AN NRT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
RED: Face-Finding and Face-Melting
NRT's Bill Lurwick talks with RED guitarist Anthony Armstrong about the new album, the latest tour, and identity.
 


Essential Records' two time GRAMMY-nominated hard rock outfit RED packs a potent sonic punch on its third project, Until We Have Faces, a record that leaps out of the speakers with a ferocity and complexity reflecting the band's growth and intensity.

The new album's overarching theme is a search for true identity, inspired by a number of sources, including author C.S. Lewis' book of similar title, Till We Have Faces. Until We Have Faces takes listeners down the path of recognizing the hollowness of life until finding their true identity (revealed on "Faceless"), the idea of creative destruction unveiled in the midst of new life (found on "Let It Burn"), and simultaneously presenting the positive energy found even "in a world so cold" (explored on the infectious, melodic ballad "Not Alone").

Paired again with award-winning producer Rob Graves, Until We Have Faces features RED in its most musically intense place to date--"a combination of our first two records, but on steroids," frontman Michael Barnes notes--daring both RED and its fans to catapult into new rock territories.

NRT's Bill Lurwick recently caught up with guitarist Anthony Armstrong about the new album and their current stint on the Winter Jam tour.

Anthony from RED is visiting with us about the brand new project, Until We have Faces. I’ve had this for a couple of weeks and I gave my copy to my son and he was drooling. His first comment to me was, “Oh, this is harder. I like it.” It is a little bit harder, isn’t it?

Yeah. I think some of the hardest songs we’ve ever written are on this record. I wouldn’t say that the whole body of work is harder, but I would definitely say there are places where we turn it up a few notches, which we were going for.


The title of the project, it’s similar to a C.S. Lewis book title. Is that intentional?

Yeah. There is a book called Til We have Faces. We’re really into C.S. Lewis, and the guys really read a lot into it. There was a passage out of there that talks about how a human being can’t receive a message from any sort of divine spirit until they know themselves, until they have established their own identity. We thought that was really cool and because we’re believers and we try to lead a life of faith as best we can, and it just kind of applied to our daily life. So Until We have Faces ended up being the title and the record is all about finding that identity.
 
Let’s talk about some of the songs on Until We have Faces. How about the song "Faceless"? Tell us about that.

It’s basically the keystone of the whole record, the embodiment of what the whole record will be about finding identity. I think that this song is more about realization; you wake up one day and you find yourself be something that you never wanted to be. You find that the world has kind of gotten itself in your head and turned you into something that you were never really meant to be. This song is kind of about a person screaming out with that realization, I’m hollow and faceless. I need to do something about this.

You guys are out on Winter Jam right now. How’s the response been to the new songs?


Yes we are. We are loving it. We played two new songs on this tour. We only have a 15 minute slot. We’re the first band when the lights go down. So, all the lights shut out in the arena and there’s a 30 second countdown and then, bam! We just blow them away, and then it’s pretty mellow for the most part. A lot of the bands are kind of worship oriented and Newsboys close out the set. It’s wild.
 
Is that tough doing just 15 minutes?

Yeah it is. It’s a very hectic set. 15 minutes goes by really fast. Basically you stand on stage and then you walk off stage. That’s what it feels like every night.


Now, on the album you close things out with what you call “Hymn for the Missing.” Interesting way to end. Talk about that.

The album starts out real heavy and hard and full of energy, and then the middle somewhere it gets really difficult and hard. In the middle there’s a song called “I’m Not Alone,” and there’s kind of songs that bring you down a little bit and then you’re just worn out. Then the last song kind of ties the whole record together. It’s real mellow, very shook down, not a lot of production, just basically piano, strings and a vocal. It’s pretty powerful.

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.

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