The Glorious Unseen Interview

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Yesterday, I had the awesome opportunity of doing an e-mail interview with Ben Crist of The Glorious Unseen. I know that e-mail is pretty impersonal, but he seems like an amazing guy. If you have visited TGU’s myspace today, you might have read this already, because Ben posted it there.  This is my first interview ever, so constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. Please point out mistakes. I tried to ask less commonly asked questions, and I hope I succeeded. So yeah, enjoy the interview.

1.)Could you introduce yourself and give some background on previous bands/musical endeavors, etc?

My name is Ben Crist – I grew up playing drums in the worship team at my dad’s church in Atlanta, GA… Moved to Nashville in 2000 to go to school at Belmont University. Started playing drums in a hardcore band called Last Caress shortly thereafter – when that broke up I played guitar in an emo / rock band called Colson for a bit. That was fun. When that was over I started just leading worship for this sunday night homegroup some friends and I started… As the group grew – we decided to become a church. I continued leading worship – began writing my own songs – and today we have the Glorious Unseen…

2.)Your T&N debut released last week. What did you do on release day? Was it a normal day with the exception that your album was released, or did you do anything special?

Pretty much a normal day – I mean, I got my shipment of CD’s in the day before… Just had a lot of online promotion and stuff to work on… but other than that a pretty normal day… Went to see Ryan Adams play in Nashville that night…

3.)Have You made any friends with your T&N label mates since being signed?

yeah I’ve made friends with a lot of them during this whole process – some of them, I have been friends with for years – like the Normajean dudes and As Cities Burn guys… but recently I’ve met more of them and it’s cool… I like being on a label with a bunch of normal dudes who are trying to serve the lord with their talents…

4.)You Covered David Crowder’s O, Praise Him on your album. Are you a fan of his? Have you met him?

I’ve met him – before I was signed I gave him a copy of my demo… haha. I feel a little embarassed about that now… but I mean I like some of his songs… I wouldn’t say I’m a huge, huge fan. First time I heard O Praise Him was when another worship leader in our church played that song on a sunday… I didn’t know it was Crowder…I hadn’t really ever listened to Crowder… I like his song “Come and Listen” … really I don’t like a ton of that Passion stuff – I like some of their songs here and there… but when I lead them I do them in kind of a different way…

5.)When did you first begin playing music, and what were your inspirations? Did you always want to be a worship leader/pro musician?

I began banging around on drums when I was like 7 I think… Cause I used to watch the drummer at church and thought he was so awesome… As I was growing up I was only allowed to listen to christian music – so I was into all the early Tooth  and Nail stuff… I don’t know that I always wanted to be a pro musician… I just kinda liked doing it as a hobby – I never enjoyed taking lessons and all that… just learned on my own… Just kinda happened to start doing the worship leading thing… And I loved doing it…

6.)What is a passage of Scripture that has had impact on you lately?

The part when Jesus walks on water and Peter goes out to meet him. but when he takes his eyes off Jesus he starts to sink… Then jesus comes and lifts him up… It impacts me cause it reminds me to keep my eyes on him and not be distracted with music business and all that… Just stay focused on what he has called me to…

7.)How are the people at your church, The Anchor Fellowship responding to the success of TGU? Do they still view you as Ben Crist, the worship leader, or are you treated differently than before you were signed?

I don’t know – kind of mixed… There’s so many people coming in and out of the Anchor all the time… you don’t really know how long people have been there… Since it’s kinda a college aged church – people are here one day, gone the next… so yeah now it’s a completely different group than it was when it started… Honestly I don’t know a lot of the people there anymore… Those that have been there awhile treat me the same… Some of the new kids kinda act differently – since I’m a signed T&N guy or whatever… But it’s all good…

8.)For such a new band to the T&N roster, you guys seem to be pretty popular. Bands such as Underoath and The Chariot have had great things to say about you. How does this feel? Is it hard to not let success get to your head?

Well for me I mean this has been a very long process… this didn’t just happen overnight… I’ve been singing these songs in worship for years… It’s been a long process of learning to serve the lord… So I’m praying that my attitude would not change… Just continue doing what he puts in front of me to do… And it will continue to be a blessing…

9.)What interests/passions do you have outside of music. What is one thing you’ve recently done involving that interest/passion?

I like to work out while listening to spirit filled hardcore like LifeInYourWay and OhSleeper… That’s a fun time… I bartend at a local restaurant… That’s a fun time too… I like to sneak into local hotels to find sweet pools and jacuzzis… One new thing I’m doing is I’m starting to eat out of the bus tub at work… I work at a sushi bar… Like, It would be a shame to waste good sushi – so when people don’t eat it all – I sneak it to the back and eat it… That’s gonna be my new hobby I guess… I can save money that way…. hopefully I won’t get fired… haha… just kidding… kind of.

10.)Which song on your new record was the most fun to write and record? Is that same song also your favorite to play live?

Man they all had their fun recording moments… They’re all so epic – it’s fun watching the song come together from beginning to end… We had fun with Wrapped up in you… that little guitar lick at the beginning and that off tempo drum thing was sick!! Close to Your Heart was awesome cause we just made it so heavy at the end… Meet us Here has that breakdown at the end that was fun to do… Live – Hear Our prayers seems to go very well… just draws people together well…

Now for the fun questions…. 

11.)Who is the most famous person that you’ve met?

Off the top of my head – I think some of the Tennessee Titans players or country music stars I guess… Those people are always in my restaurant – so I get to serve Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bently, Eddie George, Steve McNair and those guys a lot… hmmm… I guess I kinda met Billy Corgan once but that was at a Pumpkins show afterparty… he was drunk I doubt he remembers…

12.)What was your favorite childhood activity?

probably playing tennis / baseball with my bros and friends… I think that continues to be the best memory…

13.)What is a movie you’re looking forward to seeing?

I think we might go see Saw III this week… I just heard of this new movie called Bella which apparently is very inspirational… So I wanna check that… And that new Tom Cruise thing – can’t remember the name but I’m gonna try to convince my wife to go see that too…

14.)Do you have interest in video games, or are they something you stay away from?

I have a nintendo 64 cause I used to play 007 a bunch… but now I don’t really make time anymore… I haven’t beaten it yet though… so maybe I can find some more time to play… myspace takes all my time!! It’s a curse… haha

15.)What is one thing that you’ve done, and promised yourself that you would never do it again?

haha… one thing I’m trying to not do anymore is book a show – and then have to back out of it… I had to back out of a few shows recently… I’m trying to plan these shows and tours more carefully now…

16.) What is your favorite activity when you hang out as a band?

Just freaking sitting in the van and making inside jokes… like if we see a girl outside or something and everyone like messing with the drummer cause he’s single…and saying that she needs to be his girl and all… that’s pretty funny…

17.)Do you have any prayer requests? Either in regards to TGU, or your personal life?

Just for continued clarity in what God has for me and for the band… that he would lead wherever this thing is meant to go…

18.)Last words/comments.

I would’ve written longer answers to some of these questions but I’m not a good typer…

And that’s it. If you don’t have the album, go buy it. These guys are one of the few bright spots in a (in my opinion) mostly bland worship music scene. Again, I would appreciate constructive criticism. :)