The Digital Age

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With their debut album ‘Evening Morning’ released on August 13th, The Digital Age have had a great and prominent fan following from listeners who have previously loved and enjoyed the David Crowder*Band. Here is a recent email interview I had with Mark Waldrop (second from the left on the picture) of the band, discussing about the album, and their most famous cover song they’ve done, ‘All The Poor and Powerless’. Check out questions and responses below.

Question 1: In what ways is The Digital Age similar to The David Crowder*Band, and in what was is the band different. Since the formation, what has been the easiest aspect of recording songs, and what has been the toughest challenge?

Since we are 2/3’s of the David Crowder*Band, you could say we’re very similar and our mission is still the same as the DC*B. We started off just recording songs that we were rehearsing for our church, and we cleverly put those songs together on an EP called Rehearsals. That came easy to us because we’ve toured and played together for over 10 years, so we know each other very well.

There was uncertainly and some hesitation when we first started, but once we realized that we love playing together and that we love making music for the Church, all the pieces just began to come together. Every time a new thing or direction came to light, we became even more confident in the direction and mission of what we’re called to do. Obviously, it’s going to be a battle to get everyone to know we’re still playing music, or even that the David Crowder*Band ended, but people have been slowly finding out and have been really supportive and excited about this next chapter for us.

Question 2: Tell us about how you signed to Fair Trade Services and divulge a bit as to how you would describe your music for those who haven’t heard it. For me, it’s musically similar to the DC*B but with more electronics and remix-like effects!

After the release of our independent Rehearsals EP, we were really wanting to release Evening:Morning indie again. We built a studio in our hometown of Waco, TX and really loved having complete creative control of every aspect of the band. Most labels do 360 deals now, and after being on a label for 12 years, we were enjoying the freedom of being indie. However, we started to get pursued by people and eventually Fair Trade reached out to our management, who then reached out to us and said “Look, we know you guys want to do an indie release, but if there’s any label out there who gets people like you guys who do their own thing, it’s Fair Trade.” They flew to our studio in Waco and we really hit it off. The president of the label, Jeff Moseley went to Baylor University like we did, so everything felt like family.

It’s hard to describe our music. Really we just try to write music that kind of sounds like what we’re into and what our church is into. It’s similar to the way we wrote in the David Crowder*Band. We love it when worship music is in the musical vernacular of pop culture, so we let what we’re listening to affect our writing and production style on a song-by-song basis. Sometimes this would lend itself to a scatterbrained record with no cohesion, but since we’ve been playing together for so long, we really get how to play off each other to create a “sound.” We did lose an acoustic player with Crowder and a violinist with Mike Hogan, so instead of replacing them, we just decided to fill the sound out with more electronics and silly stuff! We have to double up duties in the live setting to pull it off!

Question 3: Your cover of “All The Poor And Powerless” (originally by All Sons And Daughters) is pretty awesome- it’s been included on both the Rehearsals EP and this album Evening:Morning; can you tell us the story behind how that song was chosen, and why it was recorded again rather than just placed on the album straight from Rehearsals EP? A music video for ‘All The Poor and Powerless’ could be a great choice after ‘Captured’!

David Crowder*Band was the Univeristy Baptist Church (UBC) worship team for over a decade, and when Crowder left Waco, the rest of us that make up The Digital Age wanted to stick around and keep being involved with UBC worship. The Rehearsals EP we did was essentially us rehearsing to play at church that Sunday. We decided to record/film it since we were having a lot of people wondering what we sounded like. Our church just started playing “All the Poor and Powerless” and I started singing it over this open tuned guitar riff that I was playing around with. Eventually, we had a cool arrangement that we couldn’t wait to play at UBC. They loved it so we figured it’d be cool to show to other congregations! The Rehearsal EP version was live in our studio, and since it was so well-loved by people, we really wanted to do a proper studio version for Evening:Morning.

Question 4: What was the process of filming the music video for “Believe”, as well as what we should expect for the upcoming music video for the current single “Captured”? What other songs on the new album are you excited about, the harder songs to write/record, the easier ones, or a bit of both?

“Believe” was a long project. We had to figure out how to do the fader things, but Bwack, our resident robot building drumming genius, is really great at troubleshooting. We teamed up with our management and a couple other people to pull off the coding where the audio and video would sync up off the YouTube videos. We basically lit ourselves really well and placed us in our respective areas of the frame, and then figured out a way to make the opacities work where you could stack all the videos on top of each other. We always did our own music videos in the DCB, so that’s something we wanted to keep doing. Again, we really love being in control of everything we do media-wise.

For the “Captured” music video, we had this whole idea in mind that we have since scrapped. We were planning on getting a certain number of videos, but in the video requesting people to play along, I said we’d include EVERY video submitted. Well, that was a blessing and a curse, because we ended up getting over three times as many submissions as we were expecting! So, now Bwack is holed up at his house working on a totally new idea. It should be really cool!

Question 5: You’re headlining a fall tour in September (on your website it doesn’t say who with), tell us about that. What can we expect from your live shows, and are you thinking about singing some DC*B songs in your set-list on this tour? Any other countries you’d love to tour (or artists you’d love to tour with…David Crowder*Band?), either in 2013 or beyond?

We’re really excited to finally do a proper tour as The Digital Age. We’ve been playing out and about since last August, but not in a formal “tour” sort of way. We’re designing everything from the ground up, and Bwack is going to run loops, lighting, words, and video all from his laptop. It’s either going to work amazing or epically fail. That alone is worth coming to see! We’re doing a pretty diverse set that will include most of Evening:Morning, a few Rehearsals songs, a few hymns and a few DC*B favorites. We’ve actually gone back and learned some DC*B songs that we always wanted to play that were never played live. Those are fun for us, and especially for DC*B fans who enjoy those deep cuts. After the tour, we’re going to be travelling pretty hardcore for all of 2014. Hopefully that will include wherever the people reading this are!

Question 6: For the rest of 2013 and also for 2014, what are your goals, musically and personally? Anything that the Lord has been showing you, both as a band and personally lately, that you think you have subconsciously incorporated into the album lyrically and stylistically, and have they also aligned with your goals and dreams for the future ahead?

Great question with a really straightforward and simple answer. This whole album (Evening:Morning) is centered around the idea that as Christians, we go through darkness and death, but because Christ has redeemed all things and conquered death and darkness, we don’t need to be afraid of it. For us with the end of DC*B, we could have been afraid of the future. Maybe should have been. But we knew that God was with us each step of the way, and that we’d know what we needed to do when we got there. Lyrically there are many lines on the record that say this theme:

“I’ve never felt more found than when I’m lost in You” – Captured

“Through the night we’ll keep on signing”- Through The Night

In moments of uncertainty, the only constant thing is Christ. We knew we wanted to make this record about what we were going through personally, on an actual, spiritual, and emotional level. We witnessed the end of something awesome, but we also get to witness and be a part of another awesome thing. Our God is alive and working all the time, and that’s the story we want to tell.

Question 7: Any advice you would share to listeners of your music who may think they are far from God at the moment? Any encouragement to budding musicians or listeners inquisitive of your music, but sceptical that it could be a big divergence from what was expected from when the David Crowder*Band was together?

Just as I said in the last question, God is life. He makes beauty from ashes. When things seem dark, he lights the path if you’re looking. We hope our music tells this truth in an honest and accessible way. We love the narrative that our God is moving here and now, and that death and darkness have been overcome.

For budding musicians and potential listeners, we did lose two band members, so the easiest explanation to lower expectations would be to say, well, it’s 2/3rds of the DC*B, so just set your bar a third lower… hahahaha.

But seriously, we’ve been playing together so long that we know how we write, how we play in a live setting, how we function together as a community of believers on the road and at home, and it’s that cohesion that made the DC*B function so well. We’ve said all along that if any of us four didn’t want to keep doing music that we couldn’t/wouldn’t be a band. While Crowder leaving to Atlanta was a huge piece of our identity, the fact that the rest of us felt the same mission to keep going was huge as well. The DC*B was based out of UBC and wrote songs for that community, and the four of us really felt like we needed to “keep on keepin’ on.” We don’t feel like we’re too stylistically different than the DC*B. We’re writing the same kind of music with the same guys for the same congregation. It sounds different because it is different, so expectations should be thrown out somewhat when comparing directly to the DC*B. Anyway, to those people who are inquisitive, I’d say come out and see us play, talk to us, hit us up on Twitter. We’d love to tell you and show you what we’re about in person!

Check out The Digital Age’s album ‘Evening:Morning’ on iTunes, Amazon or any other digital or physical copy retailer. Below is a music video of their song ‘Believe’, and be sure to be on the lookout for their video for ‘Captured’ soon.