Message of light
Q: Talk about place in your music. You’re deeply rooted in one way, but in another you’ve moved far beyond North Carolina.
Roots are imperative. We have been around the world in the last decade (and in the last six months!), and traveling in such an intense way has been incredibly educational and exciting.
Without a home to come back to, though, I doubt I would be able to appreciate the traveling as much. I have never had a great desire to up and move to Europe. But I certainly have always wanted to see it.
Thanks to the music, I have been able to see some of it, and maybe will get a chance to see more. No matter what, though, the beautiful state of North Carolina is my home. It is always my honor to return whenever possible. I would encourage anyone to travel if they can, when they can, because it has a way of opening your eyes on a few things that you thought you had figured out. It challenges you, and then gives you the reward of meeting those challenges.
Then, when you return home, you can maybe see a bit more of the beauty in the place you’re coming from.
Q: How do you manage to approach such serious topics (love, loss, shame, death, delight) with such a gleam in your eye?
We have been humbled many times, personally and collectively, professionally. I believe the older you grow, if you are able to move past your own failures and tragedies, you’ll gain a perspective that reveals a commonality among all people.
Love and loss, shame, delight and death are just a few of the thousands of states/conditions that we all find ourselves in sooner or later, if we live long enough. I think our approach to songwriting allows for a certain measure of (hopefully) candid speech, with an eye on the responsibility that is somewhat inseparable from the fact that people will hear what we are saying in our songs.
That said, I think that music can be fun to listen to but not disposable. Scott and I take what we do pretty seriously, aesthetically and thematically, but I don’t think a desire for artistic integrity should get in the way of the sheer joy of it.
Q: You don’t hold back as you perform. What can other kinds of leaders learn from the way you give yourselves to your performance?
I hope that it is clear in what we do and how we do it that we are not interested in a halfhearted effort. I have yet to encounter anything in my life that could be done well without a formidable investment of time and care. It will come through to an audience, if you fully believe in what you are presenting.
And that doesn’t mean you have to juggle chain saws or command a pride of lions to get attention. Truth, genuine intent and simplicity, in these times, is plenty when considering the presentation of a message to a group of people.
Q: How do you understand your appeal across generations? (My 7-year-old wants me to ask, “Why do you rock out so much?”)
We can only hope to bring a quality sound and a sincere message with our songs. If we are able to do that, then it may be relatable not to just one small corner of society but to a broader landscape of people.
We have been blessed with an audience of great variety; this is true. But we did not go out intending to write songs that would gather attention from all sorts of people. We have just been telling our story and learning that our story is not just our own but one of a somewhat common human experience.
Oh, and tell your young one that rocking out is a part of life. And if the rockin’ bug gets you, don’t deny it! Most of the time it’s best to just dance it out …