One band making their return to Winter Jam from the 2012 lineup is For King & Country, who recently released their second full-length album- Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong last fall to immense critical and fan acclaim.
The album, which peaked at no. 2 on the U.S. Christian charts, follows 2012\’s Crave, which hit no. 4 and catapulted the band to national success. The new album has been received very well- much like it\’s predecessor- and things continue to get better for the band- which is composed of brothers.
FRR: As with the last album, Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong, the response from fans has been great and it\’s been received really well. How have things been for you supporting this album?
For King & Country: Well Run Wild Live Free Love Strong has been an amazing journey. What’s crazy about our first album was really written about 5 years ago, most of the songs were written that long ago because the album got delayed a lot of times and had a lot of different things that went on. And this time it was a very different experience writing it because the first album you’ve got all the time in the world to write the songs, and the second album you’ve got no time, because you’re out on the road, you’ve got family that you need to spend time with, you’ve got to figure out a way to write an album, and there’s just not much there, it’s really tough.
What was kind of cool about that is it forced us to do things a bit differently. We wrote about 50% of the album out on the road in the back room of our bus and yu write different songs because literally, we’d be on tour and you’d walk off stage and walk directly back and start writing songs.
You’d walk the stage from back there and 15 minutes after the show’s done you’re in the little room writing back there. And when you see how songs are impacting lives and impacting stories and then you can go write songs about it immediately after the show, that’s a cool deal right there.
So it’s been an amazing experience to have these people come and say “hey, that song you wrote, that’s become my life song. Thank you for writing that song it’s like you’re reading my journal” I never want to take those stories for granted, those stories inspire us.
FRR: Does that make it easier as opposed to sitting in a room and have an isolated experience?
For King & Country: Man, the truth is songs are freaking hard to write! There’s not a perfect science. I always say, a special song, a great song- You can do a lot of things to write a good song, you can make it catchy you can have it about something that people care about and all those things, but to write a special song, those are gifts from God, they just are.
So I’ll never say it’s easy, but I do think whether you’re inspired or more inspired is a big deal. So being able to see these people respond to these songs and then walking into a room and writing a song probably forces you to be more inspired in the moment and because of that I do think it helps the writing process for sure because it’s a hard deal, man. We just got finished with our headlining tour in the fall and we did a Q&A every night before the show started, and one person came up and said so when’s your next album coming out. And I joked and said “Man you’re giving me a panic attack! We just wrote one album, if we’ve gotta do that again I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” It is a very, very hard process, it is very, very difficult, it’s not easy, but it’s very, very satisfying and honestly we love to do it even though it is difficult and it is hard.
FRR: It seems like both albums have been vry well received right off the bat. You won New Artist of the Year last year. It\’s almost like you haven\’t had a chance to not be successful.
For King & Country: It’s a challenging thing because any time you start something you always know there’s going to be a high in your career and there’s going to be a low. You also know at some point it won’t be there any more, there will be a time when it’s finished. And I think for us, these first two albums we’ve been really lucky and it’s been a great story of we’re thankful to do what we do we’re gonna continue to write the best songs that we possibly can and we want to take the approach of a few that are good are better in quality are better than many and a lot.
We spent nearly a year and a quarter writing this last album. Honestly it\’s is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life and it was very, very tiring and very, very draining and very, very difficult, honestly.
A lot of the songs on there are very personal and very real songs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way but there is a toll it takes. And honestly, I just hope that God continues to gives us things to write songs about that we are passionate about, that we are inspired about.
That’s really what it’s about. I don’t ever want to write a song because I need to write a song. I want to write songs with purpose and that need to be written because that I think is what I’m here to do right now is to write songs that are real, honest, and authentic.
You played Winter Jam in 2012 as brand new artists on the Christian scene. Fast forward to 2015 and you have two albums out and you\’ve been very successful. How has it been this year compared to three years ago.
For King & Country: You’re totally right. Being a part of that tour three years ago was a great, great thing for us. It was our first tour that we ever did, it taught us a lot, we worked hard through it and we had basically “Busted Heart,” our first single was on the radio at that time and that was it, so it’s just totally different.
We just finished up our tour and literally seeing audience know pretty much every one of our songs that we sing, and songs that aren’t singles or anything like that, that’s a very humbling and exciting thing. Doing it this time is very exciting. It’s gonna be obviously with lots of people in the room, it’s a lot of fun, it’s gonna be with a lot of people just on the tour that are friends of ours, that we like. We’re really look forward to being part of a night that’s going to have a great impact on people’s lives and it’s going to have great impact on our lives as well.
FRR: As a newer band in 2012, how did Winter Jam help you and prepare you for what was coming?
For King & Country: I think the biggest thing that Winter Jam did that first tour was just the amazing exposure it gives you. Even though we were playing a lights-up slot, we were playing to half-filled arenas so you’re playing to 7,000 people a night, and even though it wasn’t a full capacity house it actually taught us a lot.
Because when you have people walking into an arena and you’re playing your songs and you have to figure out a way to be entertaining and to get their attention and actually share a message that’s on your heart is a difficult thing. I taught us a lot about how hey, when things are going against how you’d hoped, how do you rise up and handle that? It really was a great thing for us. We had a lot of artists on that tour- Peter Furler, in particular was on that tour and he kind of reached a hand out and put an arm around our shoulders and just said “hey, if there’s anything I can do to help let me know,” and those things are powerful. And honestly, it’s a note to ourselves for this time around.
If there are other bands that are younger that need some help to be there and help them out however we can and if there’s something that they might wonder about to answer their questions however we can. So it’s just an amazing thing to come back and play it from just playing it three years ago.
TFRR: So how are you preparing this time around? You have a bigger slot this year as opposed to an earlier, opening spot.
For King & Country: We’ll do a few things, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves if that makes sense, just a few things that are fun. It’s gonna be a fun thing to be a part of it and hopefully show people who just go to one show a year, if it’s just Winter Jam, hopefully they see “hey, look how For King and Country has grown, look how things have changed, how they’ve changed as people.” And that’s the hope for us.