The leader of the RUSS ROSEN BAND spoke to Ian Hayter. Not too surprisingly, he's called Russ Rosen.
Ian: 'Oil' has a very eclectic mix of musical styles. What would you say have been your most important influences, musically speaking?
Russ: I grew up in a very eclectic house. My father was a sound tech for CBC so we had access to the entire CBC library of music. I also began singing in the church choir when I was around eight. Then I started playing in bands and it was The Police, Daniel Amos and Steve Taylor that became the mentors; then later, what Daniel Lanois did with U2 and the Neville Brothers. So rootsy sounds with passionate themes have always inspired me.
Ian: You're part of a much wider Christian community in BC. How does your band fit into that?
Russ: There is quite a music community in this area. The Wildings are great friends and we share musicians and gigs and help sell each other's CDs. Also Graham Ord from the UK has lived here for a few years now and I must say that he is a huge blessing to the community here. (I'm sorry you lost him over there.) There are many others - like Heather Clark, Norm Strauss, Chris Janzen: we all get turns to share the stage together and use music to call to people's spirits to wake up and worship the living God.
Ian: You've released the album in a French language version too. Why?
Russ: Basically, I love my French brothers and sisters and I want to communicate in their language. There is little 'worship music' recorded in French and usually we expect the French Canadians to get our English music then translate it for themselves, but we really felt that we needed to complete a French version and present it to them. It's a matter of building bridges - and, as you probably know, English/French animosity runs deep!
Ian: Are we likely to see you in the UK at any time in the near future?
Russ: We would love to come. I made some friends there when we recorded the Canadian 'March For Jesus' soundtrack and we went to Neil Costello's place in Derby to record a horn section, a choir and then mix. Steve Thompson was the producer. Also we've had some great times with the Survivor crowd when they've come for the worship together events here in Canada and at the GMA in Nashville so we'd like to think we have a few friends in the UK that might put us up. As for gigs, we're looking for an invite.
Ian: Where's your ministry been taking you?
Russ: The bridge building thing has been a big part of it. We took a team of 40 to Rwanda to help in the reconciliation process and we continue to go back to French Canada. Another huge thing is calling out like John the Baptist, 'Get ready!' especially to the youth culture. The style of our music being quite diverse, it seems to connect well with all generations, so we're able to pull everyone into the party, which is very cool. There's always a lot of dancing that goes on when we're doing our thing. So we're helping to prepare the Church and the community to come into the fullness of God, we're laying aside generational and denominational agendas and we're celebrating the living God through the Son: that's what gets us going.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.