Melbourne, Australia, worship duo Insideout have just released their latest single 'One Thing'. Consisting of worship leader, singer and songwriter Jess Hammond, plus worship leader, guitarist and songwriter Dan Hammond, the duo have been making a name for themselves both at home in Australia and also in the wider world. Louder Than The Music chatted with them to find out more about their music, and get their top tips for worship leaders trying to run online church sessions during the pandemic lockdown.
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?
Both of us have had a love of music and particularly leading musical worship from a young age. We met in Youth With A Mission in 1999 when we were set up to lead worship together by a dear friend :). We formed a friendship and worked on a few home recordings together. We got married and 2004 and started writing a bit together also. In 2006 we toured Oz under the name ‘Jess Hammond’ as a CCM acoustic duo, but we felt the need to really dive into writing worship music and creating spaces where people could encounter God through our music so in 2008 we renamed ourselves and formed Insideout as a ministry alongside working in our local church One Church, Jess as worship minister and Dan on media team. We recorded a few projects during those years and toured a little but the last 8 or so years have really had us consumed with having kids and being involved in local church. This last year Jess finished in her Worship Minister role and we launched into Insideout full time as a Creative Worship and Support Ministry.
Tell us about your new single 'One Thing' and what the inspiration behind it was?
One thing was really inspired by this heart cry in Psalm 27 : 4 ‘One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life’ (NIV). I guess we wanted to capture that sense of longing and hunger for God that is in every human heart (whether we recognise it or not) and that ultimately He is the only one that can fill that need in our lives. We wrote it in a songwriting mentoring term with Worship Circle with is a wonderful US based worship mentoring program. We were really privileged to work with Steve Fee on this one who is just a really great guy and awesome songwriter.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
We would love for people to really experience God through our music. Our prayer is that there would be a tangible sense of His presence, that people would know His comfort, peace and hope and be drawn to know Him or to seek Him out maybe even for the first time.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
It's probably a bit of a mix for us. We both have been really impacted but worship bands like Delirious and Passion and worship artists like Matt Redman. Musically we both love U2 which has really influenced Dans guitar work and Coldplay, but Jess grew up in Tamworth so there is a bit of folky/bluegrass influence there. She grew up listening to people like Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy.
Do you have any top tips for people doing 'Online Church', and coping as worship leaders during the current pandemic?
Yes its certainly been a challenging time. I (Jess) think one of the main challenges has been the fact that not every worship leader and team member can be using their gifts in this season. A lot are not able to be involved in the production for the online streams. I think one of the biggest gifts in this season is to learn how to ‘Lead ourselves in worship’ to steal a phrase from friend Nikki Fletcher. Its so important as worship leaders that we always lead from a place of intimacy with God, so if you can’t be on the ‘platform’ at the moment, just keep worshipping to the audience of One and use this time allow God to work on your inner worship life.
The other thing would be for those who are leading for online streams, try and keep it as genuine as possible. Pray like you would on your church platform. Explain why you have chosen the songs you are leading, why they are meaningful to you in this season. Try and and keep personal connection with your church members, give people something to relate to. Also foster engagement in anyway you can, either with live chats or encouraging people to stand and sing in their homes. The last thing we want this season to have created is more consumers in our churches. Try to encourage active participation in worship times.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Daniel : Chris Martin- Because he is one of the best songwriters of all time.
Jess: Matt Maher - Because of his depth of theology and also beautiful, singable melodies
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
As artists who want to draw people into worship of God, success for us means doing just that - writing songs and creating spaces through music that really enable those transcendent moments where God can do something transformational in peoples lives. I guess the hard thing with that is that its not always ‘quantifiable’. You never really know if your music has had this affect on people but ultimately would be our goal. That people see and meet God through our music.
What is your favorite album of all time?
Daniel : Joshua Tree - U2.
Jess: King of Fools - Delirious
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?
Daniel : Where The Streets Have No Name - U2.
Jess: Obsession - Delirious
What does the next year hold for you?
Well if the start of this year is anything to go by - who knows??? lol! We stepped out this year to really try and develop Insideout as a Creative support ministry and to give time to songwriting and releasing music, so there are some new recording projects in the works plus some more songwriting development. We will for sure keep doing some online worship nights as they have become a real need for people in this time. We have also loved doing a bunch of collaborative projects with other artists and worship leaders so hopefully more of that too :)… And hopefully - not too much more remote learning!