An Epic, No Less may be one of the more aptly named bands currently producing music. Between the richly layered electronic soundscape and the intensely poetic lyrics serving as a window on the glory of God, their label debut Echo of Love
is epic in the true sense of the word.
The group was founded in 2009 by vocalist and keyboardist Todd Larson and drummer Daniel Chancellor, who met at a small church in Illinois. From there the size and scope of the group grew into an independent release, which eventually led to getting signed with BEC Recordings. The band's August debut is finally giving the band's songs a well-deserved chance to be heard.
Todd Larson, founder and lead vocalist of the group, gave NRT's Bill Lurwick some insight into the band's history and mission.
Tell us about the group name, An Epic No Less. Where did that come from? What’s that all about?
John Eldredge wrote a book called “Waking the Dead,” and there’s a quote in there that says ‘The Christian life should be an epic no less than the greatest myths ever told.’ That was something that Daniel, who plays drums in our band, had written in his journal because he felt like it really meant a lot to him.
When we were naming the band, he was scanning over his journal and things that he had written down. That phrase popped out to us. What it really means to me is that our lives as Christians weren’t meant to be just boring and tame, but God’s plan for us is actually a big thing, an exciting thing.
One of my fears after college when I was just thinking about life was that my life would be very mediocre and ordinary when I wanted to do something big for God.
So it's just the whole concept of living your life to the fullest for the purpose that God’s created you. We felt like it was wrapped up in that name and in that quote.
You guys get compared to Owl City a lot, which is expected because of your sound. Some people say it’s Owl City, but with more meaningful lyrics. Do you think that's a fair comparison?
It’s harder for me to see because I’m so wrapped up and so close to our music. There are a lot of bands that inspire us. Owl City does a great job of electronic and pop music. The bands that really inspired us were this band we really liked from Greenville, Illinois, called Paper Route, and bands like David Crowder and Hillsong, who use electronics and big corporate sounding lyrics.
All those things combined together was really what inspired us to make music.
Let’s talk about some of the songs on Echo of Love. Is there a song going out to radio?
Yeah. The first single is called “Mercy Light.” We actually did a video to support that as well. When we were writing it, I was just thinking about the scripture passage when Moses was talking to God on Mount Sinai. He said, “Lord, I beseech you. Show me thy glory,” and at least to me it felt like Moses had such a hunger for God’s presence.
When we were writing the song, I was thinking about the times of desperation in my life that only God’s presence was the remedy I needed. When we were writing that, we just wrote that lyric “don’t hide yourself from me.” That came from thoughts of desperation and hunger for God.
The video that we supported it with is on our YouTube site if you search An Epic No Less. We chose a story about human trafficking, about a rescuer and the theme of God's grace.
I like the song “One Word.” It kind of sticks in your head.
That was the first one we ever wrote. I remember recording the vocal on that and just getting so frustrated with a part that I walked out of the studio, sat down on the curb outside, and called Dan. I said, “Man, I’m so sorry, but I’m never going to sing again.” But that ended up being one of my favorites.
Maybe that’s a testimony that God can take our broken pieces and make something really good out of it.
Do you have a favorite track on Echo of Love, one that is kind of your baby?
That’s so hard. They’re all our 10 little children. I guess the one that I enjoy playing live most is “We Need You.” The song was kind of born out of this moment of frustration with writing— we were writing a song and got halfway through it, and we just felt like we had to stop.
Then all of a sudden a fresh idea came about. It was a simple idea— just “we need You.” That one I feel has got a very energetic vibe, and lyrically we’re very proud of what the Lord gave to us.
Talk about the lyrics. What’s it all about?
It's simply just another song about desperation for God’s presence. In the bridge it talks about if our hope is for the broken, then we’re shattered glass, but there’s a light that glows between the cracks. To me it just shows our brokenness and our need for God. Whenever things seem really dim, it’s in those times that God makes His presence known in just a subtle way. We can trust Him. That’s what the song is about.
Todd, what do you guys hope to accomplish with the project? What’s your overall goal?
Put simply, our vision is that we want to help people in worship and prayer. The times in my life that I've felt close to God or the most in His presence are the times when I’ve had worship music playing. I believe the purpose of music was just to help people to pray, and that’s our goal.
We want to help people feel the presence of God with the music that God gave us, because we know He’s the one that created it and it’s not by our own strength that any of these things happen.
It’s a great listen from beginning to end. Blessings to you guys. Thanks for spending time with us at New Release Tuesday— we're excited about this.
Thank you so much. It really is just an honor that anyone would even want to talk to us about the album. We had no idea where this album was going. It’s a blessing to talk to you.