LaRue -- The Interview, Part 2
- Matthew Turner Music and Entertainment Editor
- 2001 2 Feb
Matt: How was it working with Rick Elias?
Phillip: He's cool to work with. We felt like it was good to work with Rick because we felt like we could expand a little bit, and that he would understand that, and yet wouldn't go too far where it would push people away. Plus, since we co-produced this one with Ken Mary, we felt like they'd be a good balance for each other. Rather than on the first record, I felt like it was too much of a diversity in production. I felt like there were great producers, and I love what each one brought, but I think two is enough.
Matt: There wasn't a cohesion to the album.
Phillip: Yeah, and I felt like this one, they balanced each other out.
Natalie: Both of them really, I think, appreciated us more as song writers. That's who we are -- song writers. Great singers, there's so many out there.
Phillip: Better guitars.
Natalie: There's better guitarists, really better piano players, they're everywhere. But hopefully, what Phillip and I can kind of tone in on and kind of craft out is our songwriting, and make it the best that we can be. I think that they really appreciated that, so when it came to the songs, it wasn't like they cut and pasted everything, and the song ended up being completely different than how we wrote it. They wanted to keep true to the body of the song and how we thought when we first created it. So when it came down to the beginning process of laying down the very beginnings of the record, Phillip and I were there.
Matt: You mentioned the songwriting. Do you make an attempt to stay relevant to the culture, or is it something that naturally happens?
Phillip: I don't know. I think that we listen to artists. The artists that we listen to the most sing about personal experiences and sing about how, "This is how I'm feeling." A lot of the artists I appreciate are just very honest about their own lives, and I think that's one thing that I love about them.
Natalie: That's a true artist, in our opinion, someone who can relay what they're saying, and even though you can totally tell it comes from the bottom of their heart, and it's exactly what they're going through, they're able to portray it in a way where the audience can relate, and it can be like, "Yeah I'm there, I'm with you. I feel the exact same way."
Phillip: Yeah, we want to write songs for ourselves and write songs for us that we really enjoy, but more than that, I think, we want to write songs so other people can feel what we felt when we wrote it. I think that's one of our goals when someone listens to the CD, that they can understand that feeling and go, "Man, they were really feeling this way," and that they can say, "Man, I've felt that way before," and then that song almost becomes personal. I don't think we really think about it too much.
Matt: I love the song that you put up front, the very first song on the album, because the very first line sets the tone, to me, for the rest of the album. It's "Even though I'm firmly planted, I still run." Because it conveys the fact that we are planted and we are firmly rooted in the gospel, yet there's a humanity to it, and that we run away, that we fly, that we fall. It's your whole spiritual life in a nutshell, but yet it all comes back to being firmly planted.
Natalie: We love that song. We love playing it, and that was actually a battle for us, because the record company was like, "We need a single on the first cut of your CD. We need to make sure it catches their attention." And we're like, "You know what, we really feel like this song symbolizes the record and everything that we are."
Phillip: We feel like if all the songs were kind of piled up into one it would be that one. Just because lyrically, and even musically, I think it wraps a lot of the songs into one.
Matt: It really does. I mean, and I'm not pulling that out of your bio, I came up with that myself. I'm being serious. What is the first single?
Phillip: I think the first single was Wake Up. Which was actually surprising, to be honest with you, when they said, "Yeah we're going to release Wake Up."
Natalie: That was one of the more aggressive songs on the record.
Phillip: I guess I was pretty happy though, because I think that we had fun writing that one. It was one of the more aggressive songs. It's not totally metallic or anything, but we had fun writing it. It's more on the alternative side, and I think it's cool too because it's a real statement to our generation.
Natalie: It's a real real statement, too. Phillip and I had to look when we did that song, we took a hard bite into the reality of where our generation was and where we were headed. The people and the kids out there are completely lost, and it's really hard to see the hope in that.
Phillip: I mean, I've just really been trying to think from a non-Christian perspective. How they would feel or go through things. I just determined that a lot of non-Christians are completely. And one thing I've learned through the CD is when we were trying to be honest about our failures or things that we're struggling with or just be honest about different things because I think that whoever it is, whatever religion, if you sit them down and go, " Man, I've been really struggling with these certain areas of my life" or "I've been really doing some stupid things," ... I feel as Christians we almost live with this pressure on our backs to be perfect.
Matt: Oh, yeah. Put on the faith every morning and wear our nice clothes.
Phillip: I really think it's the Christian culture that made it that way, where people say, "How are you doing brother, I'm doing great," when inside people are breaking. I've seen it a lot in the body of Christ, where it's really dysfunctional, where we can't be honest with each other out of fear that someone will see that we're human. I think that Christians and non-Christians will say, "You know I've really been going through a lot of stuff, and I've really been making some big mistakes," and you share about different things you've been struggling with, and the other person can relate and say, "I've been struggling with the same type of stuff." But then as Christians, it's our job to wrap it and say, "But thank God for Christ, because He saved me and I know it's not by my will that I'm saved, it's not by my strength, it's by Him. It's a simple gift and God is helping me." Because then they think, "Wow, he's being very honest and open." And it almost opens up their minds to listen, because you're not pretending to be greater than them.
Natalie: And we really could feel pressure from both sides, from the Christian side to, "Oh guys, make sure you give kids a godly example," in things like courtship or dating, and then you have the world saying, "Courtship? What the heck is courtship?" We try to say to either side, "We want to walk in what God says He wants for us and be as real as possible." And there's a song on the album, Jaded, that is about a relationship that I was in. Phillip and I, when it came down to it, made the choice to say, "OK, we could not put this on the album," but at the same time, it was something that I had gone through, that I had experienced, and it was my choice.
Phillip: We decided that I would sing it.
Natalie: I wasn't bold enough to sing it, but I wanted it on the record to say that people go through relationships, and it's not always easy, and you do get hurt, but those experiences are what mold you into the person that you are going to be. You'll always look back on that and say, "That person affected my life." Because I went through that we wanted it on the record to say, "This is a choice we made. This is what happened."
Continue to Part 3