I Am Alpha and Omega Interview March 21, 2009
Jess -Indie Vision Music – You guys have had a lot going on recently right?
Donny – vocalist of I Am Alpha and Omega – Yeah, gosh God’s been so good. We are about to sign with a new label that we are really proud and happy to sign with. Chad Johnson is starting a new label called Come and Live and I think you guys have talked about a little [on IVM]. He just has a vision to look at what we do as more of a ministry and missionary based way to do things. And that’s exactly where we [fall]. So we’re excited about that. We just got out of the studio in Connecticut. We got some new stuff coming up soon.
Now the label with Chad Johnson it’s not the typical, traditional label.
It’s not so much about pushing the album sales.
It’s not actually. We’re kinda looking at it like, you know, the Bible talks about God giving us unique arenas to share the Gospel. We look at our scene as that God-given unique arena. And yes we need financial support to sustain [the band, but] Chad’s looking more towards monthly pledges, monthly support much like other Christian organizations that kind of rely on brothers and sisters in Christ to support us. [We are going to] lean on God and put our stake in faith. And you’re right as far as album sales and things like that we’re not as concerned with that as we are [about] just kinda finding ways to broaden how we do things. Try to get as many kids to these shows as possible
So is there going to be a bigger emphasis on touring with this label?
Yes, we’re scheduled to do about 140 dates this year. We’re about to go out on a 35 day tour with Oh the Blood, a band called Out Run the Gun and Clock tower Showdown. And then after that we are headed to Australia/New Zealand. We’re doing a month tour between those two areas and doing part of that tour with Saving Grace out of New Zealand
Very cool. So have you guys been overseas before?
No, no, never been that far. I know it’s like a 20 hour plane ride. I don’t know what I’m gonna do with myself (laughs), but you know God is really amazing and when we ask him to open and close doors He’s just so definitive
Have you guys started to figure out the lingo and the culture [in Australia]? I’m sure it’s a little bit different.
You know that’s a great question. Actually we’ve learned that Christian music doesn’t go over well there. Kids don’t really like hearing from Christian bands. So we’re excited for that challenge. Saving Grace, however, is the one Christian band over there that apparently, when they play a show kids show up. So we’re really excited to tour with them. That’s a blessing. Just to have that challenge to be bold in our faith even in the midst of opposition.
Definitely. You guys didn’t do a whole lot of touring before [signing to Come and Live] right? Did you have other jobs that you’ve been doing aside from the band?
For a good two years we were kinda [playing music] when we had free time. And it’s interesting, I was actually gonna quit the band and God had a completely different plan. He broke my life down and he made it so we all realized this [band] was our calling. Last year we toured about 160 days and that was new for us. Before that we had been doing full time jobs and now this [band] is our full time job. God covers our bills he makes sure, ya know we’re not really making any money or anything, but at the same time, if we step back and we look the things that we need God has provided. God is good and we do [play music] full time
And a few of you guys are married…
Two of us are. My brother and I are both married
So does that put a strain on anything knowing that you might not be around as much?
Honestly it’s the toughest part for me. Being away from my wife is hard because I’ve been with my wife for 10 years. We started dating when I was 15. Sometimes the devil will use that feeling guilty about being away. She is so much stronger than me. She wants us to do this. She knows this is what God has called us to do. And in return God has made our relationship stronger he’s made it better and he’s made us appreciate each other more. I guess I should be thankful for [that when I’m] away from her.
Do you ever get, I don’t know, afraid or timid about those temptations on the road? How do you prepare yourself for those kinds of things?
That’s a really good question. God has been good as far as that. I mean we get tons of trials and tests that is one that hasn’t come up, but the devil is crafty and he’ll come up with a lot of ways. One thing we’ve realized is that when it comes to our sisters in Christ at shows we need to be above reproach. That’s what the Bible talks about, being above and beyond reproach. And you actually (points to Jess), reported on it [on IVM] we started a new ministry called IAAAO Girls and it’s basically for our sisters in Christ we meet at shows. We want someone they can have contact with. Our wives are apart of this ministry and, yeah, they don’t come out on stage with us and they don’t write music, but they are the heart and soul of what we do. If we don’t have them we can’t do what we do. They’re stronger than us in so many ways. They’ve really just embraced this. And you know God’s really blessed it. They are literally getting new girls everyday that are just needing help, needing advice, needing prayer and God’s just really blessed it. So in answer to that, to kind of preemptively block or prevent the devil working in that way that’s what we’ve done.
Are there any other places you guys have been trying to reach out to fans other than Myspace. Do people maybe approach you a lot about lyrics?
That’s actually my biggest hope. My main goal is I want kids to see God. I want them to feel His presence. I want them to know He is real and not a floating entity in the sky. He is a living breathing God that is throughout everything that we do. Most nights I’ll get kids asking questions and that is the only reason I [am in this band]. Yes, I love music I love playing in I Am Alpha and Omega. That’s really where God has called us. He has called us to focus on the ministry side of things. The music is a great gateway for that; we do get a lot of questions. It’s interesting trying to find new ways to kind of spread out, we’re trying to find unique venues that we know are not typical Christian hot spots. That’s what we’re really asking God for, opportunities to step out into the dark places.
Do you guys get a lot of outside criticism about how is such heavy dark music glorifying to God? Do you get a lot of that from your grandparents or something? (laughs)
(laughs) It’s been a while, but yes, yes, we actually had a battle of the bands we did, I guess it was like two years ago now. We won the first round and then I got this call from this pastor and elders. And they were saying they weren’t gonna let us play because we screamed. And my first reaction was, I was so mad, I was so angry, I wanted to lash out at them. I just took a break, took a breath, said a prayer and I called them back and was like we won’t scream, that’s fine, we’ll do an acoustic set. You know, you as a brother in Christ, you need to show me in the Bible where I am sinning. I asked this pastor, when he meets me to show me where this is sin. We went and did an acoustic set and actually the judges gave it to us and [the pastor] never showed me and that’s the biggest thing. I understand people don’t understand where we’re coming from, I get that. But for you to criticize something you’ve never tried to understand. Most of the people that criticize and if there is someone out there who is criticizing any of the genres that are heavy Christian my first question to them would be how many Christian shows have you been to? Because if you go to them I guarantee you will see God in them. It’s the only reason I do it. You know kids in this scene, some of them are hurting some of them aren’t, but they’re all respectful for the most part and they’re all at least open minded to hearing what you have to say. Very rarely do we get disrespected at shows, you get it sometimes, but you don’t always get it. And for the most part these kids are pretty respectful and they are going to be the generation, I believe to lead a revival. They’re going to lead us out of complacency that we as Christians have [made a] home of. You know we’re going to get out of our comfort zones we’re gonna step out in faith and be bold in Christ.
Definitely. So kind of going back to the band, are there any snorers or sleep talkers?
(laughs) Oh Gosh. Josh our guitarist he snores so loud that I just, I thought I’d get used to it. I said “yeah ok it’ll probably be weird at first,” but like he snore incredibly loud. And then our old guitarist who left, God called him somewhere else, he would sleep talk and wake up. And one time he had a five minute conversation with me. He doesn’t remember any of it. The biggest thing with us is that my brother, our bus runs on waste vegetable oil, and he like loves playing in it. (Jess laughs) He doesn’t have to get nearly as dirty as he does. The whole bus smells like waste vegetable oil because he just… (laughs) He’ll put his hands in it, put his hair in it, he’s just gross with it. It’s really becoming an issue. We’re gonna have to deal with it soon. So…
Was he the same way growing up too?
Yeah he was a dirty kid. He was always that kid that my mom had to chase in to the bathtub ya know?
So how did you guys all meet? Did you meet in youth group or something?
My brother and I have been playing music since we were little kids. Ilya we met, gosh I’m trying to think, I wanna say 6 or 7 years ago. He actually started a band with my brother when I started working. And that just didn’t work out and then the three of us started playing together and ever since we’ve been working together. We’ve always been the core. The three of us have always worked together, but we’ve had so many swinging door members just because, and that’s great I’m thankful for every one of them because God has a reason for everything. The newest two guys Josh and Jason actually owned a venue in Missouri that we actually played at and through that we met them. They were in a touring band before the venue called Cry is Hannah. They’ve just been a huge blessing. It’s great to have two guys in the band that know where we’re coming from. They know the work that’s involved with touring, know what it’s like to be on the road. And they’re great musicians, it’s been great.
Is there anything else you’d like to add or want me to ask you before we close this out?
The only thing I want to add is just Come and Live is in its formidable stages right now but June 1st we’re gonna see it launch officially. Chad is just an amazing guy, all the people at Come and Live are. The team that he’s built, every single person that’s involved in this label, they all left extremely prominent position in this scene. Chad was obviously head of A&R at Tooth and Nail/Solid State. The countless list of bands he’s signed is just ridiculous. All these people stepped out in faith in Christ and they’re walking out on faith and answering his call regardless of how safe it looks. And all the bands they are signing are just going to be amazing. There’s going to be so many amazing bands coming up. Come and Live’s website should be launching soon and we’re all apart of that. Just keep your eyes out for it. I just want to say that Indie Vision Music has been following us for a while. We are extremely thankful for all the service you guys do. You guys give up your time to do this and that is absolutely worth mentioning. So anyone who happens to watch [or read] an interview or go to the website, I hope that they realize the valuable [time] that everybody in Indie Vision Music puts in to do what you guys do. And you don’t do it for a paycheck. We’re really appreciative of it. So I just want to say thank you to you.
Not a problem, our pleasure. Thank you very much