How do bands strive through this pandemic? How did COVID19 affected their music? More importantly, how does God work to a band to bring the gospel message to this world? I reach out to the metal band, Context and asked these questions, about their music and their new album.
Please tell us about yourselves and how you got to know Christ?
We are the band, Context. Each of us came to know Christ in different ways. Kyle grew up in a Christian home by the grace of God. In college, he was challenged to live out his own faith and to take what he learned from his parents and put it into practice. Jam heard the Gospel from Ezekiel 36 while in high school at a local church plant. A few years after Jam had listened to the Gospel, he began a Bible study with a group of men through the Gospel of John. Chow heard the Gospel in John 1 and responded in faith.
Where are you guys when the COVID19 came?
Kyle lives in Martinsburg. Jam and Chow are in the Morgantown area in WV. All three of us continued finding ways to serve our local churches while providing for our families. More than anything, we were reminded of Jesus’ great co-mission while many were starting putting trust (faith) in masks, social distancing, and quarantine as a means to salvation from this virus, we began thinking through different ways to minister to all the anxious/stressed/and scared individuals with the Gospel.
Amen. When we had lockdowns, what are your initial reactions on how this will affect you in terms of being an artist?
First and foremost, we are servants of Christ. Being involved in a local church is for the good of all Christians and God’s good design for discipleship. As lockdowns began, there were many ways in which the Church needed to be served. Through sermon recordings, to recording worship music, and even liturgy guides.
While the church at large was not gathering in person in many parts of the states, we were working behind the scene to help care for the saints in any way we could. Small groups still gathered together to preach the Gospel to one another, encourage each other, and serve one another. The church still gathered together in different ways to fulfill its co-mission. Just because the States decided to lock down and isolate does not mean the mission of God, through the local church stops.
Context believes Jesus to be Lord over Covid-19. Remnant Church in Richmond, VA beautifully sums this up, “the church is to fulfill her God-given commission as a family that exists under the Lord Jesus, for the sake of the world and “one another” (Gal. 6:10), in order to instruct one another in the truth (Eph. 4:15; Col. 1:28), sing joyfully together (Eph. 5:19), pray with one another (Jas. 5:13-17), deal with sin (Gal. 6:1), do good deeds (Titus 2:14), and bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). In view of this, a church that does not meet regularly in person, to give tangible expression to its nature and to fulfill its divinely- given mission, has become a “church” in name only, for it is violating God’s commands (Deut. 5:12–17; Col. 3:16), contradicting its own nature (1 Pet. 2:9), and breaking with two thousand years of apostolic tradition (Jude 3).”
Is it difficult for you to write or compose music or get to play together as a band during the pandemic?
Most of our writing process was completed outside of vocals by the time everything started to shut down. Our commitment to the local church took more priority than writing and playing together due to the need created by mandates and lockdowns.
In what ways did God sustain you guys through this pandemic?
God has been gracious in many ways. This is by far our favorite question because it is an opportunity to communicate the goodness of God. In our local churches, we were given many opportunities to counsel and care for men and women who were stressed/anxious/and fearful of COVID-19, ultimately one of the greatest graces during the pandemic was the opportunity to communicate the good news of the Gospel and remind brothers and sisters in Christ that they have a King who is not surprised or stopped by COVID, lockdowns, or mandates, but who continues to seek and save the lost.
During the initial lockdowns, there were many opportunities that the Lord provided to share the Gospel with co-workers who were anxious/stressed/or fearful. In one conversation, in particular, Jam was asked why he was not worried about everything going on; with great joy, he was able to proclaim the Lordship of Christ, pointing to Jesus’ teaching of not being anxious and God’s provision for his children. (Matthew 6: 25-34, Philippians 4: 6-7)
Please describe your music.
We like to tell others that we are “Reformed Core” due to our theological convictions.
Any musical influences in your music?
There are many musical influences, probably too many even to mention. A few are The Devil Wears Prada, Silent Planet, August Burns Red, Currents, Reflections, Phinehas, Chelsea Grin, To The Grave, Gravemind.
Whoa those are great bands! I listen to your albums. For you, which is your favorite album, and which songs are near to you?
Heart Journal (the first album) was a remarkable experiment. We took journal and prayer entries from Jam’s personal collections and added spoken word elements with scream vocals as we began writing music.
Kingdoms (the latest) is by far the band’s favorite album because we have begun to get more footing in the type of music we want to play. Lyrically as well, much like Heart Journal, they are all Scripturally based. StoneHeart is mainly a favorite of ours, lyricially is displays the good news of the Gospel from a passage that God used to save and call Jam to Himself.
Can you tell us the creative process of your band in writing songs?
Typically we will all communicate through our slack channel, our small groups use the app and we adapted it in our writing process. We might send a video of something we have been working on or Google docs of lyrics that have been written from a Bible study or sermon prep. Because of distance, we usually communicate direction and ideas and independently work on the sound. The vocal process is the point where we all come together in person. There are ideas thrown out, sometimes mapping done beforehand, but ultimately, everyone finishes the song.
How does the gospel shape you as a band and your music?
If not for the gospel, we would not be a band. Our purpose as a band is to communicate the excellencies of God in the Gospel through our music. Being disciples of Christ comes before being members of a band. Being brothers in Christ comes before being members of a band. Being faithful husbands, fathers, and servants in our local churches comes before being in a band.
Thank you guys for opportunity getting to know you and how God works through you in the local church. Kindly invite our readers to check you out and your latest album.
Kingdoms is streaming on most music platforms; you can check it out on Spotify, Apple i-Tunes, Youtube, Facebook.
Any message to other Christian artists that are struggling with their craft because of the pandemic?
Our message to everyone struggling in whatever they are doing because of the pandemic is that Jesus is King over COVID. He will provide for your every need and has done so through his perfect, sinless life, sufficient sacrifice on the cross, and victorious resurrection. Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
While we are not downplaying the real severity of this virus and are heartbroken for the many who have lost their lives, we are convinced that you have a greater need for Jesus than you have for masks, vaccines or social distancing.