CCM: Is that what you’re hearing so far from those who’ve heard the new music?
CL: I’ve heard from people that they’re refreshed to hear music whose purpose is evangelistic and meant to reach out to the world that still just says it like it is. It’s music that says the name of Jesus when the name of Jesus is what you’re trying to say. I don’t know if that’s everybody’s mission, but for us, we’ve been trying to craft this idea of worship music for the unsaved, worship music for people who aren’t religious. I think people have been excited to get behind that. I think people find it fresh musically and yet it also tells the gospel story.

CCM: You mentioned earlier about musically going too far and figuring that out. Is it a matter of following your interests? Do you have to honor where you’ve come from?
CL: I’d love to say that it’s all about following our interests. To a certain extent it is, and we’ve tried to rediscover that as the loudest voice we listen to. At the same time, when you do that, you risk chasing novelties rather than what’s really good, which is a risk. At this stage, we’ve released enough albums that people have a certain expectation. Beyond that, we’ve worked out what we’re good at and what we’re not good at.

I think we’ve established now that we’re an acoustic band at its best when we’re holding acoustic instruments and oddities. We’re not at our best when we’re electronic, but we can move toward soul and gospel. Those are moves that we feel are natural for us and they’ve happened over time and they’ve certainly happened on this record. Being soulful is somewhat unexpected for an Irish person, perhaps. [Laughs] But here we are.

Rend Collective, CCM Magazine - image

pic: Mary Caroline Russel

CCM: Earlier you said you didn’t want to tour unless it was worth it and yet the calendar shows you’re gone for months at a time this year, so I take it that you’ve circled back around to arrive at a healthy place, that you’ve answered that question?
CL: Yes. Definitely true. At the end of 2016 and 2017, we tried to work out why we do this and what the future looks like. I’m glad to say that we’ve come to the other side of it. The best way for a ministry to get lost, I think, is to take your eyes off of preaching the gospel. Once you’re galvanized around that central mission to Christianity, that Great Commission, everything starts to fall into place and make sense again. It’s not a matter of wanting to spend more time on vacation. That’s never been the dream for us, particularly.


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