Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
How did Lovelite get started?
My wife and I have always enjoyed making music together. We used to do a coffee shop singer/songwriter style but we found that writing worship songs was so much more fulfilling for us personally. Several opportunities opened up at the college I was attending (Azusa pacific). Some of our songs were being used in the chapel services. That encouraged us to keep writing at which point several of our friends joined our band and we formed lovelite.
Well, that's an interesting story. As we were getting ready to release our CD all color I received an email from Chad Johnson. He still worked as an a&r guy for toothandnail and we thought that he was going to talk to us about joining that label. But instead he offered us to join in a incredible call to a new type of Christian label, one that offers free music and more importantly offers the opprotunity to "live simply and give generously"
Musically speaking we really enjoy Doves, Elbow, sleeping at last, and peter Gabriel.
Lyrically we love the poetry in old hymns and that usually challenges us. Almost as a lofty hope of creating new liturgy.
Nearness sums up a spiritual season that my wife and I went through. It's based on the idea that often we feel as if God is far from us. It may make us feel dry and possibly feel like were living without purpose. But the reality is that God remains close and is willing to re spark the passion if we ask for it. It often takes a journey of spiritual dryness in order to realize where we are most satisfied.
The artwork was created by a great friend named Matt sheean. We wanted something that was more than digital Photoshop style artwork. So we chose to go with a watercolor feel.
We got together with the artist before he developed it and we came up with the idea together.
As far as the science fiction theme; The final track on the album is called "perihelion". It refers to when the time of year that the earth is closest to the sun. We thought that was quite poignant in regards to being "near" to God.
We enjoyed the idea of the journey of a space traveler. It seemed to be a great allegory for our own personal journey through spiritual dryness. There's a comic inside the physical copy. Also, how often does a worship band have sci fi art for their music.
My wife and I are both involved in the writing process. I usually start the songs with a melody or a lyrical idea. It's usually very raw and unrealized. I then talk to to Jen and she helps craft it into a completed and understandable song. Every song is a collaboration between the two of us. Recently we've begun to write with the guy who produced our album, Tyler Chester as well as our guitar player, Adam Taylor.
Haha. Yeah those are a lot of fun for us to do. We plan to do more. You might not be able to tell by the end result but it takes quite a bit of time for me to do those.
We are passionate about homelessness We have been involved with the San Diego rescue mission for some of their events and we would love to continue to serve in that way.
For most of our musical lives we've been mostly in California. We've recently started working with a new booking agent named mark mattingly at paradigm booking. We are hoping to play out more with this new relationship
Well we hope to participate next year in a lot the festivals as well as pursuing some touring. A music video is possibly in the works with a great filmmaker named Andy Reale. He works with come&live and he is incredible. We also are working on more music. We love the writing and recording process
Get Lovelite's Nearness for FREE at comeandlive.com
For more info on Lovelite visit http://www.myspace.com/lovelite
Monday, October 11, 2010
After the release of their phenomenal debut, Lovelite returns with a new EP, Nearness. Husband and wife, Andrew and Jen Polfer, wrote songs "wanting God to renew [their] passion and drive for ministry." The result: Nearness EP, an indie/worship album with luscious melodies, appealing instrumentation, and lyrics glorifying the Creator.
A thick 80's synth lays the foundational soundscape of "Apathy." The fast-paced indie rocker showcases the couple's impeccable harmonies. "Brevity" brings the tempo down with serene instruments and more pretty harmonies. Musically, "Ambition" takes a more serious tone, fitting with the prayerful lyrics, "My ambition is to bring joy to You/I'll do anything if You ask me to."
The title-track is one of the highlights of the album. Dreamy guitar motifs and Jen's rich yet angelic-like vocals pair well with the song's intimate lyrics- "Give me a nearness/I want to feel fire/Your friendship is tireless."
"Invisible One" and "Finally Free" are vertically-focused worship tunes that could be suitable for corporate worship, as their melodies are easier to sing and follow than the other songs on the album.
Nearness is not your typical worship album; there are no cliche lyrics, predictable melodies, or bland instrumentation. With a lot of bands, I find, I must decide between creative music or solid lyrics. Lovelite is one of the few bands that offers both.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
When did you first get involved in music?
I think music has been a part of me from the earliest bits of my life. My mum's musical, as is my dad (although he won't admit it) so I was always around music growing up. I started learning drums and piano at nine, as well as singing in Choirs at Church and at school. Given my disability (I have Cerebral Palsy and use a manual wheelchair) and the diagnosis I'd been given as a small child, it was always seen as pretty unlikely I'd be able to play any instruments, but I loved them so much I just kept going and going with them. When I was about fourteen I started writing songs, all the way along encouraged by amazing teachers and friends, and then eventually, in 2003, made a CD called Project Freedom with help from a charity over here called Whizz Kidz. From there it kinda spiralled, so that, by 2007 we (Freeslave) had released four or five CDs, including a full length, and done pretty well nationally here. From there my own life unravelled a bit, and I went solo, almost while God was doing works of healing and reconciliation in my life, and now here I am, with a second solo album, and a big passion to share what God has done in my life and is doing, and is offering to all, whereas in the old days I was more interested in being cool and liked, if you get what I mean.
What bands did you listen to growing up?
Delirious? were a big influence on me growing up. I remember being a kid and watching them chart back in 1997 and being almost obsessed with them. I've since found out that this isn't really healthy, and also that they're thoroughly decent chaps, rather than big shot rock stars, but that's hard to process when you're 12! I also loved Oasis, Blur, Pulp, British bands like that from the Britpop era. Later on bands like Matthew (amazing band, everyone should buy their one album) and a lot of Christian bands from the UK like Kato and Quench, that I've since had the pleasure of touring with.
You used to be a member of a band called Freeslave? Why did you decide to go solo?
I think I sort of answered that already. Basically, the band would have carried on and worked, and probably still been going, if I'd handled it better, and been easier to be in a band with, and we'd communicated better as a bunch of guys, but sadly I lacked maturity and common sense, and acted like an idiot at various points, and something which could have been really great came to an end just when we were at the point of achieving something special. That's a big regret of mine. Now though, as my life and circumstances have changed, with working for a Church, and also as I find the travelling you need to do for touring pretty arduous, it's quite nice to be doing things solo on my own terms.
What were some of the musical and lyrical influences for your latest release, Heart Strings?
I love bands like Mutemath, Aqualung, Stateless and Telefon Tel Aviv. If I could scratch the surface of their songwriting skill and inherent creativity I'd be pretty happy. Lyrically I wanted to write a hopeful record, and give a picture of who I've been as a person and an artist, and the person I am now, and shine an expectant light on the life that is to come, if we choose to accept the offer that God makes to us in Jesus.
Do you have a favorite song from the new record?
I have two. Crying, and Masterplan. Crying, I wrote on September 12th 2001, after praying around 9/11 and seeking God for His voice and heart about what was going on there. The idea that human violence one to another, in whatever form, breaks the heart of God is, I think, valid and important for us to grasp as it was then and has been throughout time. Masterplan is very personal, as it deals with the issue of beauty and self-worth. As a bloke, I'm not supposed to think of myself as beautiful really, not very manly that, but God delights in me and rejoices over me with singing (Zeph 3:14-17). Throughout my life I've struggled with self worth and self image, because of being disabled, feeling less than a man, and not thinking that I stand comparison with other people, because of that and who I've been, but God loved me so much He sent Jesus to die for me so that I could know Him, love Him, and be made like Him, and through Him, I am made beautiful. If we're made in the image of God (Gen 1:27) and God is love and beauty, how can we not be a little bit like that, even in our fallen state? Once we accept Christ as Saviour and friend, we are restored, reconciled, made new in Him, beautiful. When I started to write this record, every show we were playing I seemed to meet people who struggled along similar lines to me, and it seemed like it is God's heart for this generation that we, in humility, know who we are in Christ, how beautiful we are, that we are hidden in the palm of God's hand, that He covets us, that He loves us, and rejoices over us. I think if we, as a Church really got this, it would revolutionize our lives, and the ministry we exercise in the world.
What was the inspiration for “Lost My Heart?”
I wanted to write a song about putting God above and before every other part of my life. Singing "Take it all from me, all the treasure of this life to which I cling, till you are the only thing I adore" every time you go on stage is a humbling thing to do, and also a dangerous prayer. I long for many people to join with me in singing that, and seeking ways for our lives to reflect it.
What do you hope listeners take away from the album?
I hope people meet, get to know, fall in love with, and commit their lives to Jesus, and if my album plays some part in that then there could be nothing better than that for me.
Where do you draw inspiration for your songwriting?
All over really. More often than that experiences trigger a desire to write, and then I bunk down for a while and get on with it. I have large swathes of time when I don't write a note, and then it all happens at once. This year I've found writing very difficult, because a lot of the joy, and drive and determination, which drove me on in the past, has disappeared. I've had a few industry-related disappointments, and felt let down a few times, as well as feeling like I've let people down a fair bit too, but I'm emerging blinking into the songwriting sunlight once again right now, getting ready for my next project.
Do you have any songwriting tips for amateur songwriters?
Write what you love. If you love it, others will. If you hate it, they probably will too. Don't force it, it'll come, and if you write about or to or for God, keep it that way. Don't get swayed by a desire to sell units or for radio or whatever else. He delights in you, He is your audience, your fanbase. If you offer, truly offer something to Him, for His use, don't be surprised if He takes it and uses it in ways you've never dreamed of. Oh, and always love on your band, be friends with them, and stay friends with them whatever happens. I didn't do this well, a few times in my life, and I regret the loss of people from my life much more than I enjoy listening to the records I've made. You'll be friends much longer than you'll have good hair.
Any plans for music videos or tours?
Friday, October 1, 2010
Two years after the release of his debut album, U.K. artist Haydon Spenceley is readying for the release of his second solo album, Heart Strings. A glorious fusion of synthpop and rock, Heart Strings weaves through a myriad of spiritual themes including, love, surrender, and hope.
Heart Strings opens with the bright, poppy title-track, similar in vein to Owl City (minus the vocals), but with more straightforward lyrics. "Hiding Place" is just as upbeat, with fast-paced percussion. One of the highlights of the album, "Lost My Heart," is an atmospheric, melancholy tune. The message can be summed up by verse 6:20 in the book of Matthew, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal (NIV)."
Songs like "Lay It Down" and "Save My Day" are synth-based but have more of rock edge than others. The acoustic-driven "King of Glory" has a slight folk-flare to it, reminiscent of John Mark McMillan. "Masterplan" is the epic closer- somber and slow-building, carried by strings and haunting vocals.
Heart Strings is the perfect album for synthpop and 80's electronica fans. My only complaint is that the production is a bit lacking. Some spots sound a little empty. That aside, Heart Strings is a solid album, oozing with originality and the love of Jesus.
For more information on Haydon Spenceley visit http://www.myspace.com/haydonspenceley
Heart Strings pre-release is available on NoiseTrade.
Be on the lookout for an exclusive interview with Haydon to be posted shortly!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
After an interview with The Ember Days, I staked out a spot at The New York stage in anticipation for indie rock group Between The Trees. I honestly didn't expect them to be as energetic as they were. They seemed to genuinely enjoy the RevGen crowd. I was surprised to learn a few days later that Between The Trees is disbanding at the end of the year :(
As Showbread emerged on the Philadelphia stage, it was very apparent that they hadn't had much sleep recently. Even though Showbread's performance was more subdued than usual, they still performed their songs passionately (but then how can you sing "I hate music because of you" and not be passionate?) and Josh even threw in a few jokes like, "What has eight wheels and is green? Grass; I lied about the eight wheels." After "A Man With A Hammer," I headed over to the Come&Live! Stage.
A number of people earlier in the day had encouraged me to check out a worship band called Ascend The Hill. I was late to their set and only heard their last two songs, but that was all it took to make me a fan. The band recently released a new worship album, check out my review.
I've been a fan of Emery since their debut album, so I was really stoked about seeing their live performance for the first time. It was one of the few performances that I stayed for the full set. Josh Head is like the Xanadu of Emery, if you're familiar with Family Force 5. He gets the crowd going by jumping around the stage, moonwalking, and jumping off the stage to interact with the crowd. But he also contributes to the vocal duties (screaming) and he plays keys. Emery opened with one of my favorites, "Studying Politics" then they moved into an oldie but a goodie, "The Ponytail Parades," off of their debut. Half way through their set, they announced that their upcoming album would be released in January and it would be the "heaviest album [they] ever recorded" (I hate it when bands say that. It's rarely true.). Emery closed with the infamous "Walls" (I have to wonder if they're getting sick of that song).
Mae is not really my thing, but their set was enjoyable, minus their opening song which was really mellow, and frankly, a bizarre opener. There seemed to be a number of dedicated Mae fans in the crowd, faithfully singing along with the band. I may not be into Mae, but it's a bummer they're breaking up because from what I saw, they're a really talented bunch.
I missed The Ember Days' set on the Philadelphia Stage the day before, so I made it a point to get myself over to the Come&Live! stage to see their second set. They announced that they were going to start by playing through their new EP, Finger Painting (a phenomenal album btw, get it for free at comeandlive.com, along with Ascend The Hill's new album). After the first song, I had to leave for a last minute interview with Showbread. I wish I could have seen The Ember Days' full set, but I was not about to pass up an interview with one of my favorite bands.
The O.C. Supertones set was an unexpected surprise for me. I'm not a fan of ska, but the Supertones stage presence is unmatchable. I don't think I can put it into words, it's something you have to see for yourself. I had to move away from the dancers in the crowd a few times because I started choking from the dust rising from the ground. A slight, but steady wind blew the dust on stage and I caught the vocalist, who is known as "Mojo," coughing a few times. RevGen was one of the few festivals that the Supertones were reuniting for, so it was a treat to see one of the most beloved Christian bands of all time.
Anberlin was the headliner at the Philadelphia stage on Sunday, and the only headliner that I saw at RevGen. The Florida-based alt. rock group opened like lightning with "Godspeed." Following was "The Resistance" and "Whisper & Clamour," during which the crowd surfing began. Anberlin continued with fan favorites like, "Paperthin Hymn" and "Unwinding Cable Car." At this point I was exhausted, as much as I wanted to see the rest of their set, I couldn't force my eyes open for much longer.
RevGen continues to top its line-up every year. And as far as Christian music festivals, it has one of the most diverse line-ups. I'm upset as I'm writing this though, because this year is probably the last year that I'll be at RevGen for awhile (I'm moving to Nashville next summer). But for those of you that will be in the Frenchtown area next September, don't miss out on one of the greatest Christian music festivals!
Saturday, September 25, 2010