Christian Retailing

Meet the Artist: Third Day Print Email
Written by Felicia Abraham   
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 11:41 AM America/New_York

GRAMMY- and GMA Dove Award-winning band Third Day sees the release of Move (Essential Records/Provident Label Group/Provident-Integrity Distribution) on Oct. 19. Frontman Mac Powell, bass player Tai Anderson, drummer David Carr and guitarist Mark Lee talked with Christian Retailing about the music and ministry of the band's latest recording.

Your new album is simply titled—Move. How did you come up with the name?
(Tai Anderson) We were answering the question from "Revelation" (the title track from our last album), which says, "Tell me, should I stay here or do I need to move?" and we really liked the idea of go, move-put your faith into action.

You recorded Move in your new Atlanta studio, The Quarry, and in The Smoakstack. What was that like?
(Anderson) It was great to be able to record in our own studio, The Quarry. We pulled together an amazing collection of great sounding instruments and gear that really helped us capture the sound that we were going for on the project. The best part of our studio is that it is a great place to hang out as a band. It lends itself to easy communication. We were able to capture 95% of the nuts and bolts for the project at our place working "normal" business hours. So, neither the band nor our families associate this project with a neglect of our family lives.

Then, Paul Moak, the producer, took the tracks to his studio, The Smoakstack, and really finished the project well. His care for this project was unrivaled. He was also extremely quick too, so we were constantly hearing the songs sounding better and better. This project avoided the freak-out stage where you wonder if you've made a huge mistake and committed career suicide. The songs started great and just got better and better.

Why did you choose "Lift Up Your Face" as the first radio single?
(Anderson) We're learning that consumers take longer to commit to buying a full project. You can't get away with just one radio single anymore--not that we ever have!

The first single for us is more about setting a fresh tone for the project. It will be followed by some more "core" radio songs, but for the first single, we look for something with edge. We're established enough to get away with it, and a lot of radio programmers tell us on the road that they look forward to our projects for songs that can move the needle a bit from status quo. Mac's voice is so signature that it allows us to take some chances musically that a newer band wouldn't be able to.

"Lift Up Your Face" is a great signature song from the project. The verses are very dark, allowing the choruses to really emotionally lift along with the lyrics. The song has the gospel elements in it that pepper this project, but they are ominous and haunting. I heard it on satellite radio for the first time yesterday and it really just jumped from the speakers. It doesn't sound like anything else on the radio right now, but it's still accessible.

What are some of the album's other highlights?
(Mark Lee) "Children of God" is a powerful song with a great message that we're excited about sharing with our fans. "Surrender" is another fun one. It never fails to get a reaction when we play it for our friends. It starts out with a swampy acoustic feel, then just blows up at the end. That will be a fun live moment.

If you had to pick a favorite song on the album, which would it be?
(Anderson) I love the song "Surrender." It starts so small with just a single slide guitar. By the end of the song, the band is rocking, accompanied by a huge string section. The song is just epic, and made more so because we allow it time to develop. I love that the song was started by Mark, but I never knew it because Mac just owned the vocal performance.

(David Carr) (My) favorite song would be "Children of God." It just moves me as I think of myself as a child in the eyes of God.

(Lee) "Surrender" is my favorite Third Day song right now.

(Mac Powell) My favorite song is "Children of God." There is something really special about that song, and I love being reminded of the message from 1 John 3:1 that says, "How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called children of God."

What is special to you about the sound or the lyrics of this album overall?
(Powell) This album somehow has this mix of a sound that you haven't quite heard from Third Day before and yet there's a familiar sound as well, and I think we did a great job of blending those together. We worked with a new producer, Paul Moak, who really helped us to return to the roots musically of Third Day that we had gotten away from, this organic, roots-rock sound of Third Day. And yet at the same time, there are some new sounds that you haven't heard from us before, so there is a good mix.

How would you describe Third Day as a band today, in the way you've developed through the years?
(Lee) I think we as a band are in a great place. It has been fun to be able to go through different stages of life together. When the band started out, we were all single, high school and college students. Now we're all married and have school-aged kids. But we're still the same guys and I think we're closer than we've ever been.

What vision do you have for the future of the band?
(Carr) I hope to see us grow musically, of course, but also in our knowledge of God's love and how to share it to all through what we do.

What's next in touring?
(Carr) We are excited to tour with Michael W. Smith, Max Lucado and TobyMac this fall on the Make a Difference Tour supporting the work of World Vision. We'll be busy next year as well, supporting "Move."

What are your thoughts for the Christian retailers who will be selling your new album?
(Anderson) Crank it up! I think this is a project that even passive Christian music fans will respond to if they hear it. Radio is limited to the two to three singles that they're able to add to rotation over 18 months. I hope retailers find ways to use more of the songs from the project to grab consumers' attention.

(Carr) Thank you to Christian retailers for helping us do what we do. To think that our records are in thousands of Christian stores amongst so much other talent is humbling. We are grateful for all of the employees (most of whom we will never meet) who believe in what Third Day is about and who are spreading the Word of God through music. We are glad to be a part of the experience!

(Lee) When people think about Third Day, they have a certain idea that comes to mind: fun Southern rock with a strong worship element. Move is the first time that we've ever really captured that feel on a record. There are some great rock moments and some powerful worship moments--something is on there for everyone. We're excited about sharing these new songs with our longtime listeners, and we hope to make a lot of new fans as well. We look forward to partnering with Christian retailers in getting this music out to the masses.

(Powell) When you have been around for as long as we have, you come to realize very quickly that we don't achieve success on our own. There are so many people behind the scenes sharing our music with others and getting our music out to the masses. Christian retail has been a key element in the success of Third Day, and if it weren't for them, we wouldn't still be here doing this.