JONAH's lead vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Coper exchanged words with Mike Rimmer.
Mike: How did Jonah get together?
Jonathan: Jonah first got together after we had started out leading worship at our church, St. Thomas', Brampton in Chesterfield. We had been doing this for four or five years. We first practised in early 1999 and settled on the current lineup about one year later. Within this first year we recorded a CD, under the name Realistic, which we sold to family and friends at church. With the line-up change the name changed to Jonah and we began gigging and recorded the 'U' EP. Since then we have gone from strength to strength with many gigs played and to be played.
Mike: How would you describe the ministry of the band? What are you trying to achieve?
Jonathan: Basically we want to produce worshipful and relevant music for Christians and non-Christians alike, to inspire and encourage the former and to preach the Gospel to the latter. We love leading worship, which is something that we have got better at over time but we see our main calling as outreach.
Mike: Where have you cut your teeth on the live scene?
Jonathan: We have played at many youth events including Lifted in Reading and at GenX in Nottingham supporting Kato. In terms of secular gigs we have played at established pubs on the tour circuit in Derbyshire, once with fellow Chesterfield band Fire Fly. January saw us play at Hull University to launch their Alpha course. Over the summer and autumn many more gigs are to be played, including the grassroots festival and our return to GenX leading worship.
Mike: Tell me your memories of recording the CD.
Jonathan: We had a great time recording the CD although it seems such a long time ago now. I remember being overawed by the equipment and the atmosphere at FFG studios. Dave Pickering Pick was extremely helpful and we benefited hugely from his experience. It was hard work but the end results were worth it although looking back there are a lot of things, which we would like to change! We were really blessed by our home congregation who funded our studio time, which showed to us that God was really in the midst of it all.
Mike: What plans do you have for the future?
Jonathan: Exciting new things are happening all the time. I think our short term goals are to keep gigging, improving as a band and reaching out to people in the process. Obviously our long term goal is to be successful in whatever way God wants us to be and hopefully recording an album in the future. God has blessed us so much up to now in terms of opportunities, the friends he has given us on the road and financial help and I reckon that there is more to come. We are very excited about the summer and especially th grassroots festival on 21st July.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.