Kutless guitarist talks \”Glory\”

There’s no denying the legacy and impact of Christian rockers Kutless on today’s Christian music industry. One of the major players in the Christian rock world of the 2000’s, Kutless’ music and songs have become some of the most well-known and have helped boost them to the top ranks. Their latest record, Glory, features both the rock sound that made Kutless famous as well as the worship elements that have helped find them a higher level of success and is by far their most eclectic and collective offering to date and guitarist James Mead recently sat down to talk about the album. TFRR: New album, Glory, released February 11. It continues the worship-style sound we hear on Believer and It Is Well. What led to the decision to go in that direction instead of the harder rock sound like on Hearts of the Innocent? JM: To some extent, there is a limit to what is still palatable to most people as they sing worship songs at church, or, in other words, there is a style and sound that is more suited towards carrying people in worship. To say that we have gone completely in one direction or the other is not necessarily true either though, because that leaves out songs like If It Ends Today, Need, Carry On (Believer), and songs like We Lift You Up on the new record, Glory. I think that we have just learned more specifically what we are comfortable with, and what will help us get our message out there the best. To me, Glory sounds like celebratory, powerful worship songs that praise God for revealing His nature and character to us. TFRR: How has leading worship at church influenced you as recording artists? I think it has helped us to learn what connects with people the most. It has also influenced us to be more transparent during those critical times during our concerts. In a lot of ways, (at least at our home church) the worship time sets the mood for how the audience is going to take in the message. At our shows, we have become more focused on sharing the gospel, and giving people the opportunity to respond in prayer for salvation, and we need the music to serve that purpose. TFRR: What did making Believer teach you about yourselves as musicians and Christians? I think it helped us understand that we had been trying to separate rock music from worship music for too long, which is why our back catalog of music seems to flip-flop between the two sounds. I think that God had always intended for us to be both, simultaneously. TFRR: How have you grown as musicians going into Glory? We had added our new drummer, Kyle Peek, into the line up about a year prior to recording Glory, which always changes the sound of a band a little bit. Kyle is more technical and more dynamic, so that opened up some new sonic possibilities. We also discovered a new propensity towards “jamming” a bit more than we used to. I think that Nick (de Partee, lead guitarist) and I have recorded enough together to know how our two styles work with each other. We know where and how our parts fit around each other. TFRR: The title, “Glory,” is both deep and simple at the same time. What does it say about Kutless and about the album? Our new album GLORY is all about our response, as believers, to a Holy God who reveals His nature and character to us. As we lift up praise to Him for who He is, both in our lives and in song, we are giving Him glory! Honestly, it comes out of a place for us, as a band, where we are just so stoked about Heaven, and we hope for Christ’s return soon! In the mean time, we will be about His mighty work, sharing this amazing love that He has given to all, freely. TFRR: Since 2002, you’ve released eight studio albums. It’s been an amazing career- how do you keep the ministry side of Kutless going strong and do you see it important to keep ministry and musician two separate things? Or do they naturally combine? For us, the two have always been inter-connected. We have always created music as a means of sharing the message. One way that we have been able to keep the ministry side of Kutless going is that we pray often for God’s guidance in our vision and direction. Also, we have remained very connected with our home church, www.atheycreek.com, in Portland Oregon. The leadership of our church always have our backs, in sincere and earnest ways, and they have always been a spiritual covering for us. Our church even sends some Pastors out on the road to visit us regularly. TFRR: Kutless’ sound has evolved immensely over the years. How do you see the band’s evolution and where do you see Kutless’ musical direction going? Do you see the hard rock days coming back for Kutless? We feel like we’re settling into a natural sound for us, and I think it is still pretty diverse. We have gotten older, and some members have come and gone, and in some cases we are influenced by some different music than we were back in the 2000’s. Instrumentally, too, I am into different kinds of guitars and amps than I was back then. I think of artists like Picasso (who I am definitely not comparing us to) who went through periods where they painted a certain way, and exhibited a certain style, but then they wanted to change things up after a while. Some of my favorite bands also had some of the most diverse catalogs of music by the end of their career. I would also say that some of our radio success with certain songs has changed our sound as well. We understand what we’re capable of, and how to do it. We have talked about doing another “all rock” EP, or something though. TFRR: How has the ministry of Kutless changed and evolved over the years and since the beginning, if at all? Again, I think we’ve realized what we’re capable of (which, in a spiritual sense, is nothing other than following God’s leading), and we’ve grown more passionate about using our platform to evangelize, in order to lead people to salvation through Jesus Christ. We have prayed a lot for God to direct us these recent years, and I can tell you that everything we do, from music to the stage, is very purposeful. TFRR: What would you say to someone who’s losing grip on their faith or to someone who’s completely lost grip on their faith and doesn’t know if God is real or what to believe? Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you (Luke 11:9-10). Be persistent about seeking the LORD, and be prepared to take Him at His word, for He has always substantiated the Bible’s every claim. The LORD Jesus Christ loves you, forgives you, and wants to give you the Holy Spirit, so that you will be filled with peace and joy. Trade in your sorrows for the joy of the LORD! Thank you so much for your time and, on behalf of music fans all over the world, thank you for everything you do.