Last year we introduced the emerging genre of Christian Ambient music (you can read more here and here), and we're now featuring some of the Christian musicians and artists who are creating this meditative, reflective music. In the previous article of the Ambient Spotlight, Mark from husband & wife duo Mark & Sarah Tillman spoke to us about the inspiration behind their new instrumental album, and today we're excited to chat with Mike Graff (aka DearGravity), whose music combines cinematic elements, instrumental post-rock, and ambient electronica. He also just released the first EP, Departure, in a new 'Pilgrimage' series of releases.
How would you describe the music of Dear Gravity to someone who has never heard it before?
I personally think of Dear Gravity as "ambient-cinematic" music. At times it can be very chill, but other times it can get pretty big and expansive. I try to evoke a lot of imagery and emotion. It's ideal music to have on in the background while you work, study, relax, meditate, or even sleep. I listen to other ambient artists all the time–this genre is pretty much the soundtrack to my life.
Tell us a bit about your new 'Pilgrimage' series?
I've recently become fascinated with the idea of a pilgrimage, which is defined as both "a physical journey" and also "a search of moral or spiritual significance." So I wanted to take three stages of the pilgrimage journey–the beginning, the middle, and the end–and musically explore each stage as both a physical act and emotional experience. So the three Pilgrimage EPs–Departure, Wayfaring, and Arrival–look at each stage of the pilgrimage from different angles and asks different questions.
What inspires you as an artist? And how does that link to your Christian faith?
I've always been fascinated by sonic creation, which is really just exploring what any musical note or tone can possibly do at any given moment. So I spend a lot of time twisting knobs and plucking out melodies to try to find inspiring sounds that result in a song (or perhaps several songs). I love how God's given us the opportunity to be "co-creators"–He created us, and created the means we have to make things, and yet He loves it when we do something with what He's given us. And for me, that's creating this music. I know I'm not just finding joy for myself when I create–I know I'm bringing joy to the One who created me to do this.
How do you feel The Pilgrimage Series fits within the Christian music scene?
There's a lot of pointed messages within the Christian music scene, and with good reason. But with Dear Gravity being purely instrumental, I try to create music that allows listeners to ask questions and apply the music to whatever season they're going through. So instead of having a pointed message, I believe Dear Gravity allows for you to meditate on whatever is on your heart at the moment. It's like a megaphone for what's already there. I love how music can do that. And The Pilgrimage Series hones you in on asking those very questions and listening for answers.
Huge thanks to Mike for sitting down with us and sharing the inspiration and heart behind the music of Dear Gravity. The Pilgrimage Series: Departure is out now on all digital music download and streaming sites! You can also find out more about Dear Gravity on his website. And as always, feel free to explore our playlist of Christian Ambient music, which includes music from Dear Gravity as well as other artists, some of whom we'll 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 EP In Prayer 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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