- Somewhere, a state-fair airbrush artist is pumped about the unexpected publicity for his horse and howler T- shirt design.
Not too long ago, using both "screamo" and "Christian" to describe a genre of music was almost unheard of. Mixing the two at least in my experience went against the Christian principle of being "in the world, but not of it." Harsh and closed-minded? Maybe. But I knew plenty of parents (including mine) who agreed with that zero-tolerance policy. So, naturally, I wondered how Christian screamo band Write This Down deals with that line of thinking.
Apparently, it's not a question WTD hears very often. Bass player Andy Kalyvas seemed surprised that anyone, especially anyone who's Christian, would have a problem with his band's music.
"Wow," Kalyvas says. "Well, no, we haven't heard any negative feedback, at least not vocally. I mean, in the past, some people might have labeled us as "Satan's music,' but this is just another way to reach people.
"We don't want to go against parents because they are the authority figures, but we want people to know we're about Christ."
So what is it about screaming vocals and heavy guitar riffs that'll make people want to convert?
Well, Kalyvas says the band's actions actually speak as loudly as its music.
"Our attitudes, lifestyles, the way we act and react, [all help] show what we're all about," he says. "If you read the [lyrics], you'll get the message. Our lyrics are about forgiveness.
"I think there are two styles of lyrics preaching and metaphorical. We're definitely metaphorical, and our music reflects our lives."
Write This Down which also includes Johnny Collier (vocals), Nate Rockwell (guitar), Chad Nichols (drums) and Jared Kocka, a guitarist with his hand in about a million different acts formed in 2005 while the group of twentysomethings was attending college in Minneapolis. Kalyvas says the band was formed as the guys' own version of a ministry, and most certainly not with fame or money in mind.
"We're not trying to glorify ourselves," Kalyvas says. "We're using our music and the talents [God] gave us to glorify Him."
While on tour with secular bands, WTD's members inform their audiences of their beliefs, and they invite anyone with questions to come talk.
So far, no one has taken them up on the offer.
Despite recording two EPs and gaining some fans, the guys weren't sure they were going to continue down the music path until this past summer at the Cornerstone Music Festival (Christian music's answer to Lollapalooza) in Illinois.
WTD's performance generated hundreds of CD sales, and several record labels approached them. Says Kalyvas: "We felt like it was God saying, "Don't give up yet.'"
Nothing concrete has come out of the experience so far. But with a growing fan base and more than 400,000 hits on MySpace, Kalyvas thinks good things are in store for Write This Down.
"We're going to take this band as far as God lets us," he says, "and try to be examples through the music."
Write This Down with We Want a Forest,
Breathe Carolina, The Axe That Chopped the Cherry Tree and Chain Gang of 1974
theElement, 1626 S. Tejon St.
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $10, all ages; visit myspace.com/theelementmusic.