Here's a little interview I did for the cool dudes over at Hxcchristian.com this week. I talk a little bit about what's going on wiith the new record and answered some questions about our beliefs as a band. Check it out and check out their site!
Side note: Reading it back, I think I sound a little too accusatory about people who think we aren't "Christian" enough, and I didn't mean to come off that harsh. I didn't mean in any way that bands who openly preach at shows aren't doing the right thing. That's just not what we feel like WE need to do. Just wanted to clear that up. Anyways, read on!
Band Name: Call To Preserve
Music Style: Hardcore
Location (Home Base): Rockledge, Florida
Q: How long have you been playing as Call to Preserve?
A: I think we started playing as Call to Preserve in early 2003. The four of us who have been in the band since the beginning have all known each other most of our lives, if not all. Matt and Mike are brothers, I met John when I was 3 or 4, and we both met Matt and Mike in Kindergarten. When we were in middle school we played in our youth group band together, and when we got to high school we started playing in a punk band. It never went anywhere, but the songs kept getting harder and heavier, and we ended up writing hardcore songs kind of by accident. We ended up regrouping at the end of one summer, wrote some more songs, and took the name we have now. We’ve been going at it ever since.
Q: Where does the name Call to Preserve come from?
A: The name kind of came around by mistake. Matt was reading the book of Jude and this passage had a headline over it that said, “A call to persevere ,” but he read it as “A call to preserve.” He liked what he thought he read, so we went with it. It wasn’t till later he realized he read it wrong and by then we had already been playing out, so we just stuck with it. I definitely think there’s a meaning behind it though. It has to do with keeping a mindset or thinking what has gotten us through life, like being followers of Christ or being straight edge. To me it has to do with not wavering in whatever you believe.
Q: When did you guys decide to be a Christian band?
A: I don’t think there was ever really a discussion about it, we just knew that would be the purpose of the band. I think we’ve always seen Call to Preserve as an extension of who we are, so I think since we’re all followers of Christ, our music is going to reflect that. There was never strategic design or anything. We just wanted to have fun and play music, but at the same time our higher calling as people bleeds over into our role as a band.
Q: You guys don’t hide the fact that you are a Christian hardcore band, have you guys met much resistance for being a Christian band?
A: I can’t say we’ve really felt a whole lot of resistance, except for the occasional message board comment here or there, but that’s really not that big of a deal to me. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most kids who write us off for being a Christian band probably haven’t ever given us a chance. I know that especially in punk and hardcore there is stigma around bands who are Christian, but a lot of times I can see why. For people who don’t know God, all they see are these bands who get up there that haven’t paid their dues in the scene, they play half-hearted music and then try to “pitch” Jesus to the crowd. To them we look like salesmen. That’s why even though we’ve never backed down from our beliefs, we’ve really tried to stay away from shoving Jesus down people’s throats when we play. I think people have had enough of it and it can turn people off. We would much rather just talk to people about our faith and create dialogue after our shows.
Some people don’t like the fact that we don’t preach, but we all feel it’s much more personal and has more impact than just ranting and raving every night on stage. That’s why when we play we always emphasize that we are there to make friends and get to know everyone. We’re not rock-stars, or preachers for that matter. We just want to share Jesus with people one on one because that’s how he shares himself with people.
Q: Where in the bible does Call to Preserve get the most inspiration from?
A: Pretty much from anywhere. Anything that inspires me at the time I guess. “Unsinkable” was based on Ephesians 4:14, which talks about not being “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching.” I thought it gave a great visualization about the struggle of faith, so I just ran with the concept. We have a song on the new album called dear Galatia that’s based in the book of Galatians and it talks about not relying on religion for salvation. We’ve also got a new song that parallels the prodigal son parable and one that uses a lot of imagery from Exodus where the Hebrews wander in the desert. We pretty much use anything that stands out to us as something with a visual characteristic to it.
Q: You recently signed to Facedown Records, Congrats! What does this mean for the band?
A: Thanks man, we’re pretty stoked about it. Well, obviously it means we’ll be putting our next record out on Facedown, so we’ll have more of a push for this record than we did for Unsinkable. As a band, signing to Facedown means we’ve decided to really step our game up. When we wrote the new album, we put a lot of time into it, and it’s definitely a few steps up from our older material. We’re going to be touring a lot more and you’re going to hear a lot more from us. With the new signing, the new album coming out, and everything we have in store for the future. You’re pretty much going to see a new Call to Preserve.
Q: What was the craziest show you guys have played?
A: This is always hard to narrow down. One of them would have to be the first time we played With NIV (No Innocent Victim) a couple years ago in Ocala, fl. The show was in a church in a decent sized sanctuary, but it was packed from wall to wall. When we played the first note, the whole place went off. Kids were going wild and stage diving and singing along. It was an amazing response considering we hadn’t played Ocala in years, we were the opening band, and we only had a demo out at the time. Both times we played Facedown Fest was also amazing. More recently we played a packed garage in Springfield, MO that was pretty awesome. There was probably about 60 people packed in a space about the size of someones living room. Kids were stoked and the energy was pretty intense.
Q: Is everyone in the band straight edge?
Q: Why do you suppose that some many Christian bands are edge to?
A: It seems to me that there aren’t that many Christian edge bands out there right now. Actually, I would think there would be more than the handful that I know of because in some ways the straight edge lifestyle compliments a Godly lifestyle. Of course, neither is essential to the other, but I know that personally, straight edge has just been something thats reinforced my own personal morals that I already had as a Christian, like treating your body like a temple of the Holy Spirit. From what I can tell most of the Christian edge bands are kind of in the same boat as us. They are people who love Jesus, but also happen to be straight edge, so that comes out in their music. I wouldn’t mind seeing more Christian straight edge bands though. Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing more Christian hardcore bands in general. It seems the trend in the Christian underground scene lately has been all about metal and metalcore. Consequently I can’t say I listen to a whole lot of Christian bands these days.
Q: What bands does Call to Preserve compare itself to?
A: We don’t compare ourselves to anyone, but I guess people might say we sound like Terror or Seventh Star or any other “tough” band. Hopefully the new stuff will throw people off and they won’t be able to pigeon hole us and say we sound like a certain band.
Q: What bands have influenced your sound?
A: Some of our biggest influences have been the early Facedown bands like Figure Four, xDisciplex, No Innocent Victim, and Point of Recognition. Some other bands would have to be Stretch Armstrong, American Nightmare, and Strongarm. Our newer material we incorporated some influence from a lot of different bands like No Warning, Madball, Buried Alive, Modern Life is War, and maybe even a little Slick Shoes.
Q: What are the future plans for the band?
A: We’re almost done recording the new album and it should be out by the end of September. We’re currently looking for a label to do a vinyl release of it as well. We’ve got a couple tours we’re working on with some rad bands, so within the next couple months we should be back on the road. Once it gets close to the release of our next record, we pretty much plan on touring full time. We’ve also been wanting to go to Europe the past couple years, so hopefully will be able to go over there some time next year.
Q: You are currently in the studio, how is that going? What challenges are you facing? When can we expect your new album to hit the streets?
A: Being in the studio has been awesome. We’re working with Jim Seigel, who’s recorded so many good bands that it’s ridiculous. American Nightmare, Blood for Blood, Guns Up!, Have Heart, the list could go on and on. He’s definitely got his own signature sound and we’re stoked to have that in our record. We started putting vocals to everything yesterday, so all the songs are really starting to come together. I guess our biggest challenge is probably just being able to finish on time and on budget. I think pretty much every band that isn’t on a major label deals with that every time they record. I’m pretty sure we’ll finish on time, but it’s definitely something we think about a lot. It was also just a challenge to get up here to record. For some reason we couldn’t get any shows booked on the way up, so we had to drive straight from Florida to Boston, which is something like 28 hours. Since we didn’t have any shows to support the cost of driving, a lot of that $4 a gallon gas came out of our own pockets.
The album’s going to be called “From Isolation” and hopefully it will be out by the end of September.
Q: How has the hardcore scene received Call to Preserve? Are other bands that are not Christian open to Him whom you represent? (Him being Christ and God).
A: We’ve always tried to make friends with everyone we play with or whoever comes to our shows, and we’ve definitely made good friends with people all over the country who don’t have the same beliefs we do. For the most part, people have been very respectful of what we stand for as a band and I don’t think its ever caused us to not get along with a band. Whether or not they are open to Jesus, I’m not always sure, but we’ve really tried to break down the perceptions of what these bands think about Christians by just being good friends and sincere. I think in that way we’ve probably kept people more open to Jesus than before we met them.
Q: What is the most challenging thing about being in a Christian band?
A: The biggest challenge about being a Christian band is the scrutiny you willingly put yourself through when you’re a band that claims to be a certain way. What we always have to remember is that if we claim to be Christians, then we are examples of who God is to people who don’t know him, and it’s even more so when you’re in the spotlight. I know that I’m human and I make mistakes just like everyone else, but if people are looking up to us to see who Jesus is and we’re acting like idiots, than we’re not doing our job. Of course there’s always going to be people who will never be happy and decide to be the judge of every bands walk. I guess it’s much easier to tear down other people than to actually be understanding of who people are are, but all we can do is be honest about who we are and let people know that we are regular people who mess up all the time and are no more deserving of the grace of God than anyone else.
Q: Have you had kids come to you after shows to discuss Christ?
A: It doesn’t happen all the time, but it definitely happens. We are always open to talk to people and get to know them when we play somewhere. That’s where we feel we can have the biggest impact, not necessarily from reciting a speech on stage. Sometimes kids just want to talk about music or whatever, and that’s cool too, but we do get kids who will come up and tell us how one of our songs has impacted their life, and that’s always great to hear. Sometimes people want criticize us about something we do that they don’t like, whether it’s because we’re straight edge, or they don’t feel we preach enough, and that’s fine too. We’re open to what everyone has to say.
Q: In my life, I have definitely felt Christ helping me succeed, do you attribute your success with following Christ?
A: I’ve always believed that if you put God first, he will give you the desires of your heart. I know that when we started this band, all I really wanted was to be able to do a little touring and have people outside our little town know we are, so I definitely think God has opened doors for us to get places we didn’t think we’d ever go. since we’ve been a band, the only label we ever wanted to be on was Facedown, and to think about the events that lead to us meeting Jason and getting signed, it would be hard to believe that God didn’t have His hand in this since the beginning. I don’t want to say that following Christ means you’ll be successful in everything you do or make lots of money, but I definitely thank God being given the opportunity to do what we love and for exceeding our expectations every day.