Music Video: Dominic Balli-Louder

Man, I love Domonic Balli. How could you not after this video? Its for the song “Louder” off of his latest reggae spiritual called American Dream. Enjoy

New Releases For July 26th, 2011

As Hell Retreats-Volition2
Volition
As Hell Retreats

ANGR
Hardcore
Buy now: Volition

Dominic Balli-American Dream
American Dream
Dominic Balli

Red Song Music
Reggae
Buy now: Amazon

Robert Pierre-I’m All In
I’m All In
Robert Pierre

thinkaboutit records
Pop
Buy now: Amazon

thisl beautiful monster
Beautiful Monster
Thi’sl

X Hustler Music
Rap
Buy now: Amazon MP3

William Matthews–Hopes Anthem
Hopes Anthem
William Matthews

Kingsway Music
Worship
Buy now: Amazon

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.

Top 5 Music Videos For June

Its that time again, we wade through the videos that debuted this month and bring you the best ones.  You may very well think our list is terrible, but then again, you arnt writing this blog, are you? Enjoy:

5. Dominic Balli-Warrior

Reggae and I have a uneasy history. I tend to like it in small doses, but Dominic Balli‘s release Public Announcement brings out the qualities of the genre that I love, without the elements I don’t. This is such a well done video, and despite some of the heavier subjects dealt within, the video is just so stinkin’ happy.


buy this song on Dominic Balli - Public Announcement - Warrior

4.Flynn Adam-Adios

I dont know Flynn Adam. I mean, I have met him, and we did an interview, but I dont KNOW him. However, in my short time with him, I can safely say that the best part about the video for “Adios” is that it is SOOOO Flynn. I mean from the retro look to the laid back atmosphere, Flynn most melodic single I have ever seen him do just seems so natural.


buy this song on Flynn Adam - Adios - EP - Adios

3.Son Lux-Wither

This is an ultra artsy video, but if you have ever listened to Son Lux‘s trippy progressive electronic music, you know it works. This video very much reminds me of the older Nine Inch Nails stuff, which, lets be honest, were some of the most visual stunning videos ever created. This comes close, so it is our #3.


buy this song on Son Lux - At War With Walls and Mazes - Wither

2. mewithoutYou- The Fox, The Crow, The Cookie

So you may notice that there is no video for our #2. That’s because for some stupid reason, the video is ONLY available on Entertainment Weekly’s website. Does that not seem strange to anybody else? The sad part is that its such a cool video. The band performs a stage show that go along with the fable told in the song. I have watched it like 8 times, its that cool. To bad I cant show it to you..

1.Holding Onto Hope-We Are The Beacons

This video is simply gorgeous. It perfectly captures and exemplifies the essence and message of this heartfelt and passionate song. Even if you don’t like heavier music, watch the video. It gave me chills the first, second, and third time I watched it. This is one of those videos that can change people. Great work Mr.Lawler (the director) this is a masterpiece.

buy this song on Holding Onto Hope - Of the Sea - We Are the Beacons

The Best Of Voices Of The Undergound

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy22

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…

Christian Music News 6/16/09

Sorry there isnt much to talk about guys. we are doing and editing interviews from Red Letter Fest, so those will be up shortly.  We were able to interview Hundred Year Storm, and Syrens already, and hopefully mewithoutYou will be tonight. Pray for us…

I Am Alpha & Omega have run into some hard times on the road, causing them to cancel some of their upcoming dates. Read I Am Alpha & Omega update.

Dominic Balli has a new music video for his song “Warrior”. Watch it below:

Saving Grace have finally issued and update to fans with news of tours, new members, and new music. Read Saving Grace update.

Thrice has announced the name of their new album will be Beggars, and it will be out in October(2009).

A live video of solo artist Lily Among Thorns playing her song “Right By Your Side” can be viewed below:

Voices Of The Underground Pt.13

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?
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?

The issue that we are discussing today is, in all honesty, what made me want to do this series.  In my life, I have noticed that music is very powerful in people’s lives. The people who make this music will sometimes become unknowing role models for the people listening to them. As we have seen many times in recent history, music artists get blamed for a lot that is wrong with our country.  As we talk about Christian music though, the seeming responsibility to “practice what you preach”  becomes much more intense. Is this right though? The people that are making this music are just that, people, so do we put too much pressure on them?  Or, is the job of making art that inspires people supposed to carry more weight than that?

What is an artist’s responsibility (if any) to it’s listeners?

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)
Dominic Balli
Well, without the listeners, nobody sells records, if you don’t sell records then you don’t play shows, if you don’t play shows then you’re not much of an artist your just a guy who plays the guitar who now has a whole lot of debt from your last record. The record that no listeners ever listened to. SOOOO… I think every artist should try his best to connect with his fans in every way he can. Some artist are just naturally better at this than others. Some artist are really good at hard and really bad at relationships. Don’t trip on them for that. That’s what makes them who they are.
As far as putting out an album every other year or touring certain cities frequently or writing a type of music because the people like it… that’s up for discussion. There’s a saying at the Church where I lead worship, “We want to be a call driven Church, not a need driven Church.” The same applies, the people will always be crying out for this or that. Sometimes it’s good stuff, sometimes it’s dumb stuff, but at the end of the day you’ve got to know what you’re called to do. How you’re supposed to write, perform, tour, record, etc… No fan can tell you that.

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones(independent hip-hop artist)
Mahogany Jones
To give the people themselves, to be transparent, to be honest, to make music that will inspire greatness and provide a real source of liberation.

hylandjonJon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)
Hyland
Oh man, integrity. Not just about what a musician does onstage or what songs they are writing, but how they are offstage. I’m getting so sick of C bands that are into drugs, sex and rock and roll. It’s killing me to see these bands kill their witness by just living haphazardly… I think an artist’s responsibility in the Christian industry is to simply walk the walk and talk the talk. Your music and ability to connect with people will grow or self destruct depending…

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)
Endeverance
I would say the artist responsibility is to be real and not just make music that has no meaning…Also I believe that you are nothing without the listener. I would say you live your life as a musician for the listener everything you do every note that is sang or played ever is for the listener…As a musician you need to create a connection that makes the listener apart of everything on the record, on the stage, and off the stage…

runkidrundavidoneinhatDavid (lead singer/guitarist for Tooth & Nail pop/rock band Run Kid Run)
Run Kid Run
I don’t think artist have responsibility to listeners the band makes art that we hope the listener will enjoy and be encouraged, inspired by. If they don’t like the band or the actions they won’t support and that’s their decision.

ourproclamationfrankieinstrips1Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation)
Our Proclamation
That would depend on the definition of the word “artist”.
An artist has no responsibility to their listeners. It’s supposed to be self expression. That’s what makes it art. A performer, on the other hand, has to deliver what the audience wants to hear. There’s a fine line between the two.

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)
Brooke Waggoner
Don’t waste their time. Create a world for them to enter and feel comfortable. But challenge. Always challenge!

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
To be your fan’s best friend. We love our fans and wouldn’t be anywhere without their support. So it’s an artist’s responsibility to deliver an amazing live performance, be true to who they say they are in interviews and on the album, and spend time with their listeners as much as possible.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)
Echocast
Maybe I’m from a different school of thought, but I personally don’t feel that an artist has a “responsibility” to its listeners… Its just music, I think the “listeners” will listen to what they enjoy and might like 1 record an artist puts out and not like the next one… I think a true artist’s “responsibility” is to continue to make music that they themselves believe in and not to conform to what they think people might want to hear…

xcess Xcess (solo Darkside records hip-hop/industrial artist)
An artist’s responsibility to its listeners depends on what the artist is going for. I tend to be a little more unapologetic with whatever it is I do because it’s what I want to do so bringing the kind of integrity I do is a my main focus in that regard. I’m not here to write catchy tunes anyone will like. Ultimately the artists responsibility is honesty complete with a passion for their are doing. Unless its to write a catchy single, then you gotta worry about topping that last wonderful dance number that will show up on a NOW collection at some point. Maybe they’ll get lucky and Weird Al will do a parody.

daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute)
Poorly Built Parachute
To be 100% honest and try to be as original and revolutionary as possible. If you are only trying to sound like everyone else and just want to tour and meet chicks… you’ve lost the point.

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)
Amy Courts
I don’t know that I have any responsibility to my listeners other than to do what I do – which is apparently what they love – to the best of my ability with as much honesty and authenticity as I can offer. I can’t be what everyone expects less I become nothing of myself. So I write what I write and stay as true to my calling and passion – true to God, in the end – as is humanly possible, and those who are meant to hear will hear and be moved. And I will give them the best of myself, with excellence.

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-cVito(half of Asthamic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon)
The Welcome Wagon
We think of our chief responsibility as a band is to serve Jesus Christ. We want to please him, and we like to sing about him. But in so doing, I think—I hope!—that makes us somewhat accountable to our listeners. We believe every person in the world, Christian or not, is made in the image of God. Thus we are called to honor and respect them, to love them. We hope we are doing that through our music.

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.

Only two more weeks left in our series, come back next week!

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.8

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?

This week we asked our artists what their opinion of the Christian music industry was. Before you read them, let me emphasize again that these are their opinions, and not always ours.  There are a lot of artists that are happy with the way the industry has grown over the last ten years, but their are many that aren’t. You may read some things in this installment that seem very negative, but let me assure you that these guys know what they are talking about, and this is their inside view on what is happening. I also want to take a minute and say that when many of our artists were talking about this subject, they were not talking about Christian music, but the industry that drives the majority of what you see in Christian book stores and what is on the radio.  There is a difference. I have done my best to display a balanced and fair depiction of the industry from the artist’s view, but sometimes maybe a cry for change just needs to be heard.

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.

dewey Dewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)                           Dewey Lybecker
I feel like the Christian music industry is beginning to come into a place that’s its needed to be in for a while. I think that a lot of Christian music was kind of cheap. It was a bunch of people that just regurgitated everyone else’s songs but added a different hook or something that made it “cool/ hip” again. It wasn’t very original, and because of this it wasn’t very respected by other
musicians. I think where it’s headed is the opposite of that, with bands like Switchfoot, MuteMath, Underoath, P.O.D., The Fray, One Republic… they’re showing the world that Christian music isn’t as lame as a lot of people think it is.

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)       Hyland
I think the Christian music industry is doing a terrible job of staying current. They are banking on bands that are tried and true (Newsboys, Third Day) and aren’t taking chances on new original talent, only on what has already worked in the secular scene. Where are the Audio Adrenalines and the DC Talks of THIS generation???!!! Everyone in the industry is worried about their bottom dollar instead of realizing taking a chance on originality will pay off ten-fold.

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
Honestly, it stinks that it has come down to a business plan, labels, and it stinks that it actually is an “industry”. I feel like Christians should be at the head of the line creating the best art the world has ever seen. It should just be known that we are Christians based on what we stand for and how we live. It’s weird to me that it has become it’s own separate industry.

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)          Brooke Waggoner
It’s a shame that it’s so divided and set apart from other genres and in other ways, it’s not set apart at all.. it’s really like any other industry – they tapped into a market, create products to fit that demographic, and package it accordingly. It’s difficult to find genuine amongst alot of this, but it does exist!

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
Since we’re all trying to survive in a broken industry people are starting to fight against their morals to stay afloat. As a band we’ve been ripped off, lied to, and stepped on a lot. Unfortunately, the Christian music industry has been the worst about that to us. I hate to say it, but the snakes are in the Christian music industry. That said there are also a lot of awesome people in the Christian music industry that have done wonders for us. It’s no different than the secular side I guess. They’re just selling to Christians.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)               Echocast
I think that a lot of artists are jaded towards the Christian music industry because they might have felt slighted at some point in the business end… But, a lot of people forget that that the music business is still a “business”…

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)
Amy Courts
Honestly? Having come and gone from a number of major Christian label opportunities and seen the ins and outs of their operations, I see the Christian Music Industry much like Jesus saw the sale of goods in the temple: an exploitation of righteousness and holiness for the sake of making money, and a tyrannical dictatorship regarding what defines “Christianity” in melodic terms.

christopherthegoodnighthorizenChristopher(vocalist for Harvest Earth Records metal band The Goodnight Horizon)
The Goodnight Horizon
They spend to much time catering to those who already know Jesus. Open the door, plant the seeds. Stop hiding.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)
Endeverance
I think the “Christian Music” industry sometimes is worse than the Mainstream industry because there is no grace in “Christian Music” I mean if your sin gets out and you’re in the “Christian Music” industry sometimes you get ex-communicated…I mean we are all humans we all sin and fail…Why does it mean when you’re a so called “Christian Artist” you can’t fail…And I think that’s horrible if anything you would think they would be more understanding. But I mean it does have good things like promoting music that has a meaning behind it…

curtisblackhighvally Curtis(mandolist/singer for Centricity Records country band High Valley) High Valley
I think it’s sad that Christian music has to be so “commercial” and surface in order to have success. I like deep songs that may possibly offend someone or really challenge them rather than telling someone that God loves them and knows there name over and over again. These are good messages but hearing it over and over again won’t change anyone’s life if they have heard that message a thousand times before. I think that Christian music good have deeper and more powerful messages. A band that I believe does an awesome job is Downhere. Lyrically the best Christian band I have ever heard.

divulgencecamCameron(guitarist/vocalist for Bombworks Records metal band Divulgence)
Its almost as though Christians have the mindset that since they are playing for God they get to slack off on their song writing. I can turn on the local Christian radio station and hear 5 songs that sound the same in about an hour. It shouldn’t be that way. If you are writing for the King of kings you should give it all you got and don’t take the easy way out by doing some overused chord progression.

corpuschristijarrodinfront Jarrod(guitarist/singer from Victory Records metal band Corpus Christi) Corpus Christi
Sadly, I find the name is often one of the only differences between it (Christin music industry) and the secular music industry.

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                              Dominic Balli
It’s the same as the mainstream one. At the top, there’s still a dude that is just really all about one thing. Money. That’s the industry, not the artists. There’s some artist with wonderfully pure hearts out there. A bunch of them. And there’s some labels that are the same. But as far as most of the “big” Christian labels. It’s all the same.

I think Dominic best summed it up, “it’s all the same”. That seems to be the pervailing theme throughout all the answers this week. Christ called us to be different, so why is it not?

Next week we are talking about the importance of the Christian music scene, so check back with us next week!