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DecembeRadio: Never Satisfied

By Chris Carpenter Program Director NASHVILLE -- DecembeRadio is the epitome of a band who has paid their dues.  They have spent years traveling around the country honing their sound in hundreds of different venues.  They have knocked on the doors of many record companies only to be turned away.  Needless to say, a variety of hard knocks has made them humble.

Breaking through in 2006 with their self-titled debut release, the Virginia based quartet finally began to reap the rewards from years of hard work – a 2007 Grammy nomination, a 2007 Dove Award, and four Top Ten hits.

With their new release, “Satisfied”, DecembeRadio hopes to continue their unwavering commitment to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Program Director Chris Carpenter recently sat down with lead singer/bassist Josh Reedy and lead guitarist Brian Bunn to discuss the new album, their reputation for performing live, and what important lesson they learned from Third Day.

A lot of people think that DecembeRadio is fairly new to the scene.  Your first album came out in 2005.  People see that and think that you are a new band.  But in reality, this group has been around for 10 years.  What has kept you going all those years until you got your first record out in mass release?

Josh Reedy: I think it is just the love for what we do.  I will be honest, we are blessed to be in the place where we are – to be accepted by the music industry.  I’m sure some people love us and others might not.  But above all that, none of this could have gone or happened, the Grammy nomination, the Dove Award, or being on a record label if we didn’t love what we do.  It is a passion and I can’t see myself doing anything else.  It is a calling for us.

Brian Bunn: Being called, that is the biggest thing.  When you know that God has placed a calling on your life you have to follow that.  That is about the only thing that keeps us going sometimes. 

You have developed a reputation of being a great live band.  I have seen you perform live twice and I can attest that you have a lot of energy onstage.  How do you take that great live quality that your music exhibits and translate it successfully into your studio recordings?

Reedy: It’s not always easy.  That is a very good question because when we went in to do the first record we discovered that there are so many different ways you can record.  We were like, ‘You know what?  Let’s just set up (our equipment) in this room and let’s play as a live band.’  We did it like this because we felt confident enough as players that we could do that and get into a groove to where we could really capture that live energy and rawness.  We did that on the first record and it ended up being a great experience.  We would go back and redo a few things but really captured the energy especially with the drums.  We love playing live and jamming.  On the new record, we are hoping to throw in a special bonus or hidden track jam.  On “Satisfied”, we caught a few things on tape that hopefully will be a benefit to the album.  Recording is a great process and we just want to have fun with it.  We recorded “Stranded” in Atlanta where Third Day records most of their records.

Speaking of Third Day, you just finished up a tour with them as their opening act.  They are a group widely considered to be one of the all-time greats in Christian music.  In your time with them out on the road, what did you learn from them?

Bunn:  It was amazing.  They have been doing this for 15 years so they know exactly how to interact with the audience, what songs to play, what to say, so it was an awesome experience for us.  First of all, it has always been a dream of ours.  We have been Third Day fans for a long time.  We grew up listening to them.  Just to get a chance to experience that and to learn from them was incredible.  It is that whole “iron sharpens iron” thing.  So, it was just really great to be part of that.

Reedy: It was really cool to be able to watch Mac (Powell) up on stage.  With me being a front man, I’m always trying to figure out a new way or tweaking how I connect with an audience.  It is tough for me sometimes.  I’m confident in who I am on the stage but I am always just a little self-conscious trying to figure out whether I am connecting with people.  It is awesome to watch someone like Mac who is so non-chalant onstage.  That really spoke to me and inspired me.  I just learned from that, seeing how those guys are still rooted in the thing that got them started.  When they first came on the scene they definitely weren’t watered down in their faith.  It is really refreshing to see a band that has maintained that standard and stayed true to who they are in Jesus Christ.  That speaks volumes to me.

You have just released a new album called “Satisfied”.  Tell me about it.

Bunn: There are a lot of songs on this record that we are excited about.  There is a song called “Better Man” that we are really proud of.  It talks about things we go through in life, good or bad, if we learn from our mistakes and follow Jesus Christ it will make us a better man.  There is another song called “Love Can” that has a great line in it – “What can build a bridge between a Holy God and a sinful man.’  As simple as it may be it is so deep and says so much.  We are excited about this album.  We feel we have learned more as a band and what works live.  We thought about that a lot more when we went into the studio.  We feel like we have become better songwriters.  We have learned a lot over the last three years since our first release.  We have had a chance to work with a lot of great artists and songwriters.

Does “Satisfied” have any one centralized theme?  A lot of times people do albums that have a sort of conceptualized story arc.  In other words, a record where every thing builds off one central theme.

Reedy: All the songs are actually really dealing with uplifting themes.  There are not really any dark songs on this record.  On the first album, we had a few songs (“Razor”, “Greed”) that were just dealing with a lot of things, a lot of dark things that can kind of creep up on your life.  “Satisfied” really has a message of hope and celebration.  That is who we are live as a band.  We love playing songs that are just super fun to play.  Musically, these songs have more of an Aerosmith-type of vibe.  Hope is definitely a general theme you will hear when you listen to the record.  There are a few songs talking about love and that God is our first and only true love.  We need to always remember that.

If you could pick one song that you think defines the essence of DecembeRadio and who you are, what would it be?  I’m sorry if this comes across as a Barbara Walters “If you were a tree what tree would you be?” type question.

Reedy: I would say “Drifter” from our first album.  That one for me actually has a lot of what defined us as a band to the public eye.  It was probably the biggest song on the first record.  The way that song came together was really a God thing.  God put all of those things into place – the sound – we knew we had this sound that we wanted to portray.  Sometimes you do that but sometimes it is hard and it doesn’t come out the way you want it to.  I think on that song we really did that.

Final question, what has God been teaching you lately?  What has He been showing you?

Bunn: For me, God just continues to show me to enjoy the journey and not to always be so worried about the destination or final point but just to enjoy getting there.  He is showing me to be faithful in the small things along the way and to just realize that He is preparing me and getting that foundation ready.  So, I need not to try and jump ahead but to wait on Him. 

Reedy: I feel very much the same way.  I feel like I can get so wrapped up in things that just aren’t that important.  I heard someone on the elevator this morning say, “Are you ready for ‘Give Me Attention Week’ to be over?  I thought that was pretty good because I feel that sometimes that is what it is like.  Everybody is just trying to get people to look at them and to check out what they are doing.  We can get very wrapped up in ourselves and that is fine but it is nowhere near as important as the reason we are doing this.  My main focus is serving God and doing what He has called me to do.  Right now, that is going out on the road and being in the studio making music that glorifies Him.  I just need to give it all I have to connect and minister to people.


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