Monday, December 14, 2009

Ian McIntosh Interview

An interview with Worship leader Ian McIntosh. The interview took place in September 2009.

It's been almost two years since Twenty-two year old Worship leader Ian McIntosh made his debut with the very impressive and emotional Awakened. Ian McIntosh "embarked on a journey to develop a new sound" and his new album Alive is proof that he has done just that!

First, thank you so much for taking the time to do this! I'm sure you're a busy person.

Haha... not at all. Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I wish it were simply 'cause I was busy... hopefully I'm more busy than I am unorganized? :)

1. How did you become a Singer/Songwriter? Was it something you always planned on doing or did it just happen?

Well I definitely hadn't planned on it. I discovered music when I was 10 and started taking piano lessons. I jumped on a few youth worship teams... what is now known as the JesusCulture Band was one of them. God was all over what we were doing and I was happy with it. Then one day my mother and Kim Walker conspired and came up with an evil scheme (muahahahaha) that cornered me into leading a song for youth group. I did, it was fun and I was stoked and loved it. I had already written the song Awakened in my bedroom by that point, but nothing else. After a mind-blowing prophetic word from an amazing woman named Cindy Jacobs (and the Lord haha), I really went after songwriting and production a ton more. That's basically it. I've just kinda taken it step by step.

2. You recently released a new album in May entitled "Alive". Which I absolutely love! Can you explain the inspiration for the title? And artwork?

The title comes mostly from personal experiences and what keeps me going. There have been hard times, there have been fun times, there have been awkward times. But what has always been constant is that as I continue to pursue God and His heart, I am constantly becoming more and more alive. It's invigorating. It's what makes a real relationship with God so exciting and fun. It's the idea that, as I've grown and lived, everything - good or bad, is pointing to how amazing God is. I can't ever point my finger away from His faithfulness and His goodness. I'm "Alive". And the artwork was kinda random I guess... I played around with a bunch of ideas, and landed on the one with the buildings. I just kinda liked the underlying reference that what I just explained is available for ALL the earth. That and I like cities. haha :)

3. "Faithful" is without a doubt my favorite song on the album. Can you tell me how that song came to be?

Faithful was written completely out of a place of awkwardness. It's the very human feeling of wanting moremoremoremore!!! and the very humbling feeling of looking back 5 years and realizing how much I've actually accomplished already and how selfish it can be to want more when so many are broken and needing more than me. It's the feeling that even though I've grown... it still seems like I'm behind where I want to be. All of that stuff that I know most people feel... especially teens and young adults. Then the answer to all that... is God. And His Faithfulness. Regardless of where I am in life, God is God... He is faithful and I can trust that. THAT... I can bank on. THAT... is something I can rely on. I don't understand how He can be that faithful, or what His plan is... and while I'd like to understand, that's kind of the very thing that makes Him God - I don't understand Him. And I want Him to stay God.

4. That song is so unique and one of the thing's I love about it is the very beginning of the song, it sound's so...80's. Was that your intention?

Haha... kinda. That drum beat is actually an old synth called an 808. I love electronic synths and drum machines and get stoked about them. I used it a lot on the record - Faithful, Flight, Come Away, Always Good. I don't know if 80's was actually the goal, but yeah I thought it was fun! (There's also 606s and 909s in there too)

5. So what song on the new album means the most to you and why?

I think Flight - the instrumental - is actually the most profound to me, mainly because of what it represents to me. I got this picture before I wrote it... what if God took me on a flight around the world, and as the journey progressed... I could actually hear the rocks crying out and the actual Earth, as an entity, worshiping God... what would that sound like? And Flight is what came out.

6. Was the process for this album any different than the process for "Awakened'?

YES! Waaaaay different. On Awakened I pretty much wrote all the songs (besides Awakened) on piano, and took them to Jeremy my producer and we blew through the recording process in 2 weeks. Sweet. On Alive, I spent months on preproduction before I brought the record to Jeremy. I gave him 12-20 tracks per song of audio with beats, drum loops, keys, and scratch guitars and he took it and made it all awesome haha. Both had their magic... I think somewhere in the middle would be perfect.

7. "What Does It Sound Like" is another one of my favorite's. Can you tell me how that one came to be?

That song was written by a friend/mentor of mine Brian Johnson. I wanted to do a version of it and brought it before Jeremy. He had this idea of doing a clap and stomp thing. It was actually kinda funny hehe... We were in the studio recording drums and here Chris, Jake and I are... looking at him through the glass window with confused looks on our face, while he tells us when to clap... and we were totally not really hearing it at the time hahaha. It was funny. Then he told us to grab some drums sticks and hit stuff on this beat or that beat. It was really a lot of fun! And he was obviously right. The claps and stomps are sweet. I was stoked.

8. What is your writing process like for you? Do you write the music first and then the lyrics? Or vice versa?

Great question. I actually do a little of everything. I'm constantly trying to figure out the best process for me. On Awakened, it was me and piano. On Alive it was all the music and production 1st, then the lyrics. I actually finished writing some of it in the studio during vocal tracking. I now do something in the middle. I'm writing for my next record, and am loving starting with a fun musical idea, and not really producing it too much, but writing with vague ideas I guess. For example, I just finished writing a song where instead of doing either the production first, or sitting at the piano, I wrote the whole thing with a pulsing pad and kick drum. Kinda in the middle. Works great for me.

9. Who are some of your musical influences and inspiration's?

I have to 1st credit to Delirious? - they're the 1st band I really got stoked about. But my influences and inspirations now are Muse, Mew (Frengers-era), Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Ratatat.

10. What do you hope people will get out of your music after they listen to it?

I really hope people's hearts are opened to find God in a real and tangible way. And have a ton of fun. If a record can make you cry one day, and make you smile then next... it's pretty sweet. If anyone gets moved toward God or towards loving life - I'd be stoked.

11. What are your plans for the future? Do you see yourself doing this all your life?

To some extent I do see myself doing music forever. It's really weird to think of not doing it. I'm not sure it will looking like recording and releasing records every 2-3 years... but I'm sure I'll be poking around in the industry forever haha.

12. And last, what is your favorite scripture?

I don't really have a favorite scripture. I love the whole section of time in scripture with David and Jonathan, then Solomon. I study them quite often.

Thank you again for taking the time to do this. God bless you abundantly and may He continue to use you and your ministry to reach out to as many people as possible.

Thanks Blessings!

P.S. - I'd love you to mention that I LOVE hearing from people about how God used my music, or what it means to them, or about dances they choreographed. All of that is awesome.

If you'd like to find out more about Ian McIntosh please visit:
Official Website

No comments: