Canadian indie band Allswell have just released their debut album 'Arise'. We spoke to the group to find out more about their music, how they want to help people encounter God, and their thoughts on making music.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got involved in making music?
(DREW) We got together through being in a family together. :) Scott and I are brothers, and Danielle is my wife. All three of us grew up in musical families and sang/played in church, so we have always had a passion for the church and music. We naturally started writing songs and decided to create ‘Allswell’ though that first batch of songs.
Tell us about your new album 'Arise' and what the inspiration behind it was?
(DANIELLE) The album came out of a pretty organic place of time spent on our own writing and worshiping God. As we recorded the album, we started to see the thread that joined it together - recovering peace. The inspiration also came out of just wanting to make a project together and to make music we would want to listen to.
Drew and I felt at some point that we would write and record a worship album. As we got in to it, we realized that these songs were actually for our hearts. During this season of our lives, we needed the message of these songs so much. I love how the Holy Spirit works and speaks!
Which is your favourite track on the album and why?
(SCOTT) My favourite song, 'In My Mother's Womb,' was also the most difficult and challenging one for me because it's deeply personal and I had been holding onto it for about two years. It came out of a time when I was experiencing some heavy doubts and insecurities. The song, which comes almost directly from Psalm 139, was a simple and beautiful reminder that even when I don’t feel God close to me, I still know he’s real, and that he’s with me and for me. I hadn't planned to share it and thought it would just remain one of many personal songs that are just between me and God. But, Drew and Danielle encouraged me to add it to the album, and I’m so glad we did.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
(SCOTT) We want people to know that God is real, and he is with them and for them. A friend described this album like a warm cave you could crawl into and encounter God. We really like that and hope that's how others feel.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
(SCOTT) I would say, as a band, our influences are: Bifrost Arts, Aaron Strumple, John Mark McMillian, Nick Drake, Damien Jurado, Sufjan Stevens, Sister Brother. These were often artists that we discussed in the studio as we were creating the album
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
(SCOTT) David Longstreth... love his stuff and would love to get inside his brain and see his process.
(DANIELLE) Aaron Strumple, because his songs are so beautifully arranged and his lyrics combine old and new. His albums are wonderful.
(DREW) Damien Jurado. I love his lyrics and love that he can use a big full song arrangement and also a small simple sound to get his lyrics across.
How would you define success in your career as a band?
(SCOTT) That’s a good question! And one we haven’t spent a lot of time on because we’re just getting started.
Two things that drive us and what we’re trying to do: “Serving, not selling” and “Providing space for the recovery of peace”. If we are doing those two things, I would feel that we are a success.
What is your favourite album of all time?
(SCOTT) That’s a really hard question. Probably Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ is up there for me, or ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley… or maybe ‘Diorama’ by Silverchair… that’s three!!
(DANIELLE) 'Scratch My Back' from Peter Gabriel, 'Lemonade' from Beyonce.
(DREW) For all different reasons, I would have to duct tape together these albums and call it my favourite: 'Heart Breaker' from Ryan Adams, 'Washed Out' from Paracosm, 'Seldom Seen Kid' from Elbow and 'Come On Feel The Illinoise' from Sufjan Stevens.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
(SCOTT) That’s even harder than the last question! Oh maaannnn…. Um. Let’s go with ’Slow Burn’ by Kasey Musgraves. That song is nearly perfect.
(DANIELLE) 'The Book of Love'... It was mine and Drew’s wedding song.
(DREW) Ha! I'll never be able to answer this. So I have to go with what I currently can’t get enough of... Damien Jurado's 'Lon Bella.'
What does the next year hold for you?
(DREW) Right now we have instrumental songs and would love to create an instrumental album as a backdrop for personal devotions/meditation/prayer. We also have material for another full album as well as material for a Christmas album.
We all are creators and would love to create as many things as possible... but Scott is a full time Pastor in Vancouver, and Danielle and I are in a pop/rock band, Dear Rouge. So we will have to see what we can get accomplished in the next year. :)