Since their debut in 1986, Audio Adrenaline has been one of Christian music’s best-loved bands. They have garnered two GRAMMY Awards for Best Rock Gospel Album; five GMA Dove Awards; a Gold-certified recording; and 14 #1 Christian radio singles. Their latest record, Sound of the Saints, debuted at #1 last year on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart. The record's title track is showcased in the opening of the highly-anticipated Pure Flix release God's Not Dead 2 and is played nightly when Audio Adrenaline takes to the stage on the spring leg of Newsboys' "We Believe...God's Not Dead" Tour. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with frontman Adam Agee to discuss God's Not Dead 2, tour life and new music that is in the works.
First off, we have to talk to you about the newly released God’s Not Dead 2 movie. We saw that you traveled to Hollywood and Nashville for movie premieres. What was that experience like? And, how cool is it that “Sound of the Saints” opens the film?
It was awesome! That was my first time being in Hollywood on the red carpet and going to a movie premiere. It was crazy to hear the song in the movie. Everybody knew who I was and knew we had a song in the movie; the director and producer of the movie were so stoked about having the song in there. In Nashville, it was great too because all our friends and community of Nashville, artists and everybody, came out, so it was pretty awesome.
When did you hear “Sound of the Saints” was chosen to be featured in the movie and how did the opportunity come about?
We try to pitch our songs for movies all the time, and so we had put it in for the opening spot of the movie. They had 100 or so submissions that they whittled it down to, and so, it was kind of back and forth between ours and another song. They kept going back and forth and were split in their camp on which one to do. And then my buddy, one of the marketing guys at Pure Flix, called me up to come over to the office and get coffee. So I went in and he was showing me around the office, and he took me into their film room. And so we go in and he starts playing the movie, and our song was in it; and that’s how he told me. It was so cool!
Thinking back to when you watched the film, was there a particular scene or moment that was really powerful for you?
The film is really powerful and it hits on a lot of levels emotionally, and it’s very intelligent and well done. It was so different watching it in LA with the writers and cast and a lot of the people who worked on it were there. They were cheering as all the different credits popped up, as the director of photography and the gaffer came up. So everyone was cheering, so it was a special moment when the song first came on. I was sitting right next to Michael Tait of Newsboys, and everyone was high fiving and was excited. The film was really well done, so there were a lot of really powerful moments in the film too.
Not only is “Sound of the Saints” featured in the new movie, but fans can also hear the song on Christian radio stations across the country. Can you take us back to when this song was being written and give us some insight into how the track came about? Did you ever expect it to become so popular?
That’s always the hope. When we were talking about the song and all of the sounds of creation, different elements of God’s creation, the wind in the trees and the waves crashing up against the shore, and all these amazing sounds. But Mark Stuart said something I’ll never forget: “The sound that is the most beautiful sound of creation is the sound of God’s children singing His praises to Him.” And Mark had just gotten back from Haiti with The Hands and Feet Project, which is an orphanage down there that they had started 10 years ago. He said he was inspired hearing those children singing praise songs. So that’s what the song’s about – obviously the kids but also people from all different walks of life singing the same song.
In addition to the music being released by Audio Adrenaline, you were also featured in Young Noah’s new single “Long Way To Go.” How did that collaboration come about?
That came about from some mutual friends of ours. Young Noah was a hip hop guy, up and coming, and wanted to do something in Christian music; and they asked me if I would mind coming over and doing a collaboration. I love hip hop and I love doing collaborations, so I said 'of course.' We got together, and it was immediate chemistry. The song was cool and it just turned out great, and it is actually a surprise that radio has picked it up! So he’s of course super stoked; and he’s out on tour with us now, so he’s going to perform the song with us tonight. It’s pretty awesome, and one of my favorite moments live too!
The music video for “Long Way To Go” calls attention to the harsh reality of bullying in schools. Is this something you experienced in high school or something that has special meaning for you?
Yeah, definitely. I was bullied earlier – when I was young. I was one of the youngest kids in my grade each year, because of my summer birthday, and we moved midway through my 8th grade year from Oklahoma to Arizona, so from the middle of the Bible belt to the Wild West. Eighth grade is a tough year and I got picked on a lot to the point of where I was getting rocks thrown at me on the playground and dangerous stuff because I was different and I was new. So I definitely connect with that and I’m able to understand when kids talk about bullying. It’s very real and very important to talk about; it’s such a bummer when you hear stories about it. I know exactly how it feels, and fortunately for me I played sports, so starting brand new freshman year of high school, I was able to get into sports and it wasn’t as bad for me. But I know kids who dealt with it all through growing up. I think the video is extremely powerful and it doesn’t hold any punches; it’s not a super safe video, but I think the message is very important.
You guys just recently wrapped up this year’s massive “Rock & Worship Roadshow” tour, and now here you are on the spring leg of the “We Believe…God’s Not Dead” Tour. How do you keep refreshed and energized show after show?
You try to eat healthy if you can; and I like to be outside. I love to play golf, go for a run, and play basketball with the guys. On the “Rock & Worship Roadshow,” we had a bunch of guys who were great basketball players, so I think that physical activity gets my blood pumping and keeps me healthy. And then just the anticipation of the show every night is super energizing; it’s an adrenaline rush right before the show. Normally we stay and talk to fans after the show, which can take an hour or more, just meeting fans every night. And then you’re just so tired afterward that when you get on the bus, it’s just time for sleep. And then you wake up and do it the next day.
Do you have a favorite song to perform live in concert?
It changes over time. Months ago, our favorite was “Move”, the first track on our record, a really rocking song. It’s crazy and it’s fun, and I love that. I would say my current favorite right now is “Sound of the Saints” because I was able to go to Haiti in November of last year and shoot a bunch of music video footage for it. And so we have this incredible video that at one point we switch to one of the little girls from Haiti singing the chorus of the song. It’s just super special and I get to relive being down there every night during the show.
A few nights ago Mark Stuart, one of the founding members of Audio Adrenaline, joined you guys on stage for a few songs. What was that experience like?
That was hilarious! His dad is a pastor near where we were playing in Indiana, and they brought their youth group out. Mark drove up from Nashville to hang out with them, and we wanted to meet the youth group. So I told Mark he needed to get up on stage with us that night. He at first said no because his voice is just gone; he can barely talk. So I told him he could come up and play tambourine or just dance around, so he finally agreed. So he came out and we played a couple of the old school songs. He was trying to sing and it was so much fun! I introduced him as our lead tambourine player, and he was just rocking around on stage. It was so great to have his energy; he has all the rock star still in him, he just doesn’t have it in the vocals anymore.
Yesterday you guys tweeted about “making some studio magic,” which begs the question, is a new record in the works?
There is new music coming down the pipeline. We’re working on it right now. I don’t have a timeline yet for you, but we’re working on it and I can’t wait for you to hear it! There are a couple different directions we want to try out musically. We’re going down a couple of different creative roads right now. I love it, and I hope everyone else loves it. Audio Adrenaline has been known over the years to not be predictable as far as what the next record is going to sound like, so I feel this one is going to be another one of those. And I was very fortunate to be able to write a lot of this latest record, and I feel like I’m more tuned into what the heart and soul of Audio Adrenaline is about, so I’m writing from that perspective and that point of view. It’s flowing pretty good right now.
In addition to the music and touring, Audio Adrenaline is also preparing for a mission trip to Haiti in August with the Hands and Feet Project. Tell us about the heart of this mission and how fans can help?
The band started the Hands and Feet Project a little over ten years ago now basically as a response to the Haiti orphan crisis where there were so many kids abandoned. The life expectancy down on the streets is not even days there; they just can’t survive. So it was out of necessity of that and Mark’s parents had been missionaries to Haiti for years, so he had a heart for that. Since we relaunched the band, there has been almost 2 million dollars raised, which is helping to go toward their facilities and creating new facilities so they can get more kids in. They started a second campus, so it’s really incredible. We’ve been inviting people to go with us all spring, and both mission trips in August are already full, but if you want to help, we would love to get everyone down there to see it firsthand. The difference between the kids in the Hands and Feet village and the ones you see driving in from Port-au-Prince, it’s incredible to see the difference in hope and love that these kids have. So check out our website – that will let you get to know all that we’re doing down there. And, I would invite everybody who can to come down and see it firsthand – it will change your life.