Church Folk

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Nashville-based record label Average Joes Entertainment celebrated eight new RIAA certifications allocated to several singles in its catalog during their...

The goal of Church Folk is simple: share the gifts they’ve been given.

We sat down with the Trio to talk about their love of God, good music and answering their calling…

Bridge: Tell us who you are…

CF: We’re just three friends who share a love and appreciation for music. We love finding new artists, sharing new ideas, and showing new things we learn. We may not be professionals, but we are passionate about music and believe that it has the power to penetrate the soul and communicate to people in ways that no other medium can, and as Christians we believe that it is a gift given to us by our Heavenly Father, and so we play with all the more joy!

Our goal is simple: to share the gifts we’ve been given.

Bridge: How would you describe your group dynamic?

CF: When we are together, the two defining features within our group would probably be laughter and love. Since we have been friends for so long, there’s a safety and comfortability that can allow for almost sictom-quality banter and teasing; yet within that safety, there’s an ability to empathize with each other. We have spent many late nights sharing, seeking, crying, and coming alongside one another as we each face our own mental health battles, heartbreaks, and confusion. I think that is one reason why things work as well as they do. We’ve been friends for 6 or 7 years, so we know how to work with each other. If things start getting tense, we can work through it. If they start getting stale, we can liven things up. Katie also keeps us all in line. Nate and Seth can get distracted very easily, and nothing would get done without Katie roping them back in. We know each other fully, love each other deeply, and respect one another completely. We can rest in the fact that, at the end of the day, music can come and go, but we will still always have great friends right beside us.

Bridge: What does the creative process look like for you guys

CF: Our creative process is mostly based on the pursuit of capturing our experiences. Music is definitely a therapy for each of us, and we all tend to write songs to help us process things we might be going through at a particular point in time. Because of that, we all tend to have a few lyric or melody ideas that flow out very easily. Those will usually be sent to the group, where we’ll get encouragement or feedback, and then we can feel out if it’s a song that will work well for the group. Once that first idea is presented, we will brainstorm and experiment until we find what works best. It can be anywhere from a few days to a few years before the song fully blossoms. The desire is to completely encapsulate what we are or were going through, so we try not to force the completion of a song if we can’t quite capture that emotion or experience. Each of us has a strong suit, though we all can do each part to some extent. Nate is a fantastic storyteller and lyricist – he can take these images or scenarios and pen them beautifully and melodically. Katie is a master of instrumentation and harmony. She can hear what the song is missing and knows how to create it. Seth is a true “jack of all trades” with instruments. There are about a dozen instruments he can play with varying levels of proficiency. He is able to take the ideas of the others and work them out on the instruments and create beautiful foundations upon which to build a song.

Bridge: What spiritual disciplines do you share as a group to carrying out your calling?

CF: Seth and Katie attend a different church than Nate, but agree on most of our theology and doctrine. The unity of doctrine helps keep us strong, and the differences help keep us gracious. Both help us keep the focus of our music: using our God-given talents to relate to people and ultimately glorify God. We frequently check in with each other’s spiritual state and journey, and there have even been times we have forgone rehearsals or recording sessions if we’ve sensed that there’s a need for encouragement with a particular band member.

Bridge: Your lyrics have so much depth and intention. Do they flow naturally for you or do you find there is tension in pulling them out?

CF: We all have our ups and downs with songwriting. A big part of the reason the lyrics have the depth and impact they do is due to the inspiration behind the songs. We all write from real life experiences. These songs are almost like postcards of where we are at different times in our lives, which has made many of our songs very easy to write down, as they are used as a therapy and tool for processing life. At the same time, some songs were harder as we struggled to take our difficulties and put them down in a way that is honest, yet relatable to others. There’s also the added difficulty of coming back to a song that we maybe didn’t finish initially. Re-entering that headspace can be anywhere from tedious to traumatizing, and can make finishing up lyrics an almost impossible task.

Bridge: Do you all have different tastes in music? Or is there a general love for a specific genre?

CF: There is definitely some overlap. We all enjoy more acoustic, indie-folk with beautiful harmonies, but we also have some differences that can show up in our different writing styles. Katie enjoys a lot of Broadway, huge orchestra, and vocally impressive music. Nate is more into singer-songwriter artists, whereas Seth grew up on emo and ska before getting into more bluegrass and stomp-and-holler genres. We all have genres we’re more naturally drawn to, but there is also a lot of truth in saying that we genuinely enjoy all types and genres of music. If the music is done well and presents itself sincerely, there’s a good chance we will appreciate it.

Bridge: What advice would you give other christian creatives on their journey to make music?

CF: Remember why you’re doing it. Colossians 3:17 reminds us that whatever we do, it is for the glory of God. That may sound like an unoriginal answer, but it’s a truth that can be so easy to forget, especially when you’re trying to find new and innovative ways to do things. The glory of God always has to be the constant we return to as we find new ways to connect with people. Aside from that, be genuine. A lot of Christian art is stereotyped as cheesy, feel-good, cookie-cutter “art.” The Christian life is not always sunshine and roses, and your art should reflect that. There are times when you are confused, hurt, angry, and your art should reflect that. This doesn’t just have to apply to music. Art is a way to celebrate our Creator, and as Christians, we should find as many ways to do that as possible!

Bridge: What goals have yous guys set for your music this year?

CF: We are set to finish our debut album around the middle of the year, so most of our efforts will be focused on completing and promoting that. Aside from our album, we want to pursue playing more live shows when COVID-19 allows, and hopefully we can begin working on some new music too!

Bridge: What is the ULTIMATE dream you have for it

CF: We would absolutely love to be able to travel around, writing and playing music full time. We are very passionate about mental health awareness and treatment within the Church, so one of our greatest desires is that our music can help instigate real, compassionate, and productive conversations among family units, fellow Christians, and church leaders. Mental illness is hard to understand and communicate. We hope that our music can help chip away at the massive barrier between someone’s mental battle and their ability to express it. All in all, though, our dreams are secondary to enjoying the time spent together and glorifying God in the process.

Bridge: What song would you pick to be the soundtrack of your life? (you can all answer individually)

CF: Seth: I Have Made Mistakes – The Oh Hellos, Nate: At the Table – Josh Garrels and Katie: Two – Sleeping at Las

Follow Church Folk on social media to keep up to date with their projects!

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