MICHAEL GUNGOR EXPLORES NEW GROUND ON HIS LATEST.
Never one to operate within constraints,
Gungor has pushed the boundaries of faith-inspired
and faith-inspiring music since
its inception in 2003. Uniquely gifted and
ridiculously creative, Gungor’s music has
challenged those who have heard it just as it
challenged those who were making it.
Recently, the band’s founder and central
figure, Michael Gungor, has walked through a season of questions, doubt and uncertainty.
While that place can be a desert for most
people, this period of time has, instead,
spawned his most creative and progressive
project to date.
I Am Mountain
has already generated buzz
among mainstream press and audiences.
was able to ask Michael a few questions
about the project, which is sonically, lyrically and emotionally a masterpiece. Enjoy getting
inside the head and the heart of one of the
most gifted songwriters and musicians of this
CCM: I Am Mountain is your first self-produced
album released independently. Why did you
decide to do this now?
The music industry is one of the industries that’s in the middle of
drastic change right now, and everybody is
just trying to figure out how to make things
work. The reality is that there is no room
for “non-essential personnel” anymore.
So we were just seeing if we could do it all
ourselves. And honestly, it’s not quite as
easy to do as we had hoped. But, again, most
people in the industry right now are just
trying to figure out how to survive; so who
knows what we’ll do for the next album, but it
certainly was an educational experience to do
the indie thing.
CCM: You’ve always pushed boundaries
sonically and thematically. This album takes
that even further. What was your goal on this
This may sound funny, but the goal was
to make a record that we liked. I know that
sounds like an over-simplification, and maybe
it is; but it’s also true. We want to make music
that is honest and is something that we are
proud of and excited to play every night on
the road. We do hope that other people like
the record, and that the music opens their
hearts, but we also recognize that we have
very little control of how people respond and
react to the music. All we can do is make the
music that feels right to us and hope that
some other people out there will feel the
same way about it.
CCM: You and your wife, Lisa, have had a
beautiful working relationship. How did your
collaboration on this project differ than on
I do feel really lucky to work with Lisa
so closely. I think we have found a pretty
good stride in our working relationship to
know each other’s strengths and weaknesses
enough to focus on what we should focus on.
We know each other so well that it’s easy to
write and collaborate with her without the awkward dance, for instance, of trying to tell
the person you are working with that the idea
needs work. I can just say, “that idea needs
work,” and she understands that I don’t
mean anything else by that. So, our working
relationship has actually gotten better over
the years, I think. If there’s anything different
about this album, I think it’s actually that
we included John Arndt more in the writing
process. Normally it’s just Lisa and me writing
the Gungor stuff; but John, who has played
with us since the beginning, came forward
with some cool ideas this time, and it was
really fun having him part of that process.
CCM: Your audience has always been diverse,
which is more apparent than ever with this
release. Why do you think that is? Do you have a
target audience in mind?
While we don’t really have a target
audience, we do try to speak to a thoughtful
and fairly progressive listener. But I also
am a huge fan of diversity; and some of the
most fun I have at a show is when there are
all sorts of different, weird people in the audience. I love weird, and we’re not afraid of
trying really eclectic mixes of influences and
styles; so maybe that’s why we have a fairly
eclectic fan base.
CCM: People experience God and participate
in worship in so many ways — through art,
spoken word, instrumental music, time spent
in nature… How do you personally experience
God and how do you think your music expresses
that and invites people to do the same, whether
overtly or not?
My understanding of the Divine at this
point is hard to separate from the experiences
of transcendence, connectedness and
openness that I experience in my life. So
while this album is not overtly trying to be
religious at all, we certainly do hope that
people will have those sorts of experiences
with the music — that hearts and minds would
be opened and that people would experience
hope. That, for me, is a very sacred thing.
FOR MORE IN FORMATION , VISIT GUNGORMUSIC.COM.