Tuesday, June 30, 2015

An interview with Santification Parade #JustBeingHere #Interview @SanctParade

dErk: What got you started in music?
SP: I started taking piano lessons when I was really young and then got into writing songs and teaching myself other instruments from there.
dErk: What other instruments have you "picked up"?
SP: I learned sax in junior high band, then taught myself guitar, bass, drums, and a few others. I recently spent a term break learning flute. One time I tried to pick up a pipe organ, but it was too heavy.
dErk: "Sanctification Parade" is a pretty cool name, what brought you to choose it?
SP: I came up with the name when I was 14. It’s about living life in a way that isn’t of the rest of the world, and sharing the message of God’s love.
dErk: Have you found it to make things easier to share God's word with a name like this?
I’m not sure. I’ve had some opportunities to play alongside secular bands while sharing about God in my lyrics and in talking between songs, so that has been good. There’s a possibility that the name may turn off potential listeners, though. But I’ve found that a lot of people don’t know what “sanctification” means – some have looked up the word after hearing the band name.
dErk: Do you feel that your music captures what you intended it to?
SP: I think so. It’s really easy to be misinterpreted, but I’ve always been as transparent as possible. However, my songs rarely end up sounding the way I want and hear them in my head.
dErk: What has been your motivation to keep on playing?
SP: My love for music has kept me going. There are always disappointments and frustrations, but I still love it and could never see myself not playing. My songs are also an outlet for me, even if they don’t get released.
dErk: Has there been a really special song that has helped you though a hard time? 
SP: I don’t think I could pick one really special song. So many bands’ songs have helped me, whether by being relatable, creating a little sonic escape, triggering feelings, etc. The sound of music alone can completely change how you feel. One example of an album that helped me through a hard time is Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. During one of the peaks of my depression, I remember listening to this album (along with a couple tracks from their newest m b v record) in bed with earbuds. Even though I couldn’t make out the words, in a weird way, I felt like the music understood me. Something about the way the songs sounded and the experience created by all of the sonic activity was comforting, and made me feel like “it was going to be okay.” Haha!
If you're talking about one of my own songs, there have been many that have helped me in expressing my feelings and thoughts into words and music. That’s been beneficial. There have also been many times when I have written songs that have spoken to me years after I wrote or recorded them, reminding me of important truths or just being relevant to my current situation, as I “relate” to my past self. :)
dErk: So, in a way, you are your own spiritual mentor?
Haha, yeah, in a way. Some of these songs I wrote to help share the truth with those struggling and they have come back to help me. It’s a cool thing. There are also other people in my life who have been really great spiritual mentors.
dErk: What is your favorite song on your latest album and how did you come to the point to write a song like that?
SP: I have an album that I recorded back in March 2013 that I haven’t released, but I’ve shared a couple singles from it. One of them is called “Trusting Riches Makes You Fall.” It’s based on Proverbs 11:28 and has kind of a lo-fi surf punk sound. The song came out of my frustration with materialism.
dErk: Which is more important to you: The Message, or the Music?
SP: Both. In the past, I might have said the message, but it depends what you’re going for. There are times when it’s fun to just enjoy playing music and not take everything seriously. One of my other bands, The Cool Story Bros, is like that. We met last year at Bible college and we’ve been having lots of fun making the kind of music we like, with ridiculous lyrics. Even that has been a ministry at times, and a fun way to bring lots of people together inclusively.
The majority of the music I write is serious, though. And that’s good, too. Music is such a powerful thing and I think it should definitely be used to share the truth of God’s love and His Word. But I don’t think that it should be forced. It needs to be done in a way that is real and human. A great example of this is the Psalms – they display the full spectrum of human emotions, instead of just the “happy” ones that we see in the majority of today’s worship and other Christian music. I’ve been learning a lot of great stuff about this from Brian Doerksen, my Music & Worship Arts teacher at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta. His new band, the SHIYR Poets, has been putting the Psalms to music recently, one album at a time, and these songs are an example of what it means to be human. No matter what content makes up your song, when it's serious, it's important to be vulnerable.
And whether the lyrics are deep and thought-provoking or complete gibberish, the music should always sound rad!

dErk: Do you have any examples of this transparency in any of your recent releases?

SP: Yeah, I released a song in January that isn’t a part of any album, called “I’m So Happy.” And it’s not a happy song haha. It’s like a little glimpse into my mind as I was feeling forced to fake it on the outside while feeling hopeless and disconnected from everything. Not something a Christian “should” feel, but it was my reality and I’ve never been into sugarcoating my music. The song’s on my Bandcamp page, but I never linked it on Facebook or anything because I didn’t want people to worry about me haha.

dErk: What advice would you give an artist just starting out?

SP: Have fun playing music. Make the kind of music you love. Don’t just imitate what’s popular or try to sound the way you’re “supposed to.” Don’t worry about success. Write about how you feel, not what people want to hear. At the same time, if you want to reach people, you need to find a way to make your music accessible.

dErk: Has this advice been easy for you to follow?
SP: Not at all haha. Everything about music is much more difficult than one would assume. There are so many parts to it and endless decisions to make. It’s super easy to become discouraged and lose joy from it. It’s also always a battle trying to have others understand you by making your music accessible, while keeping your creative integrity.
dErk: Is there a song that may stand out to you that it was hard to convey the message you wanted?
SP: I wrote a song called “Seasonal Depression” that I performed for critique in one of my songwriting classes within the last year. It came out of genuine feelings during a time of real pain, but it’s full of wordplay to keep things light. Like in real life, I hate to be a downer, even if I am really struggling. The result was most people finding it hilarious or clever, but the wordplay acted as a mask and some thought it was just a humorous song. While I didn’t want it to be heavy and bring people down, I still wanted it to be an expression of how I was feeling. I also received reactions on the opposite side of the spectrum when I posted a demo of the song on my Bandcamp – they didn’t see the lyrics written out so they missed the wordplay and were really worried about me. That also wasn’t the goal. Each one of my songs is an open book, never a cry for help. I’m not looking for sympathy, but to be understood. Sometimes I release stuff just to show that I’m human and so that if anyone else is going through something similar, they can relate to it. Ultimately, my music communicates hope, but that doesn’t mean that every song will. There are different seasons of life and I like to be honest in portraying them.
dErk: If someone wanted to listen or purchase your music where should they go to do that?

SP: All of my Sanctification Parade stuff can be streamed for free at sanctificationparade.bandcamp.com. It can be purchased there, as well, but there are also quite a few free downloads available. Some of my albums are also on iTunes, Amazon MP3, Spotify, and all of those other music sites.

dErk: Thank you for the chance to get to know you better!

SP: Thanks, Derek!


If your are a music artist or a writer of books, feel free to contact me for possible reviews or interviews. 

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