Founder of Nashville-based Christian music label Yuri Mamchur believes that today's music is "starting to lack in basic songwriting quality."
Technopraise is a Christian music label focused on delivering Christian-based dance music. Yuri Mamchur is a Russian-born music producer and the founder of Technopraise. The record label recently released a music video for its artists, Johnny Hammer and Alexis Lundt. The song, "Hands in the Sky," is a techno song that looks to inspire young people to dance and praise the Lord.
In a press release for the music video's release, Mamchur gave his opinion on Christians who look down on techno music.
"Some Christians believe that raving is inappropriate worship," said Mamchur. "Christians who think that dance beats and Jesus don't belong together have missed parts of the Bible. The book of Psalms encourages celebration of God through all means available to us. Jesus' first miracle was making sure a party didn't stop."
The Christian Post conducted an interview with the record label's founder on today's music landscape, Johnny Hammer and future plans for Technopraise.
CP: What is your opinion of today's popular music? Do you feel as if the majority of it is wholly inappropriate?
Yuri Mamchur: I believe that today's popular music, because of overall theft (illegal downloads), is starting to lack in basic songwriting quality. Both melodies and lyrics are becoming much simpler than they used to be. There are two reasons for that: 1) when people steal music, songwriters and producers do not get paid, which causes lesser quality product, and 2) teenagers rule the entertainment business - they decide what will become popular and what will not. Teens like it simple and energetic - thus the simple dance tunes in Top-40.
The majority of the current Top-40 is definitely inappropriate. Can you imagine a major radio hit among teenagers 50 years ago with lyrics like, "chains and whips excite me", "feel me with your poison", "hey kids here we go, drugs sex Rock n Roll", and "met a very nice girl had some very nice sex." Sex and drugs are casual words now just to make the song flow. Kids know those lyrics by heart. Inappropriate.
CP: How did you come across Johnny Hammer?
Yuri Mamchur: Johnny met me while attending YMCA Camp Seymour in 2004. I had just flown in from Russia that morning, and was suddenly Johnny's cabin counselor. After camp was over, I continued to stay in touch with the Hammer family and even lived with them for a year. To this day, the Hammer boys have practically adopted me as their fifth brother.
When we met, Johnny was 6 and said "I can do splits" and did one. I responded with "I can do splits too - and did mine" (I really can). The kid was fascinated with me. Plus, his other brothers who were at the camp liked me too. They invited me for a dinner, another dinner and the rest is a story. Johnny's father visited my family in Russia, my parents from Russia visited the Hammers, etc. John is clearly talented: he's played violin for 10 years now! He also plays the piano.
CP: What are some goals you hope to accomplish in the future for your record label?
Yuri Mamchur: We are hoping to become a household name for the Christian families with teenagers and overall for all Christians. Remember, dance music is the number one genre in the world. Putting God's message to techno beats will hopefully allow us to reach millions of souls in Asia, Latin America, Europe, etc. They listen to techno and then everything else. Let's give them techno with the Christian message! We are hoping to become a large label with a roster of artists while also giving normal concerts and DJ sets across the world. We'd like to continue performing for young people and adults alike.
Right now, we are finishing the song "Watching Over Me." It is entirely composed (music and lyrics) and arranged by Johnny. It should be out in early January, and the video in late January. We are excited about what we're doing and we have literally endless supplies of inspiration and content (lyrics and music) among Ryan Chavez Richmond (my co-writer), me and Johnny who writes himself.
CP: Any final comments?
We hope that the Christian community does not fight Christian techno under the assumption that dance music is inappropriate. Church leaders and parents need to realize that it's nearly 2012 out there, and kids are not excited by the sounds of a strumming guitar. They want active dance beats, and if they can't get it from us (technopraise or just Christians) - they'll get it somewhere else (Top-40). Instead of the dancing to the Message, kids will choose to dance to "drugs and sex" this Christmas season instead.
The video for the song, "Hands in the Sky," can be seen below: