Toby Fournier reports on one of America's most popular Christian rock bands, RANDOM HERO
Slowly but surely, Denver, Colorado's Random Hero have become one of America's most popular Christian rock bands and the fact that their latest album, 'Tension', features Cross Rhythms and xRhythms radio hits "Public Enemy" and "Weight Of The World" demonstrates the band are still taking creative ground. They have been going since 2005, spreading rock vibes that take you higher (not that type of higher); positivity without chemical help. Fans of the band describe them as more of a movement than a band. They are random people doing God's work, stepping up to make a difference, hence: Random Hero(s).
Following quite a turnover of musicians (they lost drummer Josh Tarrant to the US Air Force - makes a change from drowned in Rolls Royce in swimming pool), the current line-up consists of Aaron Watkins (lead vocals), Micah Labrosse (guitars), Rob "Los" McDonough (bass) and Patrick Madsen (drums). Newcomers to the band might like to know that they have had significant mainstream success (three Billboard top 30 singles since 2017) as well as considerable success in the CCM charts (five Billboard Christian Airplay top five singles since 2012).
In 2018, the band signed to Nashville's Rockfest Records, the label founded by Seventh Day Slumber's Joseph Rojas. On announcing the release in August 2019 of their fourth album 'Tension', produced by Kellen McGregor of Memphis May Fire fame, frontman Aaron Watkins said, "Our goal is to always shine the hope he's given us, even in our roughest moments. Know that it's okay to feel hurt, pain and tension, but it's also okay to heal and let go. I really want people to walk away with a sense of hope and empowerment. If we can do it, you can do it too."
'Tension' suggests nervous edginess; an uncertain future perhaps. Aaron explained the themes of the album to NewReleaseToday thus: "Thematically, the project explores how tension can drastically impact your life. For better or worse, it's all in how you deal with it. You can grow in the tension or you can choose to let it rule you." How true that is: A killer or an opportunity - you decide. Relating it to Random Hero's own journey, Aaron continued: "As a band, we've faced some recent challenges and overcame them together, letting go of some things and letting God really work in our hearts. When we finally did that, it all started to pop off in the most incredible way." The message is to let God in.
Random Hero's songs are largely written by Patrick. He spoke to NewReleaseToday website about his songwriting approach. "We like to start with a melody or a word of inspiration. For instance, the title track, 'Tension', began by building around the word itself. We had a theme at that point and capitalized on the emotion of it. A solid melody is also a great way to break ground when writing a new song."
Bass player Los spoke about the differences in production approach for 'Tension': "This is the first project we've done with co-writers from outside the band. We wrote with Kellen McGregor from Memphis May Fire, and Josiah Prince from Disciple. It's also the first time we all wrote together as a band. Every part: vocals, bass, guitars, drums, production. . .we did together." The band that writes together, stays together. . .
Random Hero make avowedly Christian rock music but don't consider this to mean they are not also mainstream, as Aaron continued: "'Tension' is a mainstream album just as much as a Christian album. We believe our message can touch any market. And we feel there's a song for everyone on this project. Through honesty and transparency, we explain adversity in our own artistic way, unbound by genre."
Random Hero are set to play at the 40th Christian Rock Night in Ennepetal, Germany on 13th and 14th December, third on the bill to Wolves At The Gate and O, Sleeper. If you're looking for a band that Cross Rhythms described as "very much in the pop rock mould of OneRepublic this is edgy power rock with a commercial twist," you might want to get yourself out to Germany.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.