Cody Carnes is a worship leader whose passion is to create a meeting place for God and people with music. Many will recognize him from his time leading worship with Gateway Worship as well as being on the road and leading with his wife and fellow labelmate Kari Jobe Carnes. With Kari, Cody has co-written many songs such as "Let the Heavens Open" from her Dove Award winning album Majestic and most recently eight tracks off of her latest release The Garden. Now as Carnes prepares to step into the solo light, Capitol CMG's newest worship leader is set to release his debut record on September 15th titled The Darker The Night / The Brighter The Morning. Carnes recently talked with us about the process that lead to this record, the Scripture influences and his hope for the collection.
First, congratulations on your upcoming release, The Darker The Night / The Brighter The Morning! Tell us, how long has this record been in the making and what does it feel like to have the finished product ready for release?
Thank you! I've been dreaming about making records like this since I was a kid. But I started dreaming up this particular album and sound about five years ago. I knew I wanted to make worship music that leads people into the presence of God and blends a few different genres that I love: pop, indie electronic and rock. I feel like the end product accomplishes that in the way I wanted it to and I'm really proud to share it with people. I feel like it's a true introduction to who I am as an artist.
Can you briefly walk us through the process of signing with Capitol CMG?
The Capitol team has been incredible to work with. They've fully supported my vision and helped me take it much further than I could've done on my own. I became friends with all of them five years ago through working on Kari's last few records, so it began as a very organic relationship, before either of us knew I'd be signed there. I loved that I got to see them work that way, because I got a behind-the-scenes look at the way they champion Kari's vision and steward her songs, which makes me feel very blessed to get to work with them on mine. I officially signed this last February 2017.
How would you describe the sound of the new record to brand new listeners? And, how does it compare and contrast to your prior work?
I'd say this is a worship record with an indie/pop/rock sound. I'm sure you'll find some elements that are familiar, and some that are unique and surprising. The heart behind it is similar to other worship records, in that, I wanted to write songs from scripture about the love and power of Jesus that lead people into the presence of God. It's a bit different than most worship records, in that I pulled inspiration from some of my favorite artists like Mutemath, One Republic, Bon Iver, Coldplay, etc. I feel like there are a lot of people in the world like me that love the creative experience of seeing some of their favorite bands live and also love the spiritual experience of a worship night. I want to merge those two worlds together.
What Scripture(s) have you drawn inspiration from while writing and producing this project?
There are several scriptures that inspired each song, so there are a lot of scriptures throughout the record. For the overall theme, I've been inspired by John 1:4-5 that says, "The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” The world is in a crazy place right now. We're living in a war of dark and light and it's sometimes easy to forget the truth - that light has already come and defeated darkness. Darkness tries to put up a lie that it's still in the fight, but it has already been defeated. The story of Jesus is a victorious and hopeful one. I want this record to be a beacon of that hope, that Jesus has overcome darkness and is with us every step of the way.
Thinking back to the writing and recording process, was there a track on the album that you remember identifying with first that made you say, “This has to go on the record”?
Well, “Til The End of Time” felt that way because I had written it with some friends a year before I knew I was going to make a record. So we had no idea I would record it, but when it came time to make my record, I couldn't stop thinking about that song. I found the demo in an old email and it would get stuck in my head. That song actually inspired a lot of the sound and melodic style for the rest of the record.
Were there any songs that were particularly challenging to write or record?
It's never easy writing or recording. The whole process has its fluid easy moments and its roadblocks. Every part of the process is important though. The fluid moments are fun - I learned in making this record that I can't overthink things. I had to just go with my gut a lot and trust it's right. I think if something moves me in that first moment of creation, chances are good it's going to move the listener in that first listening experience. And the roadblocks are important because they made me ask questions and lean on the other people I was creating with for their expertise and taste. I love the journey of the songs and sounds coming about. It's crazy to think that none of this existed a year ago. It's fascinating that God gives us the ability to create something new where there was nothing.
What do you hope listeners will take away from the album?
I hope they meet with God and find His hope and peace. And I hope they find music that they genuinely want to listen to over and over again.