What legacy will you leave when all is said and done? Josh Bramlett, Adam Sadler, T.J. Colwell, and Jarob Bramlett - known as The Protest amongst fans of hard rock - boldly take a stab at this question with their new album, appropriately titled Legacy. The four Indiana-based artists combine a driving and intense rock sound with a clear and passionate zeal for Christ, using their recordings and performances to inspire and motivate listeners in their faith and walk with God. Just hours prior to the release of Legacy, guitarist T.J. Colwell graciously took the time to answer some of our questions and give further insight into their latest music.
First off, congratulations on the release of Legacy! As fans begin to listen to the album, what do you hope they'll take away from it?
Thank you! We are so excited to finally release this album! Jesus left a legacy for us all to follow, and our goal is to leave a legacy of Jesus. We want to show the hope, love and sacrifice found in Christ. This album is very personal for us, and it has an overall theme of redemption.
How would you say your music has developed from Great Lengths to Legacy, and where will fans see that most across the album?
On Legacy, we’ve grown as musicians, but more importantly as songwriters. We co-wrote with some of the best in the business, like Josiah Prince and Andrew Stanton from Disciple, Brian Hitt, and Dane Allen from LOYALS. We learned so much from working with those guys and I think it really shows on the songs. The tracks that are not co-writes also show our musical maturity since Great Lengths. I think this album really showcases our growth as musicians and songwriters, as well as spiritually.
Who do you consider as your biggest musical influences?
We all have such different tastes in music. I think the diversity of our influences is what really comes together to create that “Protest” sound. Just a few of our influences are KISS, Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin, Avenged Sevenfold, Beartooth and Disciple.
The music on Legacy ranges from softer rock to harder and grittier tones. Which of these sounds do you most enjoy writing and performing?
The best songs to play live are always the gritty, heavy songs. There’s nothing better than gritting your teeth, banging your head, and feeling that energy. Any song is a fun song to write; we just love being creative. But the “Ascension” ending of “Bad Self” stands out. We hadn’t originally planned to end the song like that, but as we were writing it we could just feel that vibe coming together.
The album art of Legacy is very striking and eye-catching - what is the significance of the skull and the butterflies?
The skull and butterflies seem like a weird pairing to some people, and they should, because their meanings on the album are completely opposite. The skull represents death and the butterflies represent life. As we die to ourselves, we rise to a new life in Christ. We picked three butterflies to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As a bonus, it’s also our third album!
"What Else You Got" has seen radio chart success and has become a fan favorite. What was your thought process behind writing the song? How does it feel to see it impacting listeners at this scale?
“What Else You Got” was actually written by Josiah Prince from Disciple and Jeremiah Jones. Josiah showed us the song and we instantly loved the anthem vibe it had. The lyrics were definitely relatable for us. Being in a ministry-driven band, we are constantly attacked with vehicle problems, vocal issues, technical difficulties, etc. But the more we do this, the less we worry about trials because Christ always comes through for us. This is a fight song meant to encourage people to stand up to the enemy and always get back up. It’s amazing to see it impacting so many people, and the Billboard mainstream rock chart success is definitely an added bonus.
Which song on this album, apart from the title track of course, would you say best describes the legacy that you wish to leave one day as a band?
The song “Legacy” epitomizes just that—the legacy we want to leave behind. And aside from the title track, I would have to say “Valor.” It portrays the calling we all have to be courageous and bold in our faith. I think that’s how this band—both as a group and as individuals—would like to be remembered. We want to be a group of guys that stands up to the enemy and boldly shares our faith with the world.
You recently wrapped up playing for City Rockfest earlier in the year - would you please describe that experience? How was it introducing fans to your new music, and how has the response been?
City RockFest was hands down the best tour we’ve been part of—some of the best Christian rock bands on one stage. What’s not to love? It’s also the greatest group of people you’ll ever find. We were so well taken care of and had so much fun. We were humbled by the response audiences had to the new songs we played. It’s an amazing feeling to know people are anxiously awaiting new music. We still love all of our older songs, but it felt so good to finally be playing some new music!
How has your experienced been in working with RockFest Records while producing Legacy?
We actually had Legacy completely written and recorded before we signed to RockFest, and the album is a big reason they signed us. Being part of this label has been a HUGE blessing—all they’ve done to push this record has been absolutely amazing. They have gone above and beyond what we ever expected, and we couldn’t be happier. RockFest Records truly feels like a family.
You've often cited your home church as a source of support as you write and tour. How have they motivated and encouraged you in your music and ministry?
We are considered a mission branch of our church and that’s something very few Christian rock bands can say. From day one, our church has been nothing but supportive. Aside from helping us financially they are always praying for us, asking for updates, and looking for ways to support us in the future.
What do fans have to look forward to from The Protest over the next 6-12 months?
Along with the album release—which we are so excited about—we will be hitting the road in August and should be releasing those dates soon. We are playing Uprise Festival in September and in October will be heading back to Europe, which is always a great experience. We are constantly working and looking for ways to do something new for our fans and keep connected as much as possible.
Finally, how has God been working through your music, both in the studio and in performance?
God is always moving in this band, and we consider ourselves a ministry first and foremost. Even when we’re home we see God constantly working in us personally and through the band. The songwriting process is also God-given—every lyric, melody, drum part, riff, and solo. Writing music is awesome, and it’s also very tough, but when God is part of that process it ALWAYS comes together and works out. We strive to seek Him in our writing and He always comes through in our words and talents. Performing is where we feel Him most in our songs. We love playing live because every night we give our all to God and to our fans. It’s nothing more than worship. We feel that every time we play, and I think our fans do too.