Turning Up the Volume
By Andy Argyrakis, senior music editor, GospelMusicChannel.com
The Tooth & Nail label group offers a double header of top-notch rock talent this month, with hot-off-the-press projects from Hawk Nelson and Thousand Foot Krutch. In addition to picking both band's brains about their endeavors, members also revealed longtime musical influences in celebration of Gospel Music Heritage Month which continues through the end of September.
Hawk's full-volume velocity
"'Living life to it's fullest' is probably a more well-known expression, but Live Life Loud was our way of saying it," offers bassist Daniel Biro. "You gotta turn it up to 10 baby...loud! Four records deep, believe it or not, we're still carving our sound and figuring out what Hawk Nelson wants and needs. Artistically there's a whole lot more of us poured into this record than any other – from the lyrics, to musicianship to overall camaraderie."
Between shades of the group's previously introduced punk/pop ethos and mature moments of sonic experimentation, plus a slot on Skillet's club tour this fall, chances are the floodgates of Hawk Nelson's fan club will open wider than ever before. But the guys are confident longtime listeners will dig the new direction, and everything beyond that is in the Lord's hands.
"I want to thank all the fans who have stuck with us up to this point, and I definitely think you'll like this record," Brio asserts. "About 'recruiting' new fans, I don't really see it like that. We make music we love and want it to reach the masses, however God sees fit. He's the one that opens new doors if they're meant to be opened; we're just grateful for each and every fan we've got."
In addition to plugging new tunes, the tour will also be another outlet for members to talk about TOMS Shoes. The outreach provides footwear to the less fortunate all over the world, and Hawk Nelson's set up a special web initiative to spread the word.~
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"There's a link on our hawknelson.com page and when fans input the code hawk5 when they purchase their shoes, TOMS sets another pair aside for a shoe drop going to Haiti," he explains. "Some of the shoes will go to Audio Adrenaline's Hands and Feet Orphanage, which we had the privilege of visiting last year. TOMS are super cool and I'm wearing a pair of them right now."
Of course, a conversation with the bassist can't be complete without chatting about Gospel Music Heritage Month.
"I know that Michael W. Smith is probably the biggest influence on Jason's career," Brio reveals. "From when he was a wee youngin' he always gravitated towards Smitty's passionate and raspy voice, and I hear a lot of that in the way Jason sings and projects."
TFK minus the masks
"It's about the masks that we all wear in our lives to hide things about ourselves from other people," confirms singer/songwriter Trevor McNevan. "It's saying Welcome To The Masquerade! It's okay, none of us are perfect, thankfully God loves us for who we are and where we're at."
Though the message may sink in more for Christians than non-believers, the project is also impacting the mainstream significantly. The record has received placement in the ESPN/ABC Winter X Games in Colorado, the Taco Bell "Feed The Beat" competition, ESPN NASCAR's nationwide series and the EA Sports NHL 2010 video game (plus a major motion picture).
"These things have all been a blessing and are such a great fusion between music and professional sports, films and games," McNevan adds. "Our hearts have always been to make music for everyone, so we'll continue to release singles in both markets and tour both as well. Our faith is who we are and will be represented from whatever platform we're on. Planning on pairing more music with films if we can, getting the G.I. Joe trailer was awesome, and we hope to connect with more."
As for McNevan's pondering of Gospel Music Heritage Month, it spans a sea of genres and artists that don't necessarily sound like Thousand Foot Krutch, but have nonetheless encouraged the band from a spiritual perspective.
"I think of dcTalk, I think of Michael W. Smith, I think of Petra's This Means War, I think of Amy Grant and Carman. When Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant sang "Friends" together, it was timeless. When I think of who's inspired me and who still inspires me, it's probably tobyMac. Toby's a good friend and I've watched him from back then to being in the studio and being on the road with him now and he is the real deal all the way around. He's a leader!"
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Entertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He's also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel's very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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