The newly formed Rend Collective Kids is not “worship lite” but worship done right, with attention to craftsmanship, imagination, storytelling and artistry as their signature. The 13-track debut collection, titled SPARKLE. POP. RAMPAGE. (Capitol Christian Music Group, 08/30/19), features original songs that teach children character lessons and Bible stories--but done with such great music, that parents won’t believe their ears. The result is something never heard before: an album for children ages 4-10 that they and their parents can equally enjoy together. Rend Collective recently talked with us about what inspired them to launch into this new project, their hopes for the record and plans for the rest of 2019.
Congratulations on the recent release of Sparkle.Pop.Rampage. What has the response been like so far?
So far we’ve been really pleased to see children AND their parents genuinely excited about this project. It was important to us from the start that these were songs the whole family could enjoy and engage with, and they’re doing just that.
When did you first feel the calling to pursue a children's album and how long was this project in the making?
When we became parents and realized just how much music and how many YouTube videos our kids were consuming on a daily basis, is when we started looking for songs that would build up their faith and teach them about the heart of God. The reality was that we didn’t find a ton out there -- some, but not much. That was the first spark of the notion to write something with kids specifically in mind. In the end, this album took us two years to make because we didn’t want it to feel like an afterthought. We really felt called to write songs that would ignite our kids’ imaginations about who God is, and why He loves them. So often adults think kids don’t notice when we cut corners on quality, but they do. And in many ways the secular world seems to have picked up on this faster than we have by investing huge amounts of resources, money and talent into empires like Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks, to name a few. We’re not saying that they need Christian counterparts, but we admire that spirit and determination to bring the very best talent and resources to our kids because we believe they’re worth it.
In what ways was the process of making this album similar and different to your usual writing and recording process?
One of the most fun parts of writing this album was deciding what topics the songs would be about. We started by naming things we wanted our own kids to know about God. We’d sit around and someone would say, “I want them to know that God is fun, wild and creative. We need a song called ‘FUN!’” Or, another one of us would say, "we need something about how they never need to be afraid. We want our kids to know they can be brave with Jesus by their side.” And so we ended up writing a whole album this way, going through the main messages we wanted our own children to know about faith in Jesus.
This album isn't only for kids, but is also designed to be enjoyable to adults. How did you balance the desire to appeal to both spheres of listeners?
We strongly believe there is no “junior Holy Spirit”—the same God that interacts with us as adults, is deeply in-tune with the hearts of our children. With that in mind, one of the myths we tried to debunk in writing this album is that kids always want something watered-down or in many ways, dumbed down. They don’t. Even if they don’t always understand the words, they can understand how they feel when they listen to music. Is there anything childish about the song “Let It Go” from 'Frozen' other than it’s performed in a cartoon? Is 'Wall-E' a kids’ movie or a disarming story about what can happen when we don’t steward the world we live in very well? Our hope is that this album lives in that realm too, one that transcends age.
Were there any personal influences that we can identify on this record?
Honestly, Pixar was a huge inspiration. The excellence, resources and talent they bring to every project is astounding. While we may not have the same amount of resources and talent as they do, we sure tried our best to bring what we have!
What message do you hope listeners, child or adult, take away from the recording?
That they are uniquely created and loved by God to live in His promises and build His kingdom here on earth.
Which of the songs do you think is most needed for the world to hear at this moment in history?
Hmmm. That’s a hard one. I suppose there’s a reason why the first track of our album is "FUN". We’ve been saying it on stage for years that seriousness is not a fruit of the Spirit, but JOY is. Perhaps we need to be reminded regularly that our God is the one who infuses joy and creativity and light into every corner of our lives.
Have you had the chance to perform any of these new songs live? Which is your favorite to bring to the stage?
We’ve been performing "FUN" at the end of every performance of this tour and it’s been a blast! We can’t wait to tour more of these songs and hope it happens soon.
In addition to the new record, the band also recently released their first illustrated children’s book My Lighthouse. What was that creative process like?
Like everything we do, 'My Lighthouse' was a group effort. In many ways, this one was really spearheaded by Al, but we all had contributions. From Gareth making creative changes to the script and Chris spending hours copyediting it, we all pitched in and it was fun to work on something that wasn’t music for change.
What do supporters have to look forward to from Rend Collective for the rest of 2019?
We’ve got a few more weeks of this tour in Canada and then a few Christmas tour dates, which is brand new for us. And, of course, more new music is always on the way - with songs that have a very special place in our hearts - and we can’t wait to share them with the rest of the world!