Tony Cummings reports on a band targeting the needs and concerns of Gen Z, ATTABOY
The Indiana-based pop group Attaboy have been around since 2004 and over the years have recorded six albums. But it's only now, since signing with Radiate Music, that they're beginning to find an international fan base, and their songs "Never Going Back" and "Dirty Lie (ftg Beacon Light)" are getting airplay. Their radio hits spring from their album 'Wild' and show that Ryan Payne (vocals/guitar/piano), Jeff Edgel (guitar/piano), Melanie Morris (bass) and Christian Morris (drums), helped by producer/engineer Doug Weier (Anberlin, We Are Leo), have created an indie pop sound which is on the money.
In an interview with Hallels website, Ryan Payne spoke about 'WILD'. He said, "We wanted to create a record that would speak to a wide spectrum of human experiences. Some songs celebrate the joy, beauty and wonder of life. Others wrestle with loneliness and breaking away from the negativity and lies that can cripple our lives. Still others evoke determination and a call to trust God in everything, especially the things that are beyond our control. God has called us to an abundant life and one that is not for the faint of heart. It's full of highs and lows, joys and sorrows, love and loss. Life isn't meant to be lived in the confines of a risk-free existence striving for the absence of difficulty. To borrow a thought from C S Lewis, God is not safe, but he is good. Likewise, the abundant life is not tame, but it's also good."
Down the years the band have recorded the albums 'So Much For Today' (2007), 'Shout' (2009), 'Being Remade' (2010), 'Motion Towards The Miles' (2012) and 'Vitals' (2016). Said Jeff Edgel, "From a young age, I had the conviction to use my musical abilities for God's glory, recognising they were a blessing from him. Music has a power to communicate and reach people in a way that is unique from any other type of communication. To have the opportunity to use the power of music to communicate God's love is humbling, and a privilege that we fully appreciate daily."
Jeff continued, "While on the road we make as many efforts as possible to interact with people who hear us perform. We try to make ourselves as available as possible after each concert to meet the audience, sign merchandise, take photos, or just have a conversation. The internet has allowed us to be intentionally relational with our audience. Whether we're responding to emails or posts and messages on Facebook and Twitter, we purposefully prioritise communicating with our audience in these ways, attempting to communicate how much we appreciate their support and encouragement."
The band are fully aware that Gen Z, glued to their smartphones, are struggling with many issues. Said Ryan, "We constantly hear from students after our shows who are struggling with anxiety, depression and bullying. Recent studies have been showing that social media use is a contributing factor to all of these things. Loneliness has been described as an epidemic in our culture - not just for young people but for all ages. Social media can give us the illusion of real connection, but too often, it ceases to be a tool for furthering relationships and becomes our primary mode of community. This seems to be crippling our ability to engage in relationships when we're actually with people in real life. There are things in life that we simply can't control. On the other hand, there are so many points in our lives that come down to the choices we make. And choices have consequences. Don't be afraid to make decisions that are good and right regardless of what anyone else thinks or says. At the same time, we're all going to screw up sometimes. When that happens, know that poor decisions in the past don't have to dictate your decisions in the future. God is a God of second chances! Be courageous enough to take them when you get them."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.