To begin, you can state your name and your duties in the band.
My name is Ben Olin and I am the Vocalist for This Beautiful Republic
So how’s touring going?
Touring has definitely been an adventure. It’s not as glorious as most people believe it to be, it’s a lot of really hard work, but the rewards outweigh the amount of work put in. Sanctus Real are friends of ours and Needtobreathe are just really great guys so it was a great first tour for us to be on. People like that make experiences so much fun and inspire us to get better at what we do. As far as crowd response, it’s been overwhelmingly positive despite our polarizing presentation. It seems like very few people say, “eh, they’re ok.” They either greatly enjoy the passion with which we present our songs and the energy we exude from stage or don’t. …but judging from the reactions we’ve had from this tour, most people are really into it and go to pick up the CD or a poster for us to sign later.
With all that time on the bus, what’s been getting the most playtime in your personal music player?
Well, we don’t spend much time in a bus, we spend more time in a van dragging a trailer behind us begging for 11 mpg. 🙂 But we definitely get to listen to music. I’m a hard sell on a lot of music, there’s no real formula to what I like, but I typically enjoy things that have a lot of passion to it or are just hard. So, right now, according to iTunes under the “most played” section, it’s UnderOath, Deathcab for Cutie, Norma Jean, The Chariot, mewithoutYou, Terminal, Taking Back Sunday, Pedro the Lion, Relient K’s new record, and Weaver at the Loom. Those are pretty much in a constant rotation lately.
Have you always been on the road a lot? What’s been the hardest part of adjusting to this new lifestyle?
We really haven’t been on the road a lot. We’ve been away from home a lot, but not really touring. It was to finish the record, working towards signing our deal with Forefront, photoshoot, meetings, and other behind-the-scenes things. We’ve played a lot of spot dates and have had to travel all over the country for that, but it wasn’t for really extended periods of time. Now that we ARE away for a longer period, the hardest thing to adjust to, for me, is to appreciate what we’re getting to do every day. It’s not the waking up early after going to bed late, it’s not the hours of driving each day, but it’s the acknowledgment of where we’re at and how we got here. It can easily get monotonous if you let it, but no job is without monotony and it’s our jobs to find the pleasure and blessing hidden in every morning.
“This Beautiful Republic”… that name is an obvious tribute to our nation, right?
Totally. …NOT correct, that is. But kind of at the same time. If you prefer to call the Kingdom of Heaven a nation, then yes it is. It’s our way to represent the Bride of Christ that exists now and will exist forever. It’s something where all of the people are equal, capable, and working towards one goal; glorifying Christ. We feel that way about our band. That everyone, no matter what connection you have to the band, is equal to the members in the band, can have a part in it, and feel accepted. We hope to encourage those who join with us towards the goal of glorifying Christ.
And your guitarist Adam Smith- is he really the Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism?
Yes. He’s looking good for his age.
Now can you tell us a little about your new record, Even Heroes Need a Parachute. I’m listening to it right now, to be honest, and it’s got some good stuff on it. How did you guys get together and form this sound?
Well… the long story is REALLY long, but as cliché as it may be to say, God really formed this band from two really different bands. I was in a harder melodic rock band and they had started by playing original praise and worship songs with an interesting edge. When both of us had needs, we never thought to get together until an act of God really put that possibility out there. We got together and the sound was born, worshipful lyrics and content with good solid rock and great melody. …and thanks!!
If a listener were to only take one thing from this album, what would you want it to be?
That God doesn’t care who you are, what you’re going through, or where you’ve been. He just wants you. He wants to rescue you from those things dragging you down and be your parachute.
With such a large number of Christians taking their music to the larger market and with so many great bands like UnderOath having a chance to reach kids in a way that Christian bands wouldn’t have thought possible five years ago (at least not in this scene), what made you choose to take the more tradition “Christian band” route, playing churches and signing to Forefront Records?
Great question. With the music industry struggling to move records and finding themselves in a situation where they have to be very careful with the acts that they sign, most bands figure that it makes more sense to appeal to the greatest of audiences; everyone. So they walk the line between general market and Christian to do that. We love all of these bands it seems like. Those are the ones that we seem to listen to the most, but for us, it didn’t make sense. We really don’t understand people in the general market as well as we do the Christian one. We all came from youth groups and churches and Christian schools, so we know a lot better what those kids are dealing with and feel called to try to encourage or reach them in some way.
Have you received any negative criticism for this decision?
Not at all. People respect our passion for that demographic and just try to find a way to help us.
How can we at Indie Vision Music best pray for This Beautiful Republic?
You can pray that we would always be safe and healthy as we travel. With our CD just being released, we are certainly going to be traveling a lot. Also that we would continue to be able to write and have those songs truly be coming from God. Then, most of all, you can pray for those who are going to be seeing us play or listening to the disc. Pray that they would be encouraged or pushed to further their relationship with God.
What’s something God has been teaching you lately, either as a band or personally?
Personally, I mentioned it a little bit above. That the monotony in our lives are really what make us who we are. The way that we approach or view the mundane is so overwhelmingly important because God loves the mundane. He’s in those experiences as much as he is in the most memorable ones. He doesn’t want credit for just the mountaintops, He wants to be with you every second of every day and have you know that. That’s been the trick of me, to appreciate every single morning before we take off or get moving for the day. Whether you have to get up for your job or school or you have to stay home with the kids, those are blessings from God. Thank Him for them.
Ten years down the road, where do you see This Beautiful Republic? (If that’s too hard, you can just do five years.)
Ten years? Hopefully we’re still allowed to make music for people and the label likes us enough to keep distributing it. I’d hope that we’d be headlining festivals and tours, with 7 or 8 records under our belts; all that have sold well and been really well received. I hope that we’ll be invited to be guests on other people’s records. I hope that we’re still being relevant in a big way, that our audience continues to grow at an increasing rate and that we continue to be a really accessible band who appreciates every one of their supporters. Oh, with some awards and accolades so that we can get on stage and be one of the few who thank God and mean it.
Any closing statements?
If you get a chance to come see us perform our songs live, please take the opportunity. The live show is like ice cream without the fudge. You might have the record already and like it, but if you throw the live show in with it, it will be that much more enjoyable. We’ll be at almost every major music festival, playing at great times, so please stop and watch and then come say hello or ask us to sign a t-shirt or something. …and thanks for supporting us in our little endeavor.
A special thanks goes out to Ben for sending this to me twice, for recording an awesome CD, and for playing a part in my learning to again appreciate bands who are more outspokenly “Christian bands for the Christian music industry,” because they apparently aren’t all rip-offs of mainstream artists (seriously, these guys are good), and God has called them to this and is using them through it. May His blessing be on them.