Building 429 Is All Ears
NRT's Bill Lurwick talks with Building 429's lead singer, Jason Roy, about how crucial it is to be listening for the voice of God.
After nearly a decade in the national spotlight, Building 429 has teamed with Provident Music Group for their fifth album, Listen To The Sound. “It really is the overflow of the life that we’ve lived over the last two or three years, especially this past year,” says lead vocalist Jason Roy. “I’m a worship pastor now and that has been a huge part of the lyrical content of this record. It’s about the lives that I’ve been involved with. This really does come from a much more honest place.”
Drummer Michael Anderson agrees. “Individually we’re all on a different spiritual level than we’ve ever been,” he says. “We have great home churches now that we’re happily involved in. Our family lives at home are better than they’ve ever been and our relationship as a band is light years above what it’s ever been. I think that really shows through with this new music.”
NRT’s Bill Lurwick recently chatted with Jason about listening for God's voice, as well as the inspiration, process and heart for the new album.
Jason Roy from Building 429--excited to visit with you at NewReleaseTuesday, as always. Last year and the year before a lot of personal things were happening in your lives. How did that play into Listen to the Sound?
Well, I think more than anything else we have reconnected ourselves with a local church and really got back to walking through life with people. I think sometimes as artists we think that the life that we live is normal, and it’s not. We can live our lives in the bubble of artistry, playing tours and riding on buses and planes and stuff. Well, you disconnect in some ways from the spiritual mentors that you need more than anything else.
So, I think we were wise a couple of years ago. We ran into that brick wall of, “Wait a minute. We’re pouring out of a big-time empty cup here, and that’s not really going to help us have any affect on a ministry level really with anybody.” So, we backed off touring a little bit and reconnected. I’m the worship pastor of my church now and for the last few years I’ve been walking in life with good people and sharing my own life, my own struggles with people and it’s been just a great place of spiritual growth and maturity for sure.
How was “Listen to the Sound” chosen as the first radio cut? Did you guys go in thinking it was the song that was going to radio?
I never thought this song was ever going to be a radio song. I think that’s the way it works in a lot of ways. Sometimes as the writer of a song you’re a little bit too close to it. It’s hard to tell if it’s going to have massive play or if it’ll hit something that you need to say on your record. This song was just born out of a small group and out of talking through life every Sunday night at my house. We talk about what it’s like to live life, and we all agreed on one thing: that we’re all so busy and life is so hectic that we rarely take a moment to listen for the sound of God’s voice in our lives.
All of us are still in over our heads. All of us feel like there’s just so much going on that we can’t keep up. In the middle of it, more than anything else, what we desire is the voice of God. We desire His voice to say us, “Peace be still. My grace is sufficient for you.” I believe He’s saying that over and over again. We just have so many distractions that keep us from ever actually being able to hear His voice.
So, that’s really the thought process behind this. I love the second verse. It says, “You’ll know what faith is if you don’t understand because sometimes it takes the silence to finally hear His plan. So, listen to the sound of hope that’s rising all around us.” Pretty cool.
Sometimes that sound is silence, right?
Absolutely. Really, the moments of silence can be what God uses the most to energize you and get you ready. On our website, we had asked people “What is the sound of hope to you?” and somebody answered that it was the sound of church bells ringing on the hour. I remember as a child hearing the sounds of those church bells. It took me back to a place of hope and excitement. Hope can be anything, from a child saying “I love you,” to hearing a baby laugh. God speaks to us in so many ways. It’s just really up to us to get quiet and listen for His voice.
I love the concept behind the song “One Foot.” That song originally started out as a piano ballad, but it turned into something more upbeat, didn’t it?
I was in the middle of writing for another project and I had this thought run through my head: “What do I do when I’m so frustrated and so overwhelmed that I don’t know what to do next?” I sat down at the piano and I started playing this really pretty ballad. It just talked about how I don’t really know where this road is going. I don’t know why this door is opened. Put one foot in front of the other, God--that’s how I discover who you are.
It sounded awesome on piano, but then I showed it to a couple of writers and they’re the ones who envisioned it as an awesome up-tempo song that could add energy to the record and to live sets. After we dug through it a little bit we ran into something that I think is a pretty awesome song.
You guys have a unique spin on the song “Right Beside You.” It’s a song of re-dedication, and it features a guest vocalist. How did that all work out?
I wrote that song about three years ago, and I’d always thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a female vocal on this song?” My voice is very characteristic, which is a blessing and a curse. I have limitations to what I can sing--that’s the curse. The blessing is that when I sing, people know who I am. I think that this song has always felt like it needs another voice to really help it go where it needs to go.
The song was written with the thought of coming together as a group of believers and declare that whatever comes--be it in this band, or life in general--I’m going to be beside you until the end. Then I had this crazy idea to call my friend Dawn from Fireflight. She’s got an amazing voice. She came in and blew it out of the water, and just took the song to a whole other level.
Are you guys still partnering with Food for the Hungry?
Absolutely. That partnership has done nothing but grow stronger through these last few years. We’ve been able to see some pretty awesome things. We’ve been able to spearhead an effort that sponsored about 4,000 children in Haiti over the last year, and now we’re moving on to the world in general. So, we’re really excited. I think we’re supposed to take a flight over to Indonesia sometime at the end of the year, and take a look at what’s going on over there. So, we’re always busy, and always about the mission of helping the poorest of the poor in the world.
Last year you did Summerfest with Britt Nicole and MIKESCHAIR and some others. Are you looking to do that again?
Yeah. One of the things we’re trying to do this year is make the tour more market-specific. That basically doesn’t mean anything to the normal listener, but what we’re trying to do is take the band that makes the most sense. If we’re going to Raleigh, North Carolina, we want to take the bands that Raleigh wants to hear. If we’re going to Dallas, Texas, same thing.
We’ve actually changed the title of the tour. It’s called the Summer Blast Tour now. We’re doing that this summer and then the big tour we’re really excited about is in the fall with Leeland. That’s going to be a big, big deal. We’re really excited about that as well.
We appreciate you spending time with us, Jason Roy. Best to you guys, as always.
Awesome man. God bless you. Take care of yourself.
Posted June 10, 2011 | Bill Lurwick, the voice of NewReleaseTuesday.com's weekly New Christian Music Podcast, has been in radio since 1989 and is currently heard on KJIL in Dodge City, KS.