Dirt Interview Posted

DIRT 09

Sphere Of Hip-Hop has once again tapped the Shadow Of The Locust crew, and this time they snagged an interview with legendary underground hip-hop artist Dirt (you may remember him from our first season on Voices of The Underground). In the interview they cover what it is like to have a hip-hop “career”, the hip-hop scene in California, and the what the future holds for Shadow of The Locust. Great interview, go check it out…

Read Dirt interview

Voices Of The Underground2 Pt.2

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Voices Of The Underground is a series that seeks to explore one question from many different angles. Every week, we will ask one question of many of your favorite music artists. We will post their responses below, and what you will find is that there is never truly one answer to every question, but instead a whole world of ideas that come from simple matters of taste, to deep held beliefs. Our hope is that through this series you are able to see past the promo pictures and the stage persona, and get to know the hearts of believers who are creating music every day.

Need to catch up?
Read Pt.1-What do you love about music?

For week two, we are introducing a new question to the fold.  I am always so interested to hear what made people the way they are today. With musicians, there is always a beginning: a school play, a recital, or a rush of cofidance with a nearby microphone.  Most musicians will tell you that tehy knew they wanted to play music their whole lives, and now we get to see where it all began.

Joining the fold is Eric Owyoung, who most people will know as the face of Future Of Forestry, and Veronica Benton, also known as The Faceless Woman for White Collar Sideshow. White Collar is on the latest cover of HM Magazine right now, and Future Of Forestry will be releasing a new EP Oct.6th. So, go see White Collar Sideshow on tour and in the pages of HM, and look for Travel II EP soon!

What was your first musical experience?

future-of-forestry-copy
I grew up playing classical music in symphonies. Saxophone, Basoon, and classical choirs. I’m so grateful for those experiences. It led me to study classical conducting in college, and that background still plays a big part in my music today. My music tends to have a very orchestrated, melodic direction to it.

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I sang at my aunt’s wedding and learned how to do the “moonwalk” when I was 8.

wonder-copy
First real experience was when I was 13 emceeing in a group called Dream and Wonder. Part of a crew called Circle of the Sane and we performed in Coral Springs Florida.

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When I was 7, my grandfather gave me an acoustic guitar. I remember playing that all night, I never knew how to play anything, but shortly after receiving that guitar, I had a strong desire to learn piano, that same year, I was put in piano class. I would stay up all day and night on my Casio keyboard attempting to learn songs, until I finally learned Van Morrison‘s, “Moon Dance.”

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I started playing when I was 15ish, I never thought I was good enough to play in bands, then I got into my first few bands and realized any level of skill player can have a band.

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I started playing guitar when I was a freshman in high school. My first band started a year later. I played in that band for a few years. Venia started right after I graduated high school.

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I used to love singing in school plays. I thought I was so cool…

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My earliest memory of playing an instrument is at my grandfather’s house when he would teach me how to play songs on a little Casio keyboard my parents had gotten me for Christmas one year. I loved it. I guess technically my first band was the middle school concert band. I played the clarinet but eventually moved on to the BASS clarinet because it was more manly. I was in the school band from 6th grade through my senior year of high school, including marching band and jazz band. I played the bass clarinet for most of concert band but moved to percussion for a few semesters of marching band as well as the tenor sax one semester. Looking back on it, I had a lot of fun in band.

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My first musical experiences were at church growing up. My dad was the pastor, so my brothers and I always sat on the front row. We sat there and watched the drummer every Sunday morning and we thought it was the coolest thing ever.

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I grew up in a musical family. From the time I was four I was required to play one instrument for 2 hours every day. I could play whatever instrument I wanted though. I hated it. But now I can pretty much play anything (trumpet, baritone, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, bass, piano, trombone…etc). I started playing music solo when I was 18. I didn’t play in a band until I got out of college, we were called Malayne (now all of those guys are in Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster). I also had a year long stint as the guitar player in a hardcore band with Sleeping By The Riverside frontman Adam Warshowski, we were called Affix-Bayonets.
After a while I just kinda realized that I should be singing my own music.

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My first musical experience was in the 5th grade talent show when my friend and I played “Machine Head” by Bush, with no vocals, I played drums and he played guitar. We ruled.

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When I was in elementary school, my brothers came home one day with a guitar and a bass. Although my oldest brother had always played drums, no one in my family or myself especially had shown much interest in learning how to play music until then. I didn’t pick up either of those instruments for a while. Instead I starting using our computer in about 4th grade to make MIDI songs. I didn’t really write my own songs in the MIDI format, I would actually transpose songs I heard into the format, note by note by note. I think that doing that at such a early age and paying such close attention to detail in each song really taught me a lot about melodies and chord progressions. That I would say was my first musical experience.

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Believe it or not, piano…I picked up drumsticks at age 11 and haven’t put them down since.

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When I was in 4th Grade, my mom and step-dad decided I needed to start taking lessons of some kind… and we all agreed on trumpet. Since then, I’ve been playing music in some form or another.

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I took group piano lessons at the Yamaha company. I found out later that these kind of lessons are called the ‘suzuki method,’ and I vouch for them. It trains you to identify notes by ear before you begin playing them. This is surprisingly easy for most kids. Western music schools and teachers don’t seem to bother to teach kids how to listen focus. I am all for this suzuki method. I took them for a year or two, and then switched over to taking traditional sort of lessons from a friend of my parents, but I think I got off on the right foot with this suzuki method. I LOVE THE SUZUKI METHOD.

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I started playing piano when I was four. I was horrible to my piano teacher, so my dad let me learn from books. I had to play the entire piano book for dad before he would buy me the next in the series. I’m afraid I still play at the last level that I learned!

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I remember stumbling across my parents records as a kid and playing Elton John and lots of movie soundtracks. That had a really big effect on me, and my first concert as a child was Elton John (lame, I know), but I remember recognizing songs that I had listened to on the record player, but hearing them in a live environment. After that I started playing guitar and it all went downhill from there!

Voices Of The Underground Pt.9

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

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

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

Do you think the Christian music scene is still important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voices Of The Underground Pt.6

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

Need to catch up?

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

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

Who is Jesus Christ to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voices Of The Underground Pt.4

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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