First off, Victims is an AMAZING album. It’s really one of the most beautiful records I’ve stumbled upon in a while. Yeah, I sat and cried with it! What was the writing and recording process like for you guys?
(Laughs) To make it beautiful?
(Laughs) I’m sorry! My wording is so…girly!
No, no that’s fine. Music is a form of beauty I guess you could say. Well, to tell you the truth, for Keep Your Head Above Water we did pray about it a lot, but for this album, Victims, we just prayed a whole lot and God really brought us a better understanding of what we were supposed to do and we felt that we were lead to do a more attacking and aggressive album. Basically, God just inspired us and really put us in the position to receive a lot more.
Like when we went to Richmond, Virginia to record, all Zach did is sit with his bible, paper, and a pen. He just prayed and prayed and read his bible and God gave him the lyrics. A lot of the things he wrote about were from Psalms actually. It’s just a really good book filled with opinions and prayers and stuff like that. It’s just so beautiful and poetic, but it’s got a lot of deep meaning to it too. A lot of the stuff in Psalms is like a cry for help and I really think that’s what our CD is. It’s really about crying out to God and putting yourself out there.
Were there any personal experiences that inspired any of the songs? Anything you feel comfortable sharing of course.
Some of the lyrics really are testimonies of what Zach’s went through or what we’ve went through and others were just straight out of the bible. There is one song though. It’s the slow song on the record, the one with the Latin name. I can never say it!
Yeah, I know which one you’re talking about! *Saaa…(mumbles random letter sounds)*
Yeah Saaaa…(also mumbles random letter sounds)
(We both Laugh) *I’d also like to add that we were speaking of track 8, Salus Suas Extanderreales Concedit.
Well, basically Cory, our guitarist, is singing in the beginning about his grandmother who died and how it just made him see God more. It was the same way with Zach. His uncle died of alcohol. He was drinking alcohol and he just died like in the hallway. You know how it says “He layed in a hallway” and it say’s that he found salvation? (Actual lyrics- He layed in a hallway I found salvation perfectly) He (Zach) just felt like God woke him up. God has to put you in a low point or make something catastrophic happen if you’re not seeing him clearly or if you’re not looking for him. So basically that song was really about them in their low points.
Wow, I just feel like I understand that song and it’s meaning so much more now. Thanks for sharing that.
No problem at all!
Well I’m a Christian, and I find a lot of teens stray away from their faith because it’s “uncool” in their peer’s eyes. What would you say to a kid pertaining to their walk with Christ?
Well that’s the thing, you’re gonna go through a lot of persecution. It says in the bible, “Put on the full armor of God,” so if the enemy comes at you you’ll be ready. Basically, the full armor is his word. What I would really say to a kid is if you look deep into the bible, dig into it, really read it, and meditate a lot, it’ll build your faith so much. Oh and prayer does work, I promise you that. You just gotta mean it with a whole heart. When you start praying and you start asking God-
*A car starts up next to us*
(To my recorder)Hey, that’s a car there!
Heck yeah that’s a car!
(Laughs) Well when you start asking God what to do, he’ll really show it to you. If you’re meaning it and really crying out to him, things will come so much easier. In my life I’ve had some terrible things happen and I’ve asked God why. It says in Psalms when David’s praying like, God why do you hide from me when I sit here weeping and laying on my couch all day just crying, but God hides from us sometimes because we’re not seeking him like we should. Along with finding God, crying out, reading the bible, yeah I know that’s cheesey, every body says, “Read ya bible!”-
No not at all man, it’s important and it works!
Yeah it does work. When you do it (read your bible) and you whole-heartedly love Jesus Christ and you love what he has, because his love is unfailing and so everlasting, and you really FEEL God, it’s the most amazing thing. God will really show you things like what you’re supposed to say and do when people come up to you and try to give you crap about stating the facts. It’s all about truth you know. The bible says when you’re witnessing to somebody, speak boldly. That’s just what you’re supposed to do. You have to be strong about it. With the armor of God, he’ll just throw all your enemies out the door.
In Psalms 18 it’s just talking about how David’s saying, my foes are just too strong God, and he just gives a vivid description of God coming down and basically beating the crap out of his enemies. It just says he’s coming down on this cloud and there’s thunder and there’s fire coming out if his nostrils, and God’s just like “BAM” and just knocks David’s enemies away. And then David’s like, when I felt God come down through me, I just felt like my enemies were dust under my feet. It’s so awesome the way he describes it and he thanks God so much for it. When you pray to God and he delivers it, you need to thank him because he’s worthy.
I entirely agree with everything you just said, thought I’d throw that out there!
(Laughs) Thank you!
No problem! Well tell me about your time growing up. Did you grow up in a household that had a relationship with God, or was that found later on down the road?
Umm we all grew up in like good, structured homes. Not like snobbish or whatever, but our parents were really strong Christians. They go to church every Sunday, blah blah blah, and stuff like that, but that’s just not it. They’re really hungry for God and they strive for God, and that just really rubbed off on all of us. Our parents really had to plant a seed, push us, and put us in church. After we got older, God really got ahold of us and then we started this (AKFJ) and this became our ministry.
Awesome! So how do you think you’ve progressed personally and as a band since the beginning of AKFJ?
Umm…our equipment has definitely gotten better! (Laughs)
Heck yeah! That’s always good!
Yeah it is! Well honestly, I think we play tighter as a band now. Every band is gonna have a sloppy night you know, but we just play tighter and we’re more meshed as a band now. Ever since the Scream the Prayer Tour we’ve just been getting deeper in God and it’s just meshed us together more. Now, we’ve got a better understanding of what our ministry is supposed to be and where our hearts are supposed to be. We’ve just gotten so much tighter and our music’s more mature and it’s all around fun!
Right on! Well you guys are such a straightforward and bold band I have to ask what you think about these bands that unfortunately take on the Christian “title,” but not the ministry. What are your opinions on this “trend?”
First of all, when you see people, you’re lead by example. When you see a band on stage saying we do this for Jesus Christ and then you see them off stage basically…screwing what they just said, I just hate that. I hate it.
It’s hard to watch.
It really, really is. It’s just like, why would you talk about my God like that and then set an example for other people of what a Christian is like? You’re in turn, turning them away from Christ and also making them think it’s ok to do this and that and this. I just don’t understand why band’s would want to do that. If you’re called to do ministry and God’s actually in you, you can see that shine through a band’s attitudes, actions, and what they do offstage.
It’s like a reputation, Christianity is a reputation. I mean God had a reputation! His reputation was screwed in the end though. He would sit and eat with the tax collectors and sinners and stuff like that. Everybody would be like, “Well he eats with them and he talks to them”, but it’s not the people that already know about Christ that need that, it’s the people that don’t know Jesus Christ. But yeah, if God calls you to do something and you’re onstage speaking about it than the people in the audience will know. It says in the bible, “Be aware of false prophets,” but if you’re a Christian you can tell who’s a false prophet and when a band is being serious.
I couldn’t have put that any better myself! Alright, so within the Christian community there are an insane amount of stereotypes, what stereotypes would you love to get rid of?
Hhmmm…(ponders for a bit) Well tattoos would be one for sure.
(This would be one moment where Zach steps in) When somebody hears you’re a Christian band they think everyone in the band is gonna be perfect and your salvation with God is gonna be pristine you know; but it’s not. We talk everyday about how we’re still working out our salvation with God and just trying to figure out what’s going on. Everyday we’re just learning new things and enriching ourselves more and we falter you know: just like you, me, him, and all the kids at the shows.
(Tyler) Yeah, people do give Christians a bad name. Like I was saying before, people lead by example. When someones walk is not what their words are like, they’re lead astray. Christians are really given a bad name. That’s why so many kids have walked away from church. They’re turned away because they don’t dress right, or look right or, because they don’t look like somebody else. They’re judged because they have tattoos, or piercings or just because they hangout with a certain crowd, but God knows your heart. God knows where you are with him, he sees your eyes, he sees what you’re thinking. He knows that if you love him that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter what people think of you because they’re just there to drag you down. You’re gonna go through trials, you’re gonna go through persecution, but it’s making your faith strong.
Right on man! I really needed to hear someone else say that stuff instead of me reassuring myself!! So tell me, what question has an interviewer never asked you that you’d love to share the answer to.
Wow…Ummmm…Well, I’m not sure if you’re about to ask it, but every person that interviews us always asks, “Well when did you get started? How did you get your name?” Just blah blah blah.
Well, I mean I COULD ask that and I’m sure it DOES make for great interviewing structure, but it always comes back to that being the information I could find anywhere on the web you know.
Yeah, I mean we do a lot of interviews and the only questions people ask about religion are, “How hard is it to be a Christian band?” or “How did you become a Christian band?” People that interview us really don’t get deep into the passion of what it is that a band does. Christianity is something to be passionate about. MY GOD is something to be passionate about. So these questions that you’re asking, I love it! Other interviews we’re just like, “Oh yeah, started about 4 years ago and blahhhh”
Heck yeah! See, I love to be personable with people. I don’t want to just meet you and say, “Hi, there’s this big wall between us and it’s boring!”
(Laughs) Yeah, I’m gonna say this interview that you’re giving is in depth and just different from any interview we’ve done.
Dude, thank you so much. I really appreciate that!
Alright, well next and last question unfortunately is: What is the core message you’d want someone to pull from your music? You guys make this music sooooo people will (insert answer)
Basically know…the truth, the passion, and the love that God has given. To a kid out in the crowd, if he’s saved and he knows God, we just want to say to keep your faith and God will show himself even more. Just keep strong, read your bible, just pound it! God, God, God, God! I’m not saying you have to be like a saint, but God is in it (your bible) and it works!
To a sinner, to somebody that doesn’t know God, to somebody that is unclean, to somebody that’s searching for something, it would be that God is what he is. God is love. I know this is cheesey because it’s MeWithoutYou but, “God is love and love is real.” The thing is you can feel God! People sometimes misconstrue saying, “Well I can’t see God and this and that,” he is unseen! People most of the time want something that they can physically hold onto and grasp or something physical to just tell them how to live. The thing is, so many kids get turned away, but the deeper you get into God the more he’ll put his presence on you.
We just want to fill kids with the hope that God does work. God is for you, you know, God’s not against you. He created you in his own image. He IS the creator of everything. It’s just his glory, everything he has to offer, his love, his compassion, just seeing and savoring that is the biggest thing. We just want kids to know that we love them as a brother and sister in Christ and that it’s fun to be a Christian!
It’s a community. It’s a family!
It is. It really is. We just want kids to feel God’s love. It just brings us so much peace and joy. Just to wake up in the morning and be in a bad mood and to pray just…man, it changes everything! I can’t even describe it!
There is no describing it. It’s just on another level.
It’s on another level! Yup, there you go =]