Voices of The Underground2 Preview

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Not to long after we began this website, we launched a series called Voices Of The Underground.  It was born out of the fact I kept wanting to ask the same questions every time we did an interview, and because there were some ideas and concepts that seemed like they could be explored by any musician, no matter what genre of music they made or level of success they had achieved.

Instead of repeating ourselves over and over again, we instead sent 15 questions to literally hundreds of bands, solo artists, and producers to see if we could get a response.  What we got was unexpected, and over the course of 15 weeks, we heard opinions from over 30 artists on issues of faith, the music industry, and being an artist in this day and age.  Brooke Waggoner, hip-hop artist Dirt, Dominic Balli, and Chris Taylor along with members of Corpus Christi, Inhale/Exhale, Run Kid Run, Take It Back!, and many others participated in this round table like discussion.

Two months ago it ended. We had used up all of our questions, and we said goodbye to Voices Of The Underground.  However, since the series went so well, and we got such an amazing response (part two of last “season” is one of our most viewed posts), we decided to revamp the series and present to you a brand new Voices of The Underground.

New look, new artists, and a few new questions (although some old favorites will return this season).

So here is how its going to go, every week we will post responses to one question (there are 15 in all).  Some of the questions will give you a lot of incite into your favorites musician’s hearts, and some will (hopefully) challenge your perception on certain issues. The goal of this is to try and present as wide of a variation of opinions as possiable, so I am sure there will be a few answers that you will not agree with.

The beauty of this series is that it does not end with the artist’s responses, you can be as much a part of Voices Of The Underground as they are. Make comments, start discussions, and leave your mark.  We want to hear what you have to say.

Now, for the moment you have all been waiting for, here is look at some of the line-up for Voices of The Underground2:
A Hope For Home
Gileah And The Ghost Train
Bodies of Water
Redemption
White Collar Sideshow
Dignan
The Chariot
Preson Phillips
The Glorious Unseen
Yours For Mine
Venia
Love Begotten
MyChildren MyBride
Wonder
Thousand Foot Krutch

and there will be many more to come, so stay tuned
join us next week (Thursday) when we begin our series by asking our artists what they love about music.

The Best Of Voices Of The Undergound

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

1.What do you love about music?

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

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

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

3.What is the best thing about making music?

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

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

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

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

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

6. Who is Jesus Christ to you?

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

7.What is Christian music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11.Do you consider yourself a Christian musician?

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

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

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

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

14.Where do you see the music industry going?

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

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

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

Voices Of The Underground Pt.15

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Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us. Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right?

Need to catch up?

Read Pt.1: What Do You Love About Music?
Read Pt.2: What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
Read Pt.3: What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?
Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry?
Read Pt.5: What Impact Has The Digital Age Of Music Had On The Industry?
Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus Christ To You?
Read Pt.7: What Is Christian Music?
Read Pt.8: What Is Your Opinion On The Christian Music Industry?
Read Pt.9: Do You Think The Christian Music Scene Is Still Important?
Read Pt.10: Do You Think People Are More Receptive Or Resistant to Artists Of Faith Today?
Read Pt.11: Do You Consider Yourself A Christian Musician? In What Way Does It Affect Your Music?
Read Pt.12: What Is The Hardest Part About Being A Musician Today?
Read Pt.t13: What Responsibility (if any) Does An Artist Have To It’s Listener?
Read Pt.14: Where Do You See The Music Industry Going?

This our final week of Voices Of The Underground. It has been a long journey over the past fifteen weeks, and I think we have covered a lot of ground. My hope with this series was to allow you to see past the music for a moment, and really see to the heart of these individuals who travel the country (and the globe), sleep in vans,, and create the soundtrack to your life. we leave this series on a lite note, and simply ask our artists to share stories about found memories. NOTE: There is a announcement at the end of this post, so do yourself a favor and read to the end.

What is the best memory that you have of your career so far?


mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones(independent hip-hop artist)
Mahogany Jones
Completing my first full length album and getting the copies back shrink wrapped with bar code and all. All I remember thinking is “Thank you God. Thank you.” And crying. Next to that I would have to say the first my space message I got where a girl told me how one of my songs caused her to re-consider who she was in Christ and how it encouraged her.

a thousnd times repent dowd Dowd(guitar for Tribunal Records metal band A Thousand Times Repent)
A Thousand Times Repent
I have been in bands since I was 14 so I have a few goods ones. The best ones are when kids tell you that your music has changed their life for the better. That is what makes you realize that people do listen and the love of Jesus is reaching out and waiting for them to accept.

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-cVito(half of Asthamic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon)
The record release show we played here in Brooklyn. We had it at in the building where our church meets, and most of our church was there, but lots of other folks, too. It was like a big present that those couple of hundred of people gave to us, and hopefully that we, in some small measure, gave back to them.

hill Brett Hill (Paradigm Nashville solo country artist)
Brett Hill
Hearing testimonies from folks who purchased my material for someone and a soul was saved because of it. This happens on a regular basis, and it is by far the biggest drive I have that keeps me going.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)
Chris Taylor
The flattery of getting signed was fun. Putting my flesh aside I would say just getting to make a record. I got a glimpse of some of what believers will get to do in eternity involving music. Investigating music and seeing just how far it goes.

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)
Brooke Waggoner
My first CD-release show for my EP, “Fresh Pair of Eyes.” I was brand new to the Nashville scene and the support that night drew was breathtaking. My career really began the following week and my life hasn’t been the same ever since.

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

darknessbeforedawngabeGabe(guitarist for Bombworks Records metal band Darkness Before Dawn)
I don’t know if I a best memory I’ve had to many! But definitely one of my favorites was one of our early shows and it was at one of the bigger venues in AZ and there was probably 1000 kids there. On our last song we called for a circle pit and the house lights came on and we looked at the crowed only to see every person in the venue running around the venue like the Indy 500 it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)
Amy Courts
Making my last record, ‘These Cold and Rusted Lungs’ was certainly the highlight so far. Writing each song was a wrenching but satisfying experience, and being able to put them all on record with a full body was and is the most rewarding thing I’ve done so far. Not only because of the heart infused in the songs and their production, but because it was an entirely independently produced and funded project. It was the first thing I’ve ever set out to do and done to the hilt.It’s my baby!

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
Seeing over 2000 kids get accept Christ in their hearts at a 7 Project we led worship at was insane. It blew me away and i will never forget it. God is so great!

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)
Echocast
I have so many fond memories of so many tours… The 2007 tour with Pillar was great. Every night we played for around 2000 people and the Pillar fans were very receptive and made us feel welcome… The touring we did with Stavesacre was great, the overall camaraderie of those trips was second to none…

deweyDewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)
Dewey Lybecker
I would say the best memory or memories I’ve had so far we’re getting a couple emails from people or having people come up to me at concerts and telling me how my music has affected their lives. There was this one girl who wrote me telling me she wanted to commit suicide, and how listening to one of my songs made her think that even though life can be so hard sometimes, there’s always something to have hope about. She didn’t end up killing herself. But it’s cool to find that people feel through your music… it makes me want to write more songs.

dirt DIRT(underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust)
Dirt
9,000 people, Bushnille Illinois, passing gallons of red punch and loaves of bread to each other as we fellowshipped and took communion together after listening to some divinely inspiring music!

So here is the big annoucenment: we arnt done. it has been an amazing 15 weeks (more like 20 for me). Next week we are going to post a Best Of article, with all 15 questions in one place. Then starting July, a brand new Voices Of The Underground series will begin, with a new look, new questions, and new artists. Get pumped! Come back next week to find out who will be on the next Voices Of The Underground…

Voices Of The Underground Pt.12

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Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us. Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right?

Need to catch up?

Read Pt.1: What Do You Love About Music?
Read Pt.2: What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
Read Pt.3: What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?
Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry?
Read Pt.5: What Impact Has The Digital Age Of Music Had On The Industry?
Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus Christ To You?
Read Pt.7: What Is Christian Music?
Read Pt.8: What Is Your Opinion On The Christian Music Industry?
Read Pt.9: Do You Think The Christian Music Scene Is Still Important?
Read Pt.10: Do You Think People Are More Receptive Or Resistant to Artists Of Faith Today?
Read Pt.11: Do You Consider Yourself A Christian Musician? In What Way Does It Affect Your Music?

It is no mystery that it is hard to be a professional musician. Despite the very few success stories, most of the bands you love right now will not be around in ten years due to a number of reasons. The funny thing is that so much has changed since the birth of rock’n'roll: recording costs are lower, equipment is easier to come by, and the digital music age has allowed marketing your band to become as easy as logging on to the internet.  So why is it still so hard to “make it” in the music world? Really, why is it?

What is the hardest part about being a musician today?

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

runkidrundavidoneinhatDavid (lead singer/guitarist for Tooth & Nail pop/rock band Run Kid Run)
Run Kid Run
Staying motivated can be our hardest thing which sounds horrible because we have been blessed so much. but just like anything do it for long enough and you can get lazy and apathetic.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)
Echocast
I think the hardest part of being a musician today is simply just trying to make ends meet… The market has been so saturated due to the fact that virtually anyone can buy a computer and protools and record music and put it up on the internet… There are more bands than ever now and with the economy in its current state, concert venues and promoters can’t afford to put on as many shows as they used to… Everything costs so much more now than it did 10 years ago, yet promoters are still paying midlevel bands the same as they did in the 90s…

daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute)
Poorly Built Parachute
Making money, and then working a part time job or going to school while trying to take your music serious.

ourproclamationfrankieinstrips1Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation)
Our Proclamation
Telling your parents you’d rather go on tour than go to college. Haha

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)
Brooke Waggoner
The emotional involvement with the business side of things. It’s difficult to learn how to market your heart, and soul, and passions, and art. But it’s a MUST to figure it out.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)
Chris Taylor
Deciding when to try and make it your living. Maybe harder is deciding when to stop making it your living.

curtisblackhighvally Curtis (mandolist/singer for Centricity Records country band High Valley)
High Valley
For me the hardest part is remembering to give the glory ALL to God because he is the only reason we are able to do what we do. It seems pretty easy to forget about God and focus on income or success in the eyes of the world. I continually have to check my motives and make sure that the reason I do what I do is to reach as many people as possible with the most important message out there.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)
Endeverance
The hardest thing for musicians today is getting people to actual shows. I mean right now with the economy and everything it is getting harder for people to want to come to shows and everything…And another thing that is hard is getting genuine fans and not just a bunch of fake myspace friends…that don’t really care about your music…they just added you because they click yes to everyone…I think the true fan has of become a lost art form…

deweyDewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)
Dewey Lybecker
I think the hardest part about being a musician today is trying to stick your head above the clouds. There’s so many good artists out there, how do you make yourself stick out beyond everyone else ?

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)
Hyland
Having all your bases covered. It’s not just enough to have a good song anymore. It’s not good enough to be a tight band anymore. It’s not good enough to have a great look and a good online presence. With the amount of competition out there, you need the whole package. Making your you don’t have any weak links is definitely the hardest part about being a musician. You don’t get to focus on the music half the time!

xcess Xcess(solo Darkside records hip-hop/industrial artist)
For me it’s just being me since I’m pretty different. There’s alot of politics where labels and venues will want to play it safe and stick with their genres of preference even though I know for a fact I work well in any capacity. If I was in a band I’m sure I’d get booked left and right but dedicated people are hard to find so I do this solo and its quite the hindrance.

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)
Amy Courts
Because independent music is on the rise, every person who ever thought to play a chord on guitar is writing songs and trying to tour and sell music. But the pond hasn’t gotten any bigger; There are just more fish in it. So it’s a much more dog-eat-dog world than it ever was before, which means we who love what we do and believe we’re meant to do it have to work that much harder to stay in the game. But it’s worth it!

Not much has changed I guess. Only two more weeks left in this series, check bakc next week when we talk about artist’s responseablilty to it’s listner. Should be good!

Voices Of The Underground Pt.11

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us. Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right?

Need to catch up?

Read Pt.1: What Do You Love About Music?
Read Pt.2: What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
Read Pt.3: What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?
Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry?
Read Pt.5: What Impact Has The Digital Age Of Music Had On The Industry?
Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus Christ To You?
Read Pt.7: What Is Christian Music?
Read Pt.8: What Is Your Opinion On The Christian Music Industry?
Read Pt.9: Do You Think The Christian Music Scene Is Still Important?
Read Pt.10: Do You Think People Are More Receptive Or Resistant to Artists Of Faith Today?

If you have been reading this series at all, our question this week may seem a bit redundant. After all, it is hard to imagine that many of the people who have been talking with us on this series wouldn’t consider themselves Christian artists. Many of the topics we have been covering seem to make that point obvious, but as we (The (ONE)21 Music) have been doing research to find new music for you guys, we have found that the next question is either extremely resented or not ever asked of anybody anymore.  We wanted to find out why no one seems to be comfortable being called a Christian musician anymore, so we decided to ask ourselves.

Do you consider yourself a Christian musician? In what way does this affect your music?

deweyDewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)
Dewey Lybecker
I’m not sure if I consider myself a “Christian musician,” but maybe more of a musician that happens to be a Christian. I feel like if you label yourself as a Christian musician, then there’s this expectation that everything you write or release has to be about God. For me, I just want to sing about life and the struggles I have, or the dreams I want to achieve… If that happens to be about God, then it is… but if it’s not, then that’s ok too.

corpuschristijarrodinfront Jarrod(guitarist/singer from Victory Records metal band Corpus Christi)
Corpus Christi
Yes. It affects you because you realize that your songs are not entirely yours. God’s hand is in your songs, and it comes through in the way you write and the lyrical themes thay show up in your music.

inhaleexhalejohninveryback John (guitarist for Solid State Records metal band Inhale/Exhale)
Inhale Exhale
No. Because I have to say I would write music for anyone. Not just Christians. But I do believe in God and I do have a faith in Jesus Christ which I am willing to share.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)
Echocast
I consider myself a Christian and I consider myself a musician… I’m not a worship leader though… That’s the problem that I’ve come across through the Christian music industry, so I’m not really sure anymore… Different people have different definitions of what being a “Christian Musician” means… I am a Christian and I pour myself into all of my songs, so I believe Christian views and values come out in all of them, but at the same time, I don’t have the calling to be a worship leader and when we play a show at a church, we play our set and that’s it…

daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute)
Poorly Built Parachute
I am a Christian that plays music. I try to walk the Christian walk as best as I can. I’m not perfect however. I do pray over our shows sometimes, hoping that the music moves in a spiritual way through people. We really don’t have lyrics at all so our emotions are the only thing that speaks through the music. But yes, our CD is available at Christian bookstores because we’re good Christian dudes… most of the time

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-cVito(half of Asthamic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon)
The Welcome Wagon
“Christian musician” is not a label I use or seek out, but it’s certainly not a label I’m ashamed of, or that I would deny. I am a Christian, and my vocation is as a Christian pastor, and my band plays music that is primarily about Christ. So anyone who says we are “Christian musicians” certainly has a lot of valid reasons to do so.

hylandjonJon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)
Hyland
I am definitely a Christian musician. This makes me focus on my craft even more. I have to be that much better. If there is a cliche’ I’m going to break it. My music needs to have double meanings, word play is even more important.

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
Do you call a plumber who happens to be a Christian a Christian plumber…? NO. You call him a plumber. If he is living out his life in a Christ like way, you will see that and it will be evident that he is living for something more than this world. So we are most certainly Christians who are musicians, and our music most certainly is about our Lord and savior. But me personally, I think labeling someone a Christian version of whatever career they have is pointless. Christ is alive in me and every member of our band. Everything that we do is for Him alone!

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)
Amy Courts
I’m a Christian. Everything I am is, because of that faith, seasoned with Christ. So whether I’m writing about love, work, social justice, or spirituality, it is a “Christian” work. I can no sooner escape that defining part of me than I could escape my humanity.

johanna fellow Johanna Miller(keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow)
Fellow
Yes, I consider myself a Christian musician. I want God to use me to minister to others. After praying over a new song, I try to let Him speak what He wants to get out instead of only my own feelings.

takeitbackdanielDaniel(guitarist for Facedown Records hardcore band Take It Back!)
Take It Back - Can't Fight Robots
Absolutely I do. This affects my music because everything in my life is based around that, so it shines through in our music because it is the most important thing in the world to us.

dirt DIRT(underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust)
Dirt
I consider myself a musician. If you find Inspiration to better yourself and, more importantly, move yourself closer to God in my soundscapes then I consider myself a musician that accomplished my goal.

sethinfrontendervenceSeth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)
Endeverance
I guess first off “Christian” is not a genre of music…to me. It is my personal belief and my faith. Does my faith and beliefs affect my music? You bet, but my band doesn’t promote ourselves as a “Christian Band” we are a band who sing songs about everything. Our beliefs, struggles, and even so called “secular” topics…But I don’t think this is wrong I think this is the right way to go about it…

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

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)
Chris Taylor
Yes. More importantly I am a disciple of Jesus. I was called to Him before I knew what or how to sing unto the Him. It affects me every time I go to write or sing publicly. I cannot shake what the Lord has done for His people. I want my life and music to reflect the Greatness of the Glory of His Grace.

In the end, it is up to the artists themselves to choose how they wish to be perceived.  Many of the artists will disagree with each other, but we know God is using them to create His sweet, sweet sound.

Join us next week when we talk about what is the hardest part about being a musician today.

Voices Of The Underground Pt.9

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us. Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right? Need to catch up?

Read Pt.1: What Do You Love About Music?
Read Pt.2: What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
Read Pt.3: What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?
Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry?
Read Pt.5: What Impact Has The Digital Age Of Music Had On The Industry?
Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus Christ To You?
Read Pt.7: What Is Christian Music?
Read Pt.8: What Is Your Opinion On The Christian Music Industry?

Last week we talked about the Christian music industry, and found that most of our artists were either frustrated or hurt by the business that runs that industry. This week we are talking about the Christian music scene, and if our artists at this point believe that it is important. The Christian music scene, in our eyes, is something completely different from the industry we covered last week. The scene encompasses the full spectrum of the believers out there making music. It is the family that is out there all over the world, in many different voices, making music from a foundation of hope and faith.  In the 90s, it was a growing scene, trying to expand the boundaries of “sacred” music. As we close in on the first decade of the 21rst century, much of the passion and urgency seems to be derailed by feelings of hypocrisy and anger towards the machine that controls the CCM world. So is Christian music still important?

Do you think the Christian music scene is still important?

dewey Dewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)                         Dewey Lybecker
I think it is very important. I was reading a book by Erwin McManus, and one of the things he was talking about in the book was how Christians should be creating the culture, and how back in the day they use to run the show. If we want people to see that God is a creative guy, we need to be creative! I think if we are labeled a “Christian Artist,” it’s our job to not just regurgitate other peoples material to sell records.

curtisblackhighvally Curtis(mandolist/singer for Centricity Records country band High Valley)
High Valley
Yes, very important. Sometimes I really need to listen to some straight up worship music just to remind me who God is. It’s important to remember that God created music and that if Christians are making music it should point straight to Him.

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

takeitbackdanielDaniel(guitarist for Facedown Records hardcore band Take It Back!)
Take It Back - Can't Fight Robots
Absolutely. I think that there is an underground force that is building its forces, and that soon it will explode into the world and change things forever.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)
Echocast
I think the Christian music scene is great, especially being that it opens up rock shows to under age kids and gives impressionable kids albums they can get into without foul language and/or questionable lyrics and imagery…

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)
Amy Courts
I think Christian music is important; the “scene” is like any other: image- and category-driven, a means of separating the “in” crowd from the “out.” Don’t get me wrong: I’m not nearly as cynical about Christian music as it may sound! There is a growing group of Christian artists who weren’t and won’t be accepted on the scene because they don’t play by the unwritten rules, and they’re on the move: We see the good they’re doing for authentic Christianity in the efforts of Derek Webb, Sara Groves, and others like them. And that’s the Christian music “scene” I think will be most effective, impacting, and lasting when the money Machine eventually breaks down.

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)
Hyland
It’s incredibly important. People want to invest in things that they know are safe, especially parents. The church is ever important and the church needs music to keep everyone’s pulse moving.

xcess Xcess(solo Darkside records hip-hop/industrial artist)
It’s very important because it’s where we should all come together as a Body of Christ no different than the Churches should. But I think we are a little more unified as opposed to alot of denominational bickering and separation. We need to be together in this to do our best to spread the Gospel in every venue possible.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)
Endeverance
Yes, I think it is important but I don’t think it should be called the “Christian Music Scene” because singles out the artist a bit…Like you don’t call a truck driver that is a Christian a “Christian Truck Driver” so why with the arts do we give everything a label and than look down upon an artist if they don’t want the label…I just think this goes back to the C.S. Lewis quote I used earlier…Christians are going to make great music and let us leave it at that great music is great music why label it…

heathstripsinirons Heath(bass player for Holdfast Records metal band In Irons)
In Irons
Most definitely. Some kids that come to the hardcore and metal shows might not ever even hear the gospel or step foot in a church. And when a they see a band they like live and hear a message they’ve never heard it could really change something in their lives. I’ve seen so many kids come to Christ at shows and its an amazing thing.

fortodaydavid1David(drummer for Facedown Records hardcore/metal band For Today)
For Today
Myself included, it’s sucky to really like a band’s music and disagree 110% with everything they sing about.

ourproclamationfrankieinstrips1Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation)
Our Proclamation
Not particularly. To define a “scene” would be separating music into different groups, and by doing this, non-Christians might not take the message as well as they would if we just called it the music scene.

a thousnd times repent dowd Dowd(guitar for Tribunal Records metal band A Thousand Times Repent)
A Thousand Times Repent
I do it is very important for these Christian bands to get together with the kids and connect and let them know that Jesus is there for them. Cause being a growing kid is a hard confusing job. And offering them Christian music in the style they like will provide a more positive output then some groups offer.

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust)
Dirt As much strife, heartache and opposition as I feel I have experienced within that ‘scene’…. yes. It is VERY important.

domicballi Dominic Balli(independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)
Dominic Balli
I only think it’s important if it is causing Christians to go out into their daily lives and be more potent for the sake of gospel of Jesus Christ. To be more salty and shine brighter. If it’s doing that, then yes, it’s important. But I think we forget the reason we’re here is not just to be “Christians” and walk in purity and holiness or even just to have Relationship and communion with God. We could do all of that in Heaven (and we will). The reason God has left us here is to be his ambassadors. His desire is to save the world. That’s why He sent His son. And He wants us to partner with Him in His mission to save the world. That’s why we’re here. So, if the Christian music scene is not directly or indirectly impacting the world for the sake of the gospel, then all of our record labels, Gospel Music Channels, Radio stations, and festivals are nothing more than music. Which is very ok with lot of people which is fine for them. For me personally, I want my music to go to deeper places and for a deeper reason that just music.

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones(independent hip-hop artist)
Mahogany Jones
Yes, I feel like believers need to have music and entertainment that edifies them and whether the world wants to embrace it or not they need to hear music being used properly- for the glorification of God. So the Christian music scene is important to give Christians a market and an outlet to minister and essential in creating venues for Christian artist sharpen and use their gifts and talents. Come back next week as we talk about Christian artists being more accepted for their talents and their faith..

Voices Of the Underground Pt.7

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us. Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right?

Need to catch up?
Read Pt.1: What Do You Love About Music?
Read Pt.2: What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
Read Pt.3: What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?
Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry?
Read Pt.5: What Impact Has The Digital Age Of Music Had On The Industry?
Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus Christ To You?

This week we explore a question that we have debated a lot on this site. In fact, this question explores what is perhaps one of the most controversial and important concepts when it comes to faith and music. For our site, we have defined what we consider Christian music, and then have even gone farther to clarify the many parts of that definition. For most people, and especially music lovers, the concept of what makes music “Christian” is a big deal. In all reality, most of us that talking about it are speaking from the outside in, so this week we ask people making the music what their definition is. As with all of our Voices Of The Underground episodes, the answers are very diverse, and most will surprise you. Alright, enough talk:

What is Christian music?

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)                                         Amy Courts
I believe Christian Music is – in real terms, not industry terms – anything that flows from the hearts of the redeemed. As one who’s struggled to find a fit in both the “Christian” music world and the “Mainstream” world, I’ve become more and more convinced that being a Christian artist has less to do with how many times I mention “Jesus” in any given song, or how many songs per album are about God, church, Jesus, heaven, or the Bible. Instead, it’s about a faith that filters into and seasons everything I am, say, and do. My faith in Christ and relationship to Him is not “a” thing or even “the” thing that tops any list of priorities. It is the filter through which all priorities find their place. Because I am a Christian, in my heart, my songs will be flavored by my faith. Because Christ is my King, and His heart is for the least of these, my actions will be on behalf of of those He cherishes.

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones (independent hip-hop artist)                                 Mahogany Jones
Music that is Christ centered. Music that the subject matter doesn’t have to be Christ, but it’s solution or resolve is Christ.
So if I write a song about relationships or about my job- the context needs to be about how I handle either in relationship to my relationship with Christ.

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
Music that glorifies our God. Plain and simple. It isn’t a fad or even a “genre” in my opinion. I believe that if you are a Christian and you are an artist, your art should reflect your love for your savior, no questions asked. He created you, so anything you create should bring him glory.

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
Christian music is music that is glorifying to God in any way. Even if it doesn’t say a word about God.

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-c Vito (half of Asthmatic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon) The Welcome Wagon
I think this is a term that should be defined by whoever is using it at the time. It’s not a term I use, thus I do not have a working definition of it. I have terms I do use that are similar, for example, “church music.” I am the pastor of a church, and it is my duty to select music for our church to sing and hear in the context of our worship service. I have a set of criteria that I bring to that task that helps me to choose that music. So that’s a definition—“church music”—that I could give.
But “Christian music” is not a term I use, so I can’t define it.

a thousnd times repent dowd Dowd(guitar for Tribunal Records metal band A Thousand Times Repent) A Thousand Times Repent
I think it is a way to make more positive music that is based around Jesus in any genre. I don’t think any genre should be left out. I think you can do straight death metal and be a Christian band if you want. We need those options available to kids.

dewey Dewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)                     Dewey Lybecker
I think Christian music is music that reflects life from the perspective of a person that has a personal relationship with God. The good and the bad..

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

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust) Dirt
I know what Christian music SHOULD be…. it should be any music that inspires you TOWARDS God.

ourproclamationfrankieinstrips1Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation) Our Proclamation
Well, there’s a lot of debate about this. Can you be a Christian band and have songs that aren’t about God? Or do you have to sing about or praise God in everything you perform?
Honestly.. It makes no difference to me. We get lost in the title of “Christian” that we lose our relationship with Christ. I’d rather play music about Christ than Christian music.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)          Endeverance
To me I honestly don’t think there is a thing as “Christian Music”. I think there is a thing called “Worship Music” which is played in churches every week, but the rest of everything that is called “Christian Music” to me is just plain music…I mean I look at it in the way C.S. Lewis did, as Christian’s I think we should just make music, but do it a million times better than non-Christians…and just leave it at that…

johanna fellow Johanna Miller (keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow) Fellow
Christian music should always direct our thoughts toward God and living a Christ-like life. It’s not limited to strictly church worship songs.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                             Chris Taylor
Praising His Glorious name!

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                       Dominic Balli
To me, “Christian” describes who I AM. I am a Christian. I play Rock Reggae music. “Christian Music” is the only genre in Popular music that is defined not by a style of music but by lyrical content. When someone asks me, “What kind of music do you listen to?” And I say, “Christian Music.” That could mean anything from Project 86 to Mary Mary to Jeremy Camp, to Cross Movement to Fernando Ortega. So what is Christian Music? It’s music where the lyrics are Christian in content.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)                       Echocast
My personal opinion is that “Christian Music” is music consisting of songs either about the Lord or worshiping the Lord… But at the same time, if an artist writes songs that are more or less autobiographical or are putting their personal thoughts and feelings across, and that artist is a Christian, then Christian ideas and principals are going to come through in individual songs…

So, at the end of the day, the jury is still out. Maybe we as a body of believers will never be able to solve this debate, but we will continue to seek out what the answer is in our own lives. Join us next Thursday as we talk about the Christian music industry.

Voices Of The Underground Pt.5

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us.

Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right?

Need to catch up?
Read Pt.1- What Do You Love About Music?
Read Pt.2- What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
Read Pt.3- What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?
Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry?

This week we will be exploring the specific impact that the digital age of music has had on the music industry. Last week’s discussion was mainly centered around the way the industry is run, but this week we are talking about a movement in entertainment. The 80s saw the rise of CDs and recordable tapes, and in a short fifteen years, carrying around a hundred CDs in your car and making mixtapes was common place.  Then came not only the ability to store music in you home computer, but also the rise in the “pay for what you want” MP3 store revolution.  The industry is still trying to handle this shift in the industry, and artists are adapting, some better than others. Also included in this digital age is how artists promote themselves. Gone are the days of MTV controlling who got national exposure, with social networking sites like Myspace givings artists a free place to use as an all encompassing website, and Youtube making DIY music videos a mainstay.  Things are changing, quickly.  This week we also have Dustin from Blood & Ink Record’s ska-core band Send Out Scuds joining the fold.

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

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
A great one and a terrible one. It killed record sales which is what the industry is based on. Now that no one buys records, the industry is on quicksand.
That said it gave artists starting out an awesome opportunity to show their music to the biggest audience in the world. The internet. This makes it easy to get started and hard to make it. That’s why most people on Mypsace are so fed up with bands. haha. It’s so easy to start on that everyone has one.

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                              Dominic Balli
Everything. Five years ago, there was no way that someone in another State, much less another country could hear or buy you album unless you were on a Label that had national and international distribution. Itunes is the world’s largest music distributor now and Amazon Mp3 is following close behind. And you don’t need a label to get distribution to those retailers. You just need and album. All the sudden, Brazil is bumpin’ your record in the streets. It’s crazy. However, in Brazil, they don’t actually buy albums, they jack ‘em from places like Limewire.

inhaleexhalejohninveryback John (guitarist for Solid State Records metal band Inhale Exhale) Inhale Exhale
Downloading is killing bands, that has changed a lot. But yet CD’s are still 12 bucks on average. DVD’s are out and Blueray is in, so they have dropped the price of DVD’s and there is always a bin for cheap DVD’s. But for CD’s? And legal downloads? No. Major labels are frantic. They are investing in indie labels. And even some contracts coming out of those are taking a percentage of bands tour money. Which is how most bands survive. It’s a very weird industry. That’s all I’ll say.

johanna fellow Johanna Miller (keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow) Fellow
MySpace and digital sales have done wonders with giving otherwise unknown artists a chance to pursue their dreams without the backing of a label. Unfortunately, so many people take advantage of the accessibility and don’t have a problem “stealing” music from their friends’ burned CDs.

sendoutyourscudsdanielmulletDustin (trumpet player for Blood & Ink ska-core band Send Out Scuds) Send Out Scuds
Well, everyone who isn’t signed likes to talk about the Myspace revolution and the pro-tools revolution like they are done deals. But no one seems to realize that a revolution isn’t really possible when the regime you oppose embraces the cornerstone of your revolution. The music industry is run by very, very smart businessmen. They’ve weathered the death of vinyl, the death of tape, the birth of digital production, etc. If anything, this digital age of music will help the industry leaders! Think about it: with today’s production capabilities you can make gold out of crud. All a label needs to do is take someone who is extremely marketable, produce an album for them, have a team of internet technicians use myspace and MP3 stores and other digital outlets to garner huge interest, and then sit back and make money. People buy what they believe is good. If you convince someone that something is good, then they will buy it. As Aristotle would have said: A is A. This digital age of music will help those who already have capital to use toward it.

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust) Dirt
I can only speak for myself, but it definitely opened the doors for me to stop catering to people that didn’t see the vision God put on my heart and just make music and give it to the people! That’s all I want to do anyway. Perceive it, flesh it out, create it and give it to the people.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                        Chris Taylor
I think there are a few craters to say the least. I just know I love jogging and listening to sermons and a few songs. So simple, sound isn’t as good, but simple.

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-c Vito (half of Asthamic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon) The Welcome Wagon
It’s probably been a double-edged sword for us. On the one hand, illegal downloading probably eats into our ability to make a profit on our record. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine our record getting made at all without the advent of digital technology that can be used by folks at home, as well as listened to by people without the aid of a major label. So for us, maybe it’s a wash. I’m not sure.

runkidrundavidoneinhat David (lead singer/guitarist for Tooth & Nail pop/rock band Run Kid Run) Run Kid Run
It’s huge obviously and I’m not sure what the next move the industry will make but I would like to think there will always be a need for a hard copy of music the feel of holding a CD and opening up. I think is something that will always be around. Or at least I hope so.

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)                                  Amy Courts
More than anything, it makes it possible for Independent Artists to write, sell, and truly own their art without having to sell themselves off, piece by piece. More importantly, it’s helped raise the bar of excellence. Now that buyers are able to purchase single songs, artists can no longer get by with two or three “hit singles” tucked in between an album of “filler” songs, and know that the album will sell. Instead, if we want an album to sell, we have to write 10 or 12 great songs that make an entire album worth owning. Which means we have to continually hone and refine our skills to make the offering worth owning.

heathstripsinirons Heath (bass player for Holdfast Records metal band In Irons)                 In Irons
I think it has definitely had an effect on the more mainstream bands that actually make a living off of the music they play. It seems like they wouldn’t be making near as much money as they used to due to all the downloading.

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

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland) Hyland
It’s allowed bands like mine to exist. It’s an amazing way to get the word out about shows, create fans and drive business. If we were still recording and selling music on Vinyls the major labels in the industry would still have all the control.
The only real issue I see with the digital age is supply and demand. There is just SO much music out there that people have to wade through to find anything good… Everyone and their little brother can create a band, record something on garage band, and post it on Myspace and add people. It’s almost too easy.

corpuschristijarrodinfront Jarrod(guitarist/singer from Victory Records metal band Corpus Christi) Corpus Christi
It’s cut the number of people who actually buy CD’s down by such a large margin that the major labels are dying off.

xcess Xcess (solo Darkside records hip-hop/industrial artist)
Obviously the internet and filesharing has changed the landscape of everything which helps connects nobodies to listeners all around the world. You can be playing garage shows in your middle of nowhere town somewhere in Illinois and thanks to Myspace you have fans from Cali to England and so on.

Voices Of The Underground Pt.4

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us.

Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right?

Need to catch up?
Read Pt.1- What Do You Love About Music?
Read Pt.2- What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
Read Pt.3- What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?

This week we start to brave more serious territory.  In the last ten years, we have seen a dramatic turn in the music industry as a whole. With the birth of companies like Napster, iTunes, and a rise in interest for more independently made music, the whole model of how business works concerning music has been spun on its head. The music industry, be it the Christian market or mainstream, is no longer what it used to be. We asked out artists what they thought, and their answers were….well, see for yourself:

What is your opinion of the music industry today? What has changed? What NEEDS to change?

johanna fellow Johanna Miller (keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow) Fellow
The music industry doesn’t always make sense to me. My band (Fellow) has played with so many talented musicians that work hard but they don’t ever make it to the next level they’re striving for. Then you see bands that have “made it” and they don’t even realize how blessed they really are for being given that opportunity.
I wish there was a better way for artists to do what they’re called to do without having to work three jobs and then be expected to perform for free because it’s a ministry.

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)                                      Amy Courts
I think the music industry, in general, is in the midst of both its worst and best times. Major Labels are fighting to survive, and the Machine is breaking, and yet they still control so much of the radio waves and distribution outlets. Add to that the “American Idol” culture which can make anyone, talented or not, a worldwide superstar overnight (and giving them a piece of the pie earned by artists who’ve spent years working hard to get what’s been arbitrarily given away), and you’ve got a pretty ugly business market that doesn’t favor the bottom-rungers at all. In that way, it’s discouraging, because it’s back-breaking to try and fight a way through to make this lifestyle sustainable. But on the other hand, with the advent of internet technology and online forums and free web communities and download outlets, it’s never been easier for independent artists to build a fan base, tour the world, produce and sell merchandise, and remain totally independent and in control of their art. We don’t have to sell our souls to get somewhere anymore.

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)            Hyland
I think the biggest thing right now is that CDs are still the main medium used to listen to music. It’s a 10 year old product!!! When CDs came out we were still watching movies on VHS. Now we’re not only pushing beyond DVDs we’re well into Blu-Ray. My point being is that to keep music competitive in this market, we need something new. A high-def way to listen to music would be a good start. And also getting people away from the mindset of ‘i just want LOTS of music’ instead of caring about what music they have is something that needs to change.

inhaleexhalejohninveryback John (guitarist for Solid State Records metal band Inhale Exhale) Inhale Exhale
I think the music business is the worse business to get into. With Myspace, music has open doors for some very good bands, has closed the door on some, and has created a pedestal for some terrible bands with no talent. Music has also become a trend in it’s self. It’s now a fashion statement. Some people don’t care about what they are listening to, they just care how someone looks. I think integrity has left the scene. It’s sad.

runkidrundavidoneinhat David (lead singer/guitarist for Tooth & Nail pop/rock band Run Kid Run) Run Kid Run
I think it has gotten better of late… bands are way more independent and can easily make an impact without a label. Which I thing is a good thing.

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust) Dirt
I have too many opinions about this to express here. But in my travels and experience, the Secular Music Industry needs to wake up and stop peddling smut into our minds and hearts (people are dying, literally, from the foul messages) and the Christian Music Industry needs to stand up and support the front line musicians trying to spread Good News (stop letting the world steal our creative idea’s and call it their own).

corpuschristijarrodinfront Jarrod(guitarist/singer from Victory Records metal band Corpus Christi) Corpus Christi
It’s in a unique state. Everything has changed, and the industry is scrambling to catch up with it.
The next change needs to be the death of Clear Channel. An industry without them is something I would love to see!

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                          Chris Taylor
Not sure, people want music and they’re getting it, seems pretty solid now in that regard. People are getting so much so quick and so cheap. Not sure that kinda model is good for any people group. Savoring is good once in a while.

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

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
In short, the industry has really gotten itself in quite a bind. I do believe however, that we are on the upswing and things will be getting better soon. Digital music, Myspace, Purevolume, and illegal downloading have changed the music industry drastically. People need to buy more stinkin’ records!!!

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)                 Brooke Waggoner
Honestly, this question keeps getting tossed around so much, I think it’s time to adjust, adapt, and do the best you can. I think the changes are fairly obvious (people don’t buy as much music anymore because it’s information overload now. Too much to sift through) So, this in turn makes bands/artists get more creative which is kind of cool in my opinion…

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
The music industry is dying and musicians are essentially fighting to survive amidst the corpses. No one buys anything except for merch and tickets. Even then, if you aren’t signed you won’t have to exposure to sell thousands of tickets, but labels are signing less and less because they’re slowly consolidating. It’s a real catch 22. What needs to and will happens I believe is a brilliant person will come along and restructure how this whole industry works, and that is what will save it and aid it in growing.

daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute) Poorly Built Parachute
Here is what I believe, unless a big-wig record label is ready to offer you real money, a salary, not bull crap, then stay independent. I think it’s retarded that bands sign over the rights to their music forever merely on a gamble that they might make a dollar here and there. A lot of labels look for ways to screw bands. I’d rather stay indie and keep music on the DL rather than sell my soul and end up in debt to a label.

echocastbandwb8David ( singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)                   Echocast
I think the music industry is hurting today… Labels don’t develop artists anymore, they try to push out that one radio single and then let the artist die… Downloading has killed record sales and high fuel prices have hurt touring bands that don’t have huge label support…

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones (independent hip-hop artist)                                      Mahogany Jones
So much about the music industry has changed. It used to be where labels believed in backing and putting out good music and supporting great musicians and artist, but now so much of the music industry is a machine that’s centered on making money, no matter if the music that’s being released is exploiting a generation. What’s new about the industry that’s kind of cool is that because of the digital age, a lot of great musicians can independent of a record label deliver their music to the people minus the filter of the Industry. What needs to change… sigh, it’s not necessarily the industry but the people that need to change. If consumers took more of an active role in deeming what they considered worthy of consumption, it may help in dictating what gets released.

Voices Of The Underground Pt.3

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Several weeks ago fifteen questions were posed to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were very drawn out and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us.

Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect either, right?

This week we will explore which part of the process artists enjoy the most when it comes to making and playing music.  Some people are strong song writers, and then others love to play their music. Some are torn. What we end up with is a series of artists talking about what they love about being a musician. Also this week, two new faces, Dowd from A Thousand Times Repent,and David from Echocast.

What is the best thing about making music?

a thousnd times repent dowd Dowd(guitar for Tribunal Records metal band A Thousand Times Repent) A Thousand Times Repent
With music each step is pretty necessary. I like all three and this is why. Writing is great because that is when you put all of your feelings and ideas into song form. I like recording because that is when all the hard work gets put down and you finally get to step outside from playing it and get to hear the whole product. I love performing cause that is when you get to take your music to the kids and let them hear what you have been hard at work on and also get to share the fact that we are a Christian band and nothing will change that.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                            Chris Taylor
I prefer sitting in my room and recording ideas. Just being creative

johanna fellow Johanna Miller (keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow) Fellow
I love that there are so many things you can say with lyrics that would never be accepted by the general public otherwise. Music really allows God to use us in ways we could never imagine.
Wow, I like it all but if I have to choose it would be performing. There’s nothing quite like seeing people touched by the music God gave you.

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                            Dominic Balli
I love recording cuz you can do whatever you want and really let the creativity fly in the studio. I lover performing because I get to relate to people on a personal level and communicate truth in a conversational way. I think sometimes it’s easier for people to receive truth when you’re looking then in the eyes. I love writing though because it’s where I get to paint the picture of what’s going on inside my heart mind and life.

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)          Brooke Waggoner
I love writing the most! Performing can be really magical as well.. I just recently got done recording a new project and it was the most positive recording experience I’ve ever had and I enjoyed every moment!

daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute) Poorly Built Parachute
I like writing and performing, recording is stressful.

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust) Dirt
The best thing about making the music is that I can get a small taste of what it was for God when He created the world. How excited He must of been, flowing with ideas, bursting at the seems to get them out. The only difference is (and its a BIG one!) that he awesomely created out of nothing! In his omnipotency and all-knowing way, He didn’t need anything but His presence and His Will and His authority to create.
We, as humans, need a pencil… a piece of paper…. some sound (which, again is created by ‘something else)…. God WAS and IS the ‘something else’. He is the music without the sound.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)                    Endeverance
I would have to say that the best thing about music is getting my heart out there and sharing it with people in a way I usually can’t. But I prefer all pieces of the musical process I don’t think you can have one without the other they all mesh together…

takeitbackdanielDaniel(guitarist for Facedown Records hardcore band Take It Back!) Take It Back - Can't Fight Robots
I think its safe to say we (Take It Back!) all prefer performing over anything. Being at a hardcore show where kids are singing along to your songs is really something that you cant compare to anything else.

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

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
Writing is like a puzzle frustrating yet satisfying. I love to write. Recording is pretty boring unless your recording and even then it gets old. Still satisfying tho. Performing is probably where we have the most fun. Interacting with the kids and showing our musics potential live is so exhilarating. At the same time it probably is the hardest to do b/c most shows are on tour and at our level tour is tough. Sleeping on floors, eating ravioli’s, and doing all of the work our selves kind of tough. haha.

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-c Vito (half of Asthamic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon) The Welcome Wagon
Performing our music—whether it be alone in our apartment, or in front of people—is probably what we like best. It’s us singing to one another and to God. That’s where the magic happens for us, and hopefully for others.
I do the writing alone, and I do like that process. It’s an electrifying thing to have a guitar in your hand, trying to fit sounds together and all of a sudden a melody line emerges alongside a chord change and you know it’s right. Recording is also fun, but stressful—that red light on the recording console is like the Eye of Sauron. But performing, for the most part, is the place where we become our band. When we play together we have to let go of all expectations and assumptions and all our ego and we sing and play and the transcendent stuff happens and the mistakes happen and we have to give it all to God. And because we are doing that together before God, it’s an intimate, wonderful thing.

echocastbandwb8David ( singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)                     Echocast
Most musicians that I’m friends with love writing and recording above all else, I’m the complete opposite… My favorite part of making music is the actual performance, touring, presenting your music to a live audience…

heathstripsinirons Heath (bass player for Holdfast Records metal band In Irons)                  In Irons
It can all be very stressful, yet extremely fun at the same time. The writing process is definitely the hardest because we’re all throwing around different ideas and sometimes we don’t all agree and it can easily turn into an argument. But its very rewarding when you do actually come together and finish a song. Recording is very rough as well. It’s definitely the most tedious part about being in a band because you put so much hard work, money and time into it and you want to sound perfect. But there is nothing like listening to the finished product of your own songs for the first time. And performing live makes it all worth it. It can be stressful at times when you’re having to deal with all the technical difficulties but its definitely rewarding. We all just have fun doing every bit of it, to be completely honest.

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
Can i choose “D” all of the above? haha… If i had to pick just one it would definitely be Performing. That’s where all of the excitement is at, but i truly do LOVE writing. That’s the intimate part and there is nothing quite like strumming the first few chords to what you know will one day become a masterpiece.