New Releases For May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 2011

New Releases For May 1st, 2011

Sleeping at last may ep
May EP
Sleeping At Last

Independent
Atmospheric Rock
Buy album through sleepingatlast.com

New Releases For May 2nd, 2011

Jahaziel still livin mixtape
The Still Livin’ Mixtape
Jahaziel

Independent
Rap
Available for free download through forerunnaz.com

New Releases For May 3rd, 2011

ark of the covenant speration ep
Separation EP
Ark Of The Covenant

Strike First Records
Metal
Buy now: Amazon MP3

a sequence of ghosts hostages
Hostage(s)
A Sequence of Ghosts

Independent
Metalcore
Buy now: Amazon MP3

Eowyn Beautiful Ashes
Beautiful Ashes
Eowyn

Independent
Industrial
Buy now: Amazon

Hyland-Weights & Measures
Weights & Measures
Hyland

Tooth & Nail Records
Pop Rock
Buy now: Amazon

jeremy horn sound of the broken
Sound Of The Broken
Jeremy Horn

INO Records
Worship

john waller as for me and my house
As For Me And My House
John Waller

City Of Peace
Contemporary
Buy now: Amazon

Mission Six-Shock Wave
Shock Wave
Mission Six

iShine
Pop Rock
Buy through iShine’s webstore

nicloe c mullen captivated
Captivated
Nicole C. Mullen

Maranatha
Pop/R&B
Buy now: Amazon

The Rubyz-Reflection
Reflection
The Rubyz

iShine
Pop
Buy through iShine’s webstore

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.14

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?
Read P.t13: What Responsibility (if any) Does An Artist Have To It’s Listener?

This week we begin our farewell to Voices Of The Underground.  Today’s issue seems a little like backtracking, but I thought it would be interesting to hear about what people thought was next for the music industry. In 1999, if I had told you that band websites were going to be free via a social networking site, bands could record themselves easily in their bedrooms, and that the concecpt of the MP3 album was going to be so well receieve that bands would begin to release music in only digital form, I bet you would have laughed at me. So, what’s next?

Where do you see the music industry going?

inhaleexhalejohninveryback John (guitarist for Solid State Records metal band Inhale/Exhale)
Inhale Exhale
All digital eventually I think. Bands gaining popularity on the internet first then touring and being a real band.

hylandjonJon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)
Hyland
That’s a tough call. We don’t know what the economy is going to bring. The word on the street is just tough it out. Ride out the storm and do what you can. The industry is going to be flipping sooner than later and it comes down to hard work and a keen business sense. The Christian industry especially is tightening its reigns, and you can expect to see more releases from already tried and true bands with set audiences. Sales are what’s needed to keep this thing afloat. Look for up and comers on indie labels and doing writing their own books on how to succeed, because there aren’t many majors looking to take chances right now.

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-cVito(half of Asthamic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon)
I hope the music industry goes more and more local. My favorite music is usually live music. I’d like to see networks of venues and labels and artists working together in the towns and cities where they live. I’d like to see more regional styles articulated and discovered and developed.

hill Brett Hill (Paradigm Nashville solo country artist)
Brett Hill
I think the playing field is becoming more equal to every artist. The good and bad. This should tell the Christian artists to get on the ball now, and not fool around. The main objective is to win the lost, before the enemy captures them for good. There is no time for playing around in the Christian industry. It is a spiritual war.

darknessbeforedawngabeGabe(guitarist for Bombworks Records metal band Darkness Before Dawn)
I think heavier and darker music is going to be more excepted and music is gonna rely more and more on internet.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)
Endeverance
Honestly, I have no idea. I’m just bracing for the amazing ride that it is going to be figuring that out…I’m personally waiting for music to totally implode on itself and come out of the ashes as something totally different and new…I just think that will be a great day…I just think we need more Bob Dylan’s and The Beatles’…And less Hannah Montana’s and Jonas Brother’s…

curtisblackhighvally Curtis (mandolist/singer for Centricity Records country band High Valley)
High Valley
I see the actual music being used more as a tool rather than a source of income, simply because music is very easy to get for free from things like Limewire. So I would guess that in the next few years artist will make more profit by selling advertising than selling their own product, with the exception of merchandise like t-shirts, picks, etc.

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones(independent hip-hop artist)
Mahogany Jones
That soon the music industry will be more about merchandising than it will be about making and putting out music.

christopherthegoodnighthorizenChristopher(vocalist for Harvest Earth Records metal band The Goodnight Horizon)
Its hard telling. Every year it changes so much that its almost hard to predict. Right now the MTV era is over, and majority of people are onto all the bands in the underground. Gaining national support thanks to Myspace and a few other websites. Its no lie that everything is digital these days.

xcess Xcess(solo Darkside records hip-hop/industrial artist)
I see the industry still trying to find new ways to sell more music to the unassuming masses who prefer to go to arena concerts sitting half a football field away while they’re missing out on the house show down the street where a band is playing their hearts out in someones kitchen in the faces of the 20 kids packed into the tiny abode hoping the cops aren’t called.

heathstripsinirons Heath(bass player for Holdfast Records metal band In Irons)
In Irons
There is no way of knowing. I just hope to see more and more passionate bands come up in the near future. That’s what the industry needs.

daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute)
Poorly Built Parachute
I think the industry is going to rely on touring bands to survive. Kids dont buy CDs anymore, but they’ll spend $12 on a concert ticket and then $30 on merch.

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.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)
Echocast
I see the music industry continuing to implode, but at the same time more and more independent artists will to rise from the ashes and continue to create the music they should be making instead of the corporate rock and roll that the major labels have forcefed the masses the past couple of decades…

deweyDewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)
Dewey Lybecker
It’s hard to tell, with the way the economy is these days. Maybe we’ll all go back to making demo’s by pushing record on a boom box in our living room and drawing up home-made covers on brown paper bags…

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.12

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?

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.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 offer travel cards with no annual fee, and 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!

Voices Of The Underground Pt.6

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?

This is a very special week for us. Last Sunday, we as a company, and as believers celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The most significant historical event to take place on this earth saw God and His Son defeat sin and death to bring salvation and redemption to His people.  Our sins were forgiven, our slate was wiped clean. The Holy Spirit allowed us to have a relationship with The Creator, and we will live knowing that world is just a flash in comparison to the eternity we have in Heaven. This week we asked a very simple question to all of our artists and bands, and through their words we celebrate what God has done through so many different people. In fact, this week we are featuring all the artists who took place in this series. Newcomers include Dewey Lybecker, Royalty Jackson, and members of Our Proclamation, Neocracy, The Goodnight Horizon, Divulgnce, For Today, and Darkness Before Dawn.

Who is Jesus Christ to you?

inhaleexhalejohninveryback John (guitarist for Solid State Records metal band Inhale Exhale) Inhale Exhale
He is God, I believe he walked the earth and I believe in what the gospels have recorded.

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)       Hyland
JC is my support. He’s my focus and my reason for doing this. If I didn’t have the talents He’s given me I don’t where I would be. He’s a dream giver. He’s a savior. He’s grace.

a thousnd times repent dowd Dowd(guitar for Tribunal Records metal band A Thousand Times Repent) A Thousand Times Repent
Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I have my ups and downs and my own troubles. I am not perfect by any means but I know when I fall he is always there to help me up. When we are in band practice we always start off with a prayer and end with a prayer. We invite Jesus into our practices to be apart of our writing or rehearsing.

corpuschristijarrodinfront Jarrod(guitarist/singer from Victory Records metal band Corpus Christi) Corpus Christi
The man who died to save my life.

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.

sendoutyourscudsdanielmulletDustin (trumpet player for Blood & Ink ska-core band Send Out Scuds) Send Out Scuds
Jesus Christ? Well Jesus Christ is some hippie-looking white guy in painting prints across middle class homes all over the Western world. Yeshua Barjoseph on the other hand, was a man who lived roughly 2000 years ago. He lived a spiritually perfect life, died against natural law, and came back to life having paid my irredeemable spiritual debt. To me, he is my savior and Lord, and while I’m sure that’s a cliche answer, I urge you to look up the meaning of both words in a Strong’s and a Vine’s. That’s your homework.

dewey Dewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)   Dewey Lybecker
Jesus Christ to me is someone who I could only dream to become like. I look at how He loved people and interacted with others, and realize that I’m a huge jerk!

takeitbackdanielDaniel(guitarist for Facedown Records hardcore band Take It Back!) Take It Back - Can't Fight Robots
Jesus Christ is the single most important thing that has ever happened to the planet. His life gave us the opportunity to be free from our terrible vices. Because of Him we have a direct link to the Father God. He was the ultimate sacrifice which enabled us to live fulfilling lives in Him.

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust) Dirt
The only person WORTHY.

hill Brett Hill (Paradigm Nashville solo country artist)                              Brett Hill
Everything. He is a mentor, a big brother to run to, help when I need help, and Salvation for those who do not deserve it. He is everything to me.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                             Chris Taylor
Starting at the age of 15, Jesus became the central figure of my life. Jesus is my only access to God on a daily basis. Jesus is God in flesh, the one who died on the cross, bore our sin in his body, and physically rose from the dead. He will return again from the heavens, and will judge the world and all people. I do have a lot of personal experiences I could speak into this question but in a day where folks make Jesus into whatever they want to, I will stick to the above truths.

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)                Brooke Waggoner
My Savior and Restorer

ourproclamationfrankieinstrips1Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation) Our Proclamation
To me, Jesus Christ is more than just my God, my savior and my father. To me, Jesus is the only person that can put up with all of my crap, and still love me for who I am. Jesus is the only one who will listen to me complain about whine and not get fed up with it. Jesus is my best friend, that’s pretty much the best way to put it.

royaljon1Royalty Jackson (independent hip-hop artist)
My Savior and Redeemer. The joy and escape in my life.

johanna fellow Johanna Miller (keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow) Fellow
Jesus is the reason why I’m alive. He has saved me from so many mistakes I’ve made in the past. I’m so grateful He thinks I’m worth loving.

runkidrundavidoneinhat David (lead singer/guitarist for Tooth & Nail pop/rock band Run Kid Run) Run Kid Run
My personal lord, my savior, He gives me a purpose in life.

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                            Dominic Balli
My savior. My King. My hope. My life. He’s all I need and more than I could dream.

darknessbeforedawngabeGabe(guitarist for Bombworks Records metal band Darkness Before Dawn)
Everything. He is everywhere I look He’s in everything I do He is the reason I do anything in my life.

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)                                       Amy Courts
Savior. Friend. Lord and King. Advocate of the friendless and unwanted. The Great Motivator.

divulgencecamCameron(guitarist/vocalist for Bombworks Records metal band Divulgence)
My personal Lord and Savior of my soul. My everything and my reason for living.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)             Endeverance
Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and Savior, and I try my best to live my life by what he taught…But I fail everyday…

curtisblackhighvally Curtis(mandolist/singer for Centricity Records country band High Valley) High Valley
Jesus Christ is Gods son. He took the punishment for my sin and the sin of the entire world. When I accept His gift of eternal life and begin a REAL relationship with Him I am made perfect in Gods eyes and am able to live with Him eternally!

fortodaydavid1David(drummer for Facedown Records hardcore/metal band For Today)For Today
DA MAN!

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones (independent hip-hop artist)                                Mahogany Jones
Christ is the reason why I even get to live a life worth living. He is the savior that took a hit that I wouldn’t have been able to take. He is my best friend and I am asking for the Holy Spirit’s help in fashioning me so I am more of a suitable friend to Him.

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
He is my Lord and Savior… My best friend, Companion, Healer, Provider. He is honestly everything to me. I would be nowhere without His love and grace upon my life. I have made countless mistakes and He has faithfully seen me through every circumstance I have encountered.

christopherthegoodnighthorizenChristopher(vocalist for Harvest Earth Records metal band The Goodnight Horizon)
The Goodnight Horizon
Lord, savior, best friend.

xcess Xcess (solo Darkside records hip-hop/industrial artist)
Everything. Jesus Christ is like my dad, best friend, camp counselor and even hero all in one to be somewhat lighthearted about it. But seriously what He did for me and the rest of the world was beyond what anyone else would or could do and He was the only one qualified to do it. Obviously I could never repay Him, how could any of us?

heathstripsinirons Heath (bass player for Holdfast Records metal band In Irons)                   In Irons
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, duh.

NeocracykentKent(guitarist for independent metal band Neocracy)
He is my Lord and Savior.

daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute) Poorly Built Parachute
My Savior and best friend… I suck at being a good friend.

fortodaybranddon Brandon(bassist for Facedown Records hardcore/metal band For Today) For Today
God in the flesh. A man who came to the earth, lived a perfect life, and set an example for us.

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
He is my Savior ultimately. Friend always. God and father.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)                  Echocast
He is God.

Amen. Join us next week on Thursday when we ask What Is Christian Music?

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.