Lead singer of pop/rock band The Museum, Ben Richter (far right), was kind enough to answer some email questions by Christian Music Zine’s Joshua Andre! Below are his responses:
Thank you for taking some time out to talk with CMZ.
Q1: Can you give us a background into your interesting name? How did you guys form as a band?
We started the band in 2008, Josh Kirk (our drummer) had just returned from a mission trip to Romania where he had the chance to visit a place called The Revolution Museum. This small little building contained the evidence of the revolution of 1989 where communism was overthrown in their nation. It was a small group of Christians who began praying publicly that helped spark that revolution that forever changed their country! We decided from the begin we want our music and our lives to do just that… simply to stand up for what we believe in and hope that God will use that to impact the world around us. We pretty much all met through our local church in Atlanta and started leading worship together. From the beginning worship has been our heart, and we’re grateful to travel the world making music together!
Q2: For those you have not heard your sound before, can you describe it? Your sound on your debut is guitar driven, with pop-radio songs next to ballads of reflection. How would you describe your sophomore album?
I think our sophomore album is very much built on the foundation of the sound of our first album – guitar / pop driven with a worshipful vibe to it. However, I believe we were able to expand the sound a little further with things like keys, synth and programing. I think we got to have a little more fun musically on this one .
Q3: Following the commercial and critical success of Let Love Win, how different was the recording process for My Only Rescue?
The process for recording “My Only Rescue” was night and day different than the first. The first album was a collection of songs we’d written over the previous 2-3 years, we worked with 3 different producers in 3 different states and knew the 11 songs from the get-go. This album we really never stopped the writing process, even into the studio. We probably wrote and considered 30 plus songs in the span of 6 or 7 months until we finished the record. We ended up throwing half of the ones away that we walked into the studio ready to record! The song “Better Than Life” we actually wrote and recorded in one day after we already had finished the album. We decided to take another song off the record and put that one on instead! It was a cool growing process for us as a band really collaborating and writing together on a deeper level. We also loved working with just one producer for the whole project. We felt that helped us to further develop our sound, identity and cohesiveness as a band.
Q4: How was working with producer Pete Kipley, who also produced albums for MercyMe, Matthew West, and Phil Wickham? In what was has Pete stretched you as a band, musically, lyrically, and spiritually?
Working with Pete was a whirlwind of awesome. Pete is a ton of fun and comes to the studio full of energy every day. Our first week in the studio we went 12 to 14 hours a day 5 days straight and Pete never seemed to miss a beat! What I love about Pete is he’s straight up – he’ll tell it as it is. So he’s great to recognize potential and push you to get the absolute best, without ever settling for less. He found a way to bring the best out of each of the guys in the band on their own instruments, and he really pushed me to be a stronger vocalist, songwriter and leader. I’m grateful for his outlook on life and music and glad to have made such a good new friend in the process. Pete’s one of the good guys.
Q5: Thematically I perceived the album to be about reassurance that God is not far away from us during times of trouble. What were the themes you as a band were trying to impart to the listener? Give us an insight into how the single “Love Will Find You” came about?
I think this record is the honest truth of where our lives have been the past year. As writers we sat down and said above everything else on this album we want to look back and feel that it’s honest and raw. Through our journey as a band and as individuals we’ve seen God continue to prove himself faithful and hold our lives together through every up and down. These songs are simply stories of his faithfulness and love. “Love Will Find You” was basically what I wanted to say to a close friend who had made some mistakes and lost his marriage. It’s the reality that no matter how bad we mess up or how far we run away that God is right there with us, there’s nothing that can do to take away that love.
Q6: I love the fact that you covered One Sonic Society’s song ‘In Jesus Name’ on your new album! Which artist, writer or producer- Christian and/or mainstream- have inspired you throughout your journey with God and as a band? Who would you like to work with in the future?
Thanks! There’s so many people who continually inspire us as artists. To name a few – I love seeing Tenth Avenue North grow… I think God is doing huge things thru them and every time we run into them it seems they are growing into the big things God has for them. Phil Wickham is an artist and songwriter that’s inspired me a bunch! I LOVE the band NeedToBreathe – they’re just so good. 2 best concerts I saw in 2012 – love it or hate it, Taylor Swift & Coldplay. Insane amounts of talent!
Q7: Can you tell us about your partnership with both Compassion International and ‘Not For Sale’? I love the song ‘Not For Sale’- how did that idea come about?
Compassion and Not For Sale Campaign are both such great organizations and it’s been a huge honor for us to partner with them. We’ve had a neat organic relationship with the folks at Not For Sale. They are incredibly talented people leveraging all they have to help put an end to modern day slavery, it’s inspiring to see and be a part of. We had the chance to go with Compassion to The Philippines last November and meet our sponsor children. It was incredible and life altering, I’ll never see things the same because of that trip. Compassion helped open my eyes to see the opportunity we have to combat poverty on the ground level and change the life of a child one person at a time. I love the transparency and heart of the people at Compassion. They are accomplishing huge things for the Kingdom of God across the globe!
I think one of the best ways we can use our voice as a band is to help shed a light on how we can take part in social justice. The song “Not For Sale” came out of that very desire and I hope more of the same are ahead!
Q8: Is there a song/s on the album that is special to you personally, that you feel was handpicked by God to minster to you; to show you something new about your walk with Him?
It would have to be “My Only Rescue.” Literally the moment I was walking into the vocal booth to record that song I got a call from my wife telling me that she was miscarrying what we thought was going to be our first child. It was a pretty devastating moment for us both, and suddenly the words we had written just a few weeks prior had a whole new meaning to me. ”Give me faith to wait on You, give me peace to be still… in the chaos all around, You’re my only rescue.”
Q9: Which tours in the near future are you excited for? I know your touring schedule is quite packed for the rest of the year, but which countries or cities are you planning tour in the upcoming months? What should someone expect from a live show from you guys? Who’s your favourite band that you have toured with in the past?
We’ve got a busy 2012 for sure. The summer has been packed full and we can’t wait to release the album August 28th! We’ve had tons of fun especially touring with some of our label mates – Kutless, Jessa Anderson and Rapture Ruckus. Rapture Ruckus is a group of crazy fun New Zealanders, and Jessa and her family are some of the sweetest people we know. It’s always great to tour with friends! We’re planning a few CD release shows that we’re excited about, especially going back to my home town of San Antonio, TX! We’re still finishing out fall touring plans that include bits and pieces all across the USA. Now we’re just hoping to get overseas a little more in 2013 .
Q10: I know it’s early days but have you given much thought into album number 3? Besides touring, what is the one thing you must do before the end of 2012?
No thoughts yet for album 3! I’m sure we’ll start to cross that bridge as soon as we release “My Only Rescue.” I think one thing we’re going to make sure and do before the end of 2012 is take a week off for vacation and thank our wives for all their sacrifice and support. We’re trying to work out a band and wives trip to the beach in Mexico late this year, so hopefully we can make that happen!
Q11: What is God teaching you lately through Scriptures, other people, or the media? Is there anything you can share with what the Lord is showing in your life that is relevant to listeners?
I’d have to say simply “to trust.” God’s been teaching me that his timing is always perfect and his ways are higher than our own. A passage in II Corinthians 12 has taken on a new meaning to me lately – it says “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” I’ve begun to see the reality of how His power is shown perfectly through our weakness. Through every moment, every journey – His grace is sufficient!
God bless you Ben, Josh, Loyd and Chris! Have an awesome 2012 and 2013 with Jesus!
The Museum’s sophomore album My Only Rescue releases via BEC Recordings on iTunes, Amazon mp3, and other digital media outlets August 28th 2012.