Cornerstone New Band Interview: The Sacred Eternal

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

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

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

The Sacred Eternal

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

The Sacred Eternal

Interview with Christian Musicians The Sacred Eternal

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

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

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

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

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

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

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

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

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

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

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O21:What are your road traditions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cornerstone New Band Interviews: Gatlin Elms

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

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

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

Gatlin Elms

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

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

Gatlin Elms

Interview with Christian Musicians Gatlin Elms

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

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

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O21: What are your road traditions?

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

O21: What do you love about music?

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

O21:What is your favorite song?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cornerstone New band Interview- Josiah James

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

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

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

Josiah James

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

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

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

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

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

Josiah James

Interview with Christian Musician Josiah James

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O21:What is the best thing about making music?

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

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

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

O21:What is your view of Christian music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O21: What are your road traditions?

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

O21:What do you love about music?

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

13) What is your favorite song?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cornerstone New Band Interview:For The Broken

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

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

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

For The Broken

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

For The Broken

Interview with Christian Musicians For The Broken

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

Sean-We rock!

Joe-the message we give is real

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

Sean-Hard rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aaron- “Aint Nobody Innocent”

Sean- All of them are my favorites

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

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

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

Aaron- It carries a message with depth and weight.

Adam- touching lives

Aubrey-using our time and talents for the Lord.

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

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

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

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

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

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

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

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

Aaron- Its good

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

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

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

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

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

Adam-Boring,pushy-but catching

Joe- They think because you have God in your life that you walk on water..(well you are wrong)..no one does,all fall short of the glory of God..we all and myself, screw up everyday just like everyone else. the only difference is…we know where we are going when we die.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aaron-facebook!!

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

Adam- Let us know

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

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

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

Aubrey- recording at Chapman Studios.

Aaron- Chapman recording.

Joe-Watching how God is working in our band.

O21: What are your road traditions?

Sean- Lots of Moutain Dew.

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

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

Joe-What Sean said and pray before shows.

O21: What do you love about music?

Adam- It moves me

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

Sean- everything

Aaron- It’s a universal language

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

O21: What is your favorite song?

Aaron- To many to write down

Sean- Changes daily

Aubrey- Too numerous to mention.

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

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

Adam- Foo Fighters

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

Sean- Too many to name.

Aaron- As I Lay Dying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cornerstone New Band:Interview with Sam Robertson

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

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

We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with Texas-based singer/songwriter Sam Robertson.

Sam Robertson

Blending smooth vocals, honest lyrics and effortless charm, Sam Robertson exudes talent and experience beyond her years. Currently calling Denton, Texas her home, the 19-year-old is taking full advantage of what Paste Magazine named Best Music Scene in 2008.  Already drawing attention from local reviewers, Sam Robertson is building on a career that began in Sarasota, Florida, where she received the title of “Best New Act” before making the move to Denton. The Dallas Observer calls Sam Robertson, “A gal with a lot to say and a [dang] pretty way of saying it.”

Sam Robertson’s natural vocals and acoustic guitar are complimented by Chase Johnson’s warm keys and Carlo Canlas’ skilled violin. The three bring their talents together, achieving a sort of melodious folk-pop that you can hear on her self-ttiled EP Sam Robertson.

Sam Robertson

Interview with Christian Musician Sam Robertson

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

Sam: I would describe my sound as a mix of singer-songwriter, acoustic folk. It’s hard to pinpoint all of my influences; they’re all over the map. I know that Bright Eyes got me into writing music, but some of my recent influences would be the songwriting styles of Andy Hull, Sufjan Stevens, Conor Oberst, Ben Gibbard, Paul Simon. The list goes on and on. Like I said, it’s hard to identify where the influences come from, but anything with heart and honesty just blows me away.

O21: Tell us about your recordings? What is your favorite Sam Robertson song?

Sam: I had recently recorded a full-length album, but in the process realized there were still things I wanted to work on. It didn’t feel like it reached its potential. So, I released a four-song EP instead, and it’s a sort of a preview of what’s to come. I would say my favorite song right now is “Two Parts”, mainly because it’s my favorite to play live. It’s also a good example of the direction we’re headed in. While I’ll always be writing sad, slow, acoustic lullabies, I definitely want to start creating music that I can rock out and dance to on stage.

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

Sam: My favorite part about writing music is the unique ability to make my emotions, experiences and beliefs into something sort of tangible, something I can really turn over in my hand and examine. Its funny how much I can learn about myself and what I’m going through when I’m writing. Not only do I learn about my own walk in my faith, but there’s this amazing aspect to music that transcends all sorts of boundaries and discrepancies in experience.

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

Sam: Jesus is completely present in every experience I have, whether or not I realize it at the time. So though some of my lyrics don’t explicitly mention my faith, it’s always there. When I write, I’m writing about where I am, whether it’s heartbreak or joy or pain or apathy, it’s just where I am at the time. The truth is, being a Christian doesn’t mean being perfect, it’s realizing our incapability of perfection and our need for a savior. I feel that my writing reflects that exact point. I’m not perfect, and I have my struggles, so that’s what I write about. The more and more I mature in my faith I find myself writing more directly about Jesus himself.

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

Sam: I think that there are perfect times and places for music that is made specifically for Christians, music that is intended for worship. However, I think there’s also something so beautiful about Christians who make music that isn’t just for other believers. Rather, music that expresses their faith but in a way that can seem more inviting to non-believers and can appeal to a broader audience in the hopes of ministry.

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

Sam: Definitely the tour we went on in January of this year. It was only 6 days or so, but it was my first experience with tour. We went with a band called Western Giants and it was only through Texas. I loved it. I met so many great people who were so enthusiastic about our music. It’s such an encouraging thing to encounter strangers who legitimately care about what we’re doing. One of my favorite nights on tour was our stop in Houston. There wasn’t a soul there except the bartenders and quite a bit hesitation to even play. But we did, and we rocked out and danced around. It was a good reminder of who we’re playing for. You can’t depend on people to listen to you, there’s going to be those nights where no one shows up. And that’s okay.

O21: What do you love about music?

Sam: Man, this is tough one. What’s not to love about music? What I love about it is that while it’s just sound, just words, just melodies, just instruments, it seems to evoke this emotion that few other things can even try to. I love it because it brings this certain group of people together who automatically have something in common, the music. It’s hard to answer this question, but I love it because it’s honest. It’s so real to me; it’s what I connect with the most. My own music has led me to meet my favorite people on this earth and share things with people that I hardly know. It’s this great exchange of feeling and passion. It’s universal, there’s music everywhere. I love that.

O21: What is your favorite song?

Sam: Oh man. Ha, that’s an answer that changes way too much to have an all-time favorite. Right now, it’s “Losers” by The Belle Brigade. It’s my new anthem to life, and the music video is AWESOME and everyone should check it out. It will certainly be on repeat on our 17 hour drive to Cornerstone.

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

Sam: I’ve been to so many amazing live shows, it’s hard to pick. It might be a tie between Bright Eyes’ Cassadaga tour back when I lived in Florida, and Sufjan Stevens’ Age of Adz tour in Dallas. Both were amazing shows that left me inspired and awestruck. It was my first time to see Bright Eyes’, I think I was 15. I couldn’t have been more excited to see someone perform, Conor Oberst sort of introduced me to this realm of indie-songwriter music that I didn’t know existed. Sufjan’s performance was just unexpected and blew my mind. He was dancing like a fool, and it worked. We’ve had several Age of Adz-inspired dance parties since then.

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

Sam: It’s hard creating music that’s different or original. So, the least I can do is try to be sincere with my writing and my music. Let’s be honest here, I’m not much of a guitar player, so when I write music, it’s usually pretty generic. I’ve definitely been blessed with band mates that know a heck of a lot about music and the science of it, so they act as the mind behind the instrumentation. As much as I’m trying to discover new ways of writing and going outside of my comfort zone, it’s still hard not to use the same four chords over and over again. I think that a lot of people have a hard time looking beyond that.

Thank you Sam for sharing a little of yourself with our readers.  I think they will hear a lot more about you over the next few years.  I look forward to catching your show at Cornerstone 2011.

If you just want a taste of Sam Robertson’s plaintive acoustic music check out “Coming End” from the One21music Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase sampler that will be released on One21music on June 22nd.

Sam Robertson will be playing the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Thursday, June 30th at 1:10 p.m.. See you there!

Cornerstone New Band Showcase Free Music Sampler

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

One21music, in our quest to find the best up and coming Christian musicians, is featuring the bands from the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase.  The Cornerstone Musical Festival’s New Band Showcase has launched many a career for Christian musicians. Past performers who were selected to the new band showcase include included P.O.D., Anathallo, Ester Drang, Sixpence None The Richer, Eisley and Over The Rhine The Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase features sixteen bands who will be performing on the Cornerstone Main Stage from Thursday, June 30th through Sunday, July 3rd.  In the two weeks leading up to Cornerstone 2011, One21music will be featuring interviews with 11 of the showcase bands and today’s 10 song free music sampler, which will be available, exclusively on One21music.com.

Cornerstone New Band Showcase Free Music Sampler

From folk to indie rock to alt pop to rock to hardcore this ten song sampler features some of the best of this year’s Cornerstone New Band Showcase.  Click through the band name links to read interviews with these exciting new bands.

Download The Cornerstone New Band Showcase Sampler Here

“Delight In You” by Fue
“Into Your Hands” by A City Under Siege
“Coming End” by Sam Robertson
“Helper” by My Maker & I
“Beggars Become Thieves” by Beggars
“Carry Me Home” by Gatlin Elms
“The Reckoning” by The Sacred Eternal
“Chasing The Wind” by Josiah James
“Daniela de los Caballos” by Merger
“Godspeed” by Immimnent

Cornerstone New Band Interview: Merger

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

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

We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with Merger, who play an aggressive form of modern rock fusion they call “rock fusion jam”.  As you will see, these guys think deeply and play their music to please God.

Merger

Within a modern rock context, Merger seamlessly blends a number of elements from various genres resulting in a unique brand of music that has been self-described as “Rock Fusion”. Stylistic use of progressive rock expressions (along with their jam band tendencies) makes for a spectrum of sounds that are distinctive and dynamic. Merger truly fulfills their namesake, with each member (Joshua Jones, Billy Fisher, Matt Flex and Damien Eftekhar) bringing the influences of their distinct musical background to the table.

The Merger sound hints of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ groove-laden rock, Muse’s advanced songcraft and demanding instrumental parts, and Switchfoot’s crisp alt-rock.  At moments, Merger’s songs have John Mayer-like swagger or Hendrix-esque wailing guitars.  Merger concerts pulse with the energy of unique rhythms, spicy layered chord progressions, spontaneous jams, and the ever-present Almighty groove.

Merger

Interview with Christian Musicians Merger

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

Joshua:  Two things come to mind.  Firstly, we’re friends and brothers in Christ before being bandmates.  For a long time before we were a band, we were in each others’ lives, supporting one another and spurring one another on in Christ.  And that’s still a major aspect of our interactions together, but now we have the added context of doing it within our band-related activities. Secondly, our name, “Merger,” reflects more about us than most people realize.  Each of us has a very different musical background and our songs – especially our newer co-written songs – are truly a merger.  I didn’t really start listening to rock music much until high school – mostly hymns and classical music before that.  I studied classical piano when I was young, then blues and jazz guitar in college.  Billy has this passion and affinity for odd meter and fast, intricate hard rock/metal riffs.  Damien is a Jimmy Page devotee.  Matthew gravitates toward the “chill” of new wave/post-punk/Brit-pop sounds.  And that’s just the start of it.  But we come together, and it all fits.  Merger.

Damien: Making great music aside, being in a band with such incredible people is what fascinates me the most. I gave my life to Christ when I was 25. Previously, I had played in bands full of egos, drugs, drunkenness, fighting…everything I couldn’t stand about being in bands. I thus gave it up for many years to pursue my career as a chef until I joined with these guys and realized how by the power of the Holy Spirit and freedom in Christ we could truly “merge” and even disagree on things with humility and grace. We make sure to thank God and pray before picking up our instruments because our true desire is for God to pour out His spirit on our music so that others who need to hear the good news can receive it.

Matthew:  We all love spruce beer soda! Josh brought back a bottle from his stop at POPS Soda Ranch near Rt. 66 in Oklahoma and shared it during a practice and it just blew my mind. I couldn’t sleep for about 2 weeks the experience was so profound.

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

Joshua:  Always a tough question.  We call ourselves a “rock fusion jam band.”  We are a rock band at our core and love the crunchy sounds of the distorted guitar, but we also love the groove.  We jam and have prog-rock tendencies.  We incorporate flavors from all sorts of genres, such as the dissonance of indie-rock or metal, jazz chords, and the story-telling of southern genres.  A couple of artists that we’ve been listening to as a band recently are Porcupine Tree and Oceansize, both British prog-rock outfits.  Artists that have especially influenced me personally are those that have successfully incorporated non-rock elements into a rock format in a seamless fashion such as Cake, Blues Traveler, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer, and especially Muse (my favorite).  Some other influential/favorite artists in my life have been Switchfoot, Flyleaf, Claude Debussy (impressionistic composer), Bill Evans (jazz piano), Grant Green (jazz guitar), SRV, Chevelle, Phoenix, Mute Math… It’s hard to stop…

Billy:  Well, the blurb that we use on Facebook and MySpace sums it up pretty well.  We’ve grown to like our self-described “rock fusion” term.  Modern rock is the core, but we incorporate many other elements. As far as artists who have influenced me personally, I would say Phish, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band and even Sade on the lighter side and Dream Theater, Metallica, Tool and Porcupine Tree on the heavier side.  These influences are more in terms of instrumentation than lyrics and vocals. My bass playing has probably been most informed by Victor Wooten, Paul Denman, Mike Gordon, Cliff Burton and Justin Chancellor!

Damien:  My personal sound? Yep, it’s Zeppelin. They’re who I grew up listening to and I am highly influenced by Jimmy Page’s guitar playing. He turned me on to using alternate tunings. I love writing songs on the acoustic with whacky tunings! I also love great 90’s rock like Third Eye Blind and the Smashing Pumpkins. Also a fan of John Mayer’s music like the rest of the guys. Other influences are The Gypsy Kings and Christopher Parkening.

Matthew:  I took classical piano lessons as a kid and though I eventually dropped the instrument I still absolutely love the sound of the piano, so people like Chopin, Rachmaninov, Debussy, Gabriela Montero, and Yann Tierson are constantly playing on my iPod. Later, thanks to my friends and my clock radio, I discovered rock music and my life was literally changed forever. I’ve gone through various phases over the years but my long lasting, steady loves have to be bands like Earthsuit, Project 86, The Listening, The Killers, mewithoutYou, and pre-’Comotose’ Skillet. The stick-men who’ve influenced me most are probably Wuv (P.O.D.), Darren King (Mute Math), Francisco “Paco” Artega (Misty Edwards) and the man who perhaps embodies playing in the ‘pocket’ more than anyone else, Steve Jordan (John Mayer Trio, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, etc).

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

Joshua:  Honestly, the recordings I enjoy listening to the most are the spontaneous jams, even if it’s iffy audio quality (as in our “live bootlegs” included on our Down with Sophomores EP).  I love the energy and the “unknown” of what is going to happen next.  Bill will break into something moody or groovy, Matt will sync up and drive it, Damien will whip out licks like a Kamikaze machine gunner, and my pedalboard turns into a laboratory of sounds and textures – and then all bets are off!  At this moment in time, I’d have to say that my favorite Merger song is a new one, “Asian Pear,” which is yet to be released.  It’s very proggy – almost a rhapsody – with lots of contrasting sections and drama.

Billy:  Being the resident Phish-head of the band, I know the value of capturing the moment so I’ve taken it upon myself to be the acting archivist for the band, and we’ve long been recording our shows and practices.  As far as something more “official,” we are excited to finally be releasing our first EP in 2011.  My favorite Merger song is also “Asian Pear.”  It’s our prog-rock masterpiece that harkens the sounds of Mars Volta, Muse, and Radiohead.

Damien:  My favorite song hasn’t been written yet!! HA!! We’re working on it but it’s not there. I would have to say some of our best stuff is live stuff. I think this will be a trend with us. We really lock when we play live. We’ve had some seriously sick jams out of nowhere.

Matthew:  My favorite song is one I haven’t yet pitched to the guys; it’s called, “If This Song Doesn’t Get You Excited About Calculus Then You Have No Emotion.”  I’m kidding, of course.   I’m sure that I have a favorite, but I’ve always loved “Masquerade” because of the allusions it makes to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death (a story I was deeply affected by in high school).

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

Joshua:  Jamming live and feeling the synergy between us while the crowd gets into it – that’s the best.

Billy:  The best thing about making music is creativity itself, which is the stamp of our Maker.  I once heard Carlos Santana explain that the music is like water; the band is the hose; and the listener is the dry earth that gets refreshed.  One of the things I “live for” is jamming and improvisation… the spontaneous creation when flowing together and the electricity that happens when everyone goes along for the ride (whether it’s a crowd at a bar or a church congregation).  Creative flowing music is one of the first things that drew me to my church, where they do prophetic music.  Incidentally, the four of us in Merger also serve on our church’s worship team.  So whether it’s these settings or two friends playing acoustic guitars at the local forest preserve, nothing can touch those moments of creativity.  They are so life-giving!

Damien:  The best thing about making music?… Making music itself!… The sheer creativity of it. I love playing live in front of a large crowd too. It’s so much fun.

Matthew:  It’s got to be the ‘in-the moment’ intensity where we’re all ‘feeling it’ and together on what we’re playing, whether it’s something we’ve previously arranged or an impromptu moment of creativity. That’s what separates being a maker of music from being simply a listener. No comparison.

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

Joshua:  I don’t think believers can (or ‘ought to’, perhaps I should say) segregate their faith from anything they do.  Faith in Christ causes you to be a new creation, and from that point on faith should be intrinsic to whatever you do.  That being said, having faith doesn’t change the fact that we still live in both the spiritual AND natural halves of reality.  So our lyrics reflect both sides.  You’ll see songs about spiritual issues side-by-side with love songs and funny stories.   We may have more songs about natural-realm topics than other “Christian bands,” but since God is the creator of all things both spiritual and natural, I think both types please Him.   We certainly don’t see those natural-realm lyrics as “secular,” though.

Matthew:  The guys have already touched on this in their responses so I would just like to add this, my favorite quote from A.W. Tozer in his book, The Pursuit of God: “Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry. It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular; it is why he does it. The motive is everything. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act. All he does is good and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For such a man, living itself will be sacramental and the whole world a sanctuary. His entire life will be a priestly ministration. As he performs his never so simple task he will hear the voice of the seraphim saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” Much, much better than I could have said it, and yet it feels like those words could have come out of my mouth, as they so perfectly sum up how I feel about the matter.

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

Joshua:  I think the term “Christian music” is problematic because it means so many different things to different people (Elvis singing a hymn? Fernando Ortega singing a love song for his wife? MC Hammer: “gotta pray just to make it today”?  A Phil Keaggy instrumental?  Martina McBride singing “God Bless America”?  Lifehouse’s “Broken”?  Switchfoot’s “Chem 6a? U2’s [Psalm] “40″? Your church singing U2’s 40?…). “Christian music” really should just mean music made by Christians and have no more nuance than saying someone is a Christian plumber or a Christian CEO.  But if you allow for Christians compartmentalizing their faith, then you need a term like “Christian music” to distinguish music made by Christians “for Christ and his kingdom” (to quote Wheaton College’s motto) from music made by Christians for other purposes.  Do you suppose Paul would have ever marketed his tents as Christian tents?  Did Jesus make Jewish chairs?  It sounds silly, right?  Does a Christian plumber use a Christian monkey wrench?  I think all believers, regardless of vocation, are called to do whatever they do with all their heart as unto the Lord and not unto man (Col 3:23), to make the most of every opportunity (Eph. 5:16), and to live in the world while not being of the world.  If you’re pursuing the things of the Kingdom of God, it can’t help but come out through your vocation.  But I think we should get away from thinking of being a “Christian _______” as some sort of different occupation altogether.

Billy:  I agree that so-called “Christian music” can be a troublesome term.  But for all intents and purposes, this phrase is used, and we usually know what people mean when using it.  That said, I think Christian music has really come a long way.  I think for decades, there was disdain from both Christians and non-Christians alike as to Christian music lacking relevancy and potency – again, not so much as pertains to lyrics, but in the music itself.  Although many have expressed the notion that Christian music was often “behind the times,” there have always been forerunners and pioneers on the cutting edge.  But in today’s landscape, I think there is plenty of Christian music and artists out there who are hip/cutting edge/dope, etc.  We’ve seen a progression too in the praise and worship music “scene” where the campier tones of yesteryear have morphed into some of the most unique and fresh relevant sounding music out there.  But as long as it comes from clean hands and a pure heart, God delights in it all – regardless of our tastes, opinions and preferences.  As the boundaries and barriers between the so-called sacred and the so-called secular break down, the temptation to compromise values and ethics is greater than ever for today’s Christian artist.  So we need the same perspective that Toby Mac had when DC Talk was contemplating crossing over into the mainstream side of the industry when he famously said, “If we cross-over, we’re going to take the cross over!”

Damien:  When I first got saved, Billy asked me if I owned any Christian music and I said “No. Christian music stinks…” Not more than two weeks later, Billy had made me three or four mix CD’s (this is pre iPod days) that I couldn’t get enough of. I think musically, it’s as good as anything out there if not better. I mean…Phil Keaggy…do they get better than him? I do agree with the other guys that the term “Christian Music” has a strange connotation. Even K-LOVE (the nationally syndicated radio station) refers to their music as “positive and encouraging,” not Christian. To be honest, I’ve never really thought about how I view Christian music. There’s just so many types.

Matthew:  I pretty much agree with what the fellas already said. But to answer the question directly: some of it’s just fantastic while some of it is simply horrible. I judge music based on its listen-ability factors, not on the professed faith of its makers. I’m talking about the general category of music I listen to for enjoyment, not the stuff I prefer for praising and worshipping God. To me, there’s a distinction between the two.

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

JoshuaMerger sometimes plays in bars and clubs, and we get asked back because they like our music (or so it seems!).  The truth-perspectives in our lyrics have the opportunity to be shared because our art is being received by “the world” on its artistic merit, not the other way around.  If you take what is essentially a sermon and try to “song-ify” it, artistic patrons will know it and probably reject it on artistic grounds.  This seems to happen a lot in various Christian artistic endeavors (music/film/novels/etc).  But Christian artists who are making excellent, top-notch art that does not need to be marketed to just Christian consumers in order to succeed – such as Switchfoot, Flyleaf, P.O.D., and Lifehouse to name a few – have no problem being received (Christian lyrics and all) by the world.

Billy:  These days, more non-Christian music fans are seeing the impact and relevancy of Christian artists and their music being a viable and vital part of the overall music industry – thanks to the P.O.D.’s, Switchfoots, The Frays, and TobyMacs of the world.  So I think the public is generally warmer and more open to faith based music.  God’s spirit is being poured out on all flesh in these last days.  Listen carefully to the so-called secular mainstream artists… They too (albeit unwittingly perhaps) are speaking the oracles of God… seeking for truth… even preaching and praying in their lyrics.  Thanks to the likes of Bono, people recognize when a song has that spiritual current.  So I think faith based music is bound to resonate with listeners more and more.  The music industry however too often has dollar signs in their eyes and is looking to cash in on the hot trends in a niche market.  But God is using all this to get His Word and His Spirit to those who may never have set foot in a church.

Damien:  The music industry like any other business is out to make money. Let’s face it: if they think they can sell the name of Jesus, they will. I don’t think that the general public cares if a band is Christian or not as long as the music is good. When I tell people that P.O.D is Christian, they think I’m nuts. I heard Anberlin’s “Feel Good Drag” on the radio, and the DJ made some comment about how the song was awesome because it was about “hooking up with someone else’s girlfriend.” Little did this DJ realize that the song is more of a repentance about him falling into sexual sin. He wasn’t boasting about his sin.

Matthew:  It’s weird to me that the Grammy’s have a separate category called “Gospel Rock” or any of the other “Gospel” categories. ‘Gospel’ is the only category in the Grammy’s that is not a musical genre but a spiritual one. I hope someday we’ll see artists like RED, Kirk Franklin and Third Day competing amongst their peers in the ‘real’ Grammy categories.

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

Joshua:  I hope that we’re able to follow in the footsteps of some of those artists I mentioned and be true to who we are as believers while making excellent art.

Billy:  Time will tell!

Damien:  Like Billy said. Time will tell.

Matthew:  Well, eventually I won’t be able to hit as hard and then I’ll start saving money on sticks. And yes, I plan to be playing that long.

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

Billy:  Honesty is the best policy.  Like Geddy Lee said: “All this machinery making modern music can still be open-hearted… it’s really just a question of your honesty.”  But while I tend to gravitate towards perfectionism, I ultimately prefer the realism and urgency of emotion and soulfulness.  And the honest vulnerability of humanity is sometimes not perfect, but it’s real.  The artists I tend to like and respect the most are those that can strike a balance between these two ends of the spectrum.  One caveat with all this is when you’re in the studio environment, because there you’re creating your own reality (just like the production design of a movie).  But even so, many artists will prefer more energetic and live takes with the raw energy, in spite of any flaws or imperfections.

Damien:  If you believe in God, you should both spread the good news and entertain.

Matthew:  The artists I follow the closest and most passionately are the ones that I’ve seen to be real people – either through in person interaction, by their conduct on stage or through their blogs, Facebook, videos, etc. They are comfortable enough in their own skin to let you know that they’re not always all that comfortable in their own skin. They don’t parade around as if they’re perfect and have it all together. Their actions and lyrics tell me that just like me, they’re still seeking the deep answers. They say, “I’m just a dude, like you.” I love that.

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

Billy:  Network, network, network!  My “day job” for the last 7 years has been as a corporate recruiter, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this.  More often than not, it boils down to who you know.  When you put your resume on one of the main job boards, you are a tiny fish in a massive sea.  Sure, job seekers can still find a job that way, but it’s rare because the landscape and mechanisms of business have changed drastically.  Same thing with being a band.  Other than networking, it seems to come down to timing.  I’ve seen the first to apply get the job, and I’ve seen the last to apply get the job.  There aren’t necessarily iron-clad, concrete formulas.  Often it comes down to being in the right place at the right time. We might not prefer to use a word like “luck” within the setting of our faith based band, but we ask the Lord for favor and grace in opening the right doors at the right times for the right reasons… His!

Damien:  You thank God for people like Billy. We’d be nowhere without him. He has a dual role of bassist and manager.

Matthew:  As I sorta mentioned for the question above, based on my own experience as a fan, I think it’s key to cultivate a sense of real relationship with your fans. I know some pretty personal stuff about some individuals from my favorite bands and that’s why they are my favorite. They’ve allowed me into their lives and let me see their journeys and I will always respect them for that. Incidentally I continue to buy their albums and go to their shows too, so it works on me. One other thing that needs to be realized is that you don’t have to be a globetrotting phenomenon to make a decent living at making music.

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

Joshua:  Our first 2 shows with Damien were pretty magical.  He didn’t really know the songs and we just had a good ‘ole time anyway.  There were some really fun jams at those shows.

Billy:  Well, Merger just recently had our first official photo shoot together, and that was some of the most fun I remember having in a long time.

Damien:  At those first shows I remember asking “How does this one go?…” and Josh would just smile and say “It’s in the key of A…” and then start the song. It worked. I also think that even better memories are to come!

Matthew:  Spruce beer soda! No, but seriously…

O21: What do you love about music?

Joshua:  I love how it can capture and evoke emotion better than words.

Billy:  “To begin with… everything!” — Russell from Stillwater… Seriously, I would agree with Joshua that the special thing about music is that it expresses the inexpressible.  I have always thought that music is the most powerful of all the art forms.  The way it can resonate with one’s soul… on one hand, it challenges you to open yourself to receive what is being presented… on the other hand, it can act as a psychic amplifier – sympathizing with and reinforcing your already inherent emotions.

Matthew:  That’s kinda like asking, “What do you like about breathing?” I know that’s a pretty cliché comparison, but hey, if the boot fits…

O21: What is your favorite song?

Joshua:  Today I will say “Claire de Lune” by Debussy.

Billy:  Just one?!? I’d say “Reba” by Phish.

Damien:  I can’t even answer this…

Matthew:  Oh, wow…um…”Hosea in C minor” by The Listening.

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

Joshua:  Top 3: Some unknown jazz combo at a bar in Stowe, Vermont; Switchfoot at the Metro in Chicago (Beautiful Letdown tour); Keith Urban at Country Thunder in Wisconsin.

Billy:  Here’s another question that will show our disparate tastes!  Well I’ve been to hundreds of concerts in my life… But I would say in terms of putting on a show, seeing Roger Waters and his band perform The Wall in its entirety was one of the best.  In terms of personally having a great experience, I would say Jamiroquai. The vibe and energy was unbelievable… the whole place was electric… everyone was singing along, dancing, high-fiving their neighbor… the place was just on fire.  And the band’s performance was seemingly flawless.

Damien:  Christopher Parkening live in Denver.

Matthew Fiction Family (a side project of Jon Foreman from Switchfoot and Sean Watkins of Nicklecreek) with Sara Watkins guesting on vocals and violin. They were playing in this little old church building turned venue that held maybe 150 people. They played like it was the last show they were ever going to play and I remember sorta standing around after the show thinking “OK, what do I do now?” It was that good.

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

Joshua:  Perhaps the veiled literary references? Ha!

Billy:  Sometimes, some Christians will frown upon music that does not contain blatantly “Hallelujah Glory to Jesus” type lyrics. Merger has a song with a funny story about our friend surviving getting run over by a tractor – coming away with only minor injuries all things considered. Ultimately, amid the humor, there is hope and it is suggestive of giving thanks to God for keeping us safe in life’s scary moments. Now, is singing a song like this at a local tavern any more or any less God-honoring than singing a psalm of David at a church service on a Sunday morning? In either scenario, God is being honored, and He delights in it all. The notion that lyrics replete with Scripture-verse Bible quotes and praise-isms are somehow holier or more worshipful than lyrics telling life stories seems to me to be a false one. Story telling was one of Jesus’ primary methods of speaking to non-Believers. And this is the main people group Merger is called to reach. As noted in Matthew’s quote of A.W.Tozer above, worship is ultimately the fulfillment of purpose. When Jesus was fulfilling His purpose, not everyone understood and supported what He was doing. Even those closest to Him (family, friends, religious leaders) disagreed with how he was doing it. Though our perspectives may differ, we need to remind each other that as Christians, we are in the same ball park and on the same team. If I’m seeing Jesus at home plate from out in left field, and you’re seeing Jesus at home plate from out in right field, if we keep pursuing Him, we’ll eventually meet up at home base and see eye to eye!”

Damien:  Probably why our songs all sound so different. There are times you would hear us and we will sound like two different bands in one show. It’s awesome! I for one, embrace this diversity though some might not get it J

Matthew: I think anytime you take a risk and express yourself in a public way, you open yourself up to criticism. Thankfully I haven’t experienced too much of that at this point but I know there are people who don’t like our songs, the way we play and/or even us as people. Our goal is to be true to ourselves–as humans in relationship with God–while connecting and sharing ourselves with others.

Thank you Joshua, Billy,Damien and Matthew.  That was a interesting, thoughtful interview.  If your music is this intense then I cannot wait to see you at Cornerstone 2011.

If you just want a taste of Merger check out “Daniela de los Caballos” from the One21music Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase sampler that will be released on One21music on June 22nd.

Merger will be playing the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Sunday, July 3rd at 1:45 p.m. See you there!

Cornerstone New Band Interview: Beggars

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

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

We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with Beggars.  Guitarists Adam, Luke and Manny were kind enough to answer some questions for us.

Beggars

Beggars Beggars started unintentionally in late 2010 when guitarist and vocalist Adam and Luke felt they should start a band after they had set base in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Realizing this was a ministry band and having a ‘think outside the box’ element to the band, Joanna was quickly added to the roster with her amazing ability as an artist.

They all believe there is more than one way to worship, and music and art are one in the same, so it felt natural to blend her in as a part of the team. As a result, Beggars live shows not only feature dense, layered alternative rock but also live worship through art.

Beggars released their debut Beggars in January 2011.

Beggars is in a full sense of the word, worship to their Lord and Savior and the refusal to bear witness to the idea that they are just another band trying to make a dent in the world of music. Their cause is to bless and love with deepest sincerity and show who they are and why they chose to be this band in the first place, because Beggars are desperate for and begging to know the heart of God.

Interview with Christian Musicians Beggars

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

Adam: I would only say that the point that needs to be solidified is that Beggars is a band that is after the Lord’s heart. We want to write and play music to the best of our abilities but we are about the kingdom first and foremost.  When we say that we are about getting to know and building relationships with people we truly mean it! Well, as much as regular people can.

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

Adam: Beggars has many influences and if you take the time you really can hear bits of all of them in our sound. Bands such as My Epic, Blindside, Future Forestry, As Cities Burn, Thrice, Means, the list goes on and on. We are passionate people that are passionate about music and the bands we love to listen to on an everyday basis are who make up our influences.

Manny: I feel like we all add our own style to the music we play. We do listen to a lot of the same music but I think we stylistically take different sounds that we make our own and that all combines into what our music sounds like.

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

Adam: Our recordings are very new and so we are simply happy to have them!!  I think I can speak for everyone when I say that our favorite song is “Words Like Fire” but our favorite recorded song is “Closer.”

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

Adam: Music making is amazing because you share in creating something totally unique (well you hope it is) and that represents the group as a whole. To me its like singing a song in one voice, as one heart. For our group its worship and it is an amazing feeling.

Manny: For me there is no feeling like making music. It’s a time where I feel closest to God and I use my guitar to worship. It’s just awesome!

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

Adam: Our faith is the reason we do any of this at all. Without the Lord ordaining it and being the driving force behind the inspiration it simply would not have happened at all. He put it all together and I hope with all I am that it will never stray from being about him.

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

Adam: I think true honest Christian music is very beautiful, now if we are talking about people who call their music Christian and what I think of that, that’s a different story. But honestly, it’s not mine to judge its validity.

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

Adam: Honestly I haven’t put a lot of thought into that so I would say I would guess that it all depends on whether or not you are real. At least from my experience people can respect people that keep their word and other than that I would say the there will always be a wall there in some form.

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

Adam: I think it will heavily impact our career in music for good and possibly bad. We are not going to hide behind our music we are going to treat our time in music as a ministry and with that comes endless opportunities for anything to happen.

Luke: When it comes down to it, people love good music, and love to hear a good message behind it.  There are plenty of bands spreading hate through there music, so from experience when there is something positive to get behind, people really appreciate it.

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

Adam: Music is about being who you are and that is what should impact the listener. If you don’t have the listener in mind when your writing and thinking about what your music means to you, and in turn them, you are “walking blind”.

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

Adam: I have no idea how to sustain a career.  I will continue to go back to this every time, that your career doesn’t mean much at all.  What the Lord is calling you to is what means something, and I believe that the Lord has called us to impact this world through music so no matter the outcome we have already had a “successful” career.

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

Adam: We played amazing shows on the one small weekend “tour” and kids were wonderful and God moved. For sure the number one memory for me. Well and that I get to sing alongside my wife!!

Luke: We for sure had a good time on that small weekend tour, but for me playing in our hometown Winnipeg with friends at the front screaming your lyrics with you was a pretty unreal feeling.

O21: What are your road traditions?

Adam: We are as “new ” as a new band gets, we’ve only been together for 7 or 8 months and we only did one weekend on the road.  Our road tradition is that we need to make traditions!!

O21: What do you love about music?

Adam: I love the passion that is shown through music, the way it moves my heart is so much more than good.

O21: What is your favorite song?

Adam: My favorite song!! Dude depends on the day!!  …“Perfector” by My Epic is up there.

Luke: Easily “You Will Become” by Means.  How can you top that?!

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

Adam: Underoath is a sick show. I’ve seen them lots and all were the best!

Luke: Means played their last shows in Saskatoon and Regina, and those were experiences that you can’t really duplicate.  The energy in that place was crazy!

Thank you Luke, thank you Adam, thank you Manny for taking the time to share yourselves with our readers.

It is pretty clear that Beggars are passionately focused on the ministry of their music .  Come experience their multi-media worship experience as they play the Main Stage, as part of the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase, on Thursday, June 30th 1 at 1:45.

If you want a sample of Beggars music check out “Falling” from the One21music Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase sampler that will be released on One21music on June 22nd.

Or, better yet click through to Amazon and by Beggars self-titled EP Beggars.

Cornerstone New Bands:Interview With Imminent

the one21 new band showcase interviews copy

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

We continue our Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase series with Imminent.  The Kisiel’s and Kirby Torres play a rousing brand of metal with a straight forward message about Christ.

Imminent

ImminentImminent is a powerful quartet rising out of Chicago with a real sound of rock/ metal Their big sound rides with a powerful groove; the lyrics simply pierce your heart. Front man Dave Kisiel describes the group as, “An aggressive passionate heart’s cry of one’s desire. Each of us put everything we have into this band and in the music we play.”

Imminent vocalist Dave Kisiel, guitarist Mike Kisiel , and bassist Joe Kisiel assembled together in the early part of 2006. In late 2009, drummer Kirby Torres became the newest addition to the band. All four members have been playing music since their youth with influences of heavy metal, speed/thrash, rock, classic rock, punk, Latin rock, jazz, and blues. The amalgamation of these styles has generated a sound of their own, anew and inspired. They all are now living their dream of becoming more.  Imminent‘s purpose is simple, to create music with a positive and spiritual message. They are connecting with fans building friendships and changing the world one song at a time.  Their passion is pulsing; their creativity is concerted.

Their self titled EP Imminent is available on Amazon.

Interview with Christian Musicians Imminent

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

Dave Kisiel: It is aggressive, passionate, and a real hardrock/metal sound. We grew up listening to a lot of metal and hard rock music. Pantera, Ironmaiden, Black Sabbath, Suicidal Tendencies, Rush, Judas Priest, Sevendust, Incubus, Coheed and Cambria, P.O.D. are just a few key bands that have influenced us.

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

Dave Kisiel: We have invested a lot of our time and money into our studio. Recording has been a process and an adventure. We actually recorded and did our self titled EP. It was rough, but since then we have really grown with our recording methods and new gear. Right now we are in the process of recording and mixing our album. The sound quality is like night and day compare to our first project, which was the EP. We are really excited to get this new album out there. Honestly all of our songs are great we can’t really favor one more than the other.

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

Dave Kisiel: When people connect to your music in an intimate way making our songs their own. I love to see people in the crowd singing our song with us.

Joe Kisiel: I agree, but I would also have to say that creating the music it self is amazing. Taking that thought of your song that’s in your head, and then seeing it come alive, and grow is what I love.

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

Dave Kisiel: We like to bring the reality of the word of God to our songs, and the reality of life, being real in our music is what we go for. All of our lyrics are faith based with a positive message of the gospel, whether we’re speaking from our own experiences in life or others that we know of. Musically we give everything we have, our talents to lift up the name of Christ.

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

Dave Kisiel: We enjoy most Christian music. We love to hear people’s praises and songs that lift up God and their experiences. Really what we are all doing is worship, which what all of this is about. One thing I dislike is regurgitated Christian music and/or songs. I’d like to see a little more originality out of the genre rather then hear 200 versions of the same song, but if it’s bringing people to Christ I don’t have a problem with it I would just like to see more creativity and originality.

We try not to be labeled as Christian music, but we are Christians who are playing music. It puts bands who are trying to reach out to those who are lost in a box, sheltered from the rest of the world. Our main goal is to tell and speak to those who have not yet heard the gospel of Christ or want to know him more.

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

Dave Kisiel: To keep growing in the right direction. And stay true to the style of music and message that’s is portrayed.

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

Dave Kisiel: Its important to first let people know that as a band you exist. Being persistent in exposing your music is a good start. You are selling product which is your music, so it is wise to let people know about your product. If you don’t have an album or an EP it would be impossible for people to listen to your music. You have to put yourself out there and gear towards a specific fan base, that usually is determined by the genre of music. It is important to play a lot of shows, not in just in one area, but to venture out into different towns and states. Radio play is a good way to get exposure.

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

Mike Kisiel: It is tough to say to be honest. It seems every year we go to new heights and there are a lot of really good memories. One that really sticks out was back in 2009 we took 2nd place out of few hundred band in Chicago’s Emergenza battle of the bands. We played a packed out show at one of the most poplar, if not the most popular club in Chicago, the Metro. That was the best sound we have every had on stage so far and the energy from the audience was intense. We took a hiatus in 2010 and now returning stronger then ever in 2011. Winning the #1 voted band to play Cornerstone this year is going to be yet another great memory.

O21: What are your road traditions?

Mike Kisiel: We pray and then sing “We love you Lord” together as a band before every show. I would also say 9 out of 10 times we hit the nearest taco bell after shows.

Joe Kisiel: Definitely Taco Bell!

O21: What do you love about music?

Kirby Torres: I love that music is about feeling, that it has a science, and it can be so spiritual. Music is like a different language and when a bunch of people get together and communicate that language, it takes me out of the ordinary mode of life and puts me in the mood I’m getting from the music. Even with extremely repetitive music like techno or a 12 bar blues, there is a soul to the music itself. Playing Music keeps me together mentally emotionally and spiritually. It’s so cultural. It tells stories through time. What a message.

O21: What is your favorite song?

Kirby Torres: Wow. This is really hard. How do you ask a musician this question? “With or Without You” by U2. “Pardon Me” by Incubus. “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson. Or “Arms Open Wide” by Hillsong. Or or or. Oh, “Wake Up” by Coheed and Cambria. “Voodoo” by Jimi Hendrix. Too many.

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

Kirby Torres: I went to see Coheed & Cambria play their Second Stage Turbine Blade tour at the House of Blues. That was sick. It was so high energy and just flawless, the stage sets were amazing, it was a real show.

Mike Kisiel: Oh man that would have to be Pantera at the Aragon ballroom back in 92′ on the Vulgar Display of Power Tour. I was 10 back then and things were a bit different back then. The entire floor was filled with metal folding chairs. I was there with my dad, Joe, and cousin Chris. After the opening acts before Pantera hit the stage everyone started tossing the chairs off to the side to make a huge pit! Row by row it came closer to me. It was wild! People were body surfing, throwing each other in the air, and shouting out Pantera!! It was cool, but man I was 10 and small. I was freaking out a bit because not only did I not want to find myself in the pit, but I was standing on the chair, which was the only way I could even see some of the stage. Luckily, the rows peeled back only 2 rows away from us. The show was awesome! That was the last time the “Gon” had folding chairs setup on the main floor. I am a HUGE fan of Dimebag Darrell. I actually always called him Diamond Darrell which is what he was called at first. He is by far my favorite guitarist and influenced my playing. Anyway back to the story. I heard some great songs that night and was the last show I seen where Phil Anselmo actually could still belt out them high pitch screams. After the show it was like the Chicago Bulls won the championship. I’m not joking. It was a riot! People jumping on cars, shaking peoples cars as the were stopped at the red light, and continuous shouts of Pan-ter-a, Pan-ter-a! Then out comes Dime and with his video cam off the balcony of the place recording the madness. There’s actual clips of that found on Pantera‘s Vulgar Videos. That was one show I will never forget.

Thank you, guys for taking the time to answer these questions so our readers can get to know you a little better.

It is obvious that the guys from Imminent have a deep love for God and a passion for music.  Grab their EP, Imminent at Amazon.

If you want a sample of Imminent check out “Godspeed” from the One21music Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase sampler that will be released on One21music on June 22nd.

Imminent will be playing the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Friday, July 1st at 1:45 p.m.

Cornerstone New Band Interview: Fue

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

We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with Fue.  This group of worship leaders play a atmospheric style of alt rock that will someday fill big arenas.

Fue

Fue (pronounced “few”) is an alternative Christian rock band from DeKalb, IL.  Fue began in 2009 as a group of friends playing together as a worship team at Campus Ministries International and over time evolved into their own unique original style of music.  Their music blends the power of modern alt while capturing your ear through the intense emotional vocals of lead singer Joanna RutzkyFue is rounded out with Isaac Flex on bass and brothers Tim May and Aaron May playing guitar and drums, respectively.  In 2010, Fue released a 3-track EP, Hallelujah .   The band followed up this success in February 2011 with the release of their second EP, Sweet Obsession Fue is currently taking the positive message and energy of their music playing live shows at churches, music venues, and festivals throughout the Midwest.

Fue

Interview with Christian Musicians Fue

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

Aaron: Our bio talks a lot about who we are and what we have done. Beyond that our desire as a band is to have a positive impact on people. The experiences of recording and performing are incredible, but hearing the people that have been positively influenced by our music is beyond what a good performance can do.

Joanna: We started out playing on our worship teams at church and out of that overflow and the desire to create music ourselves, we decided to start writing our own stuff and performing shows in hopes of reaching people who don’t know God. We believe creating music that glorifies God and turns peoples’ hearts towards Him is part of the ministry that God has called each of us to, and that is going out and preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth.

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

Joanna: Our sound fits into the Alternative Rock/Pop Rock genres and it also has a lot of tension and thrill within it.  We use a lot of minor chords which create tension within our music to express the hardships we go through. Within all of that there’s the thrill of experiencing God’s joy in the midst of our trials and refocusing our attention towards Him who will never leave us and is a very present help in time of need.

I’d have to say for myself that one of my biggest influences would be Misty Edwards. Her worship is so honest and that helped me to open up my mind to relate to God very personally. Musically I am influenced by Patrick Watson, Mutemath, and Muse.

Tim: Switchfoot is one of my biggest musical influences! Jon Foreman has had a huge impact on me both musically and in my personal life.

Isaac: August Burns Red is a huge influence in my music.

Aaron: Muse has been a big musical influence on me as a musician with the way the drummer uses simplistic beats to add to the overall picture of the song while still being creative and passionate in his playing.

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

Tim: All of our recorded music is original music that we’ve all written together so that’s something really special to us.  My current favorite song would have to be “Sweet Obsession” love the bass line in the chorus! It’s very moving.

Joanna: My favorite song is “The Storm” because the music really reflects all of the emotions I was going through when I wrote that song.

Aaron: My favorite is “My Deliverer”. I think it has a great ability to catch someone’s ear at the first listen and it includes a lot of dynamics.

Isaac: Mine would have to be “Anything” because the minute I heard that song I fell in love with it. I could relate with the feelings of doubt on whether God really loves me no matter what I do.

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

Joanna: Being able to express the feelings and emotions that I am dealing with in my life and putting it to music which is really freeing for my soul.

Aaron: One thing I love about making music is the freedom you have as an artist to do whatever you want; there is no right or wrong path to take. There are so many alternatives ways to approach writing music and arranging songs that it gives you the chance to really form a song from start to finish and make it personal and relatable.

Tim: There’s nothing quite like it.  The ability to be able to express all these things we go through in life through music alongside people you love and respect in hopes that it will touch someone’s heart is an amazing honor and a whole lot of fun!

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

Joanna: All of our lyrics are based out of themes and scripture of the Bible and how it relates to our lives.

Isaac: Our talent as musicians is for the glory of God and to use that talent to impact other people’s lives.

Aaron: My faith has an influence on me because I believe God has given me a unique talent that I am to use for His glory. Lyrics are a strong way to portray your message as a band; it is the melodic vocal harmonies along with the actual lyrics that can have a big impact on people.

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

Tim: I don’t care for the term “Christian Music” because I feel it’s unnecessary in many ways.  Since genres can’t be Christians and only Christians can be Christian I don’t understand the need to separate ourselves into a sub-genre because of our faith.  It feels like more of a marketing technique than anything else to me.  That being said though there have been many artist who fell into that genre that I grew up listening to and loved their music nonetheless and still do to this day.  I think it’s just an unfortunate thing that further keeps Christians in our own little box when in fact we’re called to go outside that box.

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

Isaac: They take it as a lesser quality of music because of the Christ-centric themes and that they perceive it to be not relatable and irrelevant.

Joanna: People also seem to think that Christian artists are really trapped within a certain musical style and sound that they can’t get out of. I think most people have a certain stereotype when they hear Christian rock.

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

Isaac: I don’t think it will negatively impact us because we provide a unique blend of lyrical scriptural themes but with relatable pain and sufferings of being humans.

Joanna: We also don’t want to fit into the Christian music mold and we believe that the music we create is something unique that pushes the boundaries of what Christian music sounds like. We’ve developed our sound a lot over the past year, so this is heard more in the newer songs that we’re working on right now.

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

Joanna: As we write our songs, I think it’s important that when we talk about pain, struggles, or difficulties in our lives’ that we always turn the focus back to God so that the message is encouraging and leaves people with hope instead of despair.

Tim: Being honest and real with people and yourself.  Also practicing what you’re singing on stage by being able to be the same off stage.

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

Tim: So far everything I’ve seen us do as a band as been through connections.  It’s all about who you know and going from there.

Isaac: You got to find people that identify with your music and provide them with interesting and entertaining performances, merch, contests, etc.  After that it’s about networking and finding ways to reach more people. For example, Cornerstone is a huge opportunity to expose ourselves and impact a different selection of fans.

Aaron: Getting your music out there anyway you can to establish a fan base. Also stepping out and taking sometimes costly risks for the sake of promotion can be worth it.

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

Aaron: Our CD release party for “Sweet Obsession” was my most memorable show of our career so far. The people that showed up and the participation they had made it easier to have energy on stage and have fun.

Joanna: My favorite memory of our career so far is also the CD release party we had for “Sweet Obsession”. My favorite part of the night was when we shifted over to an acoustic set for a couple of songs and we started playing “Anything”. As Tim started singing the first verse I heard the entire room start singing with him and I realized that these people listened to our music enough to memorize the words. It was the first time I had the thought that people really like our music, and it was really encouraging for me. It left me thinking about how much our music can influence people’s lives and the responsibility we have as a band to live our lives with integrity and walk with the humility and grace that Jesus did.

Tim: Yep, CD release show for sure!

O21: What are your road traditions?

Joanna: Playing loud music and jamming in the car!

Aaron: …and sleeping!

O21: What do you love about music?

Tim: I love music’s ability to transcend things that words alone couldn’t accomplish as well as its ability to be used as a vessel to reach places within us nothing else could.

Joanna: Everything!

Isaac: The ability to express my deep emotions through melodies and rhythms instead of the spoken word.

Aaron: I love how life changing a song can be. People are able to relate to other people through what they are singing about and that can help them through their struggles in life.

O21: What is your favorite song?

Aaron: I’d have to say “Learning To Breathe” by Switchfoot it’s simply a classic.

Isaac: “Meridian” by August Burns Red is my favorite. I love the dynamics and passionate intensity it builds up to.

Joanna: “Two Step” by Dave Matthews Band and “To Build a Home” by Cinematic Orchestra. There’s so many I couldn’t choose just one.

Tim: Wow, that’s a hard question!  Not sure if I could say what my favorite song of all time but currently I’m really enjoying “Separator” by Radiohead off their “Kings Of Limb” album.

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

Tim: I’m a huge Switchfoot fan so I love seeing those guys.  At one concert I got pulled out of the crowd because of the shirt I was wearing and Jon introduced me to the crowd.  Pretty amazing night!

Joanna: Patrick Watson. I saw them in Chicago and they were absolute ear candy! Every song had unique elements that made me think, “I can’t believe they just did that!” I had goose bumps most of the night, and I always get goose bumps when I hear a really great song. The guitarist used balloons and duct tape on his electric guitars to create some amazing effects and the drummer used pots for percussion and played the xylophone for a couple of songs. It was just crazy to see the creativity that was used in the performance, and stirred a hunger in me to create something unique and interesting.

Isaac: Mute Math was sick live. They were incredibly energetic and entertaining.

Aaron: Fue last night…

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

Joanna: How much time goes into recording a song to make it sound so effortless.

Tim: Also, the fact that we’re just starting out as a band I think a lot of people are still trying to figure out what we’re all about.  You know like why do we do what we do?  Why music?  I think we all believe to answer those questions over the next year or so as we begin to really get ourselves out there and are given more opportunities to say what we’re all about.  It’s through ways like this interview that we can really show a different side of the band — so thank you for that opportunity!

Thank you Joanna and guys.  That was a fun interview.  I look forward to catching your show at Cornerstone 2011.

Fue has a cool but complex sound that you should dig into by clicking through to Amazon and buying their two EP’s , Hallelujah and  Sweet Obsession.

If you just want a taste of Fue check out “Delight in You” from the One21music Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase sampler that will be released on One21music on June 22nd.

Fue will be playing the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Thursday, June 30th at noon. See you there!