I conduct the interviews I share in different ways. Sometimes, it’s through a conversation and other times it’s over an email where I send a questionnaire and have the artist or band fill it out. Then, I take their words and summarize what they have said, tell their story as best I can and use some of their responses as quotes.
As I sit and gather my thoughts on how to go about writing this article, honestly, I am stuck. I sent an interview to the band, The Common Thread, and they typed in their answers and submitted them to me. There is no way for me to do this interview justice by trying to summarize their words and take bits of what they said, because it would do you, as the reader a huge injustice.
While I’m not really into cutting and pasting, you will find that most of what I am going to share today is simply that; I want you to hear their hearts and their passion in their own words.
Five young men, Ronnie, Josh, Bobby, Cory and Adam, all attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona and are studying in the Worship Arts program. Collectively they make up the band The Common Thread, but individually they each have their own aspirations of being worship leaders in the church. They are wise beyond their years and wherever you, as the reader, land in the age spectrum, they have something to teach you.
They have taught me as I read their responses, had the opportunity to be led in worship by them and have had the joy of seeing them in concert. They are infectious for Christ and this is only the beginning.
What impressed me very quickly and distinctly when I met them for the first time was their heart for worship, their hearts when no one was watching, their hearts as they sound-checked, prepared, and were still. All of this was before a soul ever walked into the room. Their passion, energy and love of people is a gift that I immediately saw being used to edify the church and those they encounter for the Kingdom of God.
May you be blessed as I take a step back and allow them to share their hearts with you. Let the copy and pasting begin!
How did you all meet and then become The Common Thread? Josh and Cory had known each other for about five years since they came from the same hometown. They made plans to go to Grand Canyon University together, but it worked out for Cory to go a semester early. During that semester is where Cory met Ronnie through the Worship Arts program. That semester, they did a little bit of writing together but nothing too serious. The following semester, Josh came to Phoenix and the three met up during welcome week. We found that we could all sing pretty well together so we started doing some writing and playing together. In the first Worship Summit gathering of the year, we met Bobby and found out that he played drums.
When we first formed, Adam served basically as our biggest fan. He would always help promote our endeavors on Facebook and other social media outlets and would always come to the shows. Later on, we found out he could play bass so we brought him on for bigger electric shows. In April, we officially initiated Adam as a full-time member of The Common Thread. Since then, we have played some of the biggest opportunities of our run as a band thus far, those of which include Elevate Music Festival and Prescott Pines Summer Camp.
I know that all of you are in the GCU worship arts program. How do you balance that program, school work, and pressing into the demands of having an independent band? What it really comes down to are these two things: Saying “no.” Between our church ministries, school work, and wanting to maintain a social life; there are a lot of things that we are already saying “yes” to. In order for the band to function on top of all of that, it requires us saying “no” to some other outside opportunities. This can include social events, individual concert gigs, and sometimes other outside ministry opportunities. If we said “yes” to all of these things, we would burn ourselves out and not have anything left to give to the band. We know this because it has happened to us before. God has really revamped our excitement for TCT this summer and we want to maintain that excitement. But in order to do that, it requires some sacrifice on our end.
Managing our “yes’s” wisely. Now that we’ve narrowed down our “yes’s,” we have to prioritize them. We are all here because we are students at a University. Everything outside of that can easily disappear if we don’t make the grades we need to stay here. So, school is a huge priority. In addition to that, as said earlier, we are here to become worship leaders and ministers, therefore our church and our ministry there takes precedent over a lot of things. We strongly believe that if we prioritize our lives according to God’s will for us, everything will fall into place. We’ve learned that the hard way as we have sometimes tried to take matters into our own hands and that is where we have found the least amount of success.
What is it that drives TCT to go out, with everything else that you each are involved in, and share music, do concerts, camps…anything else? We do what we do because of the impact it has on lives, particularly non-Christians. As we said, the body of Christ is of utmost importance to us. But we believe that in addition to pouring into the body, we have to extend our hand out to the lost, otherwise, nobody else is being brought into the family of God.
We want to reach the people who don’t understand the church, who have been hurt by the idea or the people of the church, the ones who no longer want anything to do with the church. If we can create an atmosphere for God to come in and break down the walls built up by a broken heart, even for just one person, all of this was worth it.
What is it that set TCT apart from other bands, or that makes you unique? The main thing about us that makes us quite unique, especially for our age and audience that we are trying to reach, is that we are strictly a worship/ministry-based band. We take our worship songs into non-Christian coffee shops and venues, which is not normal and in fact, we have caught some flack for that decision. A lot of coffee shop owners have approached us after our performance and have said things like, “Oh guys, that was really great. Here’s the thing, we aren’t a Christian establishment or anything so next time you guys come, maybe you could do like a half Christian, half secular set.”
We don’t believe that there is anything inherently wrong with playing secular music as a Christian artist. In fact, many artists have reached people for Christ by connecting with them in that fashion. However, we feel that our particular band was not made for that use. We have actually received a lot more praise than criticism for our decision to stay consistent in the message we share from the platform and God has continued to provide us with opportunities where that kind of approach is encouraged and appropriate.
Do you all write, co-write original music. Every member of The Common Thread is a songwriter. The beauty of our particular group is that we can all write both solo and with other people. One of the awesome things is that every member can write together in different combinations (Josh and Ronnie can write a song, Josh, Cory, and Ronnie can write together, Adam, Bobby, and Ronnie can write together etc.). That all being said, our best and most cherished music has come when all members of the band have contributed to the piece of work.
Is the process of writing for your band writers, Fun, challenging, painful? It definitely grows all of us as both musicians and songwriters, as well as people. To get along in a band, you have to learn to respect everyone’s opinion and input even if you disagree with it. Everyone has to be mature enough to lay down their egos and pride and all come to an agreement on what is best for the song. It makes us better artists as well as men of God as we learn to work together and love one another.
What encouragement do you have for those who are feeling the itch to write/record/form a band, especially young people just starting out and what do you have to say to the older person who thinks there time may have passed? IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. If you feel a tug on your heart telling you to write a song to the Lord, act on it! Even if you have no desire to perform, your song can be pleasing to the King. Psalm 96:1 says, “Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!” Whether you feel you are made for the stage or not, God calls all of us to bring praises to Him. NEW praises that only you can create.
What message do you want people, believers and nonbelievers to know through your music? There are many different themes and messages that we are inspired to write about. These themes range from the eternal and magnificent qualities of God, to the everyday struggles of living in this world. Though this is the case, the message we seem to consistently find ourselves writing about is joy. We feel that joy is a topic that any listener should be encouraged by, yet it is a message not as commonly conveyed as it should be.
What’s new with the band that we keep a look out for? We just released our first single, “Victorious” on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/victorious-single/id1126028176), Spotify (https://open.spotify.com/album/39JyRWOy0lM3EBTfpWchru), and other platforms. Our upcoming EP has been tracked and mixed and needs only to be mastered and printed before release.
We’d love for everyone to be following us on our social media accounts Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and www.thecommonthreadmusic.com in order to get all of the updates on the launch date, and where it’s being sold, etc.
Coming up, we are going to be leading a worship service at an event called Motivate PHX in Chandler, AZ. (August 13th, 2016-10am) Tickets and info are available at this link: http://www.mkingmedia.com/motivate-phx/4592163382
As I bring this interview to an end, I encourage you, dear reader, that any chance you have to check this young band out, do it! Follow them, Facebook them, Tweet them, Instagram them….do it all. You will not regret it. Take a moment to listen to their music. Hopefully as you do, you will recall their hearts, their mission, their aspirations as they seek God, dig deep, and follow Him above all else.
To close on a more personal note, beyond all the of the amazing work they are doing in ministry, I knew there was another reason I really enjoyed getting to know these fellas. It all made sense once they answered the last question. With TV Show favorites like this, I knew they were bright young men.
Favorite TV Show? Josh – The Walking Dead; Ronnie – Psych; Bobby – The 100; Cory – Blacklist; Adam- The Office