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 post, Kirk Smith (also known as, We Dream Of Eden) spoke to us about the inspiration behind his minimal, uplifting ambient music. Today, we're excited to chat with Dave Griffiths, a musician who is involved in a wide variety of projects and styles, and who recently launched a new ambient project entitled, Liturgy of the Hours.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
I'd like to describe my music as 'fairly diverse.' I started a rock band, named BOSH, with my brother, Michael. After BOSH ended in 2011, I formed Chaos Curb Collaboration as a worship project, trying to involve more electronic elements--before everyone was doing it. My solo material has been both more rootsy (2013's Way Through the Land EP), noisier (2017's Brutal Years EP), and more ambient and instrumental (Liturgy of the Hours). I am constantly inspired and up for having a go at different types of music. I'm a restless creative I reckon.
Tell us a bit about your current project Liturgy of the Hours?
Well, this really came off the back of a few years of feeling that I wanted to do something more ambient. I have really loved exploring the minimal piano music of artists, like Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jon Hopkins and a German musician called Jan Swerts. The piano is my first instrument and so I dived in and began to just play, finding little melodic motifs and then improvising around them. After recording them, I added a bed of synth pads, sometimes some bass synth, and some washed-out harps to create more texture. It's very DIY, but I love working like this.
The theme is mostly based on the monastic hours of prayer, and also some instrumental re-workings of older songs like "Connection," from the 2014 Chaos Curb album, Everywhere.
What inspires you as an artist? And how does that link to your Christian faith?
Everything I do is through the filter of my Christ-based worldview. I am always inspired by the mystery of faith and the beautiful hopes that Christ inspires. It's a vast and immeasurably deep ocean to swim in. I am inspired by musicians that seem to immerse themselves in the same ocean; like Jason Upton, and my good friend Martin Smith (name-dropping much?). I'm inspired by too many artists to list, but my favorites are Graham Coxon, of Blur, for guitar, Bruce Hornsby for piano, Bono, of U2, for lyrics, Van Morrison for songwriting, and Damon Albarn for work ethic.
How do you feel your music fits within the Christian music scene?
Well, albums like my 2016 solo record, Here & Now, are very, very obviously from a Christian perspective. My work with BOSH was very evangelistic and Chaos Curb very much written for the church. I like to think the Liturgy of the Hours series is useful for prayer, meditation, resting in God's love, and general spiritual use. I've never felt comfortable being labelled only as a 'Christian artist,' because I gig mainly outside the church and my music can be about anything; love songs to my wife, children, countryside, et cetera. I am happy to be in the margins.
What does Christian ambient music mean to you?
It's wonderful to listen to music you know has been inspired and made by people who have a similar worldview. When I listen to music made by some of my friends in the Christian ambient scene, I feel very much like we are on the same page and trying to express the wonder and beauty we see through the eyes of faith. It appeals to me more so than congregational standards, because it leaves more room for us to find our own language and approach to worship. I think that's healthy and compliments the congregational setting.
Huge thanks to Dave for sitting down with us and sharing the inspiration and heart behind his music. Liturgy of the Hours is out now on all digital music download and streaming sites, including Spotify and Apple Music. You can also find out more about Dave over on Facebook and Instagram. And as always, feel free to explore our playlist of Christian Ambient music, which includes music from We Dream Of Eden, as well as other artists we've featured on this column over the past year.
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.