A big thanks to Mattie for answering these questions!
MattieFT- Well, the Greek word Ekklesia has two meanings that I think build on each other very well. The first meaning is “The church” and the second is “the called out ones of God”. I feel like, all too frequently, members of the church think that, because they claim the name of Christ, God owes them something. However, to be a part of Ekklesia, or “the church”, requires action, sacrifice, and passion on our part. We’ve been called out by God.
MattieFT- Well, I’m not sure if I’m the best one to ask. I’m actually still the new guy in the band. I joined after they had the entire album written AND recorded; I had about 2 weeks to learn all the songs before we left for tour. Then, thankfully, we hit the studio for 2 days in Michigan so I could lay down my vocal tracks.
KimIVM- Were there any personal experiences that helped produce any of the lyrics? (Anything you feel comfortable sharing of course)
MattieFT- Ask me this question after we come out with our next album. I’ll be writing all the lyrics and, I promise, they will all be INCREDIBLY personal.
KimIVM- What were some of the setbacks you guys faced while creating the album? How did you handle them?
MattieFT- Well, the whole reason we went into the studio was because we were set to sign with a label (who shall remain nameless) that wound up pulling the contract from us halfway through recording. So, we had this huge recording bill and no label backing to pay it. Thanks to some of our amazing friends, though, we managed to make it work. :)
…that, and I was incredibly sick the whole time I was doing vocals.
I was sleeping for about 17 hours a day at that point. It was rough.
KimIVM- How do you think you’ve grown as a band and individually since the earlier days of For Today?
MattieIVM- Whew, well… For Today wasn’t a Christian band at all when it started. In fact, of the 5 guys in the band, only our drummer, David, was following Christ. But, through his faithful prayer and steadfast example of unconditional love, Ryan, Brandon and Mike all came to Christ. Then, last September, God lit a fire under me so powerfully that I could hardly keep my mouth shut, and He hooked me up with the band. And, well, since then, we’ve all been trying to just stay out of the way and let Him move
MattieFT- Exodus 14:14 ‘God will fight for you, you need only to be still.’ I see brothers and sisters spending all their time and energy running in ten different directions trying to find out what God wants for them, but never taking the time to be still and know that HE IS GOD (Ps. 46:10). If He is God, that means that we are NOT God. And, that means that the burden of providence has been released from our shoulders. If we are unable to be still in times of trial, we need to be praying for FAITH long before we’re praying for direction.
KimIVM- What’s your take on the seemingly growing population of bands taking the title of a ‘Christian band’ but not taking on the ministry?
MattieFT- Well, I’m sure I could get myself into a whole lot of trouble answering this question. So, I’ll just let Jesus do the talking. ‘I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40) The name of Christ WILL be exalted (Philip. 2:9-11), whether bands choose to do so or not. However, by keeping their mouths shut, what an honor they are missing out on…
KimFT- Tell me about your time growing up? Were you all raised in Christian households or was your faith found later on down the road?
MattieFT- That definitely varies from person to person. Ryan (guitar) and Brandon (bass), are brothers, and they were not raised in a Christian home at all. Mikey (guitar), David (drums), and I (vocals) were. However, I think I can speak for all of us when I say, while we may have KNOWN the truth, it was (and still IS), a long, arduous struggle to find out exactly who God is wanting to be through us, and how that will manifest itself in each of our lives.
KimIVM- What are some stereotypes about Christians that you’d love to just annihilate?
MattieFT- All of them. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8 We are also called a “peculiar people” in 1 Peter 2. There is ONE thing that all Christians ought to share, and that is a supernatural capacity for love (John 13:35). If there is any other thing by which we can be defined, we have shortchanged our maker and closed ourselves off to the wild nature of His Spirit.
KimIVM- What’s a question an interviewer has never asked you that you’d love to share the answer to?
I will then write the lyrics to every song, not ABOUT the person it is
named for, but from their perspective. Because of this unique approach
to writing the album, I will be able to really put myself in the place
of some of these people that lived and walked with God so powerfully
in the past–and even some people that were just miserable failures in
some situations (God knows I can definitely associate with those
people). This is going to be an incredibly personal album, but, I
hope that, by my being so transparent in sharing my heart–with all
it’s strengths and weaknesses–I will be able to draw other people
into really examining THEIR hearts. And, maybe bring some people into
a better understanding of the personal nature of a true relationship
We will be hitting the studio in early March, and, I can promise you,
‘Portraits’ is going to be a BIG step up, both technically and
KimIVM- What’s the core message in your music that you’d want to leave behind in the world?
MattieFT- We are nothing if not Sons of God. And, if we are Sons of God, we are called walk with power and authority over the things of this world.
KimIVM- Any last comments you’d like to share?
MattieFT- If God can use me, He can use anyone. It’s not a matter of figuring Him out on your own, it’s a matter of genuinely and objectively inviting Him to reveal Himself to you, and responding appropriately.