Time for Change
Houston, Texas-based hard rock outfit Await The Day have just released their 5-song debut EP Time For Change, with lyrics that focus largely on trusting God's Providence - something to which the band has grown accustomed over the course of their 18 months together. What started as a thrown-together worship band for a church men's retreat in November of 2006 has grown into a full-blown musical ministry for the quartet. Says Eddie Boyer, the group's bassist, "We keep saying we're just along for the ride. I don't think any of us intended things to go this way, but God keeps bringing the opportunities and we keep saying yes." It's hard to argue a point like that with a band that has rarely had to expend much of it's own effort to book a show. "Most of our gigs come to us through our MySpace," says guitarist Justin O'Neal. They've played bars and Christian music clubs, church youth events and battles of the bands, and they've shared a stage with Showbread and High Flight Society, all with minimal (non-musical) effort on their parts. In fact, their most exciting opportunities somehow seem to fall in their collective lap, sometimes in dizzying bursts. Boyer was at a Houston sandwich shop when he met Jeffrey Armstreet (Evangeline), who produced the band's EP at his studio, and subsequently got them placed on the bill for one of GMA Week's biggest showcases. Soon after, the first song they recorded with Armstreet got them placed on the independent stage at Spirit West Coast in Monterrey, California. After all of that, the band could be forgiven for suspecting that an external hand may be manipulating knobs on the myriad doors that continue to open for them. Despite the consistent growth of their fan base, their busy schedule and a solid first recording effort, Await the Day insists that their aspirations aren't centered around large-scale success, at least not for it's own sake. "Our goal is just to glorify God through our music and to be able to minister to people, especially young people. That's where our passion is," confesses O'Neal. "We'd love to play on a mainstream stage and be a big band...but that's not really our goal." Adds Boyer, "We want to make God famous, not us.... We want to make the best music possible that captures the heart of a generation for God." Capturing the heart of a fickle generation seems like a tall order, and I wonder how they hope to do it. "Christians need some good ol' hard rock music that can speak to them, encourage them, and that they can relate to in times when life just sucks," says lead singer Ben Fontenot, who wrote all of the songs on the EP. "On the other hand, I think the mainstream needs to know that...there is music out there that offers hope and love and something they can relate to. If we can somehow be a vessel to lead them to Christ through this kind of music then God is truly glorified and we are doing our job." It's a charge they take seriously, and to which they devote no small amount of prayer and discussion. To be sure, music-as-ministry can be a difficult line to walk, but the band is unfazed. To keep him grounded, Fontenot looks to the words of another lyricist, [Switchfoot's] Jon Foreman. One particular Switchfoot lyric ("I don't belong here.") has helped galvanize his purpose and the band's in his mind. "We're here to make a difference, but we're not here to stay," he says. We'll see.