Tony Cummings has a talk with Spain-based singer/songwriters NOEL & TRICIA RICHARDS
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Tricia: Don't even mention drums!
Noel: That's right. Everything's moved on tremendously and I think everyone's saying, "Why shouldn't we, as Christian artists, be writing the best love songs, the best songs that comment on the issues of the day?" We do have something to say about what is happening right now. It doesn't always have to be the Gospel wrapped up in a three minute song, because I think that's impossible.
Tricia: The song is a seed.
Noel: Yes. We can talk about the struggles of life because we've found many people going through the struggles. We have one song we wrote because we have a friend suffering terminal cancer but his attitude to life is, "It's not over till it's over." It's several years now since his diagnosis. Let's make the most of every day. We wrote the song for him, and when we do the song in a concert it's amazing how many people identify with it. They know people who have suffered cancer, or they've suffered cancer, and it's like, "So it's OK to suffer, it's OK to be going through these difficult times, because we're not alone."
Tricia: My understanding is Jesus suffered.
Tony: You met in Plymouth, didn't you?
Tricia: Yes, I'm a Plymouth girl. I was born in Plymouth and lived there many years. Noel was born in Wales, but I didn't hold it against him. He was working for Youth For Christ; they came to Plymouth on a mission and visited the school where I was a pupil. They used to have the lunchtime Christian union, and I was participating in the coffee bar that Youth For Christ were helping run in my local church in Plymouth.
Noel: It was Mutley Baptist. A lot of people will think, 'What's a coffee bar?'"
Tricia: It was a pre-wine bar.
Noel: It was churches turning their church hall into a place where young people could come and hang out - coloured lights up and fishing nets, try to make it look like a cool place.
Tricia: It was cool; it was vibey. In Plymouth especially I can remember four, maybe five. That's where we met. I was singing, I'd do support for the bands that came through.
Noel: I was with another guy from Bristol Youth For Christ; we called ourselves Seed. Trish was supporting us. I think you were 15 at the time.
Tricia: I was 15.
Tony: So you fell in love, you married; and did the songwriting start then?