An Interview with Out of the Grey
- Matthew Turner Music and Entertainment Editor
- 2001 18 Sep
Crosswalk.com Entertainment Channel Editor Matt Turner recently interviewed Scott and Cristine Dente of Out of the Grey.
Matt: How are you guys feeling about your new record label?
Scott: We're feeling grateful, Matt.
Christine: Very grateful.
Scott: That's the overwhelming ... it's funny, at GMA this year, just finishing the record and going back to Gospel Music Association Week, with a sense of, what's it going to be like? There's always a little bit of trepidation going there anyway. It's so cool how everybody was, people that we've met over the years were, seemed, honestly glad to see us again, and it was a great feeling. And so the feeling that really kept rising to the surface was just gratitude that we ended up in Rocketown [Records], a singer/songwriter-based label.
Christine: They are so real, the people there. It's not so large that you feel like you're lost in the vortex of the corporation. You know everybody.
Matt: You act like you have a sense of freedom.
Christine: I think that definitely is what the record came from, from that real sense of, just, I don't feel the pressure to write a single. There was no pressure, nobody ever said, "write a radio single." We've been in this long enough that we do know you do have to have some songs that are appealing in that way.
Matt: The last couple of albums, See Inside, and now this one, they are more theologically based, meaning you are drawing from a certain way of thinking. Christine: I think you're right. Scott: Maybe our pastor's finally getting through to us.
Matt: I'm seeing a sense of really identifying with your theology, what it is that you believe. Could you talk a little about that process, and is it just something natural that happens, or is it something that is forced?
Christine: Well, what happens to me when I write, Matthew, is that I read so much about what is going on in the world, and I'm constantly trying to see how my worldview fits with what I know about the world. I think all Christians do that to some extent, but if we are truly reflective about life, we constantly have to shift something. We have to shift our theology to make it work or we have to shift our worldview to make it fit into our theology. So I feel like our songs reflect that struggle of trying to make sense of what we believe, what we see, and how does it all mesh together.
Scott: I don't ever think it is an out-and-out thing; doggonnit, I'm gonna get five points of Calvinism in this song ...
Matt: My favorite song on the album has become I Want Everything, I mean, it's almost, it's almost worshipful, in a sense.
Matt: I know the book The Sacred Romance played a part ...
Scott: That's the most "Sacred Romance song" on the record, I think.
Matt: I know that it played a part in your life personally, as well, and I'd love for you to talk about that as well, how that came about.
Scott: I think Sacred Romance for us was one of those, you know, everybody gets a wake-up call, every once in a while, and it was another one of those great wake-up calls. Then we all fall back asleep. ... We read the book and also went to the seminar that John Eldredge does and for me, those experiences, it made me feel brave for a little while. It made me feel, I could feel the Lord working in me, and I know that I'm just not flailing around. And you have a sense of purpose for a little while, and then it kind of seems to wane a little bit. But I just know, for me, that's one of those infectious ideas, that your heart is sleeping, your heart is wounded, come and get your heart back, the Sacred Romance.
Christine: And the fact that we can assert with joy that I want everything. My friend Tammy first heard the song, she got real nervous, she said, they're not going to play that song, you know, because at first, it sounds like the worldly point of view is "I want riches." But then she started listening, and she said, yeah, I want all the riches I am promised in Christ.
Matt: I never once thought of it that way. I mean, and when you come to the bridge, "I want holy, I want lovely, I want grace, I want poetry and I want coffee." You know, that's what we all want, I mean, basically, I want a family, I want to raise my kids ...
Scott: And it's all under the gaze of God.
Christine: And even Shine Like Crazy reflects that whole idea of, I want to run and laugh and love and ... I don't want to be a Christian that people think of as, you know, you can't loosen your tie. I want to be the kind of person that people walk up to and say, " What's different about you, what's the hope that you have?" and have an answer.
Scott: It states it a lot more simply, it's just a more upfront kind of song, and that's what I like about it.
Matt: Let's talk about working with Monroe [Jones]. How was that? He's worked with a lot of people now, and the one thing I love about Monroe is he really does attempt to bring out the best of what that band or particular act has to offer. Was that what you felt? Because there's not a Monroe stamp on this album.
Christine: He had a way of just, well, like Scott always said, it felt like more of a peer thing working together with him instead of a tutor-student relationship that we have with Charlie, which is a great relationship for where we were at then, but now, to be working with someone who has so much creativity, but also be acknowledged as people that also have the creativity. It just felt like there was a mutual respect going on that really helped us feel confident about what we do.
Matt: The samples -- how did that come in?
Scott: If you noticed, it's the only song we co-wrote with Monroe. He came over to our house one day and he had this, this goofy little box. It had all this rhythm stuff in it. We just turned it on and laughed for a little while and then I started playing some chords and he started playing a bass line and Christine started, she opened up her lyric, like a complete lyric.
Christine: I had this lyric that I'd had, it was just waiting for this groove.
Matt: The truth breaks through ...
Scott: So that was a complete Monroe thing, you know, 'cause he comes from, I mean, the thing about it is, you listen to his stuff, Monroe's writing some of his own music now, it's very groove oriented. We're not really known for a, like, a hip hop at all, at all -- you know that. No, not at all, and yet he can go to that place completely, but that kind of speaks back to the thing you were saying. His stamp isn't on this record, it's maybe on that song the most. But he just let us, you know what, we just went to work everyday with the sense of let's see what happens today. And it turned out well, it really did. He just kind of kept it up in his head a lot of the times. And I'd say, hey, I want to play something, and he'd go, no, no, no, I have a plan for that section. And I was like well, OK. A few weeks later there'd be a great plan for that section.
Matt: What's your hope for this new album?
Christine: Oh, man, I hope a lot of people hear it.
Scott: 275,000 300,000. No, gosh, we really do want a lot of people to hear it. You know it really is a clean slate for us in so many ways. ... It feels like a new, creative start for us. I feel like I could go to Don [Donahue] with an idea I had at Sparrow for years and say, "Don, I want to do that acoustic record I've always dreamed of," and I think Don would go, "Wow, that's great." I really feel like he would listen to that with open arms and not be thinking, that's not the career, that's not the marketing path we have chosen for you guys. I don't feel like we are being marketed, marketed, marketed. I just feel like God wants to sell records and so do we but, I feel like he wants to go about it in the right way. Where our artistry and what we have to say is what he wants to present. Because if that's not what the labels want to present then they might as well be the artists themselves. When did it get so backward?
Matt: One thing that I know you are passionate about is home schooling. I'd love for you to talk about that a little bit, because we have a lot of people in our audience that home school.
Scott: We're here, and our kids are home schooling.
Christine: Bus schooling, hotel schooling. We're learning something new every year because we move up a grade, and this will be the first year coming up that we will have three in school. A kindergartener, wow, read books and point out sounds and she's already well on her way. But what a joy it is to know your children inside and out, to be able to disciple them on an hour-to-hour basis.
Scott: Not have to deprogram them every night. "Where'd you learn that? Hmm, well, let's talk about that."
Christine: Check an attitude as soon as it happens instead of -- it's too late and the attitude is so deeply imbedded. What a privilege it is to be able to just be there with them. I think people always worried about the socialization aspect and that's the first question for those who don't home school. And some of the answers I've read are, do you really want your kids socialized by a group of 20 of their peers? How many hours a day, five days a week, for 180 days a year for 12 or 13 years of their life.
Scott: Yeah, look how we turned out.
Matt: Basically, the state manipulates your child, it's manipulating, whether it be in a good or a bad way.
Christine: You're right. It's not a benign thing, public education. There are thoughts that go into everything, everybody has beliefs that come out from what they are teaching. You know, whether it's evolution or just an underlying sense of how life should be. The teachers are teaching that. Well, Scott and I have a lot to say on most of those subjects, so who better to impart those to our children than us? It can be really offensive. Some people are very defensive about home schooling, and so we try to be, not stand on our soap box too long.
Matt: Well, I think there is a balance in the whole idea.
Christine: I love thinking, and I want to teach my children to think. Not just to regurgitate so they can get a 100 percent on a test. That's what I did.
Scott: That's how all of us grew up. Study for this and then never think about it again.
Matt: I understand you are also getting ready to go on tour with a few friends of yours.
Christine: It's Twila [Paris].
Matt: So are you excited about getting on the road again?
Christine: I think we are.
Scott: I'm excited about the consistency of production, night in and night out, being able to present the songs in a deserving light. To actually craft the show and really have a sense of just the songs, it gives the songs a chance to come to life when you are on a tour. And that's what I'm really looking forward to, that part of it. Being able to hear Christine every night, really dig in to the material, and I think we have a good long set. I think it's a 40-minute set, from what I understand. So, we'll get to showcase a lot of the new stuff, play some old favorites.