Relient K, CCM Magazine - image
CCM: I found this quote of yours, Hoopes, on social media. So see if this feels like you. [Laughs] It was a picture of an old piano with all this character, and you said, “There is something about the imperfection of an old instrument that not only gives it character but tells a story and connects us to its past.” Is this not true of us?

MH: What I was trying to say is it’s almost like this thing has a soul to it. But we are souls. As people, we have souls. We are very complex and also a product of our experiences and the things that we have gone through.

As a musician, there is something to an old instrument. You like to think of the songs that have been played on it or everything it’s gone through. There is something special about picking up an instrument and feeling connected to it. I feel that as a guitar player mainly, but I felt like in the piano I could hear it. I could hear Matt playing differently, I could see him playing it differently, and that felt important to me. I feel like I can hear it on the recording, and in some ways, it helped guide our path.

MT: How old was that piano? Do you remember?
MH: It was early 1900s. I don’t know exactly.

MT: Basically, we rented this AirBNB out on a dairy farm, and they had this piano [inside it]. The woman who owned the place, it was her great-grandmother’s or something, and a lot of hymns were played on it. It was pretty pitchy, but we got it tuned up and that’s how the record was created. It’s a very piano-heavy record.

CCM: Think about all the years that instrument’s been telling stories.
MT: Hopefully some of that trickled its way through, some of those hymns or something.

MH: And ultimately, the piano is not the important part. The song is the important part—the emotion, the feeling—but it’s cool that the piano is in itself, as an inanimate object, a part of the story. I think that’s beautiful to think about.

MT: It’s like The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. You’re making the wardrobe out of the tree that grew out of the magic.

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