David Zach (2nd from left), the lead singer of Remedy Drive, signed to Centricity Music, was kind enough to answer some email questions by Christian Music Zine’s Joshua Andre! Below are his responses:
Q1: In your biography, it states that you are an old band, yet a new band also. What can you tell us about that? How did it feel to keep going what you and your brothers started?
It was quite different at first. My brothers and I all had the same musical history and influences, as we listened to the same stuff growing up, so playing with three new guys after so long was very odd. There was also a sense of guilt at first as I love playing music so much and I was so sad not to be playing with them. But as time has passed I’m glad that they are home with their families and I feel more fortunate than ever to still be playing music. The new dynamic is great! I like being the least technically skilled instrumentalist in the group.
Q2: How did you sign to Centricity Records? What is it like working with Pete Kipley, who has produced albums this year from artists Mark Schultz, Luminate, and The Museum, and MercyMe in the past?
We ended up signing with Centricity Music because the staff really believed in the music and wanted to give us a chance so I’m very thankful for them.
Pete Kipley is so much fun in the studio, but at the same time he helped us fight to keep the soul in the songs. It’s easy in the studio for a song to lose its identity – there is so much technology and pressure these days to make something that you think someone might want to hear rather than just creating honest art. I’m really glad we didn’t use MIDI but started with acoustic instruments. Pete took so much time with each guitar tone and each part to make sure it had its own heart, so our record ends up being the sum of thousands of decisions and intricacies that Pete took special care with one at a time. I think Dave Mohr played almost 20 guitars before finding the perfect sound on one song, not to mention the mics and the amp combinations. Pete really cared about this record and it was humbling to get to work with someone who cared that much.
Q3: I love the singles “Better Than Life” and “Resuscitate Me”! Can you give us a behind the song background of those two songs and how they were written?
These songs obviously carry the same theme – the idea of brokenness, exhaustion, being beat up and yet the enduring hope we have if we believe there is a redemption that can work to revive our souls, put the breath of lives back in our lungs and bring rhythm back to our hearts. ‘Resuscitate Me’ was the first lyric I wrote after the major changes in my life and in the band 2 years ago. ‘Better Than Life’ is a bit more upbeat but both songs are hopeful and reiterate the same theme that it’s not too late for us, we’re not too far gone, we might be lost but we’re not lost causes, we might be beat up but we’re not defeated and it’s not too late to resuscitate us.
Q4: In some of these songs, you sound so much like Jon Foreman! Can you describe your sound for someone who hasn’t heard it? For me it raw, organic, guitar based rock, along the veins of Switchfoot, Skillet, and Red!
I think it’s fair to reference one of my favorite bands. It’s obvious from listening to Switchfoot that they listen to a lot of the bands I listen to as well, and quote a lot of the same people I quote. I’ve told Jon before that he’s been the second most influential person on my art, and I’m sure that he is quite influenced by C.S Lewis as well. There is something about putting one note in front of another note, the space around the notes, and the same with words. I think rock music needs to have a sense of longing and a lack resolution at times. It’s in the tension and dissonance that I find the beauty. There is a sense of having been part of something infinite and having lost it. It’s always right under the surface. Nothing reminds me of this age old ache better than a guitar riff through an amplifier turned up to the point where the notes themselves start bending out of shape. There is something so unpolished about the universe I live in – I hope my art reflects that a bit – and yet great songs need to remind us that there is something right in the world.
Q5: Can you tell us about an artist or artists, who have inspired you as a lead singer of a band? Who was your favourite artist growing up, and who would you love to work with in the future?
I think any lead singer is going to have a similar answer today. Bono, Brandon Flowers and Chris Martin – they are great at what they do. I grew up listening to Keith Green and fell in love with the piano when I was a kid. I listened to the Newsboys when I was fourteen or so, and I’d love to work with Peter Furler on a record.
Q6: My favourite songs are the two singles, as well as “God I Hope So”, “Crystal Sea”, and “Glory”! Can you tell us about your favourite songs on this album? Were there any songs that were difficult to write?
Those seem to be the common favorites on the album. ‘God I Hope So’ was obviously a very difficult and yet very important song for me to write. Being able to put those words into a melody helped me move into this new chapter and not stay in a stage of constant questioning and second guessing. The song has helped me come to grips with the fact that we’re not always going to be able to figure out why things end up a certain way, but at the end of the day we need to hope and if we can’t hope, we need to hope for hope.
Q7: For touring in the future, it is a very packed schedule for you- touring at LifeLight first up, then one off shows in many churches around the U.S. Are there any countries and places you are looking forward to visit in the near future? What should people expect from your live shows?
Festival season was great this last summer, and we got to play over seas a couple times these last couple of years. I really want to go perform in Australia as I’ve heard they are playing our tunes on the radio over there. If you watch the video for ‘Resuscitate Me’ online it will give you an idea of what it’s like at our show. We really love these songs so I hope it shows. I want everyone at the concert to be part of it so sometimes I might overdo it trying to inspire interaction. Sometimes it takes extreme measures to convince an audience to celebrate with us so we’re going to do whatever it takes.
Q8: What is the most important take home message for listeners of Resuscitate, and even your debut album Daylight Is Coming? What is the most exciting thing you do every day that makes writing and performing music satisfying?
I believe that songs have a unique ability to wake up an ancient instinct of astonishment in all of us. Music has a way of reminding us of the song we were born remembering, but then somehow we’ve strayed so far off the track, somehow we’ve been cut off from that beauty and it’s just a faint memory of a tune we were born with….and an angel guards the gates back inside with a flaming sword east of Eden. So I write songs because I desperately want to remember again. I want to remember that we are blood bought, princesses and princes of another realm. When everything we see is the world pulled over our eyes blinding us to the truth of our heritage – the reality that there is a kingdom behind the skies that has nothing to do with our puny empires and broken economies. I want these songs to remind our souls that even when the stars fall from our skies and the moon goes blood red, even when the plates shift beneath our feet, there is a day that’s going to break – a shore by a sea of glass like unto crystal by which we’ll sing. We once saw it so vividly, in dreams and in childhood, and the only way to get back is like children with hearts burning, eyes of fire fueled by the melodies of a distant land.
Q9: Is there a favourite bible verse that has inspired you of late, that you may or may not have incorporated into your newest album that you may want to share with us, and what it means to you?
1 John 3: 2 & 3 – “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure”. I imagine, dream and write music because it doesn’t yet appear what we will be. All we know is that we’re destined to be like the King. And yet today, I’m fallen. I’ve got empty spaces inside of me. I’ve missed the mark. It’s so easy to lose sight of the prize because I literally can’t see it. It doesn’t yet appear. It’s only hinted at, described in a few words of mystery, allegory and metaphor. Darkly through a mirror but someday face to face. I love that scripture because it gives me hope. I sing about the crystal sea by the emerald throne and golden streets, and yet language itself is absolutely insufficient in giving me a true picture of what my heart is longing for – to be reunited with the Voice that formed the stars – and it gives me inspiration to let that same Voice put lights in this heart of mine that’s filled with empty spaces. Purity becomes an exciting quest worth chasing after – the promise of substance and not shadow – of a literal, tangible hope. Makes me thankful for these flames I’ve gotta pass through because I hope there is some gold left behind after I’m tried by fire.
Q10: Is there anything else that you’d like to add that we haven’t covered? What is God teaching you lately? What advice can you give to young songwriters and young bands looking for guidance?
The only advice I have for anyone wanting to make art, or specifically write songs, is to be honest. There is so much pressure to chase after the clichés and platitudes that sell, but we’re not commodities. We’ve got souls inside these bodies, so find what you’re supposed to say and say it the way only you can. I love something Dan from Jars of Clay tweeted once. It’s something along the line of ‘a new language for an age old hope.’ We need new perspectives and melodies to keep us searching and celebrating this mystery which is Christ in us – the hope of glory.
God bless you David! Have an awesome 2012 and 2013 with Jesus!
Remedy Drive’s new studio album Resuscitate released via Centricity Music on iTunes, Amazon mp3, and other digital media outlets September 18th 2012. Check out the music video for “Resuscitate Me” below!