Tony Cummings fired some questions at the Staffordshire band with turntable hits, LIFECOLOUR
It's a hard fact that in recent years Britain's church has become so enamoured with modern worship that it's put nearly all its support and finances in that area, leaving bands and soloists who don't feel called to worship ministry in a difficult limbo. They can, of course, step onto the bottom rung of the mainstream scene but that will necessitate modifying their lyrics, dropping the bulk of the references to new life in Christ. But if they're not prepared to do that they must accept the fact that the Christian record companies are currently releasing precious few non-worship albums and there are only a handful of festivals and a smattering of churches engaged in mission who will give such artists their support by booking them.
Having said all that, Stoke-on-Trent's teenage rockers Lifecolour are bravely pushing through such difficulties. Both their independent EPs have received radio play and the band have played gigs all over the country. Sam Frawley (vocals, guitar), Sam 'Tiz' Taylor (guitar), Tom Snowdon (bass) and Simon Snowdon (drums) have, despite their youth, already clocked up quite a bit of experience. Said Frawley, "We all went to the same youth group and so have been playing together for four years. Our aim is to express our faith through music that people our own age can relate to, diverting from the stereotypical 'Christian music'. We all made the decision to become Christians whilst away with our youth group on holiday. Although it's been a number of years since the initial decision we're still growing and learning in our faith."
Lifecolour admit to taking in musical influences as diverse as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Switchfoot, Coldplay and Thrice. So what kind of gigs do they band play? "The majority of our gigs are youth groups from churches around the country, however we are beginning to reach a wider secular audience. Our aim is to reach these people who don't know of God and in order for this to happen we need to meet them where they are and do more gigs outside of churches and write lyrics that everyone can relate to. With our gigs we always try and make the day as fun for everyone involved as possible! We always love playing in Kent, the people down there are amazing to us and we always look forward to the Nintendo Wii challenges there. We also really enjoyed playing at the Megalife festival in Belfast the past two years. We turned a few heads when we got a game of ultimate frisbee going."
Lifecolour's first recording was the independent EP 'Always A Remedy' released in 2009. It too turned a few heads, producing the Cross Rhythms turntable hit "Failure & Calamity Always Meet A Remedy". The following year the band released the 'Time To Be Free' EP. So what were the differences in recording the two projects? "One of the main differences was that we got to spend a lot longer recording the second CD, which meant we could take our time and really think about the production of the songs and how we wanted them to sound. With the first CD we were very rushed, and possibly overwhelmed, as it was a first time in a studio. We have definitely matured musically; we all spent months beforehand writing new parts for the songs and our writing ability has also improved drastically since we've released the second CD. We have all developed spiritually as well. We think this can be heard in the lyrics and meanings of the tracks on the new CD."
'Time To Be Free' was recorded in Broadwater Studios, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne set up run by engineer, producer and one-time Yfriday man Gav Richards. Working with Gav proved to be a creatively satisfying experience. Frawley enthused, "We loved being able to hear each song as it progressed towards the final mix, spending time listening to each track build up. We also enjoyed playing pool in the studio!"
Lifecolour are looking forward to undertaking their first full scale UK tour in September and around Christmas making their first sortie into mainland Europe. What lessons have the band learnt in recent times? "We've been reminded to just trust God. We've all been through a tough year, trying to balance band, college and home life and at times we've all felt massive pressure. At this point though we are stronger as a band because we put our trust in God and were able to get through the difficulties of the past 12 months."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.