Irish band Rend Collective released their latest album on Friday, Jan. 19 to critical acclaim. The widely praised Good News saw Rend Collective at the top of the charts, earning the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Christian & Gospel Chart, and No. 5 spot on Billboard's Digital Albums Chart, hitting within the Top 20 on Billboard's Top Albums Chart. Also claiming No. 1 on UK's Official Christian & Gospel Albums Chart with over 1.6 million streams since its release, the 15-track album includes Rend Collective's hit single, "Rescuer (Good News)," which has already hit Top 10 on both AC Indicator and National Audience chart, and has been added by major stations including K-LOVE, Air1, WAY-FM, KSBJ and more. Recently the band talked with us about the story behind the new music, the most challenging song to write and tour must-haves.
Congratulations on the recent release of Good News! Can you walk us through how long this album has been in the making and what it feels like to have the finished product ready for download?
We’re so glad that the album is finally out there for everyone to hear – we’ve been so excited to share it with everyone because I think we so deeply believe in the message of what we say in each song we sing. Good News was an 18-month process for us. I think it took us more time because we felt the weight of responsibility to tell the good news and tell it right.
The first new single “Rescuer (Good News)" continues to have incredible success at radio. What has it been like sharing this song with others and hearing of its impact?
Lately, it seems as though our world has been so saturated with bad news. But as Christians, it’s our job to share the good news – to share light and hope – to share Jesus. It’s sad to think that the word “gospel” has lost its credibility today. It has such political and religious undertones that people don’t hear it for what it actually means – “good news”… and who doesn’t want good news?!
And that’s what we hoped for this song – to be carriers of the good news. We want to reclaim the ideas, the good news of the gospel as Christians – to share that the gospel is so much deeper than a sales pitch, and that there’s truly a Rescuer for everyone.
Can you share some specific events that inspired the concept of the Good News collection?
I don’t know if there is one thing that spurred on the album as a whole but with so much bad news and heaviness consuming our news, our TVs, our newspapers and our phone screens, we felt compelled as Christians to share the good news. And that’s what a lot of these songs were – an outpouring of this desire to tell people the good news of Jesus Christ; whether we are happy or crying out in sadness, we want that good news to permeate it all.
How would you describe the sound of this record to brand new listeners? And, how does it compare and contrast to your prior work?
In some ways, our approach to making music as a band hasn’t changed for this album: “make sounds that make you smile with a message that matters.” We’ve never felt very locked into a particular genre and so we’ve kind of tackled almost every conceivable style at this point – and not everything has been completely successful! But one of the things that has really been bringing us a lot of joy on Good News has been exploring soul a little bit more. Typically, soul isn’t really a genre you associate with Irish people, but Irish soul is a real thing that’s in our blood – think Van Morrison. It’s also such a “spiritual” style – it lends itself to gospel-centered lyrics and makes them feel meaningful and touchable. Of course, we’re never really going to abandon our folk roots, that’s just who we are and how we were raised.
Were there any songs that were particularly challenging to write or record?
“Nailed To The Cross” was incredibly difficult for us to write. Some songs just come together like magic and others are pounding it out – hard work! We got the chorus idea from a friend right at the start of the writing process for the record, and loved it from the first time we heard it, but then struggled for months to find verse content to go along with it. It was huge, corporate chorus, but if it was ever going to really MATTER to anyone, the verses needed to be emotional, personal and yet theologically rich. When we’re writing, we want the message of a song to ring the whole way through. We worked to get the verses that are there – verses that carry that same message and we’re so happy with the way it turned out now. It’s a song that’s rooted in scripture and we know that those songs always have the capacity to change lives.
Which track are you most excited for listeners to hear and why?
I don’t know if there’s a specific track to point to but I do hope that people really listen to the lyrics of our songs. As light-hearted and celebratory as a lot of our music is, we always take lyrical content incredibly seriously. Songs have the power to transcend a person’s heart and mind in a way that words rarely do and so it’s a responsibility we feel to provide enriching biblical content that reaches deeper than the surface.
In addition to celebrating the release of this new record, you are also gearing up for part two of the Good News North America Tour. What can fans expect from the night?
When fans leave one of our concerts, we hope that they hear the gospel – all the joy, hope, optimism and brightness of the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ. Nothing else really matters.
What are some must-have items for when you hit the road this year?
This doesn’t sound that impressive but if we could have laundry machines on the road with us – that would be the ultimate dream! Touring is a smelly place!