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

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 Pt.t13: What Responsibility (if any) Does An Artist Have To It’s Listener?
Read Pt.14: Where Do You See The Music Industry Going?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voices Of The Underground Pt.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.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.7

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

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

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

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

What is Christian music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voices Of The Underground Pt.4

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voices Of the Underground Pt. 1

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy22

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?

This week we asked the question posed by the main character of the 2000 film Almost Famous. Ever since I saw the movie, the innocence and simplicity of the question has always appealed to me. People always want to talk about what they love, so we gave our artists a chance to do just that.

What do you love about music?

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-c Vito (half of Asthamic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon) The Welcome Wagon
I think of music as a conduit that can connect people to each other, and connect us to God. There is nothing more important than   that—being united to God, and to one another—and there are few things that can do that better than music.

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for pop/rock band Hyland)                              Hyland
Music is such a big part of my life. It’s able to pick up where words leave off, or express words/thoughts and emotions in ways that people can connect to. I love music for so many reasons.

runkidrundavidoneinhat David (lead singer/guitarist for Tooth & Nail pop/rock band Run Kid Run) Run Kid Run
I love the power music has with your emotions from a great melody that just makes you hum along on a beautiful day or a quiet song that brings you to tears or a song that gives you energy and moves you.

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.

hill Brett Hill (Paradigm Nashville solo country artist)                                    Brett Hill
It is a way to express the heart and the spirit, and also a way to reach others who respond to music.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                             Chris Taylor
It makes mile 7 and 8 so much easier.

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)                                  Amy Courts
The communicative nature of it, and how any given song, depending on its melody, progression, and subject matter, can draw the most unsuspecting, motley crowd together in unity as some part of the song resonates with each individual.

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)             Brooke Waggoner
The freedom and retreat of it all.

ourproclamationfrankieinstrips Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation) Our Proclamation
Music is the purest of all art forms. I love the being able to have a different soundtrack depending on my mood, and I love how my music can have an effect on people’s lives.

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones (independent hip-hop artist)                                       Mahogany Jones
I love that music soothes emotions and mind and is a tool that God uses to help draw us closer to Him when we use it to praise Him and to worship Him.

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                                 Dominic Balli
It can stir the human heart deeper than any other created thing. Truly. That’s why a movie without a sound track isn’t much of a movie. I think then, worshiping God through music become one of the deepest things we can do to express our love to him. For me, it’s also a medium by which I communicate to the world around me.

heathstripsinirons Heath (bass player for Holdfast Records metal band In Irons)          In Irons
It’s just simply a way for people to connect. No matter the race, background, or beliefs of a person, we can all come together through music and its just a beautiful thing.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)               Endeverance
I love that it can draw people from different backgrounds and different points of view to come together under one purpose and understanding if even only for a few minutes…I love that it is a great release for frustrations and even struggles…But most of all it brings people together…

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band AbandonAbandon
Music is the best possible way to express yourself in my opinion. I love being able to write songs that truly mean something to me personally. There is no greater feeling than singing and playing my heart out on stage every night. It is truly amazing how much music has an impact on people’s hearts too. My favorite part about what we so is seeing lives changed through these lyrics and songs that God has blessed us with.

daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of  Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute) Poorly Built Parachute
Music has always been a means of spilling out the true emotions within my heart. I’m a Christian, go to Church, try to prayer a lot… but I have a past that was not so pleasant and memories and screwed up stuff I went through still effects me today, probably will forever. Music and art helps me vent.

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
It’s contagiousness. My goal as a musician is to make music that makes others feel the way I’ve felt when I’ve heard a song that I love. I hope someone loves what I do as much as I love what others are doing. That idea; to create a feeling that you’ve felt and loved for some else is very contagious and even biblical.

The One21 New Series: Voices Of The Underground

Several weeks ago, The One21 contacted a large number of the artists that make up the Christ-centered music scene to get their thoughts on some of the issues we have been talking about on this site.

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

All and all, the journey through the thoughts and opinions brought up by our questions proved to be truly amazing. We were able to get past the music for a moment and hear the voice of the artists.  We feel that we have gotten to know the heart and spirit of some of the performers that we tell you about everyday on this website.

We want to share that journey with you.

Over the course of fifteen weeks, we will be posting the answers to one question a week. Our hope is that you are able to experience the wealth of knowledge and wisdom that we have been so excited to read and experience. You will find that on many of the questions there is a vast amount of different answers and views. Issues of faith, career, and opinion give us incite in to the Christian music scene like we haven’t been able to see before.  You may just be surprised at what you learn.

Here are the questions we asked :
1.What do you love about music?
2.What are some of favorite albums/CDs? Is there anything people may be surprised that you listen to?
3.What is the best thing about making music? Do you prefer writing, recording, performing….?
4.What is your opinion on the music industry today? What has changed, what needs to change?
5.What impact do you think the digital age of music (MP3 stores, MySpace, etc…) has had on the music industry?
6.Who is Jesus Christ to you?
7.What is Christian music?
8.What is your opinion of the Christian music industry?
9. Do you think that the Christian music scene is important?
10. Do you think that people are more receptive or against artists of faith today? Are they being taken more seriously, or is being a “Christian musician” a hindrance?
11. Do you consider yourself a Christian musician? In what way does this affect your music?
12.What is the hardest part about being a musician today?
13.What is an artist’s responsibility (if any) to its
listeners?
14.Where do you see the music industry going? What is next?
15.What is the best memory that you have of your career so far?

You will get answers over the next few weeks from:
Inhale/Exhale
Hyland
A Thousand Times Repent
Corpus Christi
The Welcome Wagon
Send Out Scuds
Take It Back!
Dirt
Brett Hill
Chris Taylor
Brooke Waggoner
Our Proclamation
Royalty Jackson
Fellow
Run Kid Run
Dominic Balli
Darkness Before The Dawn
Amy Courts
Divulgence
Faith Child
Endeverance
High Valley
Mahogany Jones
Abandon
For Today
The Goodnight Horizon
Xcess
In Irons
Neocracy
Poorly Built Parachute
Say You Will
and many more….

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

We hope you join us next Thursday for our first installment of Voices From The Underground