Aaron Gillespie

By Mousertime on February-28-2011 | Filed under Interviews | Tags : , , , , | Share

Aaron Gillespie

Check out an interview with Aaron Gillespie, where he discusses his solo-debut, Anthem Song, and latest with his band The Almost…

You just got back from a trip to Haiti, how was the experience.

Oh man, it is crazy dude. It’s a really beautiful place that is really mismanaged. There is no running water, there’s no sewage, there’s no garbage disposal, there’s no medical care. It is rough, but God is really doing some incredible stuff there and the people are resilient. I think there is this large stigma that things have just gotten bad in the last two years since the earthquake, but things have been bad for a long time there and the earthquake just made things worse. But it has been cool, it is a really special place and the people are really resilient.

Did you go with a certain organization?

Yeah, we went with Samaritan’s Purse which was founded by Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham. It was really good. They are building 80,000 homes right now. So it has been really cool to get in with an organization like that, help out, and just see what God’s doing with them. They are helping with tangible needs first , a lot of people think that you can go in and do a lot of talking in a place like that, but you really need to go in with actual things before you begin to speak to them.

Your new solo album, Anthem Song, is set to release next week on March 8th . How did you decide to pursue a solo- album, instead a worship album with the Almost?

You know, my initial thought was that I always wanted to make a worship album, that’s how I got my start as a musician playing worship as a kid and leading worship in my high school youth group. I always wanted to make that record, but never had the time. I was interested in doing worship with the Almost, but I wanted to keep the two separate and the label and I had a conversation about keeping the two separate. Here is the reason why: because the Almost is a rock band and I wanted to continue to keep it that and continue to have that sound and idea behind the band. With the Almost being a faith-based band and a band used for ministry purposes, I didn’t want it to be a straight-up worship band. So we just created our own thing, and I have a totally separate band with totally separate musicians.

So you have always been passionate about writing and leading worship?

Yeah, I never really wrote much, so this is really my first stab at it. I have been leading worship since I was fourteen and even before that, I played drums for worship. I am a little nervous, but excited to see what God does and what happens.

Do you remember a specific period when felt like you were really being lead to pursue this?

I went to Africa last February with Compassion International, and I really wanted to feel a change from that trip. About five or six days in it was awesome and I saw all of the things that you would expect to see in a country like that, but I really wanted a change in my life. Towards the end of the trip, they took us to a Church service and I saw people just worshiping God, crazy and all out, for no reason really. Think about it, they are dying of malaria and AIDS, but they are worshiping God because He exists, and no other reason but that. I knew that was what I was created to do, and humans in general were created to do and I really wanted to be apart of that. That really gave me the fuel to go in that direction.

I actually have a friend who came back from Kenya recently, who had a very similar experience…

Yeah, it’s interesting to see when you really strip away the things of our “American life.” It’s easy to be an American, it really is easy. You know, I woke up this morning, took a hot shower, someone handed me a cup of coffee and put me in an office on a telephone to do interviews for eight hours. You know what I mean? It is easy to live her, but for these folks it’s work every day. The natural trappings of life are laborious things. Finding water, finding a place to use the restroom, finding something to eat to keep you alive. And then, if you have children, which most of these people have eight or nine children, it’s finding a way to survive yourself plus survival for eight or nine others. But as I learned in this Church service, people didn’t care. They were dressed to the nines, they were worshiping Jesus and they put everything on hold, because that’s what matters the most. That’s what humans were created to do, and they realize that, and they grasp that. For some reason we don’t, are so circumstantial in our country “God, thanks for everything. Bless your name,” or “God, I have everything, bless your name,” or”God, I have nothing. Praise your name!” But these people are worshiping God, simply because he exists. It was amazing to see that, and it really pointed my whole life in a different direction. I think that anyone who goes there and allows God to shape their heart will see the same.

What would you say were some of the lyrical influences behind the new album?

Well obviously what I just told you, but also the idea that there is this song that has been playing since the beginning of time and will be sung by whoever will, and rocks if need be the song of God’s grace and mercy, and just His anthem. It is our job as humans is to grab a little piece of that song and sing along. Just to be involved with that a little bit, that needs to be our existence. That is kind of the lyrical theme for the record Anthem Song.

How did you develop the sound for the new record? It seems to sound completely different from anything you have been involved in before…

Aaron

I don’t know. To be honest, I don’t do music that way. I’m not like “I want it to be this type of record.” I just start with things, and however it turns up, it turns up. I’m not want of those people that is trying to make a type of genre. I just go for it. Whatever happens happens. Hopefully it doesn’t suck (laughs).

Listening back to the album, can you hear any specific influences?

There is definitely some U2 rip-off going on, especially the opening track “All Things.” U2 is my favorite band, and I have always wanted to do a rip-off of them, but you really can’t do that in any arena except for worship. It was kind of a nice opportunity for me to kind of rip-off U2 (laughs).

On this record you co-wrote most of the songs with a bunch of artists/writers. Who did you work with, and why did you choose them?

I got to write with and bunch of amazing people. I wrote with some Jars of Clay guys. Paul Baloche who in my opinion is a guy that writes for the Church. He writes hundreds of worship songs, and has written hundreds that you and I have sang since we were children. He wrote a single with me and wrote another song on the record with me. He is just an amazing writer, and has an even more amazing heart. I wrote with a guy named Phillip LaRue, who wrote a bunch of Tenth Avenue North’s recent songs. He is just a killer writer that is my age, and he has been writing in this town (Nashville) for a long time. The co-writing process was something that I have always wanted to do, and have never been able to do. It was really neat.

What would you like for people to take away from this album?

That the anthem of God is free and it something that they can jump on to. It’s not just for cool people, or Church people, it is for anyone that believes and will sing along, and except it.

What is the vision for your worship tour?

It is just to help people with their vocabulary of worship, just to help them enter into the presence of God. We are not here to have a show, or concert, we are just here to facilitate.

What is the latest news with the Almost?

We just started writing for a record that we are going to record in the fall, hopefully. I don’t have too much information But we are busy writing right now meeting on weekends. I have been meeting up with them and a worship band and we have been doing Acquire the Fire for another couple of weeks. Then we go to South America, Russia and Europe in the spring, and then we hit the studio.

Any idea when you are shooting to release the Almost album?

No. Well, I have an idea but I can’t tell you. I’m sorry. I am literally sitting in the EMI offices right now, and if I said anything, they would probably shoot me (laughs). They probably have my phone tapped anyway. Just kidding.

What is the latest on your clothing company, Pig Cloth?

We have been doing this thing called “Thrift,” which is this kind of social thing. It’s from our closet to yours, or from their closet to yours. People have been recycling their clothes, and selling them at a really cheap price. That has been our thing right now and has been really fun. It has kind of slowed down, because my wife has been on the road with me and she can’t be at home to run it.

Is there anything that God is really showing/teaching you right now that you would be willing to share?

That we are not it competition as a Church. I feel like in our country it is like who’s campus is bigger, who’s campus is badder, and who’s community is bigger and badder? When did that happen? It is a really weird concept when you think about it. Think about how stage of a concept that is. We are not supposed to be in competition, and God never meant for it to be that way. We are supposed to be the Church, we are supposed to help, hold, nurture the poor and glorify God. Anything that get’s in the way of that needs to be snuffed out. I think that we’ve got a lot of snuffing to do.

Perfect day, windows down, driving in your car, what are you listening to?

“With or Without You,” by U2.

www.aarongillespie.com/

http://www.toothandnail.com/releases/800/Anthem_Song/

http://www.myspace.com/aarongillespie

28 Responses to 'Aaron Gillespie'

  1. Luke94 says:

    pretty awesome! He’s playing a Haiti benefit in my area and I’m going to be open for him. pretty excited!!!

  2. Austin says:

    Great Interview! Glad to hear some of the back story for the new album, and what God’s been doing in Aaron’s life. Only issue I have with the interview are the few spelling mistakes you made. Not trying to criticize, just letting you know a few “slip-ups” got through.

    Initially I was a little hesitant to the idea of an “Aaron Gillespie Worship Album,” but now I’m realizing it’s not about how catchy the music is, it’s about the heart. Plus, Anthem Song is just a great worship song to jam in the car, at work… anywhere!

  3. Chandler A. says:

    Awesome interview. I felt like the interviewer did a good job asking more than the standard boring
    questions and touching base with a lot of things that Aaron is involved with.

    I preordered Anthem Song and am so excited for it! I’ve only listened to the single off it and think it sounds pretty good. Only complaint I have is you get an extra track if you preorder it off itunes….which i didn’t find out til after i preordered the hard copy :P

    • Tim says:

      Please tell me this is sarcastic. How can you be a sellout when you’ve dropped your successful band to pursue making worship music because you were so moved by a trip to Africa where your heart was challenged by people living in poverty worshiping God simply because he is existed?

      Whatever you think about the music, you surely cannot say that.

    • No, its not. Hes the reason uo went “scream-o” just cuz it was mor popular+ he knew it wud make them mor $ in sales (this is also evident in the radio frendly the almost). That= selout. Afta they put out 3 clasic metal albums, they went in the wrong direction, imo. I respect him 4 doin wat hes doin now+ persuin wateva avenue he felt compeled 2 (if its genuine), but i stil curse the day that “only chasin safety” came out, lol. They had so much potential as a metal band, and ya, they sorta redeemed themselves wit “define the great line”+ this newest album (wich he had no part in), but if they wuda just kept that “cries of the past” sound, i wuda been much hapia, lol.

    • Ian says:

      With your opinions set aside, where are you getting your information? Every article or interview I have ever seen has stated the exact opposite. Who said that Aaron made Underoath screamo? He was the one with clean vocals. In fact there is a very recent interview with Aaron at JFH where he states that he dosent really like heavy music and only listens to a select few that are creative. I think that he is very genuine in his faith. Either that or he is the greatest actor ever.

    • 1. Im “getin my info” from scenestas who hav told me he was behind octavio+ dalas quitin the band, neva mind my personal observations of him at shows (rokstar atitude, groupys+ fashioncore promo).
      2. I sed he did+ many othas hav known that he was behind the new sound/ direction of the band afta “changin of times”.

      Chandler A.
      1. That remains 2 b seen.
      2. Thats funy, cuz the whole reason he was behind the newa uo screamo sound+ fashion was 2 sel mor records.
      3. Wich only reinforces the evidence that he was behind a mor radio frendly/ pop influenced uo+ the almost. Sounds plenty like “livin 4 fame+ $” 2 me, lol.
      4. Then obviously u hav crapy taste in music, lol.

    • schlottermann says:

      Does a band going big equal sell out? Doesn’t it make sense for a band to write music that people like? Especially if they want to make a career out of music? If a band wants to make it they need to appeal to the masses. I think any good band would know that. Can we really say that underoath would’ve gotten the same recognition if they hadn’t changed their sound on Only Chasing Safety? I don’t think so. I think they would still be lumped in with any number of metal bands.

      We shouldn’t attack someone’s integrity or their sincerity to ministry based on what your friend’s cousin’s ‘scenesta’ sister may have said. There is no reason to do so. If you did not experience the revelation that Mr. Gillespie had, then you should lay off the insults.

    • Robert Shell says:

      this is such ridiculous reasoning. it’s not even worth an effort.

    • Brandon says:

      Phil, I am going to have to politely disagree with you. I dislike it when anyone tosses the term “Sell out” around on our site. If an artist truly wanted to sell out, they wouldn’t talk about Jesus anymore or even claim to be a “christian band” (like Underoath). Think about it, the only way to make a quick buck is to completely “Sell Out” your beliefs in pursuit of the dollar by making radio friendly metal and getting tons of groupies. (Avenged Sevenfold cough cough). Underoath were never about that and progression is something I think fans just need to except. Cries of the Past had a few okay songs but for the most part, it was rather lame. “They’re Only Chasing Safety” is a genre defining album and one that fans truly respect. Sure they went back to being “heavy” with Define the Great Line but that was to please fans who were ripping on them for being to “catchy” and “Pop-oriented”. I saw nothing wrong with the direction on TOCS and it’s funny to see all the clones and copy cats that were inspired by that record. If Aaron truly wanted to sell out himself and his Faith, he’d pull a Katy Perry and go after the almighty dollar. I wish that everyone who came on IVM would please stop using the words “Sell Out” when describing an artist. Being a “Christian” in this world is not easy and being a “Christian” musician is a turn off for a lot of mainstream folks. For someone to pursue a life as a Christian musician is a humbling experience especially in this destructive global economy. Alright I said my two cents, I am done. No disrespect to you or anything Phil, I know you mean well but you could possibly be hearing gossip and hearsay.

    • Lucas says:

      I’m sorry Phil, but your comment really irks me. I really hate the term “sell out”. It completely discredits the hard work an artist invested his time and even questions his character. The only reason people ever use it is because a band or artist doesn’t do exactly what they wanted him to do.

    • schlottermann,

      1. Not always, but alot of the times, yes.
      2. No, it makes sense 2 write music becuz its wat the band likes+ wants 2 hear, not becuz its the trendy or popula thing 2 do.
      3. Ya, i can. They wer not as popula wen b4 “chasin safety” wich once again verifies my point that they changed ther sound 2 sel mor records.
      4. I can say wateva i want, its an open forum+ everybody has ther own opinions. I wud hope that his intentions r ministry based now, but from wat ive seen+ herd from him in the past i wudnt b surprised if its not.

      Brandog,

      And im guna hafta politely disagree wit u, lol. I stand by my opinion that the only reason they changed ther sound so drasticaly afta “changin of times” was that aron had a lot 2 do wit it by convincin the rest of the band that it wud sel mor records. “Chasin safety” was not a “pregresion” 4 me, its was a regresion, and thats my whole point in all of this. Its by far my least favorite album by them, but i agree its good 4 wat it is, had i not herd any of ther metal stuf, lol. Of course hes not as big of a selout as the katy pery types, but a selout nuntheless, imo. I agree that its xtra hard as a Christian artist 2 survive in the industry. Alot of wat i herd from otha people mite b gosip+ hearsay, but ive also witnist sum things wit my own eyes, so ther4 its esia 2 add it up, as i mentioned in my previous post.

      Lucas,

      It is wat it is. Maybe if i sed “tocs is my least favorite album by them n i was shoct+ disapointed in the direction they took wit that album+ i feel that aron had alot 2 do wit it”, wud that “irk” u less? Lol.

    • Robert Shell says:

      If you really want to continue to question the intentions of Aaron you should read his most recent interview with HopeCore. Their March issues is up now on their website. But then again if this interview or any interview has not done it, then I don’t know will. Hearing his talks from Cornerstone and other events, it just seems hard to even think about questioning his intentions. You don’t really ‘sell out’ by becoming less and doing a lot of free gigs. Also, no offense, but it is really hard to take anything you say seriously or that your sources are credible when you type like you do.

    • Lucas says:

      What irks me is your general attitude Phil not to mention your liberal use of “lol”. The spelling I’ll forgive you for as it’s not a strong point of mine either. :)

    • WDFF5 says:

      Learn to spell.

    • brandon says:

      learn how to spell before you criticize someone you know nothing about

    • Josh M says:

      Its always comical to me when people make character judgements without having any actual real relationship or contact with the person. Spend a day with Aaron before you make a call on his character.

  4. Haven’t been impressed by what I’ve heard from his solo album, but this interview makes me respect the guy and his honesty. My favorite parts:

    “For some reason we are so circumstantial in our country “God, thanks for everything. Bless your name,” or “God, I have everything, bless your name,” or”God, I have nothing. Praise your name!” But these people are worshipping God, simply because he exists.”

    “U2 is my favorite band, and I have always wanted to do a rip-off of them, but you really can’t do that in any arena except for worship. It was kind of a nice opportunity for me to kind of rip-off U2 (laughs).”

  5. Katie says:

    That was an awesome interview! <3
    He continues to inspire me as always! :)

  6. Chandler A. says:

    Phil the Aaron Gillespie writing this worship album is 100% authentic and doing it for God. =) The whole reason he quit Underoath was because he felt convicted about not really living for God but fame, rather. He talks about his story in the “I Am Living” series if youve seen those. :)

    …And on a separate note I disagree completely, I think UO’s new album pretty much stinks and TOCS was the best album they put out

    • Tim says:

      This is true. He admits that whilst he was in Underoath he missed the opportunity to speak the name of Jesus so many times. We all mess up. He had an encounter with the living God who challenged and changed him in Africa so he left Underoath and now is making the music he wants to make to bring glory to God.

    • XWriting on the WallsX says:

      While i don’t disagree with his decision on leaving the band, i am against the implication that you shouldn’t live your life and use your talents. There was nothing wrong with being in a big band. He worked hard and had drumming skills that the underoath fan base seemed to approve of. He may of been doing it for the fame, but i don’t believe that being in underoath was a selfish and or bad thing overall.

    • just.me.brian says:

      has anyone seen his testimony on come&live? it gives me chills. if he isn’t being genuine, then i don’t know.

    • Chandler A. says:

      @XWriting on the WallsX I don’t necessarily think it was a bad thing either. He is an awesome musician and was given that gift by God and should use it. But I do think that when anything begins to move head of God as the #1 thing you’re seeking after, you need to step back and examine what you’re doing. And that’s what he did in making his decision to leave UO.

      @just.me.brian Yeah that’s what I was referring to! :) Jake Luhrs of ABR and Sleeping Giant’s are also really good too :)

  7. Brandon says:

    The solo album is wonderful. I am planning on buying it when it comes out. Also, to whoever mentioned Underoath’s latest album “stinks”, I would have to agree. I have listened to it a couple of times and I just can’t get into it. Sorry.

    • Bscott says:

      I agree the new album lacks that certain energy that Aaron brought to the table. He was fueled on a passion of drumming and it showed.

  8. DNI says:

    Well I’ve been a underoath fan since cries of the past, and I liked them a lot, when i hear dallas was asked to leave the band i got upset and i though that it wasnt going to be the same anymore, then chasing safety came out and i fell in love with the album, when define the great line came out i kind of didnt like it because it wasnt like chasing safety but the more i listen to it the most i loved it, and this is one of the little couple albums of bands that you can hear and hear and hear and you keep loving, lost in the sound of separation I loved it, not as much as define but it had a lot of great great songs, when i heard that aaron leave the band because he felt God was calling him to do other stuff, i got really mas and i was like underoath is not going to be the same, but i would keep supportting them even when aaron is not there……….that said, i think that aaron did hear God and did the right thing, why? well Underoath realese disambiguation, and by far this is one of UO more elaborated and professional record to the date, plues fans still loves them and they keep doing what God has called them to do, and Aaron he is new as a worship artist, but fans that love metal and hardcore and screamo that love aaron, have keep supporting him and he is changing lives of people, you know how many kids are going to a worship tour because they want to se Aaron, and they are going to be transformed because Aaron heard God, this is amazing, in fact i think he is going to be a more sussesfull artist now, with more audience, like old people who only listen worship music, but kids that dont care about God are going to get in love with God because this dude listen and respected God.

    ps: Phil metal head, if you are a musician at all, cries of the past and act of depressions are albums BORING AS HELL! is like listening 5,000 bands that all sound the same and never leave ther local scene because the want to be true to their sound, oh pleaseee im a musician and have play in lots of bands, i am from puerto rico and have tour to the states and central america and the caribean, and i am making music that people will like, but also i love, underoath changed but they liked what they did. if you are going to say sellouts to someone say it to someone who does something that he hates for the money, but aaron loved underoath albums as much as he loves now what he is doing.

    Keep Doing what God has called u to Aaron, I know that he hasnt seen yet the amazing plan that God has for him!

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