Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bonus Q&A with Jars of Clay

Here is more from my interview with Steve Mason. Jars of Clay is expected to do a full scale tour with Brandon Heath this fall.

What are your thoughts on playing Spirit West Coast again? We’re excited to be back. It’s always a pleasure to get back to California - especially that part of California, having done this for a few years now. We always love returning there and it’s always great people and a good gathering of folks. It’s a unique lineup of bands every time we’ve been there.

Do you ever try and catch some of the up-and-coming acts while you’re there?
Absolutely. The last time we were there, we got to see The Myriad. I appreciate any festival that’s willing to stretch and get some new bands on these stages. I think it’s an exciting thing because what we’re finding in our core of the world is folks love new music. One of the changes we’re seeing in the music industry is we’re getting more new music, more often. And that’s really a win for everybody involved.

When the band plays a festival like this, do you lean toward a 'greatest hits' set?
We definitely start with a few songs we know we have to play. That includes our most current record. So we really try to honor the work we’ve been into recently. Then there’s always space for a few songs we want to play because they move us. Being a good steward of what we do, we have to keep ourselves engaged as artists to be motivated.

“The Long Fall Back to Earth” was dominated by a more electronic based sound. Were you satisfied with how it turned out and was received?
Yeah. I think we’re always going to wish for more opportunities to expose people to the record. That just seems to be a natural hunger. We obviously love what we do as a band and are excited about it. The more people we can engage with about the music, about the art, the better. There’s always room for improvement in that area. There are new and better ways every day developing how to get engaged.

2010 marks 15 years since the debut album. Can you believe it’s been that long?
No and yes. It really was [an insane period for the band]. I think we’re finding at this point we have to be conscious of the story that’s brought us to this point in a manner of gratitude. I don’t think we’d be here had we not gone through what we’ve gone through. There are certain things about it that we would’ve loved to have handled differently in the moment. There’s a grade from which we’ve experienced these 15 years that ultimately leads us to gratitude.

Congrats on your recent Dove Awards. What do those industry achievements mean to you?
It’s always a surprise. We’re incredibly grateful for it because it’s our peers, people in the industry taking notice and engaging. We want to feel like what we’re doing is challenging and moving people. They’re by no means a barometer or compass to navigate where we are. I think that has to come internally. But it certainly means something.

The band took a trip to Kenya for the Blood: Water: Mission organization. Can you tell me about it?
That last trip we took really brought home for me the gratitude of those that are working with us, informed the staff, mentored us and those we are working with in Africa. One of the important tenets of Blood:Water is we want to make heroes of Africans in their community. It’s not about us rescuing them from their circumstances altogether. This is a joint effort between Africans and those outside the continent. We as those outside of Africa don’t know the same provision of God that they do are experiencing are own rescue in the rich stories that we have to take with us from these trips.

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