wanna make your booty shake, but that’s really just the way for us to get into your soul. And then we want to speak some Truth once we get in there. (I do find that the booty and the soul are connected, in fact- but I digress.) But we want to do all of that in a way that the audience appreciates what they’re being given – whether it makes them feel good or not, we do want them to value it. We want them to feel it, deep down in the inner most part of themselves.

 One21: In today’s music scene, with the demise of record companies and mySpace, how does an artist develop a large enough following to sustain a career?

Sean: Just go do it. That’s what I alaways tell artists who ask for advice. Just get out there and go serve people with your music. If your goal is a large audience, then you’ll fail. You got to treat each person like they’re the only person – because that’s how you’d want to be treated. I don’t know much about sustaining a career because we’re probably not the best example of a business model for musicians. But people like what we do well enough, and if we can just break through to their soul then we’ve connected with them – and that will last a lifetime, and hopefully even longer.

One21: You have been pursuing your vision for several years now. Can you give us insight into the life of a musician in the 21st century?

Sean: Ha – well, it ain’t pretty. There’s a lot less money involved than there was even 10 years ago. If you weren’t already somewhat established, then its impossible to get that kind of notoriety anymore. You have to just really believe in what you do and not care about getting “big”. Its a grind, constantly. Its hard to get the word out when you’re up to stuff, like touring or recording. The record industry has changed, but the fans haven’t caught up. The fans still expect their favorite bands to have a cd in Best Buy, even though they won’t buy it there. They expect them to have a huge live show, even though they won’t attend. So there is a dynamic right now where the fans are going to have to catch up to the reality that is the music scene in this century. Until fans begin to make personal investments in the artists they like on a more regular basis, its just gonna keep being next to impossible for bands to sustain themselves with any kind of longevity. Fans are going to have to step up and realize they’re gonna have to take the place of the labels and sponsors of the past. But if and when that happens, I think artists and music lovers will be better off.

One21: What is your best memory of your career so far?

Sean: I dunno – too many to pick a favorite. Next Question. I will say that my favorite moments are the connections with regular people in unlikley settings – just seeing and meeting people, and connecting with them in a way that impacts eternity. I guess you’ll have to wait for my biography for the full story.

One21: What are your road traditions?

Sean: We have a few, but they’re more like just habits. We’re creatures of habit. If there’s a Qdoba, we eat there. We come home through Memphis if we go East, so we have a tradition of stopping at Blues City Cafe on Beale st. for the last dinner of a tour. We also roll the window down as soon as we cross the border back into Arkansas – gotta get that Natural State clean air in our lungs again. We do this thing where we listen to geographically appropriate music – for instance, if we’re rolling down Highway 41 in Georgia, we might listen to “Ramblin Man” by the Allman Brothers, and follow it up with “Georgia on my Mind” by Ray Charles. We also make it a habit to enjoy the places we go. If there’s a national park, we’ll go check it out, things like that.

One21: What do you love about music?

Sean: I love how simple it is – just moving air. And through that, one soul can connect to another soul. Nothing else does that like music. Its almost like speaking telepathically. We cut through all the jive and speak straight to each others souls through music. And its not just each other – its like its God’s own voice, like we’re speaking God’s own language. And you know when two folks are speaking the same language they connect better. So even though we don’t see God, music helps us speak with him. We’re speaking it with him to each other – like Apostle Paul told us to when he said to speak to each other with spritual songs and hymns. I get a little goosebumpy just thinkin’ about how all that works.

One21: Who are your favorite musicians?

Sean: I really love the Staples Singers, and more recently some of Mavis Staples solo stuff. When I was younger I loved CeCe Winans and she still gets to me. I recently have gotten into a former Stax artist named Rance Allen too – he does Gospel. Speaking of Stax – gotta mention Otis Redding. Fred McDowell, Blind Willie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe have all influenced the way I play and I still listen to them. I’ve got this Al Green gospel record I’ve been spinning a lot lately. And then there’s guys like Keith Green and Rich Mullins, guys I just feel used music the right way. Musically, sometimes I’m not with what they’re doing but their content always wins me over. Lets see – Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy – saw them together live and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Zeppelin, The Stones, all of those white boy British Blues – I dig on that too. I could go on and on I guess, but I reckon that gives you the picture.

Interview With Josh Garrels

The term “god’s gift” is used flippantly in our society today.  Rarely, is it literally true.  God gave Josh Garrels a transcendent talent that he has used to make beautiful, compelling music for us over the years.  In the past two years, God gave Josh Garrels Love & War & The Sea In Between, and then commanded Josh to give it to us to glorify God. I don’t care what style of music you like or don’t like. You need to download Love & War & The Sea In Between, put your headphones on and spend an hour with this work of staggering beauty and compelling complexity. God gave it to you. Take advantage of His free gift, which may be some Unique Gifts for Mom.

Now that Love & War & The Sea In Between is officially One21music’s 2011 Album of The Year come spend a few minutes with Josh Garrels to dig deeper into the artist who created the masterpiece.

Interview with Josh Garrels

One21: Many of our readers are just discovering you.  Can you take us back to the beginning and give us the story of Josh Garrels the musician?

Josh Garrels: I was born outside of Detroit 1980 but grew up most of my life in South Bend, Indiana.  My dad was a music teacher and my older sisters were also avid music collectors, so music was definitely the common language in our house.  Whatever music I was into at the time, I always had a sort of compulsion to not just listen but also create.  So, early on I would record myself by cycling tapes and layering overdubs on a double tape-deck.  My dad would always bring home old instruments and keyboards from the schools he worked at, so our basement was full of stuff to experiment with.  I made a lot of punk rock in middle school and early high school, and then started making east coast sounding hip hop later in high school using four-track recorders and such.  Really though, when I think back, I wasn’t aspiring to do go anywhere with music, mostly it was about creating a soundtrack for skateboarding, which at the time was my main focus.  It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I realized how important creating music had always been to me.

One21:   Josh Garrels folklore includes being “discovered” street singing at the Cornerstone Music Festival  food court. Can you tell us that story and share how the musicians from that community helped you get started?

Josh Garrels: At the time I was an intern with Alliance World Coffee’s which is a coffee roastery out of Muncie, Indiana.  Each year AWC would set up a coffee tent in the main vending court and we would serve coffee and espresso to the festival crowd of about 25,000 for the full week.  I’d recently come to the faith, so Cornerstone was an awesome change from the  tripped-out drug haze of the Phish festivals that I’d previously frequented.  Once again, my compulsion to not merely be a listener. but also to create and share got the best of me.  Despite 30 plus stages showcasing bands that actually got invited to play at the festival, I set up one little speaker in front of our coffee tent and played one long set of music.  Looking back, it was so confirming to me that people actually stopped, sat down, listened, and even bought my home-made CD’s!  The next year people were actually waiting for the performance.  The year after that, I was invited to play on a “real stage” at the festival.   Years later I was asked to play on mainstage.  It was a fun progression, and along the way I became close friends with many of the folks at JPUSA.

One21:  We believe your sound is unique into today’s music scene.  Some compare you to Citizen Cope but your discography parallels his.  Who were your early influences as you developed your “signature sound”?

Josh Garrels: Like so many of us, finding my dads old Beatles LP’s was a transformative experience for me, as well as Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young etc.  As a youth I absorbed a lot of my older sisters’ music as well, so I was affected by the The Cure, Pixies, Morrisey, Bjork, Pavement, and Fugazi among others.  When I started skating I fell in love with punk rock, and spent several years listening to Bad Religion, Pennywise, NOFX, Good Riddance, and No Use For A Name.  Practically overnight I abandon Punk Rock for the layed back poetic aggression of east coast Hip Hop, which at the time was still a form of “struggle music”.  Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Guru and Gangstarr, Jeru the Damaja, Nas, and Wu Tang Clan were my constants through high school and into college.

In college I came to faith while studying art and my musical taste fractured in every direction.  I began listening to folk artists such as Nick Drake, Elliot Smith, and Ben Harper, and also old recordings from the Mississippi Delta, Appalachians, and church spirituals.  All of these sounds I’d grown up with suddenly had the freedom to be mashed, juxtaposed, and fit together like collage work.  I’d never felt the freedom blend sounds and genre’s until I became a believer in the Lord, and realized that music no longer had to be subject to strict sub-cultural laws but had the freedom to breath, and blend, and be made new.  In many ways, 10 years later, I’m still completely captivated by this freedom to blend genre and influence…sort of like breeding all these different species of animals together to see what new creature might come about…

One21: I know many musicians dislike the term “signature sound” but, so far, you have maintained, and built upon, the Josh Garrels sound.  Very few musicians in the history of popular music have been able maintain a core sound while successfully expanding their artistic reach. How have you maintained your musical vision while developing and growing the artistry and complexity of your music?

Josh Garrels:  I think if one doesn’t purposefully embed themselves squarely into a specific genre or industry, the better his/her chances are of being free of the particular rules and limitations that that closed sub-culture/club would threaten to impose upon them.  As humans we’re drawn to rules because they give us a standardized method of judging success or failure (aka religion).  When we follow the rules we’re “in”, and when we don’t we’re “out”.  Bob Dylan picks up an electric guitar and his faithful following of folkies are so disgusted they want to burn him at the stake as a traitor.  My guess is that he wasn’t trying anxiously to “reinvent” himself  like Axl Rose in corn rows, but was merely in the mood to play some rock and roll, and it’s honest decisions like this that make an artist great in my book.

There can be a fear of following through with new artistic interests, desires, and influences, because of the possibility offending those who embraced our previous work.  This is called “fear of man”, and any work produced under the compulsion of fear will come off as pandering, soulless, and inferior to ones previous work.  For an artist to refuse to evolve because of fear, or to attempt reinvent oneself out of fear, are equally destined for failure.  If I’ve had any success in the evolution of my sound, I think it stems forth from my impatience of using any sounds, ideas, or influences that are not captivating to me.  Throughout the years some aspects of my music have come and gone, only to be heard during that particular season, yet other aspects that have remained as constants through the years are simply the things that never cease to be of interest to me.  I believe that if I can keep my heart and mind fully invested in all aspects of each song then the end product will contain something of integrity.

One21 :  You have a distinct lyrical vision.  You drive home unflinching truths about our faith appropriately wrapped in the joy and hope of redemption. Some of the best examples of this I can point to are “SISU” from Over Oceans, “Zion & Babylon” from Jacaranda and about five songs from Love & War (“Beyond Blue”, “The Resistance”, “Farther Along”,Etc.) Can you tell us how you craft your lyrics?

Josh Garrels: Faith is an interesting animal to grapple with and “work out in fear and trembling”.  Two people can be looking at the same thing, one through the eyes of faith and the other through the eyes of unbelief, and the thing will be seen entirely differently by the two people.  When I came to faith in Jesus, it’s as if I stepped through the looking glass, and the things that had once been confusing, distasteful, angering, and impossible suddenly began to glimmer with a new shimmering light of hope, forgiveness, redemption, and eternity.  This is how it’s possible to sing of confusion, darkness, spiritual bondage, and betrayal, without resigned to these being final.  I’m seeing and experiencing the same anger, depravity, hurt, and brokenness that the rest of my generation is, and to neglect these would be untruthful and dishonoring to our shared human experience.  Yet, I can also see Gods spirit hovering all around us, waiting for any invitation to break into this reality and bring utter transformation.  So with the darkness I can’t help but point to the coming dawn.

One21:  Starting with Jacaranda but fully delivered on Love & War, your musical arrangements have grown more complex and more beautiful. What is your process for developing your musical arrangements?

Josh Garrels:  I had a defining moment years ago while watching Michel Gondry’s film, “Science of Sleep”.  I was really affected by artfulness and presentation of the movie so afterward I watched all the bonus material, and in doing so, I realized just how much time, attention, and energy was needed to create such masterful work.  At that moment I also realized that I had a lot of work within me that was waiting to come out, and that it would take my full attention and time to realize it.  Up to this point I had been bi-vocational with music, either working at Alliance World Coffee’s while making music, or pastoring a church plant in Indianapolis while making music, and this was the moment that I decided to enter into music full time.  The first thing I did was to move with my wife Michelle to a guest house in the country where I spent the next year of my life fully dedicated to the creation of Jacaranda.  It was the first album in my career that I allowed complete focus, and in so doing, pushed myself to take more time with arrangements and poetry.

As you noted, Love & War was a continuation of this process of focus and dedication that began with Jacaranda.  We began Love & War upon moving to Portland, Oregon, and overall it took us about a year and a half to create.  With Love & War, I took new steps forward in both music engineering and collaboration.  I’ve always recorded and produced my own work, but I’ve had no formal studio education, so engineering my own albums has always been an exciting yet frustrating process.  With Love & War, I was able to to invest in some better studio gear, and also work with other engineers to help refine the sound in ways that had previously eluded me (thanks Dave Wilton!).  I also collaborated with about 15 other artists on the album.  Part of my own growth as an artist was the realization that I’m bound to hit my own limitations and begin repeating myself if I don’t invite in some outside influences.  So, on almost every song in Love & War I brought in other musicians, whether composer, instrumentalist, vocalist, or producer, each song has the fingerprints of more people than just me he even sometimes go to instrument rental stores to firm autographs and greet people.  The album would be far less exciting and dynamic if not for the team of people that surrounded it and infused there own sound into it.

One21:  Now, let’s talk about Love & War & The Sea In Between.  We are telling everyone who will listen that this is a masterpiece of monumental proportions, and we are not the only ones.  It is an epic album of 18 tracks and it has been over two years since we heard from you. How did you come to releasing a huge album in this day of artists rapidly turning out eps and singles for iTunes?

Josh Garrels: First, when I sat down and began writing…a lot of songs came out!  Initially I had over 30 songs that I subjected to editing and the ears of my wife, and I began moving forward with many of them.  Once the album was really underway I considered breaking it up into a few separate albums, but the songs all felt as though they had a common enough center that I knew I had to keep them together.  This may be a source of eye rolling for some, but as best as I can discern the voice of the spirit of God, He kept telling me to “make new songs”, and to “fill up ALL the jars with water” with each song representing a humble clay jar.  For whatever reason, I felt commissioned to not only write songs, but a lot of them, so I followed through the best I could.  More is not always better, in fact maybe rarely so, but I think with the current trend of bite sized musical works perhaps an epic album at least peaks folks interest.

One21:  Each of the songs on Love & War are beautiful on their own, but the entire recording feels like an integrated work. Is there an overriding theme or message you were exploring with this work?

Josh Garrels: Well, the title of the album is fairly self-explanatory in presenting the themes of love, war, and the sea, but I suppose the overarching story is one of navigating life in a dark and mysterious world with the hope of a homecoming where God has set all things right.   I never cease to be intrigued and in awe of how the physical world affects the spiritual, and how the spiritual interacts with the material, so all of the songs tend to be telling stories with dual realities.  Not separate realities but hopefully a holistic vision of our epic journey.

One21:  We could spend hours discussing each song, but I will limit myself to two.  First, let’s discuss “Slip Away”.  I will let you tell us your heart behind the song. In the song someone is relentlessly plucking and strumming what I think is a mandolin, which creates a subliminal sense of urgency. That is contrasted by a lilting cello, which sets a melancholy tone.  How did that song develop and what are you trying to convey?

Josh Garrels:  Once again, two realities were pressing upon me during the creation of this song.  One was the flesh and blood reality of many of my peers getting divorced, including one of my best friends who plays on the album.  The other reality is experiencing my generation falling away from the faith, including some of me and my wife’s closest friends who literally walked away from Christ to become pagans and worship the individual spirits that reside in tree’s and deer and mother earth.  Both of these realities, divorce between humans and divorce from God, are tragic and have deep ramifications.  The urgency is that we only have a short time here in this life, and to reach the end of our life without coming to a reckoning of our own betrayal and finding forgiveness will be to live an eternal separation…and that’s a very heavy reality indeed.

One21: Secondly, I want to discuss one of the most striking songs of your career.  ”Ulysses” is the type of song that makes a person stop in their tracks to listen. It may be the most ambitious vocal performance of your career.   Please, just tell us about “Ulysses”.

Josh Garrels: It was one of those melodies that came to me and made me cry before any words even written yet.  When that happens I know there’s something substantial happening within a song, and I’d do well to pay attention.  My wife Michelle was also in love with the melody, and the song reaching it’s final refinement is as much her work as mine.  She was an english literature major, and she was so jealous for the song to reach the high mark she felt it deserved, that she was a brutal critic and editor of my lines.  We had a few “marital moments” of real anger and frustration towards one another, as I just wanted to be done with the song, but she would keep pushing me to find the best way of saying something.  I love my wife for this.  I kept wavering between abandoning the classic story of Ulysses (which I’ve loved from the time I was a boy), or making the song so literal that it was no longer personal and emotional.  With my wife’s help, we reached the delicate balance of honoring the classic epic, while breathing into universal elements that we all can deeply connect to.

Here is Josh doing a stripped down performance of “Ulysses”

One21: Okay, so the question everyone is asking, “How is that Josh Garrels is giving away this epic masterpiece?”

Josh Garrels: In all truthfulness the idea wasn’t mine, and initially the thought of giving it away actually made me angry.  I was fighting sickness during the final 4 or 5 months of the creation of the album, and I had literally built the entire album around scratch vocal tracks, for I hadn’t had my full singing voice needed to record the final vocals!  I was down to my final few weeks of recording and the lack of a voice had reached a point of crisis.  I fasted and prayed and shook my fists at God exclaiming, “why would you lead me to create an album that I can’t even finish!”.  When he answered I was put in my place like Job before his Maker.  My response was, “Lord, let no one rob You of Your glory!”, and his response shocked me for he said, “Will you?”.  I said, “No Lord!”, and he said, “then give it to Me!”.  And at that moment I knew what he was asking for.  He was asking for me to let go of the album, and all the funds that would come from it!  I sat in silence for 20 minutes, let down and angry, as I counted the cost of what it would mean for me and my family to let go of our work and income.  And he waited in silence for me to give my answer.  I finally exclaimed in true stubborn child fashion, “Alright Lord, it’s Yours!”, and I sensed his pleasure upon this decision.  He then proceeded to lay out the ramifications and parameters of the decision, which were; For one year give away as many copies of the album as you can, this will be a year of Jubilee, any money that comes in from the album through itunes, amazon, or song placements must be given away as well, keep nothing.  He then asked me what I needed to complete the work and I responded, “A voice! and ten thousand dollars!”.  That week my voice came back and a complete stranger from another country wired thousands of dollars into my account.  It was unreal.  The rest as they say is history.

One21: Wow, that story gives me a deeper appreciation for Love & War & The Seas In Between. This leads me to another line of discussion.  If you have a few more minutes I will try to sum it up in one question. John Thompson of EMI and the Wayside has declared that were are returning to a time of the musical troubadour where only the best of the best will be able to make a reasonable living over their lifetime.  But none of us yet know how musicians will be able make a living.  For you, a man of undeniable musical gifts straight from childhood when you used to play with miniature instruments, a man who is driven to speak truth, a father and a husband, how do you provide for you family while exercising your calling?

Josh Garrels: I agree with John, in that it’s common knowledge that the music industry is like the wild west right now.  It’s anyone’s game, but that also means there’s now millions of people trying to win the lottery.  For me, six months after the release of Love & War, my plans on how to proceed after this “year of jubilee” are beginning to really take shape.  I believe we’re actually on the verge of a new Renaissance in the arts, and that similar to the days of old, artists will be commissioned to create new work, rather than trying to win the attention of potential buyers with sexy packaging.  You can already see this happening with the explosion of fan-funding sites like Kickstarter, free music sites like Noisetrade, and the fact that Love & War was completely listener funded .  The difference in a new Renaissance, is that the work will not only be funded by wealthy benefactors and royalty, but the “direct to fan” marketplace of the internet will allow the general public be a part of commissioning their favorite artist to “bring forth” new work.

In the recent past, big companies would front a lot of money to an artist to make an album, but the investors main motivation would be to make product that sells, for their goal is to not only recoup their investment but to make money.  In this model the artist is left with a huge debt to pay off, so they become motivated to create work that is marketable as well.  So in a sense the art becomes merely a product, seen in units to be pushed, and this kills the passion of many honorable artists.  However, with commissioned work, the public will take the responsibility of investing in work that isn’t yet created, which is an act of trust and a calling forth, rather than the consumeristic view of art as “product”.  And this paradigm shift will also bring new freedom to the artist, to not be ruled by the desire to create something that will merely sell, but to create art that is of worth and service for it’s own sake.  In my case, I’m then going to give away my most recent work for free, as a thank you to all who freely give to me.  I intend to continue inviting my listeners to invest in new work, and I also intend to give away each new album for a year, along with all revenue from the new work.

Check out the music video for “White Owl” below

you can listen to Josh Garrels incredible new album below in its entirety and download it for free

An Interview About Wrath by Preson Phillips

The (ONE)21 Music: Wrath is your third release since 2008. How does your role as Pastor and Worship Leader compliment and feed you as a recording artist and vice versa?
Preson Phillips: I never think of myself as a recording artist as if it were a second job that I had. I am simply a pastor, and the way that I am best able to communicate the gospel to people is through a mixture of preaching and songwriting/leading. If those things spread beyond the walls of the church, so be it.
I don’t think that either one of those things, either the music or the preaching, would be very effective without the other. I need to do both of them. You can say things through lyrics that you could never say in preaching, or even normal conversations, because it would be awkward and cheesy. Music and lyrics are the atmosphere that make those “cheesy” statements acceptable, and even powerful!

ONE21:Your music seems to embody the weightiness of traditional hymns with the excuberance of modern worship music. How did these two styles of “Church” music come together to influence your sound?
Phillips: I didn’t really write like that in the past, but being a pastor means that you have to read a whole lot of really really old theology books. Any student will tell you that when you first start reading those books (polycarp, augustine, brother lawrence, william law, and even calvin and luther) they are really hard to read and its a slow and exhausting process to comprehend what they are saying. But the longer you keep it up, it becomes simple… almost normal. Then you start to appreciatte the way our forefathers wrote and communicated the gospel, and you sit there and say “man, I wish I could write like that and not get laughed at!”.
The lucky thing is, with music I am allowed to do that. I can write as if I was some snobbish Elizabethan playwright… and no one even thinks twice about it. There are much more beautiful ways of saying things than the modern english language allows for, and that’s what some services like All Speeches Great and Small offer, a way for you to express what you want to say in the best way possible. Our speech is too efficient. We get to our point fast, we just want people to get it. Old english was like that. They took their time getting to the point, and they often times circled around it for a while before landing there.
Where we sometimes just say “he came”, people used to say “Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our immanuel”. Same thing, different weight.

ONE21:Your band seems to play a more prominent role on Wrath than on your first two recordings. What is drove the change in sound?
Phillips: This has really taken a turn from solo project into a full on band over the years. I put two LP albums out with no band, and now 3 with a band. We’ve even kicked around the idea of naming the band, but I guess it might a little late for that.
All in all it was almost the exact same group of people that recorded the last 2 records (we added Ryan Payne, who was playing in the band at the time, he played allot of the guitar on “wrath”). We actually recorded almost the whole record in a couple of weeks in December 2010. I think the difference is that we sat on it for almost a year and would regularly go back to it and think about how we could produce it to make it stand on it’s own. I want every record to have its own identity and sound, while still being rooted in the southern folk hymn sound.
The best songs on every record are the ones the band took ownership of and changed, songs like “Grace and Peace” and “Wandering Soul”. We love them, so we play them over and over until they become something else, something bigger than what they were.
I have a pretty solid conviction that you shouldn’t be recording a song you haven’t been playing regularly for at least 6 months, it hasn’t even really been born yet and you are taking it out to people?
Got off topic, sorry.

ONE21: Wrath is not a very popular subject in the modern Church and your music is so exuberant. Where did the title come from?
Phillips: Love is the subject of 99.99% of worship songs, but people never quite think about the fact that you cannot have love without wrath. A man who loves his wife will furiously defend her against other men who are competing for her eye. He will even let himself be killed in an act of love.
If you love someone, you hate and wish wrath on the heads of all who want to destroy what you love wether it be your children or your way of life or your freedom.
“Dealt a traitors fate,
With Roman nails to hold your weight,
Suffering as you died
Stil pleading for afflictors lives”.
I know we see the love in that story, but if we can’t see the wrath in it then it will never have the weight it was meant to.
The pharisees dealt wrath on Jesus for destroying their idols.
Satan leveled wrath against Jesus because he loved himself.
Jesus himself felt the wrath of God so that he could save his own family.

Love is not love where there is no wrath.

ONE21: You create worship music. Can you describe your songwriting process?
Phillips: Most of the time it simply starts with one of 2 things: a phrase, or a small catchy melody in your head. I usually record it in my phone or type it in my evernote box and then I’ll forget about it… usually for almost a year. Once a month or so I open up all my songwriting notes and see if any of them can be expanded or combined or put to different timing. Sometimes I get songs out of em, most of the time I do not. It’s all kind of a regular exercise that I work into my life. If I don’t keep it up, I’ll run out of ideas. Its pretty messy, but It works.

ONE21:As you have played the songs in your Church and around the country, which ones seem to be evoking the most intense reactions?
Phillips: Playing at my church is the most enjoyable situation. There is nothing more joyful than filling a sanctuary with the voices of my brothers and sisters. That pretty much rules. I enjoy hitting the road once in a while, and every summer, but there’s only really been a couple of times when I’ve really been able to deeply connect with a crowd at a show. Honestly, if I’m gonna go out and play I really enjoy playing at secular clubs and bars. We can play the louder and faster stuff, and there is usually a more “music-loving” crowd in those places. I seem to get a better reaction, and I get to have more philosophically meaningful conversations with people who are curious about my beliefs but do not share them.
Thats really what this is all about for me. Meaningful and eternal connections with other eternal beings. If I can bring out a little bit of the eternal in every interaction that I have with people, I believe that God will do the rest. That’s why I write and record, and its why I preach.

Enjoy this live video of “Wandering Soul”, that we filmed at Conerstone Festival in 2011

You can download 4 of the songs off of Wrath through Come&Live! here

An Interview About Twist Again By Bodies Of Water

The (ONE)21 Music: Talk about the writing process for Twist Again
Bodies Of Water: The time it took to write the songs varied, some took months of intermittent work, and others were written as they were recorded. We were working on other things while recording, and so from beginning to end, it was about a year and a half of part time work to record everything.

ONE21: Twist Again seems to be Bodies Of Water once again evolving their sound; when you are putting together an album, is it a intentional to write differently or natural?
BOW: This was the first time that (almost) all of the songs were recorded before they were played out in public, so we had a different set of expectations for what the right and wrong ways for them to feel were. Maybe because of that, this group of songs was more concise than those on previous records. If any section or part was feeling too long or redundant, we got rid of it. I know this seems callous, but it is unavoidable. Think of it as a haircut, not an amputation…

ONE21:Twist Again seems alot more carefree in its execution, do you think Bodies Of Water is in a happier place than they were in previous records?
BOW: I don’t really feel like that about it. To me the writing and recording of this one was a little more organized. We spent more time with Noah and Laura (who played drums and bass on this record) working out the arrangements, and group jamming didn’t figure into the songs the way it used to.

ONE21: Is there a lyrical theme to Twist Again?
BOW: I’m sure there is, but I couldn’t say what it might be. A few years ago I tried to write a group of songs that would tell the story of the beginning of the world, but everything diverged once I got going. Some of these songs ended up on the ‘Certain Feeling’ record but most of them were stillborn. That was my only attempt to intentionally tie a bunch of songs together, and it was a huge bust. What a waste of time.

ONE21: What is your opinion of Twist Again as a finished product?
BOW: What a curious question. Nobody has ever asked me that before. Here are several thoughts: My favorite song (for now) is ‘Open Rhythms.’ Also, I like the cover of the record, which is a photo of our friends’ hands. This was taken at a new year’s eve party a few years ago. Also, we received a report telling us that ‘One Hand Loves the Other’ was the song that was played the most on radio stations after the record came out, which was an interesting surprise.

You can listen to Twist Again below:
Twist Again by Bodies of Water

One 21 Music Interviews Lauryn Peacock

There may be a new music force rising from the alt music laboratory of Daniel Smith (Danielson). Christian musician Lauryn Peacock released her first cd Keep It Simple; Let the Sun Come Out last Friday and the clips we heard are pretty phenomenal.  This swirling, piano-driven set of songs dig deep into living on this planet, as a believer and as a human being. The cd was co-produced by Daniel Smith and features Michael Weiss, Rick Mazzotta and Greg Jehanian of mewithoutYou, Dennison Witmer and Jonni Greth.

Lauryn Peacock

Since 1996, Lauryn Peacock been going to school off and on, playing more and more music, working in cafes, restaurants, being an administrative assistant, a tutor, guitar teacher, artist-in-residence – just living and working in Madison, Chicago, and Philadelphia. She had her first solo show on the staff stage for the Old Town School of Folk Music at the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival in what must have been the summer of 2007. In the Summer of 2008, she was driving around, playing a few shows (arts festivals and other venues), traveling with her eyes open for a place to land that was a change of pace and a good fit. Lauryn Peacock ended up feeling the most connected tp Philadelphia and engaging with a faith community that included some of the guys from mewithoutYou. She hopped on their tour bus once just to come along and hang out for a weekend tour and ended up playing keys for them for a few months on east coast shows that culminated in the record release show for It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright.

Interview With Christian Musician Lauryn Peacock

One21: Lauryn Peacock is new onto the scene. Tell us how about your journey to Keep It Simple:Let The Sun Come Out.
Lauryn Peacock: One of my most formative and inspiring experiences that really got me hooked on playing pop and rock music was a strange opportunity that arose where I got to do some piano work with Jeff Tweedy ( Wilco) two years in a row for these living room concerts for charity (must have been January of 2007 and 2008).  It’s funny, besides that experience, I can’t in this moment remember how I started playing live with people.  Those Tweedy concerts might have been some of the first times – I had played piano since I was three, taking a 12 year break at one point, and wrote my first song in 1998 – the year I taught myself to play guitar – but really, being around the community at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and being a part of those Tweedy concerts really birthed in me a desire to keep exploring music and playing live.  Around that time, I started playing with other people, Jonni Greth being one of them, along with a few punk and rock bands… I also started writing a lot of songs.

This new cd is a culmination of everything I’ve written above – the experiences, the places, the bands: ones I’ve listened to, performed with, songs I’ve listened to, everything I’ve been absorbing – especially for the last five, maybe ten, years – all of that is in these songs, and I am excited for how it all came together; the process has been incredible, along with the people who contributed to it musically.  I also had never officially met Daniel Smith before I had the opportunity to work with him; it was a serendipitous ‘accident’ that we were able to co-produce this album together.  I had planned on cutting the album at another studio, but went with him, on recommendation, when scheduling wasn’t working out there.  His studio is at his family’s home in New Jersey and just a really great place to cut an album.  I’m not sure what to say except that I can’t picture this whole experience being anything other than exactly how it was, down to all the details and even every note we recorded in that studio.  I approached this project with much intentionality, and Daniel definitely was right there in the process with me.

One21:When we first met your were performing under the terrific name Pauw. Why the change?
Lauryn Peacock:The project has gone through some changes since we last spoke – good ones.  I am now releasing the album under my own name, which was actually a little foreign to me, being used to the name Pauw, but I can see that it was a great idea and appropriate, given that I write all the material, most all of the arrangements, and am the band’s most constant member (though I’ve been playing consistently with a great group of people here in Philly).  I still call that band Pauw, which is Flemish for Peacock.

Background on Pauw: a composer friend of mine who also lived at an Artist Studios building that I lived in in Chicago told me, over coffee on the roof deck one morning with roof that we just got fixed by professionals you can find here, that the word ‘Pauw’ was Flemish for Peacock and that he thought he needed to tell me that it would be a great stage name for me.  I really liked the idea and used it for several years, as I was just starting to play out.  It was a great fit for a while, and I still love that I can use it for the band.  I was the musician/artist in residence at a monastic community in another neighborhood in Chicago during that time, and they hardly called me Lauryn at all, they called me Pauw, which was strange for me at first, but something I got used to, so there’s a lot of history in that name.

I feel I’ve made a transition in my life and with my music and the name change marks that.  While not everything I sing is autobiographical by any means, the emotions of the songs are tied very directly to my life and experience.  I feel that honesty and bravery are important in the art we present, in being willing to say the risky things and stand behind them.  I felt this is tied to stepping out and using my own name, especially in regard this this new record.  I went with the change at the nudging of some friends, but I was already asking the question for a reason.  This record needed to not be released under a band name, but under my own.  It was a very personal process for me and I feel it changed me from the inside out, in many ways, or at least gave me a brand new perspective on what I do.  The recording of this record was the first time I really gave myself permission to do what I loved and to throw everything I had into doing it.  I’ve never felt so satisfied in the process of doing something as I did recording and co-producing this album; it made me feel like I was inching closer to something I could only call vocation.

One21:How would you describe your sound? What artists influenced you?
Lauryn Peacock:I have spent a lot of time listening to a lot of 60s songwriters: the Zombies, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and I hope to capture some of their style even in the slightest, but really most of the influence of other artists has been subconscious, or at least not intentional.  I have listened to a good bit of Indie music in general, also: Gillian Welch, Damien Jurado, and Jeff Tweedy, the Velvet Underground, Nico.  People recently have told me they hear Regina Spektor or some Joanna Newsom in the sound.

One21:Have we heard you on any other recordings or is this your first time out in the digital world of music?
Lauryn Peacock:This is nearly my first time!  I sing with Jonni Greth on the 7 inch split he did with Bill Tucker, entitled Little Jesus, which we did in October of 2007.

One21:Tell us about the record.
Lauryn Peacock:The motivation for the record is that it was simply time.  Time to put it down and get it out there.  The right people came along to help me do it (some really good friends) and it just felt like the right time.  I don’t feel the record has an overall theme, but there is much imagery related to the sunshine, kind of as a marker of universal human experience in time.  I would say that most of the songs deal with the emotional landscape we all experience in one way or another during our time on earth.   I tried to authentically capture my experience and what I see in the lives of others.  “Divorce” for example is a fictional song, but contains sentiments and moods which I think most of us have felt as some time or another.  “I’ll Be Wearing Gray” is a lullaby I wrote about two lovers meeting in death, but also as an allegory or conversational prayer, more being sung over me than me singing it.  The outtro to “Between the Sunshine”, when it talks about the Still Point, is a T.S. Eliot reference from his poem ‘Burnt Norton’ and is an idea that I have used in my poetry for many years.  Eliot’s Still Point is a Christ allegory, the axis on which the world or the universe spins, a place out of time.  The lyric in my song goes ‘Driving shiftless forward through the still point, stuck between the sunshine and a song.’

I chose the title ‘Keep It Simple Let the Sun Come Out’ as the title for the record because it is the positive side of the mirror of the emotions covered on the album – I wanted the focus to be there, as there are plenty of melancholy moments, lyrically and musically. ” Monument”, the last song on the album also has a line  ‘And I know that I’ve never been forgotten and the sunshine is no different this time’ – It was important to me to end on that note.  I actually wrote that song in the process of recording, as an outtro to the album, just marking the new season on which I felt myself embarking.  I say many things through the course of the songs on the record, cover a lot of my human experience and what I observe in the world.  That last track is my way of (hopefully) bringing focus back where it should be, while still remaining open and raw about what experiencing life on earth is like, to me.

One21:It is pretty impressive to have your debut produced by  Daniel Smith and to have Jonni Greth and the guys from mewithoutYou play on the record.  How did you assemble this cast of music heavyweights?
Lauryn Peacock:Haha.  Most of them were my friends.  And they believed in me, and the songs, and for that I am eternally grateful. They also happen to be some of my favorite players.

I actually was scheduled at another studio (a friend of Daniel’s) who ran into some scheduling difficulties and offered to introduce me to Daniel.  So really I met Daniel by accident, through a set of circumstances over which I had very little control.  And even that was a huge blessing.  I had so much fun putting all this together with him and being able to lean on his expertise and all the experience he has.  Plus he’s just fun to work with.  And artistically it was just what the album needed.  It would have been great either way, but this was truly special, the way it worked out!

One21:What are your expectations for Keep It Simple;Let The Sun Come Out?
Lauryn Peacock:I don’t really have expectations.  I try to be really careful about that.  But I do have a hope: that if people could benefit from this music being in the world, that they would find it.  I find some comfort, myself, in some of these songs (the reason some of them came to be in the first place), and I know a few others do too, so if the music can be a benefit in that way, then I feel like I’ve done something that matters.

One21 : Do you have plans to tour? When and what will the show look like?
Lauryn Peacock:I definitely have plans to tour.  I’d love to go now!  But I am finishing a master’s degree at UPenn.  I may be able to start touring in the Spring, but no specific plans yet.  I go back and forth about what the show would look like. I could see it being really simple: me, a background vocalist  and maybe a drummer.  I also think about how fun it would be to have enough people to realize the full sound on the record.  I especially love the cello parts we came up with.  It’s fun both ways – I love doing house shows and presenting the songs in a simpler form, and I love the big shows where we can really make waves with the music.

One21:What is the best thing about making music?
Lauryn Peacock:I just love it.  Pure and simple.  I can’t explain how I feel about it, especially playing the piano, it’s just a part of me.  Guitar too, and I think I need to sing.  It’s just something, like dancing, that I have to do.  So, the best thing is the music itself, especially working with others and seeing things come together, or collaborating to find new arrangements and sounds.

One21:How does your faith influence you musically and lyrically?
Lauryn Peacock:My faith influences my life, so it is infused in everything.  I let myself live it honestly.  I am in constant conversation with God, and I think God is not afraid of my being human, so I consider it all holy, every bit of struggle, my walking out what life on earth was meant to be – and God has everything to do with that.  I hope my lyrics reflect that accurately.  And the music comes from a deep place in me.  That also has everything to do with my life with God.

One21:How do you think the general public and the mainstream music industry view faith based music?
Lauryn Peacock:Honestly, I try not to think about it.  Or maybe I don’t really know what faith-based music means.  I think about certain artists I know, who are “mainstream” who get away with highly Christian lyrics in their music:  I say they “get away with it”, because I used to think mainstream music left little room for faith.  Now I think it is quite the opposite.  I think what people want is something authentic, especially my generation.  We want something real.  If it’s not real, we can tell, so if you are singing about faith in a real way, most people don’t really think twice, they just feel affected by the reality of the experience being shared.  If I am talking authentically about my experience in the world, something is going to resonate with people, people who are conscious of having faith or not.  I don’t concern myself about being in a category or how another category would respond to me.  I see us all in one category of art (hopefully authentic art).

One21:What responsibility do you think you have, as an artist/performer, to your listeners?
Lauryn Peacock:To share something authentic, something of value.  I owe to them that I be honest to myself and what I really want to make.  I have faith that that then translates into something that may be of use in a more universal sense.  I also have a responsibility to be me.

One21:What is your best memory of your career so far?
Lauryn Peacock:I would say playing keys for mewithoutYous record release show at the Trocadero in Philadelphia for their last album It’s All Crazy, It’s All False, It’s All a Dream, It’s All Right or having a strange opportunity, two years in a row, to play piano for Jeff Tweedy for these living room concerts for charity he did near Chicago.  I hope to add one more favorite experience: my own record release show I have coming up this Friday (10/28) in Philadelphia.  It’s not about big names, just being able to play on music I really care about.

One21:What do you love about music?
Lauryn Peacock:I love melodies.  I love the way they communicate without words, how it all communicates without words.  I also just love to play it.

One21:What is your favorite song?
Lauryn Peacock:This year: ‘Love Minus Zero / No Limit’ by Bob Dylan, and ‘Care of Cell 44′ by the Zombies

One21:What is the best live show you have ever seen?
Lauryn Peacock: Gillian Welch, joined by David Rawlings on guitar of course, at Union Transfer in Philadelphia.  Both of them have their own unique, and equally powerful musical genius about them.

One21:What is one thing people don’t understand about your music?
Lauryn Peacock:Let’s wait and see,  Ha.  I’m not sure.  They can take it as they like.  But maybe it might not be obvious that everything that sounds happy might not be happy and everything that sounds sad might not be sad.

Go now to buy Keep It Simple; Let the Sun Come Out . It is a terrific recording that will definitely make it onto our “Best of 2011″ list.

The ONE21 Interviews Kiros

kiros interview copy

We present to you our email interview with ANGR pop-rock band Kiros. This band has been nose to the grindstone for almost 10 years now, and with their new full-length being released early 2012, the band is ready to take their place in the rock world. We talked to vocalist/bass player Barry MacKichan about the history of the band, their message and what the future of the band holds. Read up

The ONE21: For those that don’t know, talk about the story of Kiros.
Barry MacKichan, the vocalist/bass for Kiros: Kiros started back in 2000 at a church youth group. The night I met Ryan, I found out he played guitar, and I told him I wanted to start a punk rock band. We liked a lot of the same bands, so he said yes. We were a 3 piece band, playing local scene shows until we put out our first full length in 2002 called Counterproductive, which was a straight up punk rock record. The record sold over 2000 copies very quickly, exploding our fan base locally, and all of a sudden our shows were selling out all across western Canada. This landed us some Vans Warped Tour dates in 2003, and we started playing more out of town than in town.

(In 2004) We made a 5 song EP called Fight The Night, quit our lives and started touring full time. We did our first cross Canada tour with a Drive-Thru Records band called Allister, and never looked back. We toured Canada hard until summer 2005, when we released a 3 song self titled EP, and landed the whole Warped Tour, which ended up being our first tour in the US of A. In that time period we played over 250 shows. Looking back, I don’t think we were prepared for Warped tour, mentally, spiritually, financially, or musically, and it almost killed the band. We didn’t do anything after it for almost a year, our drummer quit,
and we lost all our momentum.

The current incarnation of Kiros really started in 2006. Tyler joined the band as our new drummer, and we became a four piece, adding a second guitarist/backing vocalist. We started touring Canada again, and recorded A Single Strand (released in 2007 Canada, 2008 USA) which has now gone on to sell over 16,000 copies independently. Our sound evolved from a pop punk band to more of a driving rock/alt/pop sound that we feel is all our own. This record is what re-launched our careers. It caught the attention of Yogi Allgood, our current manager, landed us tour after tour, had our first music video to get into rotation in Canada, had our first radio single that actually got played (“Of Wolves and Angels”) and we were back on tour 8+ months a year. We also won a GMA award for Rock Song of the Year, and were nominated for three others awards. 2008 was when we really started touring the USA consistently. We played mostly club/secular shows.

We found ourselves in consistent negotiations with record labels, ranging from majors to minors to indies. There were plenty of flights to Nashville, writing sessions, meetings, and it all resulted in a whole lot of nothing. We didn’t see eye to eye, or didn’t like the direction we were being pushed in, or were looking at contracts trying to figure out how we’re supposed to survive when all our money goes
to someone else. So we just stayed on the road with an old record. Knowing we were greatly overdue to record new material, we started talking to producer Mark Lee Townsend (Relient K, House of Heroes), who immediately jumped on the project. In 2010, We recorded 6 songs with him, and independently released the song “Broken State” to radio. It hit #11 on the USA Christian Rock charts, and the tours kept getting bigger and bigger. But we still had no way to effectively release the record. At this point we had transitioned to doing more on the Christian market side of things, but still doing a couple club tours with bands like Emery, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, and Blessed by a Broken Heart.

(In 2011) We signed with Ain’t No Grave Records, did our first European tour, went out with Seventh Day Slumber and Stellar Kart in the USA, followed by the Music With A Mission tour with Hawk Nelson, Fireflight and Superchick. We released a teaser EP online for the record on September 27th, and the full length will be released early 2012. We were approached by ANGR in January. They came to us as the first label that actually seemed to understand what we are, what we’re going for, and what limitations we don’t want. Instead of trying to change what we’re doing, they wanted to come along side us, and help take it to the next level. We signed with ANGR in May 2011, and went back into the studio with Townsend to record another 4 songs to add to original 6. Our first full length in 4 years. Our full tour history can be found on our wikipedia page.

ONE21: How would you describe your music to people who havent heard you?
Barry MacKichan: I’d say we’re a mix of rock, alternative, pop, and punk. We put a
lot into the melodies, lyrics and hooks.

ONE21: Talk about your latest album, the Outlaws & Prodigals EP.
Barry MacKichan:The Outlaws and Prodigals EP is a teaser. 2 of the songs are from our upcoming full length, and the 3rd is an acoustic cut. This is also our first release on ANGR, so everyone is testing the waters and working on building some more buzz for the full release early 2012.
ONE21: So what can we expect from the full-length?
Barry MacKichan:The full length, titled Lay Your Weapons Down is a 10 song, 3 chapter story on one CD: “The Revolt, The Trenches, The Surrender.” Each chapter has songs connecting with the theme of the title. As a whole, it tells a story of war inside every one of us, and the different emotions, thoughts, and struggles along that journey as we are invited to surrender our broken lives for something better. It will be released in February 2012.

ONE21: What is your normal writing process?
Barry MacKichan: Depends on the song. I have a home studio that I do a lot of writing in, and I write some on the road. Often songs start on acoustic and evolve from there, or sometimes they come out of the whole band jamming. We have done some co-writing as well, and the songs do always seem to take big jumps once we’re in the studio ironing out all the parts. Every song has a different story and origin behind it, and methods of getting there vary just as much.

ONE21: If there is one, what would be your band’s message?
Barry MacKichan:Our band is completely sold out to the message that we have a God who
loves us and says we are worth dying for. We have hope, we have purpose, we have love. We want to see ourselves the way God sees us.
ONE21:How would you describe your lyrical approach to God’s message?
Barry MacKichan: More than anything, I try to be honest. Honest about my shortcomings and flaws, honest about wrestling with the blacks, whites and greys in this life, and honest about struggling in the pursuit of God. Honesty, to me at least, is far more relatable than ideals. And at the end of the day, this honesty culminates in the truth that God has given us real hope.

ONE21: How did you guys hook up with ANGR?
Barry MacKichan:We were first approached by Ain’t No Grave Records in January 2011. We were initially very surprised by their interest, not being a metal band and all. But after talking to them, we feel like it’s a perfect fit, and they’ve been very vocal about their excitement in having our sound on their roster. Instead of trying to change what we’re doing, they have come alongside us, and are helping take it to the next level. We officially signed with ANGR in May 2011, and we are definitely enjoying our relationship with them. Best of all, they aren’t acting scared of the current state of the music industry. They are willing to take some risks and get behind the artists they believe in.

ONE21: What is the next step for the band?
Barry MacKichan:We have a European tour booked in January, and we’ve just confirmed what will be the biggest tour we’ve been a part of so far. Unfortunately I can’t release the details of it yet, except that it will be early February to the end of March, and it will be coinciding with the release of our new full length, Lay Your Weapons Down.

ONE21: Why rock?
Barry MacKichan:In the words of Andrew W. K., “We do what we want and we like what we do.” This is the scene we grew up in, have been a part of, and have fought for since before we were even in bands. It’s the sound we connect with, and the audience we’re a part of too.

ONE21: What is good in music right now?
Barry MacKichan: There is good music in every genre right now. I think listeners have more power than they have ever had before, and more choices than they could possibly make. We have access to a world full of music at our fingertips.

A lot of great records have been coming out lately, and a lot of them are by bands from my past. Needtobreathe, Switchfoot, Thrice, Taking Back Sunday, Foo Fighters, Yellowcard, Maroon 5. For new bands, I’ve been really enjoying Trampled by Turtles and Adele.

ONE21: What would be your dream project/tour?
Barry MacKichan:We’d love do 8 month world tour with Justin Beiber, haha. At the end of the day, it’s our dream to write songs that connect with people, bring hope, and inspire. Of course we’re always hoping and working hard for the opportunity to do that on a bigger and bigger scale and stage, but we’re already so grateful to get to be doing what we do now.

ONE21:Is the digital age of music one that helps or hinders the artist?
Barry MacKichan:Both. There is so much opportunity to go out and makes things happen for yourself, promote, and connect. Our music is instantly available to most of the world’s population. That’s a pretty amazing thing! However, it’s hard to sustain creating, touring and surviving when CD’s don’t sell. A healthy music industry is good for artists and fans alike. Being on this side of it, it’s caused me to be more committed to still buying music, because I want that artist to be able to make more it for me. Every time we make a record, it’s paid for by the fans who bought our last one.

ONE21: Who is Jesus to you?
Barry MacKichan:Jesus saved my life, when I didn’t deserve to be saved. He is incredibly unfair in our favour, and He is my purpose. He is not a marketing gimmick or sales tactic, not a fad or a trend, and he’s not an excuse. But He is the only hope we have, and I’m His regardless of my circumstances.

Cornerstone New Band Interview: The Sacred Eternal

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One21music, in our quest to find the best up and coming Christian musicians, is featuring the bands from the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase. The Cornerstone New Band Showcase has launched many huge careers for Christian musicians including P.O.D., Sixpence None The Richer and Over The Rhine. The Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase features sixteen bands who will be performing on the Cornerstone Main Stage from Thursday, June 30th through Sunday, July 3rd. In the two weeks leading up to Cornerstone 2011, One21music will be featuring interviews with 11 of the showcase bands and a 10 song free music sampler, which will be available, exclusively on on Wednesday, June 22.

We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with The Sacred Eternal. The Stribling brothers, joined by Brian Bolton play metal that is unrelenting musically and lyrically.

The Sacred Eternal

The Sacred Eternal are about passion, honesty and the creation of a sound that both moves the body and stirs the soul. Started in 2007 by brothers Dan, Darrell & Devon Stribling, The Sacred Eternal have been honing their craft for years with recordings such as Demo-Liton in 2008. In 2010, Brian Bolton was brought on as bassist, and has brought a huge amount of energy and drive to the band. In the midst of a deep and rooted passion for heavy music, as well as relying on a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ for guidance, The Sacred Eternal focuses on combining the greatest elements of the hardest metal with the intense emotion of beautiful melody to create a sound that is uniquely their own.  The Sacred Eternal released a single “The Reckoning” and an EP Three Days in 2010. But in 2011, The Sacred Eternal‘s unique sound was finally encapsulated in their debut CD release, Dead To Sin. Ferocious vocals and bone-crushing riffs along with a precision double-bass attack are guaranteed to move a pit or a lone listener. The soulful melodies, expertly intertwined within the songs, reach into the very heart of the listener while the lyrics both provoke and inspire. Each lyric, derived from the band’s own experience, explores the struggles and victories we all experience in forgiveness of ourselves and others, redemption of the soul and the convictions we so firmly uphold.

The Sacred Eternal

Interview with Christian Musicians The Sacred Eternal

O21: Tell us what we need to know about The Sacred Eternal that is not in your bio:

TSE: we are extremely dedicated to the music that we’re making. Ever since we got together back in 2008, we’ve pushed ourselves to write songs that will stick with the people who hear them.

O21: How would you describe your sound? What artists influenced you?

TSE: Hmm… our sound is probably best described as Melodic Metal. We’ve tried to incorporate many different sounds and “flavors” on the album because we didn’t want to just be another “Deathcore” or “Metalcore” band. When you listen to the album you’ll hear some death metal, some thrash, hard rock, metalcore, and even a softer ballad. It felt pretty natural to shoot for diversity in our sound, partially because of the aforementioned reason, but also because all four of us have such varying musical tastes! Yeah, we all like metal, but we all have different roots, standbys, and styles that have spoken to us over the course of our lives. But in our opinion, that’s good! It keeps it interesting. That makes it hard to figure out which bands are the biggest influences. We love Demon Hunter and Living Sacrifice, as well as bands like Skillet, Flaw, Rush, Van-Halen, you name it.

O21: Tell us about your recordings?  What is your favorite The Scared Eternal song?

TSE: Recording’s been a serious ride for us man. From the time we cut our first demo in 2008 until now in 2011 with our first full length LP Dead To Sin we have come a long way.  The new recordings are polished and crisp, excellently mastered and powerful.  It was a ton of work, and an extremely long process, but now we’ve finally got the full length disc released and we are incredibly proud of the result. My (Darrell’s) favorite song is probably “Dead to Sin”, Dan’s Favorite song is “Remember Me”, Devon’s favorite song is “Dark Tonight”, and Brian’s favorite is “The Reckoning.”

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

TSE: The best thing about making music is a little different for all of us. I love it because I get to be expressive and share my love of Jesus Christ all in one swipe.

O21: How does your faith influence you musically and lyrically?

TSE: I don’t know if you could open up our lyric book and be able to miss what this band is about. All of us are believers in Jesus Christ, and we’ve done our very best to make that clear in every song. We aren’t going to slam you in the face with some sort of “turn or die” attitude, but at the same time we’re not ashamed of Jesus, and He is an inseparable part of who we are, and that comes out on every track of the album.

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

TSE: I think Christian Music is a pretty broad label. I’ve seen a lot of bands under that title come up and put out some great tunes, but then I’ve either gone to see them live or read some interviews about them and they turn out to be a lot different than I thought at first. And for me, that was a huge letdown! As a younger kid, I wanted those Christian bands that I could look up to, those guys who played the music I loved, but gave me some Jesus in their message too! 10 or 12ish years ago, “Christian” bands in the Heavy music scene typically had a lot of their lyrics steeped in ambiguity (excluding certain bands like Living Sacrifice, NIV, and others).  And so it was really easy to ride the fence and be the “Christians in a band”. To me, that’s a horrible outlook to have on your band. Christians are called to be Christians no matter what they’re doing, and saying that “I’m a Christian, but this band is just to be expressive and whine about how the world is unfair” is pretty cheap. Now, that’s changed a lot in today’s industry. Bands have become incredibly bold in what they’re saying and how they are living, and I think it’s awesome. Bands like For Today and War of Ages are, in my opinion, giving the kids today what I wanted when I was their age. Bands that Love Jesus, and aren’t afraid of it.

O21: How do you think the general public and the mainstream music industry view faith based music?

TSE: I think that the mainstream culture views Christian music pretty much the same way they always have: “It’s an imitation of “real” music because they’re a bunch of copycats”. “They don’t really live out what they say anyways” and so on. But then again, that’s another reason I’m so excited about how some of these newer bands have been breaking out. They are writing some great Jesus music, but at the same time I think some people are beginning to realize that it’s not so much a copycat act anymore. That excites me.

O21: How do you think that will impact your career?

TSE: Who knows? Can anyone really predict this industry? The best thing we can do is keep our eyes on what’s happening around us, and rely on God for Guidance.

O21: What responsibility do you think an artist/performer has to its listeners?

TSE: That’s a tougher question than you might think. Is it all about my personal expression, or is it my responsibility to tailor my sound and songs to what my listeners want to hear?  It’s a tough balance I think. When you look at a band like Skillet, who started out as a grunge band in the 90’s and now you look at them where they are, you can see how they’ve tailored themselves to their audience and mainstream success, and good for them! I know a lot of kids who’ve benefited from what they do. Then you can look at some hardcore or punk bands on the other side of the spectrum, who’ve traveled the ups and downs of popularity with their style regardless.  My opinion is that each band needs to decide it’s purpose. How effective do we want to be? Is this an active pursuit of a career? If it is, than you better be concerned with what people want to hear. If it isn’t, than write the tunes that you want to hear and let it benefit those who dig it with you.

O21: In today’s music scene, with the demise of record companies and mySpace, how does an artist develop a large enough following to sustain a career?

TSE: The Internet’s a blessing and a curse. We can get our tunes across the world and only have to pay a miniscule amount of money in comparison to worldwide physical distribution. Then again, we live in an age of soundbytes and musical overload because of it. Record companies are in deep trouble because the Internet makes it so easy, and yet the bands are in trouble because now people can just grab the three tracks they want off iTunes, ignore the rest of it, and the band sees 70 cents by the time everyone else gets their cut.  If you’re gonna hook your audience and retain them, you have to play, and play a lot. People remember it when a band blows their mind at a show, and it’s always been that way. You’ve got to give them something that isn’t prepackaged headbanging. You’ve got to give them exactly what the music means to you, each night you’re on stage.

O21:What are your road traditions?

TSE: Our Road traditions? Eat. Legend of Zelda. D&D. METAL.

O21:What is the best live show you have ever seen?

TSE: The best live show I’ve ever seen? Living Sacrifice on the Stronger Then Hell tour, at Bogart’s in Cincinnati OH .

O21: What is one thing people don’t understand about your music?

TSE: I’m not sure actually. I’ve never been asked that before.

Thank you Darrel. Your passion and your deep thinking make for an interesting interview and compelling music. I look forward to catching your show at Cornerstone 2011.

The Sacred Eternal play unapologetic melodic metal with deep meaning. You can easily check out The Sacred Eternal clicking through to Amazon and buying the band’s latest release, Dead To Sin.

The Sacred Eternal hit the main stage at the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Friday, July 1st at noon.

Cornerstone New Band Interviews: Gatlin Elms

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One21music, in our quest to find the best up and coming Christian musicians, is featuring the bands from the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase. The Cornerstone New Band Showcase has launched many huge careers for Christian musicians including P.O.D., Sixpence None The Richer and Over The Rhine. The Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase features sixteen bands who will be performing on the Cornerstone Main Stage from Thursday, June 30th through Sunday, July 3rd. In the two weeks leading up to Cornerstone 2011, One21music will be featuring interviews with 11 of the showcase bands and a 10 song free music sampler, which will be available, exclusively on on Wednesday, June 22.

We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with Gatlin Elms. This four piece alternative folk band is a rising star in today’s music scene.

Gatlin Elms

Mixing alternative with folk Gatlin Elms, has emerged from the Houston, Texas indie scene with their debut full length album, Carry Me Home. After two years of writing, playing shows and recording, Gatlin Elms has truly realized their passions through the release of the album. Gatlin Elms (writer and front-man), the album focuses all the emotions that go along with trying to fight against life, only to finally accept what you can’t change. Gatlin Elms features Neil Sandoz on bass, Andrew James on keyboards, Gatlin Elms on lead vocals and guitar and Tigh Holmstrom on drums.

Gatlin Elms started out as a solo project, teenager in love with music and even more in tune with creating his own. The Oceans & The Stars album was his first project; one he had worked solely on before meeting with the other three members. He had finished it in 2007 and had it released in 2008.

Gatlin Elms

Interview with Christian Musicians Gatlin Elms

O21: How would you describe your sound? What artists influenced you?

GE: All of us grew up listening to a pretty wide variety of music but together, we all draw from a lot of Alternative, Folk Rock, Brit-Pop bands.. Travis, DCFC, The Frames, The National, Athlete, Aqualung are all probably played on our iPods each week. We’d like to think we’re in the Alternative Folk area.

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

GE: Man, there’s really so much. We just really enjoy getting to create songs. Gatlin will usually write out the lyrics and melody and then getting to add to that and have four of us giving input and making sure the song is going to be it’s best is so much fun.

O21: How does your faith influence you musically and lyrically?

GE: We want our faith to have everything to do with our music. Musically and lyrically we want every song to be covered with our passions for the Gospel. Between the four of us, every song we play is worship and we want to do our best to portrait that every time we play.

O21: What responsibility do you think an artist/performer has to its listeners?

GE: I think an artist’s main responsibility when performing is to play the music just as well or better than your recording, and make people believe that you believe in what you are singing and playing every time.

It sickens me when a show doesn’t go as well as you know it could have.. or a piece of equipment craps out during the first song.

O21: In today’s music scene, with the demise of record companies and mySpace, how does an artist develop a large enough following to sustain a career?

GE: We’re trying to figure that out too.. definitely connect with the people that even slightly appreciate your music and thank as many people as you can that might have been in listening distance to your set.

O21: What is your best memory of your career so far?

GE: Our tour in London back in March of this year is definitely one of our most fond memories as a band. We also won a contest last month and one of our songs, “The Secrets” will be included in the soundtrack of a movie called “Renee” coming out in 2012 with some artists we really really love. We’re honored to have that opportunity. Definitely opening the first box of a new record when it comes in the mail. Both of our release parties have been two of the best nights of our careers.

O21: What are your road traditions?

GE: We have one tradition called ‘Brothers to Brothers’ that we could explain but you would think we were really weird..

O21: What do you love about music?

GE: My favorite thing about some of my favorite music is how it can bring you back to the season in your life when you first heard it, every time you listen to it.

O21:What is your favorite song?

GE: I don’t normally have a favorite song.. but right now, Death Cab For Cutie‘s “You are a Tourist” might be the most perfect song ever written and recorded.

O21:What is the best live show you have ever seen?

GE: I feel like I have said that after many shows.. but definitely one of these.. The Swell Season, The National, Josh Ritter, Coldplay, U2, Snow Patrol, Jonsi (That was a show on an entirely different level though).

Thank you guys. It is always fun to talk with upcoming Christian musicians for Texas.  I look forward to catching your show at Cornerstone 2011.

Gatlin Elms play atmospheric folk rock with a twist that you can easily check out by clicking through to Amazon and buying the band’s latest release, Carry Me Home or Gatlin Elms’ solo debut The Oceans & The Stars

If you just want a taste of Gatlin Elms’ music check out “Carry Me Home” from the One21music Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase sampler that will be released on One21music on June 22nd.

Gatlin Elms will be playing the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Sunday, July 3rd at 12:35. See you there!

Cornerstone New band Interview- Josiah James

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One21music, in our quest to find the best up and coming Christian musicians, is featuring the bands from the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase. The Cornerstone New Band Showcase has launched many huge careers for Christian musicians includingP.O.D., Sixpence None The Richer and Over The Rhine. The Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase features sixteen bands who will be performing on the Cornerstone Main Stage from Thursday, June 30th through Sunday, July 3rd. In the two weeks leading up to Cornerstone 2011, One21music will be featuring interviews with 11 of the showcase bands and a 10 song free music sampler, which will be available, exclusively on on Wednesday, June 22.

We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with Josiah James. This young, but seasoned singer/songwriter is wrapping up an ambituous EP trilogy project over the past year which has grown his audience and revealed more of the depth of his musical talent.

Josiah James

Josiah James is a multi-instrumental Christian artist who was called to his singer/songwriter career at the age of only 14. Boasting natural vocal talents as well as advanced skills as a guitar and piano player, Josiah released his first full-length CD, Alive in the Studio at the age of 16. In the two years to follow, at only 18 years old, Josiah James delivered his second project, Awaiting the Morning.  Josiah’s faith and talent are catalysts to his unique ability to write songs that connect with his audience on a highly personal level.

In Spring 2009, Josiah James released his debut full length/full band CD, The Morning Light. Produced and recorded by Cobly Wedgeworth (Lybecker, Bidwell, Ten After Two), the CD features a side to Josiah many hadn’t heard before. The Morning Light marries the intimacy of Josiah’s singer-songwriter abilities and the dynamic sound a full band possesses.

Josiah James has now  stepped up to the plate with a new project in mind. A series of three concept EP’s all set to release, one at a time, over the span of one year. Each EP will feature an elemental theme (Air, Water, Fire), a new full band single and several acoustic songs. These EP’s are a glimpse of what to expect of his next full length set to release Summer 2011.

On May 11th, 2010 Chasing The Wind (Air), the first installment for the trilogy of EP’s was released, blending acoustic versions of some old Josiah James favorites and introducing new songs as well to catch your ears attention.. The title track of the album displayed a more mature, piano driven rock side to Josiah.

Months of more touring across the country and writing since his last release, Josiah James had accumulated several songs and headed back into the studio once again. Teaming up with producer, Ralph Stover (The Reel, Natalie Grant, Point of Grace), Oceans (Water) came into conception.   With the intention of sharing his fans with something recognizably different, Josiah James opens the EP with “Rain”, a driving rock, electronica single that swiftly is followed by a series of acoustic/piano songs. The lyrical content on Oceans hits at a deep and honest level, speaking of the struggles and shortcomings we all have to face from our daily demons.

Josiah James

Interview with Christian Musician Josiah James

O21: Tell us what we need to know about Josiah James that is not in your bio.

Josiah: I’m just a normal dude, that’s made of the same stuff as everyone else. I’ve been touring constantly since 2008 and love to share about Jesus’ love with the Church and the world. But I don’t want to, and will not, compromise the art in music to make a song simply to sell it.

O21:How would you describe your sound? What artists influenced you?

Josiah: I guess alternative/indie/acoustic/rock. Is that too many? Haha. I would have to say Caedmon’s Call, Coldplay, Derek Webb, Jon Foreman, and Keith Green.

O21: Tell us about your recordings?  What is your favorite Josiah James song?

Josiah: I’ve been recording music since about 2006, I released two raw acoustic cd’s called “Alive In The Studio” & “Awaiting The Morning”. In 2009 I released my first full length CD, “The Morning Light”, independently. The CD features 11 full band songs with an acoustic edge to it all. Spring 2010 I release an acoustic EP featuring a new single, “Chasing The Wind”, and 6 old and new songs of live in studio acoustic performances. Fall 2010 I released my 2nd EP, “Oceans”, of this EP series. “Oceans” features 8 songs, with more of a piano driven feel. Spring of 2011, I released a new single called “Open Your Eyes” on itunes about the fight against human sex trafficking. All money made from itunes sales will be donated toward non-profit organizations against human trafficking and other causes.


Out of all the songs I’ve written, my top 3 favorite songs I’ve written have to be “Send Your Heart Down”, “Open Your Eyes”, and a new tune called “Catch Me When I Fall”. “Catch Me When I Fall” will be one of the singles off of the final EP, which will be released sometime later this year.

O21:What is the best thing about making music?

Josiah: I would have to say being able to do a ministry of something I love and have a passion for. Being able to change peoples lives through song and give them a fresh picture of who Jesus is.

O21: How does your faith influence you musically and lyrically?

Josiah: My faith is mostly all I write about. I never write a song about something that’s not going on with me, or that I’ve at least been thinking about alot. If I try to write song something that I am not feeling, it comes out as crap. I love writing music when I feeling highly blessed or majorly in need of Jesus.

O21:What is your view of Christian music?

Josiah: I feel like it’s hard to find good, original, and challenging music in the Christian world. There are some bands that go against the flow of whats going on the radio, and I love that. But I personally want to hear a new song. I want to write a new song!

O21: How do you think the general public and the mainstream music industry view faith based music?

Josiah: Honestly I believe that people see it as just a cheap rip off of the mainstream world.

O21:How do you think that will impact your career?

Josiah: I am hoping that it won’t ever suck me into that flow of things. I never want to be that guy that’s just writing something to sell. But writing something I feel and to get a message across that is tangible.

O21:What responsibility do you think an artist/performer has to its listeners?

Josiah: I believe every artist should not just put on a show. But write music that moves people. Music’s the greatest tool for that. For the Christian band/artist I would say the same and not to further a name of a band or act. But to further the name of Jesus. A name will fade away in moments, but God won’t!


O21:In today’s music scene, with the demise of record companies and mySpace, how does an artist develop a large enough following to sustain a career?

Josiah: Touring, touring, touring! No band can survive as a band if they’re not touring. You can be the best band in the world, but very very rarely will you end up going anywhere with music if you don’t work for it. Be smart, organized, connect with fans, write the best music you can and don’t be lazy. Take some chances!

O21:What is your best memory of your career so far?

Josiah: I think it was growing up as a kid and seeing some of my favorite bands on this stage at a big California music festival, and then being able to play that same stage 5 years later.

O21: What are your road traditions?

Josiah: Every time I go to Portland, OR I have to get Voodoo Donuts at 2am-4am. Seattle, WA I have to go to Pikes Place and get the mini donuts. For Denver, CO, I go to a rad 24 coffee shop called Leela’s.

O21:What do you love about music?

Josiah: I love the variety of emotions and thoughts it provokes. I love how it’s such a great tool to helping others.

13) What is your favorite song?

Josiah: Gosh, I dunno what my all time favorite song is. That’s a tough one. I’d have to say for the sake of answering the question “Sing It Out” by Switchfoot.


O21:What is the best live show you have ever seen?

Josiah: Either Switchfoot or NeedToBreathe. Sadly I haven’t gone to many outside of the tours I’ve done in the past 3 years.

O21: What is one thing people don’t understand about your music?

Josiah: I dunno, most of my songs are an open book. But I guess that they’re all about the story of my life. What I’ve gone through and dealt. I would have to EVERY single one is about my walk with God and life.

Thank you Josiah. You have already had an impressive career and you are just getting started.. I look forward to catching your show at Cornerstone 2011.

Josiah James plays a complex, atmospheric folk rock that you can easily check out by clicking through to Amazon and buying his first full length, The Morning Light or his latest EP Oceans.

If you just want a taste of Josiah James music check out “Chasing The Wind” from the One21music Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase sampler that will be released on One21music on June 22nd.

Josiah James will be playing the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Sunday, July 3rd at noon. See you there!


Cornerstone New Band Interview:For The Broken

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

One21music, in our quest to find the best up and coming Christian musicians, is featuring the bands from the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase. The Cornerstone New Band Showcase has launched many huge careers for Christian musicians including P.O.D., Sixpence None The Richer and Over The Rhine. The Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase features sixteen bands who will be performing on the Cornerstone Main Stage from Thursday, June 30th through Sunday, July 3rd. In the two weeks leading up to Cornerstone 2011, One21music will be featuring interviews with 11 of the showcase bands and a 10 song free music sampler, which will be available, exclusively on on Wednesday, June 22.

We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with For The Broken. These guys play a modern version of 80′s metal that is all about bringing hope to the broken.

For The Broken

For The Broken is made up of five seasoned musicians with many years under their belt!  For The Broken is on a mission to touch lives through their music, share what they have learned along the way and deliver the message that “faith without works is dead.” Don’t be fooled by the “Spiritually Fit” Christian Rock” label,For The Broken songs can be intense as well as informative. For The Broken deliver a driving hard rock sound with Joe Pluff and  Aubrey Jones leading with way with a double guitar crunch, a pounding rhythm punch from  Aaron Heard on bass and Sean Devins on drums and Adam Montgomery delivering the message on vocals.

For The Broken

Interview with Christian Musicians For The Broken

O21:Tell us what we need to know about For The Broken that is not in your bio.

Sean-We rock!

Joe-the message we give is real

O21: How would you describe your sound? What artists influenced you?

Sean-Hard rock

Aaron-Hard rock, As I Lay Dying, August Burn Red

Adam-Heavy a singer,Paul Rogers, Sully, Brad Delp, Brandon Heath

Aubrey- I would describe us as radio-friendlly hard rock/metal. I am heavily influenced by instrumentalists and prog/rock metal bands. I try to let some bleed through to our music to make it a little more interesting than what you might typically hear.

Joe- Hard,heavy,in your face,with some groove,just good rock and roll with great a guitar player influence: Stryper, Kiss, ac/dc, Judas Priest, Queensryche, Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani and the list is a lot longer,also like the 70′s.

O21: Tell us about your recordings? What is your favorite For The Broken song?

Aubrey-We have just completed an 8 track cd with Chapman Recording in K.C., Missouri My favorite song at this point in time is “I Walk a Free Man.”

Adam-Fave is a toss up between”Aint Nobody Innocent” and “I Walk a Free Man”.  The recordings are us in our first year, satisfied but looking forward to the new stuff.

Aaron- “Aint Nobody Innocent”

Sean- All of them are my favorites

Joe-They all have different qualities, they all rock, I cant choose.

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

Sean-We get to use our God given gifts to help others who may be hurting in some way.

Aaron- It carries a message with depth and weight.

Adam- touching lives

Aubrey-using our time and talents for the Lord.

Joe-Using our God given talents to make someone else feel better and touch as many lives as we can.

O21: How does your faith influence you musically and lyrically?

Adam-My faith is my gasoline. I run on nothing else. It’s a lifestyle.

Aaron-God gave me the ability to play an instrument,so I use it to glorify Him.

Sean-I know God has given me the ability to play drums.

Joe-When I write I always give God the glory,and when the band finishes a song(and the hairs stand on the back of your neck)you know God is there.

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

Sean-To me its like any other genre of music.

Aaron- Its good

Aubrey-Tt is our opportunity to spread the truth and to provide an alternative to the mainstream.

Joe-The great thing is is that it is all very positive. The world need a lot more of that.

Adam-No different than anything else,some real good,some pretty bad. If it leads you to have a God conscience all through out the day its all good.

O21: How do you think the general public and the mainstream music industry view faith based music?

Aubrey-People always ask me”so do you guys sound like Stryper?”

Adam-Boring,pushy-but catching

Joe- They think because you have God in your life that you walk on water..(well you are wrong) one does,all fall short of the glory of God..we all and myself, screw up everyday just like everyone else. the only difference is…we know where we are going when we die.

O21: How do you think that will impact your career?

Joe- There is no impact. If its God’s will,it will be done, that is fact.

O21: What responsibility do you think an artist/performer has to its listeners?

Adam- To be an example even when no one is watching,but someone is always watching.

Aubrey- I think you have to write what you love first. If you gain fans doing that, then the performances and material are always genuine.

Sean- Music is an outlet. People want to hear music that makes them feel good.

Joe- To give them the best possible show you can(they paid to hear you). To not have an ego,talk with them after shows etc..listen to them as far as what songs they like etc….it matters to them.

O21: In today’s music scene, with the demise of record companies and mySpace, how does an artist develop a large enough following to sustain a career?


Aubrey- Its all about promoting yourself and using every tool available.

Adam- Let us know

Joe-Promote yourself,knock on doors,hand out flyers,you have to be a sales person. Use all the internet services avaialble,they are pretty wonderful.if the music is good,and its Gods will,people will come..

O21: What is your best memory of your career so far?

Adam- Still waiting on that one. The best is yet to come

Aubrey- recording at Chapman Studios.

Aaron- Chapman recording.

Joe-Watching how God is working in our band.

O21: What are your road traditions?

Sean- Lots of Moutain Dew.

Aubrey- Watching Aaron eat two meals at Ihop after a show.

Adam-push-ups,prayer before every show,and still developing some.

Joe-What Sean said and pray before shows.

O21: What do you love about music?

Adam- It moves me

Aubrey- I think music can bypass the mess that is in our brain and speak directly to our heart and soul.

Sean- everything

Aaron- It’s a universal language

Joe- I love the way it makes me feel inside. The adrenaline is incredible when you play for God.  It is my release from the rest of the world.

O21: What is your favorite song?

Aaron- To many to write down

Sean- Changes daily

Aubrey- Too numerous to mention.

Joe-I have thousands(but you know,”Shock Me” is my ring tone on my phone).

O21: What is the best live show you have ever seen?

Adam- Foo Fighters

Aubrey- Dream Theatre “Train of Thought” tour Kansas City 2004.

Sean- Too many to name.

Aaron- As I Lay Dying

Joe- Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Foo Fighters, Stryper, Kiss, Van Halen 1984, Cinderella, Steve Vai, JoeSsatriani, Ozzy 1981, Queensryche, Dream Theatre ,Alice in Chains, Nickelback, ac/dc, Poison, Cheap Ttrick, Def Leppard…the list is very long…pick one

O21: What is one thing people don’t understand about your music?

Adam- It’s more for non-christians than Christians. (for the broken)

Aubrey- Not necessarily our music,but sometimes people wonder how we can be a “Christain” band and still perform in bars/clubs that are not Christian venues.

Joe- That it is “for the broken” Ppeople who need lifted up,something positive. There is soooooo much angry/negative music out there we want to give them positive stuff. As for the bar scene, people don’t understand why we play in clubs…that’s where we are needed…I’m no different than the guy in the bar(I’m just not getting hammered drunk) I’m not sinless at all,no one on earth is walking on water….faith with out works is dead, God bless.

Thank you Joe, Sean, Aubrey  and Adam.  You certainly have a clear vision of who you are and what you are trying to do.

For The Broken will be playing the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Friday, July 1st at 1:10 p.m. See you there!