Irish celebration band Rend Collective has said that family unity inspired their forthcoming album As Family We Go. They also shared their motivation in writing songs for the Church after witnessing growing hositility toward Christians in modern culture.
On Friday, the folky worship band from Bangor, Northern Ireland, will debut their fifth studio album, which has already hit No. 1 on the iTunes Christian albums chart. Members include Gareth Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn, Ali Gilkeson, Patrick Thompson and Stephen Mitchell, and two bandmates (Gilkeson and Thompson) recently sat down with The Christian Post to chat about their history and mission.
"I guess our whole journey as a band has been family," Gilkeson, a drummer, told CP when asked about the inspiration behind As Family We Go.
"We put relationships way above music; we're just like a traveling family. But also the whole idea of we, as a church, we are a family — unity is right at the center of what we're about. But also we're not like a cozy club, the Great Commission is to go so that as family we go."
The band, formerly known as the Rend Collective Experiment, was founded in 2002 and members were initially inspired to write music that appealed to everyone, including atheists, after witnessing a hostility in modern culture aimed at Christians and the church.
"We've always tried to write worship music," said Gilkeson. "We write songs for church. We've always tried to deal with the heart behind it — that if anybody walked in off the street they could feel at home rather than feeling ostracized or like this is really weird or really churchy. We wanted people who had no interest in faith at all to be able to feel at home in what we do."
Five albums and multiple hit singles later, the band's music is still resonating with fans around the world. Their current single, "You Will Never Run," is a seamless blend of Christian experimental and folk rock sounds and it already hit the top 20 on the Hot AC chart.
Gilkeson hopes that the band's music can uplift fans and particularly heal those who might be questioning or doubting their relationship with God.
"I guess to feel like they're not a failure," he said when asked about what he hopes fans take away from the album.
"And God isn't disappointed in them, but that all of us can approach God because of what Jesus has done. And as we write hymns and songs for people to sing in church we want people not to stand with their guard up because they feel they're not good enough, but to be able to throw their arms up in the air and realize it was never about us but it's about Him."
Last year, Rend Collective played 150 shows around the world in Brazil, Hungary and Switzerland, among other nations. Earlier this month, they led worship at Madison Square Garden alongside Grammy award-winning artist Chris Tomlin, and Thompson shared what he believes is the best part of performing live.
"It's seeing the church sing; it's singing songs that God has inspired us to write," said Thompson, who plays bass guitar. "People connecting with those songs and using those songs and those words to give Him praise. That's what's really exciting for us."