Songs for the Lost: Meet Living Scars

Living Scars has been steadily rising to widespread familiarity with determination and grit– both in their work ethic and in their massive hard rock sound. To mark the release of their dynamic new single “Wide Awake,” we spent some time getting to know Living Scars and the heart behind their music.

Let’s start with your new single, “Wide Awake.” What was the concept behind that song?

“Wide Awake” was written in a way that our listeners can relate to in their own lives. We battle an enemy that tries to break us down every day. As people, we need to find our way out of the shadows and allow our convictions to ultimately point to our Creator. Only then will we truly be Wide Awake.

This song precedes a full length album. When can we expect the album? What are some of the themes?

“Wide Awake” is just one of 13 tracks within the new album! We haven’t released the title or release date of the album YET, but… you can expect a very new side of Living Scars that you never saw in our first album.

This album focuses on how dark the world truly is, and it conveys just how deceitful the enemy can be, but it also points out, time and time again, that there is always a way out of the darkness.

Tell us a little bit about your journey as a band that got you to this point. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced? What have been some of the biggest victories you’ve had along the way?

The journey has been a LONG one, but to make it short and sweet, we really just started as four guys wanting to play music because it was cool. It wasn’t until we found our true desire in life that we found our goal and mission as a band to glorify God with our music by showing the lost that they’re here on Earth for a purpose, and that they are NEVER alone! Shortly after this realization, we found our bassist Adam, who added his epic screams and passion to our mix, which has changed Living Scars’ sound for the better!

As for challenges? Time has always been one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as a band. After a great year in 2017, we decided that it was time to get in the studio and start producing this second album. Since that decision was made, life decided it was going to hit us in the face and make it increasingly difficult to find time to record. But once we all reached that spark of motivation and commitment, we began our recording process and haven’t stopped since so that we can release one of our best creations to those who both want and need to hear God’s love and the realities of life in our music.

What is your main goal in making music, the motivation that keeps you grinding out the hard road of rock and roll touring and recording?

Our ultimate goal is to be able to reach people for Christ through music for a living. We are also motivated by many things! One of the big ones is our Living Scars family. Fans, friends, wives, parents, brothers, sisters… They are all one big family unit that motivates us to keep going!

And another thing… Folks may or may not notice, but we huddle and pray on stage before each show. Part of that prayer is a hope to reach at least one person that day. If we reach someone for Christ, we’ve succeeded substantially!

How do you believe that music impacts this world in a positive way?

We are big believers in the truth that music can change lives, but it isn’t always necessarily in a positive way. The direction that the mainstream music industry is heading is actually quite frightening in the sense that people, adults and kids, are becoming more lenient to the ways of the world. Drugs, sex and impurities of all sorts are becoming a norm, as if that’s just the way the world is supposed to be.

We believe Christian music is an escape from that. It exposes worldliness for how dangerous it is, and points us to what truly matters. As long as you see the name Living Scars or any other up and coming Christian rock bands, you will know that you’re listening to folks that desire to unleash the light of positivity and love in a dark world that needs it so desperately.

Does Living Scars have any dreams for the future, any guiding goals?

Of course we have dreams for the future! One of our dreams or goals as a band is probably similar to most other artists in the music ministry industry, and that is to do what we love for a living! Serving our God through music and outreach while jumping around screaming and singing on stage? Who wouldn’t want that?!

Since day 1, we’ve always wanted to tour with bands like Red, Memphis May Fire, Fit For A King, etc… But lately, after getting to know the great people in Rockfest Records, we’d LOVE to be a part of one of their tours. Doing what we love with other like-minded bands has been a great dream of ours. So if any of y’all are reading this… hit us up!

What is the best way that fans can support what Living Scars is doing in this season?

The Living Scars family can support us in a number of ways! Firstly, you can pray for us! Pray that we stay strong and have patience in our journey forward as a band. You can also support us by buying our new single “Wide Awake,” telling us what you think about it, sharing it with everyone, and being patient with us as we finish up this album for you guys! That alone would be a huge blessing to all four of us.

We promise to give back to you with our new music, our smiling/awkward faces, and our commitment to playing every show like it is our last!

You can get “Wide Awake” on iTunes and Spotify now. Connect with Living Scars on Facebook and at livingscarsmusic.com.

Photo credit to Breanne Ciccone Photography

TWLOHA: World Suicide Prevention Day and Music

The music community, and especially the rock community, has become inextricably tied to the mental health conversation in America. And it’s a time when that conversation is more urgent than ever before: the suicide rate in the United States has risen 25% in the last 20 years. That tragic number has been felt in losses of rock icons Chester Bennington, Tom Petty, Chris Cornell and Jill Janus.

As we mark 2018’s Word Suicide Prevention Day at the start of National Suicide Prevention week, TWLOHA‘s music and events coordinator Elizabeth Wilder took some time to share about this year’s campaign and the unique role music has to play.

Can you share a little bit about the idea behind this year’s World Suicide Prevention Campaign theme, “Tomorrow Needs You?”

Every year we come together and brainstorm different World Suicide Prevention Day slogans. In past years, we have pulled from books and blogs and quotes from people who have had close ties with To Write Love on Her Arms. Finding the perfect slogan or theme is all about connecting with an audience. What is going to draw people in? What is going to get people thinking? And more importantly, what will engage people?

“Tomorrow Needs You” hit us and it stuck. It’s an opportunity to allow people to look forward, to see the future and know that it’s bright. We hope that this phrase can let people know that they’re never walking alone.

A really fun moment that has set this year’s campaign apart from years past has been the raffle of the signed soccer jerseys. How did that come to be, and what impact has it had on TWLOHA’s overall aim for this year’s fundraising?

Jamie, our founder, and Ashlyn Harris actually went to the same high school, so the connection has always been there even before she became a soccer icon. Jamie reconnected with Ashlyn a few years ago, and she has always been a big supporter of To Write Love on Her Arms’ mission. We’ve been able to witness the support of the soccer community grow every year, and we’re so grateful for the friendship we’ve been able to nurture. Jamie attended the USA vs. Chile game, where Ashlyn Harris, Christen Press, Tobin Heath, and Alex Morgan all graciously donated their jerseys to raise money for our WSPD campaign.

The response has been incredible. In about a week, we have raised over $30,000 through raffle tickets. We raised our overall goal to $50,000 because of the engagement it had received. We’re so humbled by the ongoing support, and the multitude of opportunities we’ve been able to share with these women.

TWLOHA has done the difficult, valuable, complex work of enduring as a non-profit for over a decade now. What are some of the ways that TWLOHA’s approach has grown and developed over the years?

It’s really interesting to think about how our approach has grown over the past 12 years. I think it’s all about meeting people halfway, wherever that may be. Whether it’s at a music festival, in a school, or at a yoga event, we want people to feel welcome and heard. We’ve learned that mental health does not discriminate. It impacts all walks of life, and we want to be able to feel comfortable enough to share their story. Our mission is to reach as many people as we can, however we can.

The mission of TWLOHA has always been tied to the music community. What makes music a natural fit for the conversations TWLOHA wants to foster?

At To Write Love on Her Arms we always like to say, “Music is a safe place.” We go to concerts to drop the heavy at the door and get lost in our favorite bands/artists. Being able to act as a bridge of hope and help to people in the music scene feels, like you said, a natural fit. We want to connect with people the same way they connect to music. It’s a unique platform that can reach a lot of hurting people. From the beginning we have had such strong support from the music community, and we can only hope that continues over the next few years.

How can music fans specifically engage in supporting the work TWLOHA is doing?

We make it really simple for people to get involved and support TWLOHA’s mission. We encourage people to take a look at our Get Involved page to see how you can bring a message of hope and help to your community. Whether it’s purchasing info cards to hang up in venues and coffeeshops or getting educated, everything helps to start a healthy conversation about mental health. Music fans specifically can host a benefit, which a is a night of song and poetry, to raise awareness and support TWLOHA. We’ve witnessed so many stories shared, and so much vulnerability at events likes these.

What is a good shortlist of resources for those who are struggling or know someone who is struggling?

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, we encourage you to check out TWLOHA’s Find Help page. We have resources in all 50 states, and 3 different countries. If you’re in immediate crisis please don’t hesitate to text TWLOHA to 741741, Crisis Text Line, you’ll be automatically connected to a trained crisis counselor. We want you to know that you’re not alone, that your story is important, and that help and hope are real.

Get to Know Collington

Collington, the brainchild of James Collington, is seeing a revitalization with the release of the new project In Between. Collington brought his alt rock sensibilities to producer Eric Owyoung (known previously for work with Switchfoot, Hillsong and his band Future of Forestry). Together, they crafted a sound that the world first heard with single “Here We Go–” a song which quickly blew up.

Collington took some time to share with us about this season of creativity, the new album and the journey still to come.

Introduce the EP In Between to us. How did it come about? What did the recording experience look like?

In Between was written during one of the hardest years of my life. I had really bad writer’s block, and there were a few personal areas of life where I didn’t have closure. I was raised by some mentors and a mother who really instilled in me a sense of taking responsibility: if I didn’t like something, it was my job to do something about it. The record came from a place of feeling stuck. It’s hard to be in a place where your hardest efforts and smartest plans leave you spinning your wheels in the mud.

I had over 100 demos that were whittled down to the 5 songs on the EP. In Between was developed in 6 states, partially at favorite studios and at home. I mixed the record at home, which was really intimidating to do as a followup to the last full length we put out.

“Here We Go” has seen a lot of traction. What was the heart and inspiration behind that song?

I was taken aback by the response to the track! My phone was constantly on the charger from trying to keep up with the response. It was also our first feature on an official Spotify playlist.

There’s a lot of emotion behind the song for me. “Here We Go” ultimately was written out of a place of looking ahead to hope despite the current setting– the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Lyrically, I feel like this song touches on the uncertainty of how things will change but the belief that they will change for the better.

“Trouble” was the first song that I knew I really wanted on the EP. When I wrote “Here We Go,” I really felt that it had to be on there too.

 

How has your musical style developed, and what artists inspired you along the way?

My musical style has developed slowly over the years. I started Collington doing things kind of troubadour style with just me and my acoustic, and I made a few records that aren’t available anymore.

From there I started to push in the direction of a band with the Collington sound. Working with the intensely talented Aaron Gillespie on our last record, I learned to build my sound and how to approach recording better.

On this record, I worked with another musical hero of mine Eric Owyoung. I am so grateful for his help on this EP. I listened to Eric’s band Future of Forestry. FOF’s record Twilight is one of my all time favorites. Something I’ve always been fascinated about with Eric’s career is how much of the heavy lifting he does when he’s making a record. He writes, records, produces and mixes his own records (and other people’s records) with unparalleled excellence. Which in the music industry is unheard of.

One of the reasons it was important for me to have a producer on this release is because there are decisions that get made when you’re recording that drastically change the song for the better. Eric really grasped where I wanted to take the record as an artist and mixer, and he helped bring the vision to life. I originally sat under him as a mix student, and when we were finishing up mixing, it was a no brainer to ask him for help on the new stuff. He really challenged me and pushed me forward with this release.

Some of the artists I was listening to when writing and mixing were The Killers, Bootstraps, Awolnation, Adele and Ben Howard.

What does the future look like you in terms of live shows? What’s on the calendar?

We’ve got some cool shows coming up! We’re doing our release show for our EP In Between with Darren King (MUTEMATH) and Sucre (Eisley). That’s going to be a lot of fun!

What is your goal in creating music, what you want to communicate to listeners?

That’s a hard question. If I made music for other people, I don’t know that I’d still be making music. For me, I’ve always compared songwriting to journal writing. Some pages I share with others, some pages I keep to myself. Many of the pages are me honestly processing life, and many others are prayers.

The music that’s meant the most for me has had certain sonic textures to it, certain vibes, and has been something I can keep on repeat. It’s also been music that lyrically speaks to me. If I can have any part of that, I’d be so honored.

What do you dream about for the future of Collington?

The hardest question of all! Oh man, I’ve been super blessed to do this whole music thing and consistently be taking steps forward. If I can keep doing that, I’m honestly happy at the end of the day. When I look too far ahead, I usually get heartsick.

You can hear In Between on Apple Music and Spotify. Get to know Collington better on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Protest Talks ‘Legacy’

The Protest is releasing their highly anticipated album Legacy on July 13, 2018. What themes defined the project? Who helped write it? What songs are they ready to play live? Hear from the band in this exclusive interview.

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