Email interview with Jamie of Sent By Ravens.
JoshIVM: Alright the typical introductory question… Can you give a short back story of the band?
Jamie (SBR): The band started in winter of 2006 with Zach(vocals), Andy(guitar) and myself (Jamie/bass). We had always had problems with drummers we could never seem to get a set lineup because we were always looking for a drummer. At the time we really hadn’t put a lot of thought in having a second guitar player as well. But I decided to search Youtube for drummers who had put drum covers of them playing Underoath songs. Dane(Drums) just happened to have a video up and I was going through them and checking out everyone who had videos up and sending messages to the ones I thought were good. I ended up messaging Dane and I found out he was from Hawaii. When I found out he was from Hawaii I thought there was surely no way he would be moving from Hawaii to South Carolina to play with us. The next day Dane called us and said he was very interested in the position and he wanted to talk with us more about it. Also, he told about his best friend JJ(guitar), who also plays guitar now. We were interested in the idea of having 2 guitar players. So JJ made some videos of him playing some orginal songs he had written and needless to say we were impressed. With in the next month we talked back and forth and both JJ and Dane bought on way tickets to South Carolina and moved. And here we are today going at it strong. I do have to say it was act of faith and God definitely had a plan for us from the beginning. Things like that just don’t happen. It was definitely not coincidence.
Was the desire to pursue music full-time there from the inception of Sent By Ravens or did it develop later on?
We always wanted to make music our lives and our jobs. Its always been each of our dreams to do music full time and share what we love with people. We were serious about everything from the get go. We said we would work as hard as we had to to do this.
I’m sure that being signed was one of the band’s goals but what else do you desire to achieve with the band?
Our biggest goal is to share hope and love with people. We are Christians in a band, but I wouldn’t label us a christian band per se because we really address everyday situations and everyday problems. We just want people to know, that listen to our music, that there’s always hope and there’s always love even in this world that seems so dark sometimes. No matter how bad it gets that God will always be there to pick you up if you let Him. We just feel the need to share the love that we are shown each and every day. And we don’t say this to make us better than anyone. We are human, we have our struggles and problems just like anyone else. But God loves us and He loves each and every person just as much and we just try to share that with people. And also we want to be successful in the business. These days its tough to do music. The market is just struggling so bad. So we just hope we can be successful in the business and stay here for a while.
The songs on your 2007 release, The Effects Of Fashion And Prayer (EP), sounded far more mature than you’d expect for a band that had only existed for a year. Why do you feel that things came together so well for you guys?
There’s really no explanation for it other than the fact that I believe we are suppose to be together making music together. We just mesh so well. I really believe that we were brought together for this specific purpose and thats what we want to do.
Do you guys write material as a group or are there primary songwriters?
All the music is written as a group. Usually someone comes in with a certain riff or part then everyone throws in their ideas until it works out. And all the lyrics are written by Zach.
The EP also had a great overall sound quality, especially for a young, independent band. Who did you record the EP with?
We recorded our EP at The Sound Barn in Kinston, NC. John Harrell runs the studio. Doing all the producing and engineering himself. He is a great friend of ours who we know from the band he plays in, BELSON. And he is literally a genius when it comes to recording. The quality is amazing and you can not beat his rates. Believe me I’ve looked around.
Now earlier this year you did a tour with Inhale Exhale (Solid State Records). Was that your first significant touring experience? How was the overall crowd reaction on that tour?
This was our first tour with a bigger signed band. We’ve done some tours we’ve booked ourselves and toured with some friends of ours but this was our first bigger tour. It went really well and the crowd reaction was awesome. Kids really got into us it was a fun experience.
Were you guys currently working on a deal with Tooth & Nail at the time or did that come after?
We had been in talks with Tooth and Nail around this time but nothing serious. It was on that tour that T&N sent out an A&R to see us play and after that that’s when we start discussing a deal.
Speaking of Tooth & Nail, you guys recently signed to the label. How has it been working with them so far?
T&N is awesome. Everyone is really awesome from Brandon Ebel the owner to the art department to all the A&Rs. You can tell everyone in the T&N family is really tight. Which is great. Makes work a lot easier. They really believe in what we are doing.
Being that they are a pretty reputable label did you feel any pressure when working on songs for the debut?
We went to Seattle and recorded the our first full length record. Aaron Sprinkle produced the record and we had Matt Carter, guitar player from Emery, do some engineering on it. I’m not gonna lie we were a little nervous about going out there and working with them. We had never worked with a producer at the caliber before so we really didn’t know what to expect. But once we got in there it didn’t take any time at all to get comfortable with them. Both Aaron and Matt are awesome guys to work with. They are pretty much geniuses. They worked so hard with us and we are grateful we got the opportunity to get to work with them.
Was Aaron able to challenge you in any way?
Aaron did challenge us a lot. He just had the most simple ideas that for some reason we never really thought about and it made the songs so much better. He’s so laid back too and is a lot of fun to work with. Always cracking jokes and having a good time.
What is the title of the new album and when can we expect the album to hit shelves? Is there any significance to the title you picked?
We are still tossing around ideas for the name of the album and it should be hitting shelves around Nov. – Jan. we aren’t very sure on when yet.
Did you write all new material or can we expect any of the songs that were on The Effects Of Fashion And Prayer to appear on the album? If so, which songs made the cut?
The CD is going to have 11 tracks on and 9 of them are brand new songs and the other 2 are off of TEOFAP. “Trailer vs Tornado” and “This Awakening” are the two songs that are going on the new album.
Do you know which song will be the first single off of the album? I’m sure there are plans for a video, do you know who you might be working with for that?
Not sure what the single is gonna be yet but it would be awesome to work with Iron Curtain Media Group again.
I’m sure you guys will be hitting the road in support of the new release, so is there anything set in stone that you can share with us? Do you plan to be on the road quite a bit after the album hits shelves?
Yes we plan to tour constantly before, when and after the album comes out. That’s the most important thing right now is getting on the road, on good tours with good acts. There’s is nothing set it stone at all right now. All I know is that we have been submitted for a bunch of tours.
IVM, as you know, is a site dedicated to covering music created by Christians. How do you feel your faith impacts your music? Do you consider SBR to be a ministry or more simply a band of Christians?
We are a ministry, I just dont like the label christian band because it puts everyone under this judgmental watchful eye. But like I said early we feel like we should share the love that God has given us. And to just share with everyone what He has done for us and how amazing He really is.
Alright before we wrap up, what can we do as fans and fellow Christians, for SBR? Anything we can pray for?
Pray hard for opportunities to arise. With touring and any other doors that will push our band to the next level. It’s really hard to make it in this game these days. Just pray we stay strong and stay focused on God. As long as we keep God first and work hard I feel like we will prosper.
Ok, so that about wraps it up. Is there anything you’d like to leave our readers with?
Just keep telling people about us and spreading the word about us. Word of mouth is the most effective promotion. Keep checking our myspace for updates, tour dates, new fancy stuff etc. We love you guys. Thanks for the opportunity and we hope all is well.