AntiochLIVE’s new album, History’s Anthem, releases tomorrow, and we can’t wait! This album is a collection of songs recorded at church on Sunday morning and at World Mandate. Many of our worship leaders were a part of making this album, but we specifically wanted to sit down with the AntiochLIVE leadership team to hear a little more about the heart behind the album.
The leadership team consists of James Mark Gulley, Owen Wible, Thomas Wilson and Brandon Seibert. James Mark leads the team and oversees each of our songwriters. Owen serves the team as the project manager and keeps things moving logistically. He has also contributed with songwriting. Thomas leads out on the songwriting side of things. He looks at each of the song ideas and chooses the ones that we feel have a message that our church and Movement need. Brandon* serves as the producer, audio engineer and mixer. He has also contributed as a songwriter.
Take a look at what James Mark, Owen and Thomas had to say about History’s Anthem:
First off, tell us a little about the vision behind the album:
- James Mark: The vision behind the album of History’s Anthem for me is first and foremost we feel like God has called us to be worshippers who minister to His heart and lead people to encounter God through worship, and any way we can do that is our privilege.
- Thomas: As we talked about where we were headed, we agreed on how important it was for our songs to really reflect the life of our church. In the past we’ve written songs specifically for albums. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, sometimes we ended up with these songs that we literally only played one time at church. We didn’t want to do that again. So, we decided to just take it one song at a time, one month at a time, and focus on writing songs for the people of our church.
- Owen: I love that this album is recorded at church. It’s our volunteer team leading with our church body worshipping together. These aren’t just songs to fill an album. They’re the anthems from our church over the past year and a half.
- Thomas: It was so cool because we’d introduce each new song during a Sunday service, and watch how people responded. If a song went well, we’d record it, but if something didn’t seem to connect with people, we’d take the time to make the song better. Eventually when we felt like people were really resonating with a song, we’d pick a Sunday and just record it at church. And we wouldn’t even tell our church we were recording. To me it felt more genuine that way. It was like we were actually capturing the sound of our church, like our focus was on the people encountering God, not recording cool songs for a project.
- James Mark: As we began to put together songs for this season a couple different themes began to stick out. The first is that the simple name of Jesus has so much power. Just the power in the name of Jesus and the person of Jesus is unlike anything else in the world, and so we wrote songs that have so much to do with calling on His name. All in All just sings the name of Jesus over and over again. Your Name is just really a declaration of the power in Jesus’ name.
- Owen: The theme of God’s faithfulness also kept coming up over and over. My hope is that people are reminded of His unchanging nature and it propels them to worship Jesus.
- James Mark: We as a generation want to pay attention and be aware of the faithfulness of God. That is what compels us to worship Him, and worshipping Him is what He’s worthy of. That’s really the message behind History’s Anthem, that the anthem of history is God’s faithfulness, that God has been faithful to us when we have been faithless as a people in this world. Just like the song says, “Let heaven shout You will never fail.”
How did you decide on the album title?
- Thomas: One of my favorite parts about this last year was seeing a common theme develop throughout the writing process. We talked about a few different ideas for the title, but ultimately, it felt right to use a song title for the album title. The lyrics of History’s Anthem completely sum up the heart of the album. In the chorus alone, it’s almost like each phrase references a different song on the album. And then you come to the bridge and it’s almost like it’s saying, “In light of everything we’ve just said through each song on this album, we will ‘follow you with total abandon.’” It’s cool that it’s the last song on the album because to me it really ties it all together.
- James Mark: History’s anthem and the faithfulness of God became a theme that stuck out in a big way. Also, I think it was really cool that so many of these songs began in other nations. Specifically, History’s Anthem began in Greece with Caleb Seibert and his team there. God is faithful everywhere, all places to all people, and so History’s Anthem seemed to be a great title.
- Owen: The title is indicative of how all of history has seen God to be faithful. This album is our moment to join the anthem of the saints of old declaring that His promises are still true today and to tell future generations that He will continue to be faithful. It’s our testimony in music form.
How does the artwork tie in to the overall album?
- James Mark: When we started thinking through how we wanted to communicate about this album, the idea that came was to use actual artwork instead of just creating something on a computer. The artwork was put together by Tyler Guinn from Antioch Austin. He spent time praying and thinking about what he wanted it to look like, and we didn’t even really know what it would look like until we turned on the video camera and started filming him in his process. What came out was so colorful and beautiful and really kind of messy and unpredictable. That’s a lot like life and the journey that God has all of mankind on. But threaded throughout all of that is the fact that God is always faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us, and He’ll never deny His own name, so to me that is what the artwork means to the album.
- Thomas: It’s funny because when we had Tyler create the painting, half the songs hadn’t been written yet. So, in a lot of ways, Tyler’s painting was like a prophetic statement. All of the different colors and textures blended together to communicate one cohesive message, before we even knew what that message would end up saying. When we decided on the album title History’s Anthem we realized that this artwork really was like a visual representation of that theme. To me, the artwork symbolizes an invitation for you to sit in that empty chair and just gaze at God’s faithfulness in all its varied colors and forms.
- Owen: An art gallery is a window into what was happening at different times in history. It helps a single moment endure. In the same way, we want this album to testify to future generations that we have seen Him to be faithful in our day. The painting hung in a gallery is representative of what we’ve written on this album. The empty chair is your invitation to come and ponder what’s being said. And ultimately to add to the anthem of history the He’s been good to you.
Is there a particular song you are most excited for people to hear?
- Thomas: Ironically, because of the way we recorded these songs, none of them will be new to our church. So, I can’t say I’m excited for people to hear any of these songs for the first time – they already know them by heart! I do love the acoustic versions of God of the Breakthrough and Where Else Can I Go – I feel like they express the message of each of those songs in a really cool and different way.
- Owen: I’m also really happy with how the acoustic version of God of the Breakthrough came out. It has a different feel from the way we play it live. This arrangement is actually a lot closer to the way the song was originally written, and I think this version will help the lyrics sink in a little deeper.
- James Mark: Gosh, I can’t say there’s one that I am most excited about for people to hear. Asking me to pick a favorite song is kind of like asking me to pick my favorite child. I feel like I’m kind of a dad to all of these songwriters and all of these songs, but I would say the last song that got finished, Where Else Can I Go, is a really special one to me. I wrote about it on the blog if you want to read more about it. It was really meaningful when I felt God was telling me that He wanted me to lead it for our church so others would be able to sing it as well.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
- James Mark: I am just so proud of all the people who contributed to this record! This album is really a reflection of the culture of people that we have here at Antioch Waco and also in Antioch globally. I am someone who has been able to come alongside and kind of take the torch and keep going, but I love that all of us are just carrying that torch. We get to carry the anthems for this point of history. And hopefully our due desire is that we would sing the anthem with our lives so passionately and so powerfully that generations to come will be able to hear and say, “I experienced the faithfulness of God through the revelation that this church, this movement and these people were proclaiming and that gave me a confidence to walk in so that I can sing my own song, take up my part in the anthem of history that God is faithful, He is real, He is good and He is here with us right now.” That what I want people to get out of the album, and really out of all the albums we make.
History’s Anthem is available now! Check it out on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and all other music streaming platforms. To celebrate the release of the album, we will be having a worship night at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium. We hope to see you there!
*Brandon is a part of ENGAGE THE ISLANDS this summer, so we were not able to connect with him.