TCB Exclusive: Martin Midtgård Hagen Of Radiate Worship Previews 'Come Alive'

Radiate Worship is a Christian worship band from Bergen, Norway. The members of the group came together through the youth ministry in their local church, and the church itself released their first three album releases independently. Radiate Worship has always aspired to uncover new ground in their style of music and tries to write songs that utilize musical elements that might not be too common in typical worship music. After a change of focus, not only to write songs in Norwegian for a national distribution, but opening up to expanding their international contact network and both writing and communicating more in English, they came in touch with producer David O. Ramirez from Gnome Studios, who came on as producer for their next full album project, Come Alive, which is set to drop February 8th. The first single from the upcoming album, "Trust,"  caught the attention of Dream Label Group. Lead singer Martin Midgård Hagen recently talked with us about the inspiration behind this new project and the songwriting process.

Congratulations on the upcoming release of Come Alive on DREAM Worship. How long was this record in the making and what does it feel like to have the finished product?
Thank you! Some of the songs are actually close to two years old, and writing the whole album has been a continuous process. It feels great and we can’t wait to share it with everyone!

Out of all the songs on this new album, which one would you say is your favorite to perform? Also, which one was the most difficult to write?
We haven’t been playing all of the songs live yet, but until now "Lionhearted" and "Victorious" work GREAT live. "Constant" was difficult because we rewrote the whole song in the studio. The first version ("Closer") was just missing something. We really had to put our heads together to write it better!

Where did the name for this album, Come Alive, come from?
It comes from the title track. We had a lot of different ideas for the album-name, but this one stood out the most to us.

Your song, “Back To You”, really stood out to me as an incredible song with powerful lyrics...out of what place in your lives did this song come from?
We had a songwriting-retreat where we came up with the idea for the hook on the chorus. We then wrote it out directly from our everyday lives. Coming back to a regular week where things are stressful with appointments, a filled-up calendar, work, driving kids to kindergarten/school/soccer-practice or whatever - might feel overwhelming or chaotic sometimes. In days like these, where everything else takes our focus - it’s comforting to remind ourselves that nothing’s like the love of Jesus and that we can find rest in Him always.

Band members have said that there was a hope that this album would urge listeners to live life outside their comfort zones...what exactly did you mean by that and do you feel like this record accomplished that?
It could be very comfortable to live life as we know it and to be content with our situation with God today. But there is so much more to experience with God than we have already experienced until today. We have had some profound experiences with God throughout the last years, where we have needed to put our lives and our complete trust in His hands, cause we couldn’t fix things ourselves. And it is in this moment, where your own safety-net is no-longer trustworthy, where we put our feet on the sea and completely trust in Him - that we really come alive. We hope that the record portrays this and that the ones who’ll listen will be encouraged to do so.

There has also been a mention about going back to your original sound on this new release. Where would you say your music changed and how did you adjust focus?
Our last record was very different in style from what we have been doing before, and what we really love playing when we’re not playing in church. Our earlier record had a more rock-ish tone to them and we felt after Resonance that we were longing back to that. So we made sure to make a safe return to our original sound with Come Alive. We don’t want to make music/worship with a certain sound to please or sell our music - but rather use the passion we’ve been given from above and make music that we love. We love rock.

Creating new music as a worship band must be a different process than for CCM solo artists. I’m curious to know what your thought process is when it comes to writing lyrics?
We do the writing of every song differently. For us, there’s no correct way to write a song. Sometimes we come together and write together, sometimes one comes with an idea, a hook, a chord-progression and a melody, or maybe even a whole song for that matter. It makes the process of every song unique and special.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a part of a band? How did Radiate Worship come to be?
I’ve always wanted to play in a band since I was a kid. I was lucky to be raised in a church where I had the opportunity and room to grow as a musician and be surrounded by leaders that were constantly rooting for me. For as long as I remember, music has been the best of places I could connect with God. It was natural to serve in our worship ministry. We looked to other worship-ministries around Norway that produced their own worship and felt the urge to do it ourselves. Cause we had our own experiences with God, our own hearts and our own songs to produce. Out from this - Radiate Worship was born.

Aside from releasing new music, what are your biggest hopes and aspirations for the new year?
1 To meet new people and hear their stories
2 Travel with the album further than we have done before
3 To have even more and more awesome, out of your comfort zone, experiences with God
4 Make more music!