The Canadian province of Ontario has birthed a number of great Christian pop/rock acts, from Peterborough’s Hawk Nelson and Thousand Foot Krutch to Pickering’s Manafest, and now a quintet of teenagers from Belleville hopes to join the ranks of homegrown bands that make an impact.
New pop/rock outfit FM Reset—comprised of brothers Adam Batelaan (lead vocals) and Joel Batelaan (drums), brothers Isaac Vanberkel (electric guitar) and Josh Vanberkel (bass), and Jacob Leeming (electric guitar)—bursts onto the scene with sounds that are simultaneously youthful and widely accessible.
With flavors that run the gamut from “indie” rock to Britpop to emotional ballads, FM Reset’s musical and lyrical prowess projects beyond the teenaged band’s years.
Having been raised in the church together from a young age, the guys of FM Reset are committed Christians, and although their original music addresses a wide spectrum of the human experience—including, yes, relationships—lead singer Adam Batelaan says a common theme runs throughout their music.
“There’s always a message of hope in our songs,” Adam says. “There will be times in the songs where we’re singing ‘I’ll be here’ or ‘I’ll help you’ or ‘Don’t give up,’ or ‘Keep fighting,’ and that’s the voice of God.
“We wrote these songs at times where we needed hope, and we know people can personally relate to those things we’ve gone through,” he continues.
FM Reset was birthed out of friendships that began in kindergarten and was nurtured through a number of musical experiences, including becoming their church’s primary Sunday worship team. After playing praise anthems for years and learning some classic rock cover tunes together, the guys of FM Reset realized they had something beyond just singing other people’s songs.
“We basically realized we could be more creative with original songs,” electric guitarist Jacob Leeming says. “We could do whatever we wanted with our own songs. There’s just so much freedom in it.”
When they aren’t playing their own tunes (or, in some cases, those cover songs), the guys of FM Reset have worked as house framers, fast food workers, crop sprayers, farmhands and office employees—fundraising jobs, the band says, to bankroll their love of music. It’s a passion that’s sometimes not fully understood in their little corner of Canada.
“When we’re at home, sometimes it’s like we’re speaking a different language,” Jacob Leeming says. “We’re all so passionate about music, and it’s what we like to talk about.”
But it seems the band’s music soon won’t be confined to Ontario. In a step that was as much symbolic as it was practical, FM Reset recently piled into a family van with their instruments and hopes and trekked 17 hours to Nashville, Tennessee, to get professional advice from a panel of industry professionals, including iconic Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine.
“It was very eyeopening for us,” Adam Batelaan says. “We learned a lot about where to go from here, and what’s possible.”
And there’s much possibility out there for these five young men who are perfecting their craft with poise, passion and purpose. The band is amassing an army of dedicated fans and currently working on their much anticipated debut record. This is a band to watch, because if this momentum continues, they’ll be impacting a lot of people before any of them turns 20.
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