You guys released your first album on Holdfast Records. How long were you a band before that EP came out? I reviewed “As Far As The Moon From The Sun” when we got it here at HM, and it was, in my opinion, an album with remarkable honesty – lyrically. What is your writing process? How do you write, and what influences you, and do you aim for that stark vulnerability, or is that simply what comes out natura
Well, the band actually formed in literally the last days of 2004, so it was a long road even before that Holdfast release in 2008. Our first show wasn’t until march of 2005, however, with our first tour not following until the summer of 2006.There was a period of growth and maturity I think, that took place during all of that time, with everyone kind of finding their rightful place in the band. As far as the lyrics go, I’ve always hoped to convey honesty in the things that I write because I think that is so important in holding a real connection with a person who might read those words, regardless of who they are or where they’re from. With “As Far As The Moon From The Sun,” everything about that record was about opening ourselves up completely. We had been writing songs together for quite some time, and we knew each other well. We understood that we had suffered a lot of the same things early on in our lives, and it was things that we didn’t really always know how to talk about, so when it came time to write that EP, I felt it was time. Things like child abuse, the deaths of close friends, and losing hope in the people you once believed in. They were things we felt were worth writing about, and I was finally able to, and I felt it necessary because some of those scars still felt so fresh even after so much time, and I know enough to know we are not alone in the struggles that we face, so I wanted to convey that as best as I could for anyone who might have gone through the same things that we did. That entire EP was about real and raw honesty for us, and lyrically it was driven by the emotions that fuel the heart through some very traumatic times, and I think anything that is honest is vulnerable. So I can’t say that I strive so much for the latter, but rather that I just really believe in the first.
You have a new album coming out on Victory Records entitled “The Fuhrer: An Allegory of a History of Deception.” – Maybe it’s just me, but that kind of a title – matched with some of the most epic album artwork I’ve seen in a long time – begs for a concept behind it… is there one?
There most definitely is. This record is about how absolute power corrupts absolutely. It’s about humanity’s potential to create and our power to destroy. Lyrically and musically, it’s the darkest thing we have ever written together. The Fuhrer is a journey into the loneliest and most desolate places of the human heart, the places we tend to hide from everyone, and even the places we think where God won’t look. It’s a journey of despair, that led by perseverance, eventually leads us to the proverbial shores of hope, where we can begin to remember that we are meant for so much more than the every day world we can see only with our eyes.
Not long ago, you posted a few songs that you’d recorded with Maylene and the Sons of Disaster’s Dallas Taylor… where did that relationship stem from?
Well, for me that actually started years ago, with a record entitled “The Changing Of Times” that was appropriately named for the time in my life in which I first heard it. There were so many lyrics in that record that genuinely helped me deal with some very tough situations in my life, and when we had the pleasure of playing with Maylene for the first time, I just kind of shared my story with Dallas and being as kind as he is, he smiled wide and hugged me and we played a rock show together. We would meet sporadically from time to time after that, because of both our bands and when we decided to head to Alabama to track the early demos that eventually became The Fuhrer, I asked if he would be interested in coming out to the studio, and in that Southern boy style that he has, he said he would love to. By then our good friend Jake Duncan had joined the Maylene family, so the relationship between our bands was even more so enhanced. Having Dallas track guest vocals on the CD truly was one those amazing blessings that God brings full circle, because I can still remember driving aimlessly in my car, listening to those words he wrote that touched my heart in one way or another.
Who would you say are some of your greatest influences, musically, lyrically, or otherwise?
Well, musically I listen to all kinds of soft, non-heavy things that if I mentioned in this interview, would probably get me laughed at, so I might save those for next time. Lyrically, I’d have to say that besides Dallas, Josh Scogin and Lacey Mosley would rank in my top three simply because of that raw honesty that always seems to surround their writing, and I just think that is so rare, not only in music, but life as well. As far as my personal life, I’d have to say my mother has been my greatest influence on what a person, and what a man should be. She’s the strongest woman I have ever known, and I love her dearly. I owe so much of who I am to her and the sacrifices she has made for my brothers and I.
When did you decide to become a Christian? Can you tell me about your life – your background – a testimony, of sorts?
Well, I was born in Tegucigalpa Honduras, to a very humble household. I remember being very young and my mother teaching me to pray. There was always a thirst inside of me, that longed for God, even before I was old enough to really understand what that meant. As I got older, however, I honestly sought with all of my heart the true mysteries of God, and I fell in love with Jesus Christ through the Gospels. I dove into the subject of Apologetics very early on because I encountered so many kids who had so many questions about a God they wanted to believe in, but didn’t understand, and I think it was there that my passion for ministry really began. I had no idea then, that it would lead me here, and that’s one of the many beautiful things about God: the fact that He will take you places you never thought you’d go, and show you things you never thought you’d see, if you will just believe in Him. It has been a long hard road, but I still try to just let God lead, so that I may follow.
What would you say is your greatest struggle in holding on to the hope of Jesus Christ. What comes between you? And, on the opposite side of the spectrum – what is your greatest encouragement, and what gives you the most joy and reassurance in him?
I think more than anything, the monotony of every day life is one of the greatest enemies to the Gospel. It is so easy to get stuck in the daily routine of daily activities that you can feel so useless to God, or even worse, so very disconnected from Him. The boys and I will strive to stay in constant contact when we are home to kind of remind each other not to stray too far into that kind of mentality…
I think the greatest hope is Christ Himself. His forgiveness, and His renewing and rejuvenating mercies. Something that helps me remember that well, is the Apostle Peter. Peter was the same man who denied his master and his best friend three times because he was afraid to die. After the resurrection, Christ asked Peter three times if he loved Him, and the third time, Peter broke down, like he did when the rooster crowed. As beaten, as weak and as disobedient as Peter had been, Christ not only forgave him, but asked him to “lead his flock.” That same beaten man went to the cross upside down because he said he was not worthy to die like his master. The story of Peter speaks to me about the humanity of the disciples, and the divine forgiveness of Jesus Christ. They were people just like you and me, and Jesus loved them. He ate with them. He lived with them. He laughed with them. He forgave them, and He gave them the keys to eternal life, not because they deserved it, but because He loved them enough to make them worthy.
You’re also a published author. Can you tell me about your book? What is it and what inspired it (maybe an overview of what ever you’d like people to know about it). Do you have plans to publish again?
The book is entitled SAGEWILLOW, and it tells the story of Seth Loomis, a young man who struggles very desperately to make up for the mistakes of his youth, in the hopes of reconnecting to the great romance of his life, and the only woman he has ever truly loved, embodied in the beautiful Kate Collins. It’s a story about the enduring power of authentic love, and the great lengths to which our hearts will go for those we love. It wasn’t meant to be my first published work, but the more and more I spoke to the publishers, the more I was convinced it needed to be. I have other manuscripts and ideas that I do intend on publishing as well, but SAGEWILLOW resonated such a powerful cord within my heart that I felt it was time to tell that story as best I could. And it’s the kind of story that I believe speaks to all of us, in one way or another. At least I hope, because I think everyone, no matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone has a Kate, and so this story of her and her Seth is one that I hope speaks to the hearts of that timeless generation: the ones who still dare to fall in love.
What are five of your favorite books?
That’s definitely a tough one.. I would go with “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran. It’s wonderful poetry that uses some of the most amazing and thought provoking imagery. “The Giver,” it was an absolutely wonderful book, even though the ending haunts me still to this day, mostly because it left me wanting more. “The Alchemist,” another wonderful book that I actually found by accident and just couldn’t put down. I think the social commentaries it makes on what we hold important were brilliant. “Lighting” by Dean Koontz, it’s kind of really different than the others, but it was just a book that captivated me completely, mostly because it’s a love story involving time travel, and I tend to be a sucker for both of those things and when you put them together, I’m pretty much hooked. “Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis and “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller rank right about the same for me so I had to cheat and name them both. They’re brilliant theological statements on what it truly means to be human, and to be a Christian, and I absolutely couldn’t put either one of those books down. I’d recommend all of them, simultaneously.
Are you guys excited about the recent signing with Victory Records ? What are the plans for Before There Was Rosalyn?
Most definitely. The Victory staff has been amazing to us, and we are very excited to join the family. It’s honestly something that just a few months back, we wouldn’t have really believed, but all things are possible with God, and so here we are, just five dudes from Houston Texas who believe in Jesus Christ, and we are blessed to join a family that houses some of our favorite bands ever. We are much more than excited. The label has been completely supportive of our ministry, our message, and our music, and it’s been this amazingly surreal adventure so far, because it’s literally watching our dreams come true right in front of us. We honestly can’t wait to hit the road and stay out there, as soon as the record is out.
If you could describe your band – as people, as friends, as musicians – however you want – in three sentences, how would you do so?
I would say that all we are is five boys from Texas who want to share something real with you. I would say that we understand not everyone believes what we believe, but we want to share with you a love that surpasses anything else we have ever known. We want to be your friend, and we hope that at the end of the night, you will be ours, too.
Is there anything else you’d like to ad? Anything that has to do with anything, or anything that has to do with nothing at all? If not, that’s cool. If so, feel free to ramble here for as long as you want….
I just want to thank you for taking the time to do this, and I would just like to encourage anyone who might be reading this to come out to a show and hang out with us, and be our friend. Our record hits stores 10.27.09, and if you’d like to purchase it, feel free, but even if you don’t, come be a part of our lives at a show near you, and let us be a part of yours. We don’t want you to come out and buy a t-shirt, but come out and tell us about your day, and we will tell you about ours. Bring donuts, because we like those, but more importantly, we love you. Thank you to anyone and everyone who has ever said a kind word about our ministry, and anyone who has ever prayed with us, or for us, or even near us. Thank you so much, and we hope to see you soon.
(c) Copyright 2009 HM Magazine. All rights reserved.