Lieutenant Sam Robinson
Coming out next week is Kings Kaleidoscope's debut LPbecome who we are. It's an amazing album (read our five star reviewhere), in which lead singer Chad Gardner shows his love for music as he sings about Jesus, life and the trials he and his family have faced this year. Last week I spent an hour chatting with Chad about the stories behind the songs on the album, his personal struggles, worship music and more.
SAM: Chad, how did the pre-order come in?
CHAD:He did that very, very well. We've sold a lot of vinyl, we still have some left that we're still selling. And we could afford the whole record, which was great. All the vinyl and pre-order was with Bad Christian; and now we're doing the iTunes deployment with Tooth & Nail. I haven't heard how it's going, but... Even our launch show in Seattle is sold out. We hope to sell it. So everything is fine, going well.
That's excellent. Now the album will be released. I find it amazing. How do you feel now that it's about to fall?
I think the band is very, very excited to play music for people. We're getting tired of just being in recording mode and planning and all that business stuff. I did most of that, so it doesn't feel like we played as much as we wanted to. We really want to go back to basics, sharing songs and playing together as a band. Put the songs out and play them live for the people. Yes.
when I last spoke to you, you were in the process of mastering the album, but you were still finishing the lyrics of a song. which was?
[laughs] That wasSplendid. The bridge wasn't finished yet. And part of the choir too. So I tried to understand that all of creation is an orchestra of life. That only reflects the glory of God. That's what I was trying to thread the needle.
can you tell me how you recordedbecome who we are? You told me last time it wasn't a traditional recording process...
We recorded the entire album on my laptop. I just got a new MacBook Pro so it was very quick. We were laptops and I had a laptop. In fact, I borrowed really nice mics from all of our friends and connected with a guy in Seattle who records a lot of symphonies and choirs. He had some really good ribbon mics and various types of mics for orchestral stuff. So we recorded the drums in a studio we rented, a dirty punk rock studio. Then we took my portable rig from there and went to a few different shrines around town with high ceilings and really good acoustics and we recorded the horns and strings there. Then the guitars, basses and synths, I did a lot at home or outside - my parents have a farm and I built a small temporary space there for the summer and did all the vocals there. But it's crazy because when you have a portable studio, like we did, you can find the right environment and place for the different instruments. And then I did a lot of the editing right here in my apartment on my monitors. Basically I would go out and record horns for four hours on weekdays and then take them home and for a day or two I would edit them and start mixing them and then figure out what was needed next, then i did go out to the farm. and put the guitars on it. It was wild! it was an adventure
Sounds like a stressful but awesome way to make an album.
Yes! It was a lot of work and could get very stressful. But I think it added a lot more diversity to the record in the way it sounds.
Want to record an album the same way again?
Hmm maybe. Yes, with the band it's most efficient when we can improvise a lot of ideas. So we improvised a lot of these songs before going into the recording process. So the most important thing for me is writing and editing all the ideas. And once I know what the ideas are, it's necessary to basically record them.
And what are the ages of the songs on the album? I think that would take a lot of time!
Wow. you yes I'm trying to think about what the oldest thing on the record is... The idea ofFelix faultIt's an idea I probably had three years ago and it was on my iPhone just as a guitar riff, chords and background noise. There is an interlude named after this songpain, and all the instrumental is from a song I wrote when I was probably sixteen. I used to put them on my MySpace! So I dug that up and wanted to add more. And as I saidSplendidI was done just before the record was done. Seek Your Kingdom was written last year.Seeit was written this year.light after darkI wrote with Brian Eichelberger this summer. It goes on for a long time. [laughs]
Well, let's talk about some of the clues. First,Splendid. Joined at the last minute but opens the album. what can you tell me about it
Well, it's a lot of fun, because people who are from Mars Hill Ballard will recognize all this instrumental, because musically that was our arrangement for Amazing Grace. [Laughs] And we originally wanted to put "Amazing Grace" on our record, but our multi-instrumentalist in the band, she might actually be the oldest member, Nadia, she had the melody and she really wanted to use that melody with the musical composition. So we wrote a new song just because I really wanted that melody in the song and I thought the instrumental was so cool that we could make a cute new song out of it.
There are some of youlive in colourNotes here...Felix fault,seek your kingdom... Do you worry about how people will react to these new versions?
I'm very excited. I get really emotional for people who like it a lot or get really angry about it because it's very encouraging when people develop such a strong relationship with another version of a song. I usually always like the first version I hear of a song, so I think most people will like the first version.live in colourthose more. I do not know. But it will be common. But at the same time, it's fun to influence people's opinions about the song. That was a night where we played that way, but we play our songs a lot of different ways and we think this is a really crazy way to do it. In my opinionFelixis the most different - well actuallyfix my eyesis actuallycompletelyNew. [Laughs] But the album version is actually the original arrangement of that song, and of courselive in colourIt was just an extra where I was like, 'Hey, can we do another song?' And we ran to the gym and did it, and I love playing it softly. I think I'd rather play it cool, but the great arrangementfix my eyesIt's so cute that I want to share that with people too. And I'm happy that people like one or both. It's great to see people's reactions. It's entertaining.
Yes, I was surprisedfix my eyeswhen I heard it but knowing it's the original - wow.
It's not weird?! Even if people like itlive in colourone, that's great! Because it's right there. You can just listen to that. But there are people who will like the other better. Or maybe you like a different one on a different day or something.
It's correct. nowSee. What a powerful track. It's the first sample we have from this album. Does he look up to the sky for the message?
Yes we made a beat... I was playing in a green room with Andrew our drummer about a year ago and he had this beat that I wanted to play and then he came up with another beat that sounded great, and i really get attached to it. You together. And we recorded the beat, it was a bad recording, in the green room with two little mics, and then I did this whole beat around it. It was this thing we had laying around that was cool, but we had no idea what song we could write about it. And after sitting with her for a few months, I knew the song had to be confident and not boastful, but it had to have a fair and confident boast. Or basically you are telling your own heart how safe you can be because of Jesus. So the most he could think of was heaven. We decided to write a song based on how the instrumental felt. And at the time it was summer and my wife and I were going through a lot and I literally went to sunset every night [laughs] because I wanted to see something beautiful and forget my problems for a while. So when it came time to write the song, I realized how much I longed to escape the harshness of life.
The chorus was there, I'd written it so I was sure I'd talked about it, but I wanted the verses to be a personal representation of what daily life is like when you're longing to be somewhere it's not is. tarnished by sin and brokenness. And the pre-chorus lyrically closes the gap.You've given me a taste for something that nothing in this world can satisfy. But I know that the time will come when I will have a glorious joy.So yeah, I wrote that part with Brian Eichelberger and he helped me bring those two ideas together. Then my sister, who plays cello, came up with the melody for the big chorus at the end. And we changed the chord progression on the bridge and let it take off at that midpoint.
The way you developed the sound through that song and then that massive chorus and the stomping and clapping, how did you capture a sound and make it so big?
Writing the parts of this song... The band came in and gave it some energy. We recorded the guitar live and the trumpet part in the middle and these big 'ohs' and stuff. But the rest of this song was how I would make a beat if I were a DJ or a producer. He took Andrew's drum kit and broke it down into a beat. I think I wrote a lot of this right after I got my Juno 60 keyboard. It's an old analog synthesizer. A lot of the sounds came out of it while I was playing around with it and recording for fun. Then suddenly you're doing something worth keeping in your back pocket.
So good. Now there are some interludes on the album,flourishingjSieve. They could be mistaken for interference, but I suspect they're still carefully written clues.
flourishingIt was a song that our other drummer John wrote and put on his record. And ever since I heard it, I've wanted it to be the opening of the Kings album. I thought it was really beautiful and an extremely concentrated palette cleaner, but its original song is much longer. So I took it and added some orchestral stuff and made it a lot shorter. I knew we had itFelix faulton the disk and there had to be a way to get it in and out because it's so heavy it almost took up some space. So I played around with it and I noticed where it goes into total chaos, which is what that isFelix faultis. We needed something crazy with this song. It was actually John who wrote something and I adapted it for use on our record. And then Sift played just me and Andrew. These drums are recorded in the Green Room. He just plays and I throttle it a bit more, DJ Chad style. The same. how will we enterlight after darkbecause it sounds very different, but it's very difficult at first. So I decided to do a turntable break on the drums at the end. And it's hitting so hard because of this transition. So I look at everything, look at what's sitting there and it would make the whole record flow really well or make it exciting.
Last time we talked you gave me tracks for the album. You said there would be a rainforest anthem to go with the album cover. I think that isall creatures?
I love how it starts with the sound of running water...
In fact, you will laugh. As we recorded the chorus singing, I had everyone rub their hands together and snap their fingers. So it's funny because it's actually a fake jungle. But this song always sounds wild to me. John, our second drummer, taught music at a high school, so one day I went there with the portable recorder. They have all these bells in there and he had a vibraphone and we muted it. He did all these great roles in the beginning. we have playedall creaturesI pretty much lived like that for about a year and a half, so that's how we wanted to record it. The drummers go crazy and it's a lot of fun to play live.
The percussion is so warm and bright on this song. Chimes get a good workout.
Yes, glockenspiel and vibraphones and there are string parts and then there's…both drum kits are really connected. They do things that are so complicated but sound very tight at the same time. It's so unique. I've never heard anyone play drums like John and Andrew.
The song has arrogance.
It does! [laughs] Goofy boast.
Now I want to talk to you about itdreams. This is probably my favorite song on the album. Sounds like something you would hear from Sufjan Stevens to meAdz-Don'tRegistration.
I love this record.
Can you tell me how such a track comes about?
Yes, this whole song was inspired when I got this little keyboard. i will show you. This funky little OP-1 keyboard (see photo above). So this keyboard is awesome. It is made by a company from Sweden. It is beautifully designed and incredibly inspiring. But basically there's this really weird drum sound with percussion that goes doo doo doo doo doo doo (heard at the beginning of verse two). That was an effect on this keyboard. I played around with this beat and it was so cute and I knew we had to write a song for it. But it was really out there. The song is really out there. Because it was so far out I decided to write it loosely based on a dream I had two years ago where I was dreaming. It actually took place around Ballard, but the whole world was incredibly vibrant and colorful. Colorful to an extraordinary extent. I don't know how to describe it. But basically, at the end of the dream, I knew that everything was alive. At some point in my life I felt the Holy Spirit more intensely than ever telling me, 'You can try and fail, but you will never fail in me and I love you.' And I woke up right after that. and danced. I told my wife that God told me he loved me. I grabbed my phone and started writing down everything that had just happened to me and it was pretty amazing. The rest of the day I thought, 'I know that God loves me. This is crazy!' But because it's a dream, you carry it with you into reality and there's no way to easily explain it. Even now I'm explaining it to you and it's like, 'Well, what does that mean theologically?' I do not know! I just had a crazy dream that was colorful and I knew God loved me afterward. [Laughs] But why not write a song about it?
So this is the song.The colors of your world resonate in my dreams.So the fact of the matter is that the midpoint break is where it is,"Right now it's clear and I know, yes I know I'm loved".'I am loved.'And I just sing that over and over again. So yeah, I think this song is really special to me because there are a lot of songs on this record that aren't congregational, but this particular song is one of the first ones where I was like, 'I'm going to literally write a song about what wants, and there's nothing wrong with that.' I've been in an environment where I've been writing extensively for the church, which is great, there's nothing wrong with that, and I'm not criticizing that. not at all, but it was refreshing. I don't get away with writing a lot of songs before I get into church stuff. So for me it was more confidence and it was a lot more challenging to write songs where I can be vulnerable. You really don't have to be vulnerable when you write for a church. They focus more on being right. It's a lot less scary. It's a lot scarier for me to write a song about dreams and then have people look at it, 'This is a worship record! What the hell is this guy talking about?” [Laughs] But it's a really important moment in my life and the music suited me to tell that story.
let's talk about139... Do you actually call it "one-three-nine" or "one hundred-thirty-nine"?
Ah, we call it one-thirty-three. I do not know.
Lyrically you talk about God's care and massiveness, a great reflection on the Psalm. How has this year been a comfort to you? Because I know this year has been difficult for you and your family.
Unbelievable. And I wrote this song with Brian Eichelberger. He helped me to write the lyrics. I feel like a broken record but this song was a beat I made, took with me and listened to a lot when I traveled. A few years ago I went to Europe. I've been to Paris, London and Italy and listened to it on the train, ship or plane. Every time I started playing it again I was very excited to be in different parts of the world away from home. Psalm 139 is one of my favorite psalms. It seemed to me a perfect lyric to emotionally express his connection with the instrumentation. So man I would say this song has been incredibly dear to me this year because of all the things my wife and I have been through. We lost his father to cancer. We lost our son to stillbirth. We both had to leave our church and both of our jobs. It was difficult. Knowing that God knows absolutely everything about us when the Psalm says, "You fence me in behind and in front of me," I only think of God who is behind me, in front of me, He knows all my past and all my future .
Lyrically we try to capture the essence of the psalm where he speaks of God entertaining us in the womb. He knows all our thoughts. And then at the same time knowing and believing that He loves us. Those two things together are wonderful. It is amazing that God knows us so well and deeply and His love for us is that of a Father. Just like a father loves his children. When I think of this song it always reminds me that God is my daddy and he really cares about me and knows me as his little baby. He is Abba. That's what this song is about.
redemption in motion– They do the autotune for this song!
Yes! [Laughs] It was like this: I've wanted to play this beat for a long time, so I made some riffs... It's almost like a stream of consciousness, you know? And then some members of the band said, "I don't know, that's weird," and others said, "That's amazing!" So we figured it didn't have to be part of the same song, so he made an outro out of it. And that's how we kept it. But he almost didn't make it! I love it though, I love the melody. That's what I really like about this record: there are very carefully written lyrics and there's a total flow of consciousness on the fly. The song is like thispainit is so. It just captures that songwriting is an art, and there's also this amazing release: pouring out your guts, whatever the outcome. Even if it makes little sense. The record does all of that and I love that.
SpurZionit's about his son, whom he lost earlier this year. I can imagine that it must be a very personal song for you and wouldn't it be easy to share such raw emotions with everyone who will listen to this record?
Man... That's a hard question to answer. I really think with this record I stopped caring, it wasn't like I stopped caring about the people who would hear it, but I stopped caring, trying to be something other than myself. I think there is something for everyone, whatever stage of life or position or whatever, there always seems to be a ladder to climb and the ideal type of person to exist even in the worship industry. It sounds strange to say, but it was me, I was a worship leader. 'You're going to do a worship record, that's it' or 'You're going to do that if you want to do a record with hymns' and it was like, 'Look, I'm a person who feels deep things.' I lost my son this year and I'm going to write a song about it." When I give the world a record that is a snapshot of my life over the past few years, how can I not include it?All? I'm not saying that other people who record worship do it wrong or anything, but for me at this point in my life, basically, the best thing was to express everything that was going on in my heart, and do it at one really liberating way. being able to be yourself The album title is derived from this. At the end of the day, if as Christians we don't believe that we are truly valuable, loved and accepted for exactly who we are, what excites us, even as sinners?
So I can have a song about my son who is in heavenZion, in the same record asHow deep is the Father's loveeither way, it's appropriate. These songs should stand next to each other, or even the others,dreams. It's all a part of me, it's a part of everyone in the band, including everyone who hears it. It's unfortunate that people lock down their lives: 'Well, now's the time I think about the hard things in my life, and now's the time I don't.' I do not know. It's all together.
And I guess it says a lot when we're real. Worship is life anyway, right?
Yes, probably one of the greatest proofs of God's grace in my life this year is that He has given me faith that He is incredibly good. Our family has seen four deaths in the past six months. And God gave me faith that it's good. That's a gift I think at the moment. Who knows where I might be outside of God sustaining me. And I'm struggling with a lot of anxiety right now, I was basically having a nervous breakdown, but it could be a lot worse. To be able to tell that in a song likeZion- it's a song of faith and it's a gift of a song that God gave me that faith and that faith that I'll see Zion again.
I'm sure many people will benefit from it.
Yeah, and you know, that encourages me, but the thing is, I still don't do it for that reason. Which seems selfish but actually isn't. I know people are going to be amazed by the worship songs on the album and that's amazing, but I think that's what God is doing with the songs. I only sing them because I have to sing them to myself. [Laughter] And what else God does with them is a miracle. But I'm not responsible for 'Hi everyone, here are these songs, they will change your life.' I sing them to myself. When God speaks to other people through them, that's great, but I'm not responsible for them being touched by the songs. That's God doing that.
Let's talk about another tracklight after dark. In this song you seem to be asking for hope and help and it's so layered. What is the story behind this song?
I found this hymn from which the entire text of the verse is taken. It was unlike any other anthem I've ever read. It's old English style, still very anthemic. But it wasn't a song that was necessarily about theology, or even specifically about God. It was just incredible poetry that really moved me. As I reviewed the song, I had to ask what the focus of the song was. It's a bit like preaching that there's a time for everything. When you know this about life, you know you're going to suffer. And suffering is suffering, you don't necessarily get out of it. Or do you know that you will have moments of joy. What's holding you together when you look at your life and you're like, 'Well, I'm going to be in the desert in a few years, and it's really going to suck.' Do you lose faith in God because you know he will take you to the desert? no you need trust you need hope So this is where the chorus really sums it up:"Give me hope for tomorrow, give me strength for today. You are the promise of peace on my journey to faith.I could pray every day knowing that I really don't know what is going to happen to me at any given moment, but I know that hope and faith are two things that I always desperately need and that only God can give me. Then the letters came together.
now himReyes-LPHow do we know it's done? It took a long time. You said before that you recorded most of the album at Mars Hill but couldn't release it and now you've re-recorded the whole album. My question is now that this album is done, are you happy that this is the album we are listening to?
I'm 100% glad it is. And not because the other was bad, but because it was a different purpose. It was much shorter. I didn't have any of those new songs. It had more old Mars Hill songs. I think it was under the umbrella of a specific vision and mission, which was to write songs for the church that I was helping to lead. It's amazing that I've been able to do this for a while and I'd love to do it again in some church someday, but I don't think it's the record that God really wanted me to make and I don't think so At the end of the day, it's the record he really wanted to make. I think I really wanted to do something that was just about me or the whole band. It was basically lengthened beyond what would be used for a Sunday morning service. And I think we need to make this record. I'm very, very happy with it.
It is good to hear. You're releasing this album at a show with Citizens & Saints in Seattle next week. Do you have some exciting things planned for this show?
Oh man... As always, every time Kings does big events... I can't really tell! I give a hint. There will be a cool surprise.
Sounds exciting! What does 2015 hold for you and Kings Kaleidoscope?
We really just want to play songs for people. Personally, I'm just trying to get to a sane enough place to cycle through. But the stress and anxiety of the year has weighed on me and I'm taking every step to really rest and seek help through it all. But it's really hard to get to a place where I know I can go for a while. But we really want to play the music live for the people. We really missed the rhythm of playing for church every Sunday. That was a lot of fun for us. Just the idea of playing live and going crazy for people - we're looking forward to it. We hope we will play a lot. I'm already working on songs for another record. I don't know when it'll be out or when we'll start recording, but we already have four or five song ideas to build on.
That's great. Thank you for sharing such an insightful insight.become who we are, Chad. It's an incredible record.
Thank you for the love, support and encouragement. It was great talking about all the songs! As I keep saying, there's a part of me that says, 'I only made this record because I wanted to do it and in a way I had to. But the fact that people really like it is also very special. I'm glad you know!
become who we areby Kings Kaleidoscope will be released next Monday 27th October. Book now atitunes, or get physical copieshere. Read our album review.here. Tickets can be purchased for their album launch on October 27th in Seattle.here.
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Is Kings Kaleidoscope LGBTQ? ›
Fostering pride in and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, locally, nationally, and globally.What does baptized imagination mean in Kings Kaleidoscope? ›
Baptized Imagination (nicknamed Bapi) takes most of its time in introducing patterns and play with it throughout the album to symbolize front man Chad Gardner's cycle of doubts and discontentment.Is Kings Kaleidoscope Calvinist? ›
I'd like to say that Kings Kaleidoscope is the best Calvinist worship band in existence, but I'm not so sure there really are any others! Seriously though, it's very creative, worshipful music with lyrics that point directly back to God. I don't think there is another band out there doing what they do.Did Kings Kaleidoscope change their name? ›
Kings (MHM) is the former name of the Christian band Kings Kaleidoscope. MHM stands for Mars Hill Music, which is what they were under before Mars Hill dissolved.Who was the first Lgbtq animated character? ›
Waylon Smithers and Patty Bouvier were the only recurring gay characters. The show's first episode, on December 17, 1989, introduced Smithers, who was named after gay puppeteer Wayland Flowers. Smithers was the first gay character to appear on a U.S. animated show.What church is Kings Kaleidoscope from? ›
Based out of Seattle, Washington, Kings Kaleidoscope formed in 2010 at a Mars Hill Church plant on the campus of the University of Washington, where Gardner was a worship leader.What are the 3 main symbols of baptism? ›
- Paschal Candle. “Receive the light of Christ.” ...
- White Garment. “You have become a new creation , and have clothed yourself in Christ.” ...
- Oil of the Catechumen. “Bless this oil and give wisdom and strength to all who are anointed with it in preparation for their baptism.”
(2) God, in believer's baptism, "grants a baptized believer the water of baptism as a sign of His covenant with them—that such a one indicates and publicly confesses that he wants to live in true obedience towards God and fellow believers with a blameless life".What are the 4 symbols of baptism? ›
- Water. When we are baptized, the priest or dea- con pours water over us, or we may be “dipped” into the baptismal font. ...
- Anointing with Chrism. Chrism is one of the three holy oils used in the Catholic Church. ...
- White Garment. After we are anointed with chrism, we are clothed in a white garment. ...
The colors and patterns are actually symbols of change and growth. Even the symmetry of the patterns is a representation of balance and harmony. Also, in some cultures around the world, kaleidoscopes are tools for meditation and self-reflection.
What does a kaleidoscope symbolize in kaleidoscope? ›
A kaleidoscope constantly generates changing symmetrical patterns from small pieces of colored glass, and therefore a kaleidoscope symbolizes anything that changes constantly.What is a kaleidoscope metaphor? ›
Each time you look at a kaleidoscope, new beautiful arrangements appear magically. This figuratively suggests that one should approach the most difficult situations in life by changing one's attitude to the circumstances because life is truly amazing.Is Charles Trippy still in We The Kings? ›
|We the Kings|
|Labels||S-Curve Ozone Entertainment BMG|
|Members||Travis Clark Hunter Thomsen Danny Duncan Coley O'Toole Charles Trippy|
Kings Kaleidoscope is a faith-based band from Seattle, Washington. Although they can be lumped into the Christian genre, their music is far different from anything else that is currently being produced in that department.How many people are in Kings Kaleidoscope? ›
Seattle-based ten-piece indie chamber pop band with roots in the Mars Hill Church.Who is LGBT 12 forever? ›
One of the executive producers of the series, Petosky, described Reggie as a queer character "coming to terms with her sexuality". The series also features a number of other LGBTQ characters: Mack and Beefhouse, a gay couple in the fantasy world of Endless Island, and Galaxander, who previously had a boyfriend.Are there any LGBT characters in gargoyles? ›
“One thing I've talked about with fans is that character of Lexington, one of the gargoyles, was gay,” he continued.Is there any LGBT anime? ›
Many of their manga consequently explore same-sex relationships. Works such as Miyuki-chan in Wonderland and Tokyo Babylon feature same-sex intimacy as central themes. This also includes series such as Cardcaptor Sakura. Other series, based on CLAMP manga, would also feature LGBTQ characters.What item in baptism symbolizes the baptized as the light of the World? ›
The candle, or baptismal candle represents the Christian's commitment to finding the light of his own life of faith, to be in turn, a light of the world through his or her works and his actions, The white gown is given during a Baptism as a symbol of new life, and the new dignity the baptised person has.What symbols were used in baptism and what was the purpose and meaning of each? ›
Water is used in Baptism as a symbol of life. In Baptism Christ gives new life. Holy oil is a symbol of strength and healing. It a symbol that the baby has the gift of the Holy Spirit and has been made holy, a special friend of Jesus who is king.
What do the white garment and the lighted candle signify in baptism? ›
What do the white garment and the lighted candle signify on Baptism? The white garment signify a the purity of Christ. The lighted candle is a sign of the light and goodness of Christ and the light of faith shinning in the newly baptized.What does vain imaginations mean? ›
Pride is predicated on a vain imagination, imagining that one's own worth, satisfaction, and contentment can be derived by comparing oneself to other “lesser” beings—or, more simply, imagining that more = good, an equation lacking in eternal truth.