Presenter: Hi Everyone. Thank you so much for joining us on the call today. We're so grateful that you have taken the time out of your day to connect with us for this exclusive opportunity to hear first hand from the THIRD DAY members regarding their March 3rd studio album release titled, "LEAD US BACK." Joining us on the call today is lead vocalist MacPowell, drummer DavidCarr, and guitarist Mark Lee. Thanks for joining us today guys.
THIRD DAY (all talking): Thanks for having us.
MacPowell: Yes, and we want to say thank you for everybody that's listening in, and our families; thank you too that we don't need to call you all individually. So it saves us some time.
Presenter: Since you guys will be headed out of the country this coming week for your Australian tour, which is pretty exciting (we'll tell you a little more about that later on in the call). I wanted to make sure every one had an opportunity to connect with each and every one of you beforehand. We know how excited you are to hear from them and appreciate all the preliminary questions you provided to us already. I just want to make a quick note, during the call today, please feel free to send any additional questions my way and we'll do our best to get each and every one of them answered as time permits.
Before we get started I just wanted to share a little background about THIRD DAY, and also their upcoming project titled, "LEAD US BACK". Just some quick facts about the guys. They've done a lot through the years. During the last two decades THIRD DAY has racked up 30 number one radio singles. The band has sold more than 8 million albums, including two RIAA Two-Time Multi-Platinum, Five Platinum and 12 Gold Certifications. A Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee in 2009, THIRD DAY has garnered four GRAMMY$copy; awards with 11 career nominations, an American Music Award with four American Music Award nominations, multiple ASCAP honours, including its coveted Vanguard Award for song writing, and 24 career GMA Dove Awards from 42 nominations. They're long known as Christian Music's premier live band. They're Atlanta-based and have performed for audiences reaching into the millions all around the world. The group has been featured on "The Tonight Show", "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson", "60 Minutes", "ABC's Nightline", just to name a few. With write-ups in USA Today, The New York Times and Billboard magazine; including a Billboard cover story which refers to THIRD DAY as "one of the best rock bands, period. "I'd say that's pretty impressive guys. Did I forget anything?
MacCarr: Yea, the Marietta Daily Journal here in Marietta Georgia also said something nice about us one time.
Presenter: I knew I was forgetting something. And then just some brief background facts about "LEAD US BACK" which I know you're all eagerly awaiting.The guys will of course get into the heart, soul and vision for the project which they can do way more eloquently than I could, but wanted to give you just some quick facts. For the first time in more than a decade, THIRD DAY will release this new worship album... like I said it's titled, "LEAD US BACK". It comes out on March 3rd 2015, which is not that far away. "LEAD US BACK" is their third worship recording released since the group made their mark on the music industry in 1996 with theirself - titled debut "SMASH" on Reunion Records which was also Certified Gold by the RIAA. As you know, and I think most of your press have been serviced already with a digital link, there will be a deluxe version which includes an additional disc of 10 Fan-favorites from THIRD DAY.
And that's captured live on the road from their previous sold-out tour performances. And if you don't have a copy of that album, please also email me and I'll make sure you get a digital link to hear that deluxe version. The group's previous worship albums, "OFFERINGS", a worship album in 2000, and "OFFERINGS 2: All I Have To Give," in 2003 have been two of the biggest selling albums in the band's career to date. So as you guys can tell, these guys have done a lot. Lots of accolades, lots of exciting stuff through the years. Like I said, these were just some facts to get you familiarized with what these guys have already done. And they just continue to make their stamp on Christian music.
So without further ado, I'd like to introduce THIRD DAY lead vocalist, MacPowell, who's on the call with us today. Welcome Mac!
MacPowell: Hey, thank you so much.
Presenter: Mac, we would love for you to share with the listeners the story behind the upcoming release. Maybe start by sharing how "LEAD US BACK" came to fruition, and your vision and heart for the project and David and Mark; also please feel free to provide input as well. But we'd love for you to start us out by just giving us kind of the heartbeat for this project.
MacPowell: Sure. Well, thanks again to everybody for listening in and for your questions. We're really super excited about this album and we're not one of those bands that always, whenever you have a new record, artists usually say it's the best record that we've ever made. We're not one of those bands because we know that albums come in seasons. From different, you know, from a musical standpoint, a lyrical standpoint, so you know, I've asked myself for many years now at what point does Elton John go, "Hey, I'm not making the best record ever that I've ever made. I'm just going to make a record that's what I have now and I'm going to put it out there." All that beingsaid, I think it's the best record we've ever made... I really do.
It's a record that we've wanted to make for several years now it never really was the right timing. And so now, with the songs that we had for this album, starting in the beginning of last year and recording and doing the songs and then actually going in the studio in the summer, or early May of last year into the summer of last year. We knew that we wanted to present, something different from us musically than we've ever done before. We knew we wanted to shake it up for us as a band so not only to keep us interested, but our fans interested as well, and to have something new and fresh musically and lyrically also. We approached it differently - we really set out to make it a very corporate feeling, corporate sounding album.
We wanted this to be a record that churches could hear and that they could feel like they could do this music. Or that groups of people could come together... we're big about that. There's a lot of choir on the record, a lot of groups of people singing on the record and so that was something that we set out to do and I think we achieved that. Whether it be with the small choir that's on the album or with the many artists that joined us throughout different songs on the album, so we really wanted to make it feel very corporate and so we're really happy about how it turned out. A lot of the album is actually about the Exodus, about the story of Moses, which is, you know, with the movie recently that came out that talked about a lot of the Exodus with God's children of Israel and with Moses. So a lot of these songs are about that and the correlation between someone leading God's people from slavery into freedom... from slavery and bondage into the promised land. That correlation between Moses and Jesus and how we as believers feel like God leads us through, with Jesus to, out of our sin and out of that slavery, in a sense, into freedom and salvation. And so that's definitely what the album is in a not so small nut shell.
Presenter: No that's great, thanks Mac! And I don't know if maybe Mark or David wants to address this, and share the story behind the album title, "LEAD US BACK: Songs of Worship." Where did that title come from? And what does it mean?
David Carr: Yea, this is David. Well, whenever we're making an album, there are so many decisions that have to be made. We always miss the deadline. It's like the label's asking us to approve the cover artwork, and then they're asking us to approve you know, the mixes, and all these other little aspects of the album. And so the title is right in line with all of that. It's just one of those things that everybody has an opinion about, and nobody's opinion is necessarily wrong. Do we name the album after one of the songs, or do we name it after just the overall theme of the record, the songs and the lyrics? Do we just grab a line from one of the songs? I mean there's just so many different ways you can approach that. And it's not that anyone way is right or wrong, but we've done that a lot in the past where we've taken one of the songs, like this song "COME TOGETHER", from the album "COME TOGETHER", and it just felt like a good over-arching message to give to our audience about unity and coming together and putting aside our differences and so we'd named the album "COME TOGETHER".
Now that doesn't mean all the songs were about "coming together" and unity but it's ok. We felt that's probably the strongest message from the album that we can convey to the audience. And then we had the album, "REVELATION", a few albums back. Again, you know it was a song called "REVELATION". It wasn't that the entire album was about that but there was a song that just had this powerful message so of course we named it that. So when it came time to naming this album (and I'm with Mac, I do feel like it's our best record yet and I try not to say that every time but in this case, and I felt like) I think all of us just felt like every one of the songs had merit to be the title for the album. Just about every song. But there's this little refrain kind of short, it's not even a whole song, it's right in the middle of the album and it's called, "LEAD US BACK." And I remember one day just kind of listening to the album through and with that falling right in the middle, it just felt like, gosh, you know, this really is an album where there is that theme of Moses leading God's people out of slavery and then Jesus leading us into freedom.
All this leading and moving and getting back to something and then going into something totally new. It just felt like it was almost providential that the little chorus of a song was just sitting right in the middle of the album and I thought, "Man I wonder if we should just consider naming the whole album that?" And you know, I think everybody started to kind of warm up to the idea and it just sort of stuck, you know? And again, it's exciting to have an album where so many of the songs do seem to want to take you to that message. It's not all of them, but I think we can safely say that that's kind of the over arching theme of the album.
Presenter: That's great. Thank you so much. We would also love it if you could speak a little about the production or collaboration for this album. I know this project was a little different and you went to some different producers to work on this one. Maybe just share that experience and why you chose some of the collaboration you did for this project.Mark Lee: Oh yea. Well, there were really so many things about this album that were different or unique than the normal recording process. Just the three of us meeting up with these producers was unique. A lot of times we'll go in with this A-list of people that we really want to, or would love to be able to work with. Sometimes our record company will have some suggestions and we'll have this dialogue about who we want to work with. This time around it was just such an organic process in that, as we talked about doing an album, we all felt that it was time to do a worship album. I think David was referring to earlier, we wanted to do something different than what we had done up to this point. It all started as we were on tour at the beginning of 2014, just hanging out on the bus, just listening to music, other worship albums that we liked. There's a friend of ours, Daniel Bashta who is based in Atlanta, where we're from, and he actually wrote the big NEWS BOYS' song. They made the movie and the (inaudible), "God's Not Dead" movie out of. But, we listened to his record, and then also his sister, Harvest has a record as well and they were both produced by this group, they went for a while - they were called "THE SOUND KIDS." There's a Jonny Macintosh and JT Daly, and we just loved the production of those projects and we were just like, you know we might as well just make a call and just see and you know, take a meeting with these guys and just even see you know how everybody gets along and if it feels like if it would be just a fit.
And everything just came together from there. So it was this natural progression from, "Wow, we really liked how these albums sound to, we called them up, and the next thing you know we're working on this project together. I really feel like they helped us accomplish the goals that we had set before us to make this worship album and really capture that, as Mac was referring to, that corporate sort of feel we were going for. And also, we obviously want to sound like THIRD DAY. Any time Mac sings on an album, it's going to sound like THIRD DAY. He's got that signature tone to his voice, but we wanted it to sound like something new. There's the Psalm that talks about singing a new song and we take that very literally as we write new worship music and record a new worship album. We want it to sound new. I think those guys did a really great job in helping us do that.
Presenter: That's great. Guys, I don't know if any of you wanted to add to the production or if you feel like Mark covered that portion of it.
Mac Powell: Well I would like to say that these guys really shook it up for us in the studio. I mean we've been doing this for a long time and have a way that we'd like to record, a way most rock bands do. You usually go in as a band, you're in a big room together, you work songs out and then you record the drums. That's kind of the foundation. Then you add the bass... it's like building a house. So you get your foundation of your drums and then your framing is the bass and then all the cool stuff is the guitar (the painting the walls) and then add the vocals. But we totally went the opposite, almost the opposite on a lot of these songs in the recording process. Really, a lot of it started with just me on acoustic singing the melody and the guys, the producers, recording that and then the other guys coming in and adding their things. Sometimes the drums were almost last which was really different but it allowed David our drummer to be able to live with the song and be able to approach and re-approach it. Sometimes in the past when we record, since drums are going first everybody's following him and so usually he's coming up with the first ideas that he would have for the song and a lot of times that's the best idea, the first thing he comes up with. But there have been times in the past, David; you might want to reiterate this.
David Carr: Sure.
Mac Powell: He's like, "man, I wish I could go back and re-do that but we've gone so far down the road that it's hard to do that." In this case it gave David a chance to play around a little bit more with the music and with the songs than he ever has before.
David Carr: Yeah. I definitely did. It was really refreshing. I mean, for anybody that would be listening now that's a musician as well, and who, and you know maybe you're drama or maybe you've been in the studio, it's, you know it's intimidating because all eyes are on you in the very beginning to like, lay down this stellar, you know, timeless piece of drumming and, you know, it just doesn't happen very easily. And because we're not a band that's going to get together and do months and months of rehearsing before we go in to record the album, it's very on the fly. We get in the studio and we just start feeling it - a lot of those first instincts like Mac was saying just kind of come to you. I'm not ashamed of what we've put together in the past, but I just felt like, and I know all of us felt this way... we're ready to put our album on and, you know, like play it for somebody or play it just for ourselves and hear something we haven't done before. It took getting way outside of our comfort zone and working with some guys who don't live in our comfort zone who are able to just sort of speak into the music in a way that, I don't think we could even if we tried, even if we did think of it that way, just trying to shake it up within ourselves. It's almost too challenging. So we welcomed the work of JT and Jonny, and everything that they brought to the table. I think it's our best album yet and there's a lot of reasons for that but definitely having them in there too, to just put their perspective on it musically and sonically... everything turned out really great!
Mark Lee: I want to add one other thing. As a band, this is our 13th album. We've been together 20 years and have a certain thing we do and we do really well. So, it took a lot of trust on all of our parts as musicians to just turn over there in to these producers. You know, we can all sit around in a meeting and go, "Man we really want to shake it up, we want to do this different, we want this to sound fresh." We can say all these things, but to be able to really be able to go and do that you have to do and trust the people that you bring in, I think we all did that and knew that if it came down to it, we could always go back to the way we normally do things. Which is as Mac was saying... we get in a room together and we just record it. But we were like, "Ok, before we do that, let's give these guys a full chance and let's just entrust them with this." We're all really proud with the result they came out with.
Mac Powell: Absolutely.
Presenter: I know you mentioned the sound and that musically it is a bit different. How does this project differ from "OFFERINGS?" What can listeners and fans expect from this project musically?
Mac Powell: Well, that's a great question. I'm not sure if we can necessarily pin-point anything in particular. I think that there are a lot of different kinds of tones than we've ever used before; guitar tones, drumtones, things like that... but also, just our approach in the song writing. I think the sounds are the main thing that you'll hear on the record that's different from THIRD DAY. As one of the guys said earlier, my voice is there, so I think that kind of brings it back into the middle as far as people knowing that it's THIRD DAY. But, I'm not a musician; I'm a singer so these guys can manage that. I just know when I hear it I go, "Man, that's something that I haven't ever heard before (and I know THIRD DAY music probably more than anybody else in the world besides these guys). It's just fresh to me, it just feels different. I know that our approach was different, but sometimes when your approach is different, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have a different outcome. And I think we definitely have a different outcome musically with this album. It's really big sounding and intimate when it needs to be. It's not necessarily something that you can put a finger on. There's just different sounds and approaches and hopefully everyone else will hear those differences in a good way as well.
Mark Lee: One thing I'm going to add in, about the difference between "OFFERINGS" and "LEAD US BACK," is the challenge to recording a worship album. One challenge is, you want to have it be music that people can sing along with and engage in and use in their church, and you have (as Mac mentioned), the use of the word "corporate" earlier and that was easier on the "OFFERINGS" album because many of the songs were five years old and had appeared on earlier albums so we recorded a lot of those songs live. Half of the album was recorded in the studio and half of it was live. It was easier to capture that corporate feeling, whereas on "LEAD US BACK," because these songs were all brand new, we had to go about it a little bit differently. And the main way that we did that was to bring in a choir. Well, a choir is probably not exactly the right word because it wasn't like this big 60-piece church choir. It was about a dozen people that we had come in to sing multiple parts and layer it. So, it has this corporate thing, but it also has this intimate sort of feel which really bridges the gap between maybe a normal THIRD DAY project and then this worship kind of album.
Presenter: I know your fans and listeners can hear some familiar voices, you've got some guest vocals on this project and some new-comers in the vocal arena. So I didn't know if one of you wanted to give us a little sneak-peek as to who we can expect to hear on some of these tracks?
Mac Powell: Sure, I'll go first so you guys can kind of fill in. We have one song in particular called, "IN JESUS' NAME." We have some of our great friends on it. Natalie Grant sings on it, Michael W. Smith, Michael Tait from the "NEWS BOYS," David Crowder also singing on it; mostly doing like a background thing. Another guest artist on the project is "HARVEST" her name is Harvest Parker but as an artist she goes by, "HARVEST." She sings a lot on the album and she's actually going to be on tour with us, filling in some of those kind of choir parts and the female vocals all over there cord. Who else, am I missing anybody?
Mac Powell: Oh yea, "ALL SONS AND DAUGHTERS" sings on two different tracks. We brought them in and we thought, "well get them to sing on two different songs and we'll see which one we like most and we'll pick that one." We actually loved both of the songs that they sang on so we kept them. It was about a 10 or 12 piece group of friends of mine from church, so you know, it was really a very corporate sounding and feeling album.
Presenter: Speaking of the album, what is (maybe each of you can speak into this briefly), a favorite track or song from this album and what does it mean to you personally?
Mac Powell: I'm sorry; I forgot a name, Sarah Macintosh, who is Jonny Macintosh's wife. She used to sing with a band a few years back, called, what's the name of her band Mark?
Mark Lee: "CHASING FURIES," she sings great, does a great vocal on the record as well but I'd forgotten about her. Remind me of the last question Tracy, sorry.
Presenter: I just wanted to hear from each of you regarding your favorite song, favorite track on the album and kind of what that song means to you personally. Can each of you answer that briefly?
(All): Yeah, mmm hmmm.
David Carr: It's a toss-up for me because there's a song called words, "YOUR WORDS," that I just love the feel of. Harvest sings on it and it's just, when she comes in, it's magical... it sounds so great. And then "IN JESUS' NAME," the one that Mac just mentioned, with all the guests on it, just haunts me. It's such a great message with a great mood. That's one that I think sounds pretty different for us. Maybe not a different melody structure necessarily, but just musically the way it was treated. It's a very beautiful piece of music.
Mark Lee: Ah yea, I'll chime in with my favorite. Actually, the lead single is called "SOUL ON FIRE". Hopefully you got that or have had a chance to hear it on the radio already. But we were about half-way through with the project I think, and this usually happens for me when we're in the recording process where, you kind of feel like... "Ok, we've got a bunch of good songs. You know, really, feel pretty good about this album but not really sure and then there'll be like one song that comes to the table that just for whatever reason it just seems to pull everything else together. "SOUL ON FIRE" was that for me this time. It just has this energy to it that sounds like THIRD DAY but it's just very, very fresh sounding compared to things that we've done in the past. I may be a little partial to it because we've been playing it live and it's been going over really well. So, "SOUL ON FIRE" would be my favorite and I know we're supposed to just say just one but I'm going to throw in another one. There's a song called, "I KNOW YOU CAN," that is that the name of the song Mac? Is that what we called it?
Mac Powell: Umm. I think so (laughing).
Mac Powell: I'm checking right now.
Mark Lee: There's a track and it's one of the later songs, it's called "I KNOW YOU CAN," and musically I absolutely love it. I could have the song just on infinite loop. It's something about Mac's vocal and the melody... it's just so great! And the sentiment it brings, "Jesus I know you can." Like, when I get in so many situations in my life looking for the answer that I want to have. Everybody struggles with self confidence, where I just sometimes want to go, but know "I can't". But then to just have that hope, to know Jesus can, is just such a great sentiment and I love that song.
Mac Powell: I'm going to go with a song called "OUR DELIVERER IS COMING." There's just something about it. I think it's probably the most different (in a good way) sounding song we've ever had on an album. There's something about the message that goes back to that beginning of what I was saying about the correlation between Moses and Jesus. They were people of faith. Thousands of years ago, the people of Israel were looking for someone to deliver them and to lead them out of their slavery. And when that happened through Moses, fast-forward, I don't know how many years it was, but until Jesus came, the people of Israel were still asking for a deliverer from the bondage of Rome and the oppression that they were seeing. I think even to this day now, we people of faith around the world are still praying for deliverance from our sins and from oppression and different things that people go through all around the world. "OUR DELIVERER IS COMING" kind of joins people of faith through thousands of years and millions of places around the world. It joins us together in that kind of hope that we have. And so, that's, that's probably the one I would pick.
Presenter: And then as I mentioned earlier in the call, you guys are headed to Australia next week which I'm sure is super exciting. I think you'll be there a while on tour. What are some of the tour plans for "LEAD US BACK: Songs of Worship?" I know you'll also beat New York City's Beacon Theater when it releases on March 3rd. May be give us a little insight on what touring looks like in the next couple of months (fading as someone started talking)...
MacPowell: Yea, it's an exciting time for us. We actually have been rehearsing these news songs the past few days and actually are about to jump back on the stage as soon as we get off the phone with you guys to finish rehearsal. We're excited about the spring tour. It does start the day the record comes out, March 3rd. And as Tracy said, we'll start at the Beacon Theater, the famous Beacon Theater in New York City, so it's really exciting for us to be back there again and kind of be the first place to kick off the tour and the new album. And before that we go to Australia. We fly out next Monday. We've been to Australia two or three times before but it's been a number of years. I think it's been seven years now since we've been down there, so we're super excited about going back and not only playing some new songs for everybody down there, but some songs from the pasts even years that our fans down there haven't heard from us live before. So it's an exciting time for us. It's going to be a long trip, two weeks from start to finish. We start in Sydney and we go all across Australia all the way to Perth on the west coast and we even go to Tasmania, a little island off the south eastern coast of Australia. So we're really excited about it. And yea, it's going to be fun.
Mark Lee: I think it's also exciting to have the album about to come out and go to Australia and have the Beacon Theater show to look forward to. I think we've got some great shows later in the spring, and in to the summer. We're going to be doing a show at Gwinnett Arena in Atlanta to kind of wrap up the tour. We had a sold-out show there last year and we're looking forward to coming back to that again. And then also, for the first time in our careers, and it's amazing that you know we've been doing this for 22 years, and to have a historic occasion like this that we've never done, but we'll be playing at Red Rocks amphitheater in Colorado for the first time ever. That will be in early June so we have that to look forward to as well.
Presenter: At this point of the call, I'm going to start to open it up for question and answers. I know we have lots of questions coming in from press and I want to make sure we get to as many as possible. Like I said, if we don't get to your question, we will definitely be in touch via email to get them answered. And just keep sending them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll send the questions your way and we will try to get through as many as we can. But I wanted to start out with this great question that came in, "It seems like worship has always been part of THIRD DAY's live show and has a presence on each album. Why has this been important to you as a band throughout your career?"
Mac Powell: When we started out worship was a big part of what we did, even in the beginning when Mark and I started right out of high school playing music together before it was called "THIRD DAY." We would play at churches and Sunday school classes and talent shows and whoever would have us. Normally when you start out like that you haven't written a lot of your own songs and so you're doing some other songs which just seemed like a natural lean for us. We were really excited guys, right out of high school... excited about our faith and sharing that faith through our music and so that was a big part of what we did. Then we met David, our drummer and Tai, our bass player, who both grew up in church together and school together, playing in bands together and so that was a big part of what they did as well. And so when the four of us came together, it was a natural fit. Even though we were a rock band we knew worship was something that was important in our lives and something that people liked hearing from us. And so, we just continued to do it.
And as Mark was talking about, our first worship record that came out in 2000, called "OFFERINGS," a lot of that was just live elements. Our fans had been saying, "Hey, we really like this part of the show you guys are doing, you should make a record like that." Since we had already recorded a bunch of shows, we just took more of the worship leading songs and put half of those on the "OFFERINGS" record. We had a handful; I think it was five or six new songs, so it kind of happened real fast. I think we recorded the whole record in like a week because half of it was already recorded from the live standpoint. And so, when that record came out and was very successful, we wanted so much to not to be pegged as a worship only band.
So, we went and made another rock record right after that but still had all these other live elements, worship songs that we'd done so we put out "OFFERINGS 2" a few years later. It's not that we stayed away from worship, it seems like we've had worship songs on almost every record that we've put out since 2000 or since the beginning of us putting out records. It's been so long since we focused on making a complete record (almost 12 years now) and I think this is actually the first worship record from top to bottom of brand new songs, so in a way it's a brand new project for us. Not just in the sense that it is a new album, but we've never made a record like this before. It was challenging, exciting and fun to make. It was something we've wanted to do for a long time because we've had some worship songs that we've been doing for many, many year sand we thought it was time to have some new worship songs to introduce to our fans. And so, that's where we ended up. As I said earlier, we wanted to do it for a long time but things just never seemed to line up, so I'm glad that they finally did.
Mark Lee: I'm just going to add one other thing. I don't know that we've touched on this yet and if we have, just stop me. Worship and life have always just gone hand-in-hand for us and we've always, as Mac said, we've always done worship songs as part of the show. I think that was a big motivation for us wanting to make some new worship music because as we're putting our set-list together for the past four or five years... all of the rock songs would be off of whatever the current "MIRACLE", or "MOVE", or what ever the current album was, but then, when we would do the worship songs, they would all go way back to 2000 or 2003 from the "OFFERINGS" project so we just felt that this is something that we've always done and we're always going to do. But we want to just have some new worship songs to be able to do from a live standpoint, so that was a big motivation for the "LEAD US BACK" project.
Presenter: Here's another question. Speaking about the writing process, how was this writing process, the lyric process for worship songs different from "MOVE" or "REVELATION" albums and those lyrics? What goes into the writing process for worship songs? Is it the same? Is it different?
Mac Powell: No, I think it is different and that's actually a great question because it's something that we purposely had debated about what is categorized as a worship song. We definitely have songs such as "REVELATION", and "THIEF" and you could go down the list that, that I think take people into a place of worship but they're not necessarily corporate worship songs. So that was the approach that we definitely had for "LEAD US BACK", because we wanted it to be musically melodic that could be corporate in the sense that it's easy for people to hear and then be able to sing back the second or third time they're hearing it. But from a lyrical standpoint, we wanted to approach it from a place where people would be able to rhythmically and melodically be able to sing hopefully with some amount of ease... to hear it and then be able to sing it again.
I think we'd asked those, from a lyrical standpoint when you ask those questions, is this something that is focused on God and giving him praise and speaking about him or is it something that's speaking about things that come as a result from that. So, there's definitely a fine line. There could be worship songs in both categories but we definitely tried our best to make it from a lyrical standpoint that was focused completely on God and our relationship with Him.
Presenter: Maybe one guy can answer this question, Is there any personal experiences that have inspired some of the cuts featured in the new album?
Mac Powell: Anybody else.
Mark Lee: No, go ahead Mac, if you've got something.
Mac Powell: Well, I think there's a song, a song that I picked when you were asking the question about favorite songs because some of those favorites change as time goes along and I think with the stories that you hear from other people and with seeing how the audience responds to songs and things like that. But I think for me there's a song called, "VICTORIOUS", that's on the album. I heard a sermon one time about God being victorious in battle. Whether it's battles on a battlefield in old testament kind of times or whether it's battles with our inner selves, and feelings and emotions and sin, and all those other things, more of a mental thing. That God is always victorious. He can help us to be victorious through those struggles that we have, through those trials that we have.
And so that's really a song for me that just seeing the faithfulness of God, as a believer, that God has shown to me and my family and with us as "THIRD DAY", and that he's been victorious in so many things. That kind of carried over with that idea into that song on the album. And I love singing it. And that's a good place to be, when you write a worship song or worship, make a worship record for other people you hope that you can kind of get a piece of that and enjoy it as well and I was able to, even at a rehearsal where there's nobody in the audience. It's just us and the band upon the stage, and maybe a few crew guys. I was literally having church on stage singing this song and that's a great place to beat when you've made this album for other people and for God's glory and for people to hopefully grow closer to God and grow in their relationship with Him and for us in turn,to be able to take part in that as well. It's a great place to be and it's a great feeling!
Presenter: Here's a fun question. In past interviews, you've expressed that you are just normal, everyday people. What are some normal elements of life that you would like to share that speaks to that truth?
David Carr: We spend a lot more time than people realize, at home. I think we sometimes give the impression when we're on the road that we're just always gone and our poor families never see us but it's really not the case. When we work, we work and we stay busy in seasons. But we're home so much too. There's really a lot of days where I'll go out and mow my own grass, or take out the garbage and I just totally forget about what I do and forget that people see it in a very different way than we probably see it ourselves. And I love that! All of us have different things... I mean just raising kids, just being parents. There's nothing glamorous about that and there's nothing that is super star about it, you know, changing diapers which, my wife and I, we're out of that phase most of us in the band are out of that phase, but there was a time when it was very real.
So it's that kind of stuff, those early years of babies and everything that goes along with that. And now just being parents and the struggles of life, your kids are getting older and the culture they're growing up in is challenging and our struggles and our daily, sort of the ins-and-outs of our lives are, they're just like everybody else really. I love to give people that impression that, "look we're not really any different." I mean, we have a very unique job. Most of my friends from church, and in a small group, they can't really relate to what I do. They can't relate to the travel. They can't relate to the weird hours of getting on a bus at midnight to drive to Indiana to go play a concert. All that doesn't register but, but just the hard stuff of life and it's a lot of the stuff that's the hard stuff of life it's also the good stuff. Raising kids, being married, just trying to grow as a believer.
That stuff's hard and it can take a toll on you. And all of us fall short of the glory of God because we're normal human beings. So, yea, I think more and more we've had an opportunity to give people a sense of that and we don't hold lightly the mantle we've been given... this platform we've been given. We don't hold that lightly and we want to use that well. But yea, there is definitely truth to the fact that we are pretty normal dudes.
Mac Powell: I just did the dishes right before I came over here to do this interview so I don't know if that helps in the answer?
Presenter: Yes, you're very human, Mac. (laughing)
Mark Lee: And, I was doing laundry too. I was doing laundry and the dishes, so there you go.
Mark: That's good man. And I was doing dishes as well. I was actually going to say that all three of us were doing radio interviews last week and we came to this realization that all three of us do the dishes at our homes quite a bit. So I'd say that it's a pretty normal thing. Maybe not normal, but it's something that we all have in common that might surprise you a little bit.
Mac Powell: I'm not trying to brag when I say this, but I have five kids. That's a lot of freaking dishes! I'm constantly taking out the garbage and doing the dishes. It's like one big circle that I've kind of treaded out. You can see on the sidewalk outside that there's a trail, there's Mac, there's his trail to go to the garbage can and then go right back to the dishes again.
Mark Lee: And I think of Mac quite a bit when I'm doing laundry because I have two kids and I feel like I'm doing laundry all the time. That's all that's going on at the Lee house, is that washer and dryer. If the washer ain't on, the dryer's on. And we got two and I think about Mac with five and it's just mind boggling.
Mac Powell: That's why we like to go touring.
Mark Lee: Yea.
Mac Powell: There are no dishes on the bus. There's paper plates and you throw them away.
Presenter: Speaking of your every day lives... doing dishes, doing laundry. What does THIRD DAY listen to when they want to worship? If you can each give us a snap shot, who's on your iPod? Who do you listen to when you want to sit and worship?
Mac Powell: Well, you know I can give you an answer that's not a dishonest answer but let me say there's some great artists that we love; ALL SONS AND DAUGHTERS, Daniel Bashta, who Mark was saying earlier is a friend of ours who's the worship leader at my church. His albums are amazing. HARVEST, who's going to be on tour with us in the Spring. But you know, we get a sense of worship a lot more than I think some people do.I think we can find worship in a lot of different music that's not necessarily just placed lyrically towards God. We listen to a lot of music on the bus. And we do listen to worship artists. I'm so thankful for brothers like David Crowder and Chris Tomlin and so many great artists who make great music. But I can also find myself worshiping God through a U2 song or a TRAIN song. You know, it's all in how you look at it. Or listen to it, I should say.
David Carr: Yea, I mean I would say the same thing because when you live and work in the music arena you see it differently because you feel like you're sort of an insider. We're just more critical as musicians because we have to be, it's what we do, it's how we make a living. I mean, we've been doing it for so long. So, we like to listen to a lot of different things. I think it keeps us sharp as artists, and as musicians it keeps us fresh. But there are times when you just want to put on something simple, and just listen and worship. My wife will play Pandora all day long and have these worship stations on and it's really great, it's nice tone. There's just so much good stuff out there now. I love all the stuff from PASSION and HILLSONG - there's just such believability to it. I think that's important because our industry, unfortunately, has two sides to every coin. While there is so much music that is real and authentic, I'm sure there's also been a lot of songs written because they could make money.
Mac Powell: Yea, it's corporate made.
David Carr: Yea, it's lucrative. This is the best marketing angle and that's all fine to a degree but then after a while you just kind of miss that sense of authenticity and we love to experience that.
Mark Lee: I totally agree with what Dave was saying that as musician sit just really easy for us to go to the jaded place. And yet you know, God has made it clear that joy is a command that He has for us. He has very clearly spelled that out. So a lot of times I have to look for music that can cut through my jaded musician-ness. So, artists like Matt Maher for example, is just such a great song writer. Somebody actually gave me one of his independent albums before he even got signed. And I normally don't listen to those, and it might have been those client appointments, but I just put it in my car and I was just absolutely blown away. So I've been a Matt Maher fan and champion ever since. I love his stuff; his new album is absolutely amazing. And I think Mac mentioned Crowder earlier, David Crowder. I'm a huge fan of his and was actually listening to his record this morning. We've said quite a few but YOUNG OCEANS is a band from New York, out of a church there. I just love their stuff. Even though we are these musicians, and we do it as our jobs, we put the hand up and say, "I got it". We need to be encouraged and we need to worship as well, so it's great when you can find those artists that you can relate to.
Mac Powell: You'd mentioned Matt Maher for people who are listening now who don't know Matt Maher, it's M-A-H-E-R is how you spell his last name. But he's a label mate of ours, and is amazing! I actually texted him today and called him a bad name that I can't say here for you to print (laughing). But I said, "You are such a great writer it makes me mad that you're so good." It's so just encouraging him because he writes some incredible songs.
David Carr: And a little bit of trivia, Matt actually co-wrote "SOUL ON FIRE", the single off the record.
Mac Powell: Yea.
Presenter: Well it looks like we have time for one more question. We'll get some brief answers on this. For "LEAD US BACK: Songs of Worship," what do you want the listener audience take-away to be from this project? Can each of you give a brief snapshot of what you hope people will walk away with after listening to this project?
Mac Powell: That's a great question. I would really love for people to been entertained by the music... music that really grabs their ear and their hearts. Even more, that they hear the music and love it but that that music kind of draws them into the lyric, and the lyric in a sense draws them closer to God.
David Carr: Yea. I don't know how I could disagree with that. I'm the kind of guy that if I get an album I like, I just pretty much keep it on "loop". I mean, it's just always on. We always want that. So I definitely hope that this happens. I hope people put this album on and they go, "Man, I just want to listen to it over and over". But I don't say that just so we can benefit from that. It's really because the more I've listened to it, the more I've wanted to listen to it, almost as an outsider. It encourages me and ministers to me and I really believe it's going to do that for others. And there's no fluff in that statement. I really believe it's going to do that for people.
Mark Lee: Yea. Last week we were doing some radio interviews and flying across the country doing some things. I was on the plane and I was reading Psalm 34. And at verse 3 (Psalm 34:3)(just every now and then you'll just read something and it will just jump off the page at you) it says, "Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together". And I just got this vision of us going into this spring tour with the new album coming out, a worship album just this opportunity for us as believers and also for our fans, that we can try to live out this verse. I think the very first interview that I ever did (the guys still kind of make fun of me about it because I just like stumbled over my words) I said, there's really just no division between the band and the audience and all this stuff. But here, just 22 years later, we still feel that. It's not like it's the guys on the stage and the audience, it's that we're all in this together and we really are excited about these songs and hope that we can glorify the Lord together with people on the stage and connect with the people in the audience. It's an exciting time!
Mac Powell: Real quick, just to kind of end it. I feel like the message of "Lead us back", is not a message that we're only speaking to other people that they should want. I think it's something that it's a place where all of us are in the band. We want God to lead us back and to bring us back to find that first love. The way you feel when you first discover your faith, and when you first discover that relationship with God. There's this excitement and this fervor that you don't always have in life and that's what we want. We all want to be back in that place where really nothing else is important. Everything else is kind of secondary. I mean, there are a lot of important things in our lives... our families, our careers, and you could go down the list, but the scripture says, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added". So that's what we want in our lives. We want to seek God and then everything else will fall into place and be the way that it should be.
Presenter: Well, we got through a fraction of the questions. Like I said, everyone listening in, please, keep emailing us your questions and we will get back to you and provide answers even beyond this call. Again, I just want to thank everyone who was on the call today. We can't tell you how much we appreciate your support and enthusiasm, especially those of you who have been supporting THIRD DAY since the beginning. You really do all play an important role in getting the word out about the March 3rd album release for "LEAD US BACK: Songs of Worship". Just so you're aware, there will be a special audio podcast and written transcript of this call, which we'll provide to you later in the week via email. Also, be on the lookout for a brand new "LEAD US BACK: Songs of Worship" EPK, which we just received word that we will be servicing to press toward the end of this week as well.
So, there is some great stuff coming your way... great assets that you post on your websites and get in print. And then for our radio and TV broadcast journalists out there, the EPK footage will be especially useful for some B-roll. Also, I wanted to share another resource really quick with everyone on the call. Provident Label Group has created a website devoted strictly for press to download additional assets such as bios, videos, hi-res images, press releases, among other things. You can access that via www.providentlabelgroup.com/thirddaypress. Once again, thanks so much for joining us and a special thanks goes out to Mac, David, and Mark for taking times out of your busy schedules; the dishes and the laundry (all laughing) to get on the phone.
Mac, David, and Mark: Thank you!
Mac Powell: Thank you guys for having us. And thanks for being here.
Presenter: Oh, we appreciate it. Thanks again guys and you have a great rest of the day everyone!
Mac, David, and Mark: Thank you and you too.
Presenter: Alright. Thank you so much!