San Diego-based collective Awaken Music, from the 10,000 member, multi-campus Awaken Church, recently released its sophomore, full-length album, Move Of Heaven, via The Fuel Music. Produced by GRAMMY Award-winning Stephen Blake Kanicka (Kanye West, for KING & COUNTRY) and mixed by David Cook (Chris Tomlin, Shawn Mendes), Move Of Heaven pushes the artistic envelope with a modern pop sonic landscape mixed with spiritual warfare anthems. Leaning deeply on faith to drive action, Awaken Music intends to bring the body of Christ together when circumstances could otherwise drive them apart. In this TCB Exclusive, Awaken Church Executive Pastor Mike Yeager talks about the evolution of Awaken Music’s sound, the purposeful visual aspects of this new album, and the unique storytelling on display on songs like “Peter.”
Congratulations on Move of Heaven! How was this sophomore release different for the group (in creating, recording, etc) than the debut project?
We are still so new to making our own music. It feels like our first release, Lionheart, was like a baby giraffe learning to walk as we stepped into our sound. This project feels more convicted in style and sonics as we are learning how to marry our musical identity with the culture and DNA of our church as a whole.
How do you feel the title and artwork help to preview what the music is about?
Part of my graduate work in engineering took me to Florence, Italy for structural analysis of some structures there. I got to work with Professor Maurizio Seracini who had explored Vasari’s Battle of Marciano fresco in the Hall of the 500 in the Palazzo Vecchio. He discovered a tiny green flag being held by one of thousands of painted soldiers in the epic battle. On the flag, Vasari painted the words “CERCA TROVA” which means “Seek and you will find”. It is rumored that behind that flag is an undiscovered Leonardo DaVinci painting that would be absolutely priceless. The idea of a treasure hidden underneath a battle was so intriguing to me and sounds like the Christian life.
Which track, or lyric, do you feel is going to be most impactful or is most needed at this time?
The bridge of the title track Move of Heaven says, “Worship is my weapon, my warfare is my praise. Every tongue is silenced at the mention of your name.” It alludes to Exodus 17 where the people of God won a great victory because Moses (with the help of a couple of friends) kept his hands lifted in worship on the mountain top. Joshua was in the valley fighting, but it was personal devotion and worship that won the battle.
How do you define the impact and success you hope to see from this album?
First, that our church is blessed with songs that carry the specific DNA of our church. We want songs that our church family can sing in services that will build faith and invite the miraculous in our services. Secondly, that the DNA that is on Awaken Church is weaponized through our music and sent throughout the world to equip the saints.
Is there a track that stands out to you personally, perhaps even differently than you first encountered it?
There is a song called Peter that I am in love with. It is a song sung from Peter’s first-person perspective that discusses his failures walking on water and denying Jesus during his arrest. The choruses are heart-wrenching as Peter cries out to God for mercy and rescue. The triumphant bridge talks about the scene at the beach where the resurrected Christ restores Peter. I love the unique approach to the song and the relatability. All of us have been Peter at one point or another in our walk with God.
Who, or what, is currently providing inspiration for you, either musically or spiritually?
Our Pastors, Ps. Jurgen and Leanne Matthesius. They are the ones God has appointed to lead our church and I am always amazed at how clearly they hear from God and how well they lead our church and how devoted they are to seeing our city won for the kingdom.
What are you most expectant for in the remainder of 2022?
We are going to be releasing a Christmas project in November!