Earlier in the year, we introduced the emerging genre of Christian Ambient music, and we’re now featuring some of the Christian musicians and artists who are creating this meditative, reflective music. Last time around, Derek Mount spoke to us about the inspiration behind his Brique a Braq project, and today we’re excited to chat with Emotive Electronic music producer Andy Hunter. Hunter is the creator of the Presence Project, an ongoing collaborative endeavour that "weaves together music, film, poetry and photography to deepen people’s connection to God."
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Emotive electronic music, ranging from upbeat to down tempo.
Tell us a bit about the Presence Project and how this came about?
The Presence Project brings together art and music to inspire reflection and prayer, using technology (via the app ). Essentially, it takes what often robs us of time, and turns that around to give us valuable time to focus on God. I started the Presence Project to create content that would help me enhance my personal time with Him. I find it hard sometimes to sit in the quiet; I need to have my thoughts and prayers stimulated. And, I find the arts do that for me. Normally, I play music to create an atmosphere, read the bible, read poetry, and look at images. All of this helps me to focus my prayers.
It worked for me, so I thought it might work for others as well. I started creating my own content and reaching out to other artists with this idea of delivering content within an app, using different themes. Each theme is presented to listeners as a monthly new chapter. Since then, we've had a steady rate of downloads around the world, and a growing community of "Presence Creatives" who want to be involved in creating fresh content.
What inspires you as an artist? And, how does that link to your Christian faith?
Themes in the bible and life experience is what inspires me. I try to capture the atmosphere and emotions of how I feel about those themes and messages, and interpret them in the feel of my music; I guess that’s why I call it "emotive electronic" music, because I want the sounds to carry emotion and give people a feeling of some kind. As a Christian, my faith is holistic to who I am. It’s at the heart of everything I do.
How do you feel the music you write fits within the Christian music scene?
I’m not sure it does, and I'm not sure I really want it to. I’ve always felt like a square peg trying to be pushed into a round hole. The Christian music scene is like any industry. The only thing that survives is the music that appeals to the masses. And for me, unfortunately, I don’t really like that sort of music.
What does Christian ambient music mean to you?
To me, it’s ambient music. Music carries the heart and passion of the one who created it. So, whether it’s Christian, Buddhist, new age, agnostic, or whatever, it’s music and it either has a positive or negative message or emotion. The fact that I'm Christian, hopefully means that it carries a positive message. As soon as we start to label music, then it can close the door on people hearing and experiencing it. Some people carry baggage about what it is to be a Christian and then only Christians end up listening to it, which is a shame.
A huge thanks to Andy for sitting down with us and sharing his experiences of and heart for creating music that draws people closer to God. The third volume of the Presence Project is out now. Check it out on your digital music download or streaming store of choice. You can also find out more about the project itself at Presence Project website.
Finally, as always, we have our own playlist of Christian Ambient music that includes music from a wide selection of Christian ambient artists, many of whom we have already chatted to in this column and others whom we will be discussing music and faith with over the coming months.
Wishing you peace and love wherever you are today!
Ben Tatlow is an ambient music producer and one-half of Salt Of The Sound. Alongside his wife Anita, they write music for times of prayer and reflection: their new EP In Prayer is out now and was described by NewReleaseToday as leading the listener “into a place of meditation and rest.” They also curate a weekly email-based devotional series, entitled Monday Morning Meditations.
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