Hello, there! I’m Christopher, which you should have known if you saw my cute little green logo. So, let me not distract you from the following post. I hope you like it! I’d love to hear your thoughts after you’re done reading it! Enjoy!
Fan TreeHouse - Spotlight Interviews With Rachel Joy, Trent Blake, Liam Siegler, and Jimmy "Vegas" Tanner (January 2016)
Ready for some awesome interviews?
I got a few interviews with the officers of the Soldiers of God and the drummer and producer of ApologetiX, That Christian Parody Band! Ready? Here we go!
Our first interview today is with Rachel Joy of the Soldiers of God. She also has a blog entitled Noteworthy! Let's hear (or read) what she has to say!
Q: Rachel, did you know that this is a JOY for me to interview you?
A: Aww! No I did not, but I'm glad that it is!
Q: Were you born writing, in the fact that you were writing from a young age?
A: When I was beginning in elementary school, I did a lot of writing, in fact my mom still has the little “books” I wrote and illustrated. In about 5th grade I started loathing anything writing related, but then in 7th I started writing again, and haven't stopped since!
Q: What were some of the things you’ve written before you started your blog?
A: Before I started blogging I wrote mini novels actually. Not many people know this, but I have three 50,000 word manuscripts for fiction novels saved to my hard-drive.
Q: How did you first hear about the Rebelution and Do Hard Things?
A: My mom got me the book Do Hard Things whilst I was at a camp. I read it the first time when I came home and loved every word of it.
Q: How has being part of the Reb community helped you in your walk with Christ?
A: It's helped me make friends who are AMAZING and who point out stuff in the Bible that I might not have seen.
Q: So, what inspired you to start a blog?
A: I wanted to blog starting in like . . . 8th grade after reading these books wherein the main character was a blogger. But I thought that my parents would say "no way" so I didn't ask until late June 2014. To my shock, they were totally cool with it, and I've loved doing it so much!
Q: At first you used Blog.com. Why did you choose that?
A: My dad had blogged for a little while, and he liked it. I did not like it at all . . .
Q: Tell us about how you switched over to BlogSpot?
A: *Christopher I'm not sure how to answer this question... I want to say "a lot of buttons." but that doesn't sound right.*
Q: O . . . kay. So, why did you change your blog name later on?
A: Mainly because "Notes From My Corner of Creation" is a mouthful and I'm way too lazy to type that. I now call it “Noteworthy,” because I hope that my content is Noteworthy and that my "notes" honor God.
Q: That’s very cool! What were you thinking when one year passed by?
A: MY BABY IS GROWING UP! IN JUST 17 SHORT YEARS IT WILL BE GOING OFF TO UNIVERSITY AND BE ADULTING AND JAZZ WHERE DID THE TIME GO???
Q: Yeah, that’ll be something. Ha, ha! How have you impacted lives for the better?
A: I haven't impacted any lives. If any lives where in anyway impacted through what I was/am writing, it is totally because of God.
Q: Did you know that this interview will be posted from a different corner of creation, but it will still be pretty noteworthy?
A: Yes sir!
Q: Ha, ha! Well, how did you hear about the Soldiers of God?
A: . . . Ummm . . . that was a year ago. I don't remember. Probably just through commenting on the Rebelution with Trent, but I honestly don't remember.
Q: And how did you become the second officer there?
A: Trent asked me and I was like, "sure!" (After a lot of prayer and biting my fingernails.)
Q: How involved were you in the re-launch of the website and when Trent stepped down?
A: To be honest, not very.
Q: That’s a little surprising! Now, some of the readers may know that you moved from Washington to Oklahoma. Is everything “OK” now?
A: Yes! We just moved from Washington State (think Seahawks) to Oklahoma (The hat above Texas). Everything is going great! We have a bunch of chickens, I have a job here now, and, overall, everything is awesome.
Q: Now, let’s get spiritual! What does Jesus mean to you?
A: Jesus is my everything. There's really no other way to put it.
Q: Should media have a purpose and glorify God? Why or why not?
A: I think so, yes. As a Christian, everything we do should point to Jesus, and our content that we create should point to Him.
Q: How has running a blog helped you grow in the faith?
A: It's helped me dig deeper into Scripture and to learn to see Jesus in everything. So many times the world is just negative, and learning to see Jesus and to see that he's sovereign has been really powerful.
Q: Any advice for those who wanna start a blog?
A: Do it! (And send me the link so I can read and comment on it.)
Well, Rachel, joy was abundant, I’m sure, while everyone was reading this! Thanks again!
In late October, Trent Blake, founder of the Soldiers of God, stepped down from his position. Why?
Q: For those who don’t know, please explain all the stress on you prior to you stepping down from the site.
A: You see, I am a very action-oriented person; I like to get things done. However, recently, I had been accepting more responsibilities than I could handle. This caused great stress and anxiety in my life. I had to decide which was more important to me: my job or being the leader of the website. I chose my job.
Q: How difficult was it for you to decide to step down?
A: It was very difficult at first. In fact, I was going to just shut the site down. Then I remembered a commitment I made to God when I first started the site: “This is Your site, God, do whatever you want with it.” So I let it continue under Liam’s leadership instead.
Q: I’m sure one reason to stay on board was that you had ideas for the future. Do you mind destroying us by sharing a few of them?
A: Ha, ha. What could have been isn’t that important. I’m confident that Liam will do well with his changes.
Q: Very good point. Then you had to tell your co-horts, Rachel and Liam. How did that go and how hesitant was Liam on taking on the extra duty?
A: Liam took on the responsibility quite well. It was quite clear he was the right choice.
Q: Were you happy that everything kinda turned out well?
A: Yes. I am happy about the change. It allowed me to back off and consider many different parts of my life without having an audience to worry about.
Q: How active will you be around here?
A: I won’t be active on online forums – just direct communication, like email, text, etc.
Q: Any plans to write a post occasionally for SOGgie?
A: Maybe in the far future, but as of right now I have no plans to do more writing any time soon.
Q: Any last words?
A: Remember that true joy and peace come only when we unconditionally surrender everything to Christ.
Thank you so very much. We will miss you dearly.
If any of you want to contact Trent Blake, fill in this contact form, and, if he can trust you, he will reply back to you!
Liam Siegler is the head of the Soldiers of God, but there's some changes coming! Let's see what!
Q: So you knew about Trent’s stress, but was it a shock when he said he’s done running the site?
A: Well, it came upon me unexpectedly, but things like this happen. So while I was a little stunned concerning the change, I easily accepted it.
Q: Were you hesitant to take the reins at first?
A: Yes, the first thing one must ask before they take up something is “Does God want me to do this? Is it for His will, His kingdom, and His purposes, or for mine?” After praying and considering the blog to be an outlet to reach both non-believer and believer, I decided that it was the best course of action.
Q: Were you nervous about how the readers would react, or were you decently confident that they would take it in stride?
A: The thought of the approval of others never came into mind. Glorifying God with my writings is my only concern, whether I have 10 views per article or a 1,000, by God's grace He won't let me forget that purpose.
Q: Could you hint at any upcoming posts?
A: I have an article on Jesus (apologetical), abortion, and the problem of suffering I am working on and off of, though at the moment of writing the blog is lost due to server problems. So I will be changing hosts and basically creating a new blog. This means I lost all the previous content and the new blog will only have my articles (unless I get Trent’s back). With this I will be changing the name of the blog (for other reasons) and starting over. The loss of the blog was basically out of my control. With the new host, I will be able to own and manage the website (since someone else hosted it before).
Q: Wow, that’s too bad. For those who aren’t sure of a new writer or a new blog, give them a reason for coming back.
A: I don't have any reasons really, lest I boast, but I do hope any articles they read will convict, edify, or inspire!
Q: Quick update for us: What’s up with Up Front (or whatever the YouTube channel will be called)?
A: With the change of the blog name I will be changing the name of the show to ResoluteforChrist. Nothing has been filmed yet, but I still plan too. I don't have all the equipment for the show, since I still need a fairly expensive microphone ($220) but by God's will He will provide and the show will happen.
Q: And in the comment section, you are working on a book. Feel comfortable to tell us about that?
A: Slowly, I am putting together a book on the compromise of the Church in America and in the West in general. What I've been seeing lately has been quite troubling. I will extensively treat each problem with the end goal of rebuke and edification.
Q: Any closing words?
A: Yep. Examine yourself Christians. The passions of the world are fleeting but the Lord of the Universe is not, follow Him wholeheartedly and leave the flesh behind. This is obligatory, it’s what each and every one of us is called to do. By His sanctification He will make you new, so don't worry about not doing good enough, but find fulfillment in Him.
Our final interview today is with Jimmy "Vegas" Tanner of ApologetiX. He is the drummer of the band, but also the producer! You will enjoy this, I'm sure!
Q: Jimmy, thanks a ton for letting me interview you!
A: Thank YOU, Christopher, for asking! I’m honored.
Q: First off, I’m sure we all (well, not you, Jimmy) are wondering, what does the “Vegas” in your name mean or come from?
A: The “Vegas” nickname was given to me because, in between my time at Ten Point Ten and ApologetiX; I was in a dance band that included a four piece horn section. I started wearing a fedora hat to the gigs as part of my “git up” (outfit).
I continued to wear the hat when I joined ApologetiX. I also had always wanted to add lighting to my drum set. So after joining APX, I started to research rope lighting that could be connected to my drums. I ended up finding this really cool rope lighting that could be switched to any color and also had (what is called) a “chase scene” in the controls of the lighting. It made the lights appear to move. It looked very cool! At one point, I even added a disco ball to the inside of my bass drum.
Anyway, during the first concert I did with APX with the lights and wearing the hat, in between songs, J. said to me (over the microphone) “Hey Jimmy, You look like you are playing at some fancy hotel in Vegas with all those lights and your fedora hat . . . . We’re going to have to start calling you ‘Vegas’” and so it stuck. LOL!
Q: ApologetiX is not the only Christian band you played with. You played with Ten Point Ten with Bill Huabuer (alumni keyboardist of APX). How long did you play with them?
A: I played with TpT for a few years. I really enjoyed playing with those guys. I had actually met Bill Hubauer at a church that we were both going to a few years earlier. He used to have “jams” outside at his home in the summertime, where friends would get together and just jam out. Sometimes we played songs we all knew and other times just playing whatever came to our minds. He invited me one day and I went out to his place, so he knew that we gelled when we were playing.
Part of my testimony has to do with TpT and Bill. My family had quit going to the church where I had met Bill. My family had searched a few years after leaving to find a church that had all the values we were looking for but never found what we needed to fill us spiritually.
During the transition time, I had felt very separated from God and found myself in a very depressed state, which caused me to actually feel like I was (literally) dying. Eve (my wife) had been talking to a friend at her place of work that we were looking for a church but were not having any luck. Her friend told Eve of the church that she had been to and that she really liked it. They had a contemporary service that was on Sunday evenings, which we had never heard of before. It seemed to fit our schedule because at the time, I was playing Saturday nights with different secular bands, and not getting home until 3 or 4 am. LOL!
So, my family and I went one spring evening to that church [just letting you know, I knocked out the initials] and sat in the back. I had never been to a “contemporary” service. I did not know that it really existed. I had always gone to traditional church services where you would sing hymns. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. My point is that I just didn’t realize that there was Christian music being played in churches that had drums, electric guitars, keys, etc., playing upbeat stuff through a P.A. system and using stage lighting.
So, the service started and the band started playing this really cool, progressive rock style music and my wife and I just looked at each other and went, “Huh?” . . . LOL! It turned out that the keyboard player was Bill Hubauer! He had started to play worship music at this church about a year earlier. It was TpT. The same evening during the worship set, they stopped playing and had made an announcement that that evening, would be their drummer’s last service with the band. I didn’t know the situation or anything and didn’t wish anything negative to the drummer but I immediately had this feeling come over me that I couldn’t explain during the whole service. After the service, the band was tearing down and I went up to Bill, whom I hadn’t seen in a year or two, and told him how awesome the band was and how much I had enjoyed the music! Bill then went on to tell me that they were going to be conducting auditions for a new drummer very soon because they were in pre-production for a new CD they were getting ready to record.
I told Bill that I would love to try out and he gave me a CD that they had recorded a year earlier. He gave me a couple selections to work on and I took it home and immediately started to “woodshed” the songs. We scheduled a night to try out with band and everything went really well! I was told a few days later that I had the gig, if I was still interested.
Q: You officially joined ApologetiX band in 2005, but that wasn’t the first time your name was in the hat. In 2001, APX were considering you to be their next drummer. But why didn’t you join right away?
A: Very soon after I joined TpT, ApologetiX was looking for a drummer. Bill had done some keyboard recording for them and had asked me if I would be interested in playing with ApologetiX. He knew that they were touring and I would be a great fit, but at the time, I had not heard of them and because of the way that I had joined TpT, I really felt that God wanted me to stay where I was.
Ten Point Ten stayed together for another few years and one day, out of the blue, Bill called me and said that ApologetiX was again, looking for a full time, touring, recording drummer. I told Bill that I would be interested because at that time, Ten point Ten was not really playing out as much and Joey McGee was planning on moving to Texas which was going to cause the band to slow down even more. I contacted the guys from ApologetiX and I asked them when they would like me to audition. They said that they wanted me to come on the road with them and audition on the spot at their next concert, for which I would be the drummer! So I had about a week to learn the 60+ songs they gave me for the audition. I was still learning the songs as we made our way to Indianapolis, Indiana.
Q: That’s very interesting! Well, I personally haven’t heard much about Ten Point Ten, so could you tell us a little about them and are they still active?
A: Ten Point Ten is not currently active but we have been talking in the recent past about at least recording some new material together.
Q: I’m sure being with ApologetiX is such a blast, right?
A: Being in a band with these guys is a TOTAL blast. We all get along really well and all of our families are very close. It’s truly one big family.
Q: Are there any memorable moments on stage that you remember, or are all the concerts pretty much the same to you?
A: Part A - Some of the most memorable concerts would be any of the festivals that we have played. I really love playing festivals because of the excitement from the large crowds.
Part B - All the concerts we play are different. We are always meeting new people at the shows. And we try to stay connected to them through email and Facebook and other social media outlets.
Q: Let me say that I think since you guys started recording in there, the songs have sounded much, much better! Thanks for that! I’m pretty sure Christopher Green is reading this right now. He’s an audio engineer and I have an interest in audio. So I’m gonna ask you some audio related questions. So, what got you interested in recording audio and such?
A: Wow Chris, Thanks a lot! That means a lot to me!
Well, I have always been interested in recording. I can remember when I was 10 or 11, I had a tape deck recorder, which I would record drums on and then I would borrow my sister’s tape deck and play the tape recorder with the drums on it and record guitar live, so that the second tape recorder would then have both drums and guitar on. LOL! I know . . . old school, right? LOL! That's all I knew.
When I was about 16, I had joined a band in which we were able to go into a studio and record. It was really awesome to see how it was all done.
Moving ahead in 2010 or so, I had wanted to try and make some extra money by recording drums for people and sending them through the internet.
I had been using my basement as my place for rehearsing drums but it was just your ordinary basement at the time. I really wanted to have a nice comfy place to go when I was practicing, plus with the interest in getting into recording drums over the internet, I felt I needed to have it be acoustically treated.
I have a photo album on my Facebook page call “Building the Studio” which has pics of the studio from the very beginning to the completion. [Could you give me a link to that page?]
Q: What’s your DAW of choice and which ones have you used?
A: After the studio was built, I purchased a Presonus FireStudio Project, which comes with 8 XLR pre’s. That was perfect for me because I needed enough channels to record drums with. It came bundled with (originally) Cubase LE software, which, if you’ve never done anything like recording before, it might not be the first one to start out with. LOL!
I started to get the hang of Cubase a little bit but it was still tough for me to learn. Not too long after my endeavors with Cubase, Presonus came out with their own recording software called Studio One Pro. It’s a lot easier to use if you are still in the beginning stages of recording. Everything is drag and drop and they offer so many stock plug-ins. I caught on very quickly to it.
Q: How did you guys at APX decide to start recording there?
A: From being able to meet so many people from all over the world through the ApologetiX and the internet, I was able to start sending drum tracks to other people who we looking to add drums to their music. I work with mostly singer and songwriters who are recording themselves playing guitar and singing and want to have a live drummer playing on their songs. They send me their music and either have a drum machine with ideas that they have or tell me to go for it with my own ideas.
I then record my drum tracks and send the files to them, where they can then just drop them into their own recoding software.
When I told ApologetiX that I was doing this and that it I was having great results, we thought it would be fun to try to record a song with the all the band members at my studio. We realized that it could be done a lot cheaper than going into a big studio and that we had more creative control over our projects. We liked it so much that we continued to do more and more until we had enough for a complete CD.
Q: What was the first APX album recorded there?
A: Our first CD recorded at Red Apple Audio Workshop was “Hot Potato Soup”. We are all very proud of that one!
At other BIG studios, artists are paying for the time and we would usually only have a full day to record all of our material for a CD. We were now able to take our time and get things exactly like we wanted them without the pressure of completing the work in a limited amount of time due to cost.
Q: That’s really awesome! So, why did you name your studio “Red Apple Audio Workshop?”
A: It wasn’t until we were into the first CD that I came up with the name. I am a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, who is a movie director. In all of the movies that he does, he uses a fictional brand of cigarettes called “Red Apples.” You will see the actors from all of his movies smoking them. I do not, in anyway, support smoking; I just thought the name had a nice click to it. When my wife and I started to look into building a website for our studio, "Red Apple" seemed to be taken, so we came up with “Red Apple Audio Workshop”. We really liked it! LOL!
Q: When J. sings, do you use different microphones depending on the era or style of the song, or do you use the same microphone?
A: When I record J. on vocals, or someone comes in to record guitars, bass, percussion, horns, or piano, I always try to choose a mic that will fit the sound I’m going for.
Q: Do you have multiple mics for your drums, or you like the overhead mics?
A: Yes, I have each drum mic’d separate plus, I use stereo room mics and overheads. I don’t always need all of them but I listen after I’m done and choose what I need according to how it sounds.
Q: When J. sings, do you use different microphones depending on the era or style of the song, or do you use the same microphone?
A: My main microphone that I use on vocals would be an AKG C-414. If we are recording vocals that require a vintage sound, I use a MXL Genesis Tube mic. If we are going to be doing something on the heavy side or maybe a rapping vocal, I will use the Shure SM7B.
Q: What are your roles as producer?
A: My main role as a producer/engineer is to ensure that the musicians recording are as comfortable as possible while they are recording and that they are in a no-pressure, relaxed atmosphere. Second, I like to give the musicians different suggestions on how to go about getting the right sound for the song. I will try different micing techniques, different rooms, or try different guitar cabs. We’ll try all kinds of things.
Q: Do you think learning about this side of recording made you a better musician? Why or why not?
A: Well, when you have listened to something so many times, you start to hear many different things that you normally wouldn’t hear. Since we’ve been doing so much recording, I have a huge respect for these bands that we parody. We are trying to get as close as possible to the original that we can. Sometimes I’ll actually do research on how a certain song was recorded, just so I can try to figure out how they got a particular sound.
Q: You play many different styles with ApologetiX. Any one style that stands out the most?
A: I really enjoy a lot of the 70’s stuff we do, mostly because I grew up listening to it. I feel it was the best time for music and it’s a challenge to get some of the sounds these guys were getting with the use of reel to reel tape.
Q: Do you know how to play any other instruments? If not, any instrument you wish you could play along with the drums?
A: I wouldn’t call myself a bass player by any means, but I have played bass on a couple of our tracks (one of which is “Scars” on Easter Standard Time). It’s definitely my next favorite instrument. There is something about the drive of the bass guitar. I guess it figures I like the bass so much because it’s so close to what the drums are doing. LOL!
Q: Who are some of your favorite Christian artists?
A: Some of my favorite Christian rock bands would be Stryper, Demon Hunter, Underoath, P.O.D., August Burns Red, The Devil Wears Prada, etc. . . .
Q: Now, let’s get spiritual! What does Jesus mean to you?
A: What does Jesus mean to me? Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I just want to try to live as close as I can to how He wants us to live according to His word.
Q: Has ApologetiX helped you grow spiritually? How?
A: ApologetiX have taught me a lot spiritually, especially with the style of music we do and the lyrics that J. writes. It a great learning tool!
Q: Any advice for those who want to play the drums?
A: Do it because you really want to. If you're having trouble at first, don’t get frustrated. Keep at it. Practice, practice, practice. You will always learn something new.
Q: And what about those who want to get into the audio world?
A: Go for it! There is so much information out there to help you. It used to be something that very few people could get into because of the cost, but it can be done at very inexpensively these days in your own home.
Also, record anybody that you can. Even if it’s for free at first. You need people to work with, so offering for recording is a great way to get some practice!
Q: Well, Jimmy, thanks a ton for joining me today! It’s great to talk to an APX band member! Keep reaching the lost and teaching the rest!
A: Well, thanks for having me! I really enjoy being able to share my experiences with other people. I hope that I might be able to inspire someone out there. God bless!
Did you enjoy those interviews? I hope you did!
Unfortunately, I don't know the next time I'll do a few more interviews, but I hope the day will come sooner than I think it will!
Also, stay tuned next week! A giveaway!
Hello again! I’m so happy you finished reading my post, and, boy, do I hope you liked it!