About After Edmund
Having been raised on a hearty intake of indie, classic and experimental rock, along with the fact that members are classically trained and met amidst college music classes, are just a few points of distinction for After Edmund in the modern pop/rock pack. The LaGrange, Georgia-groomed quintet (named after the Edmund character in C.S. Lewis' bestselling book series The Chronicles of Narnia) has been electrifying that regional scene and beyond since 2001, touring tirelessly and refining a potent alternative sound that merges the timeless sensibilities of Pink Floyd and the Beatles with the organic influences of Wilco, the dynamic swells of Keane, plus the band’s own razor-sharp rhythms and introspective lyrics.
"We grew up listening to all kinds of music – classical and classic rock to jazz and experimental stuff. We're kind of a melting pot, a unique fingerprint for Christian music, combining so many of our individual musical influences into one sound," notes bassist Matt McFadden, while making it apparent members' Christian beliefs are a clear lyrical component. "Our musical backgrounds are so diverse, and it's interesting to see how we pull it all together; but more than just sounding strong, we hope and pray our varied backgrounds will open us up to a larger audience – one not subject to the same three chords over and over."
And those elements are exactly what attracted Slanted Records, the pop/rock/alternative indie label under the Spring Hill Music umbrella, which also recently launched the Grammy-nominated act DecembeRadio. The two bands share the same producer Scotty Wilbanks (Third Day, Overflow, Echoing Angels), who introduced After Edmund to the highly interested staff when demoing tracks for its national debut.
"We actually had a handful of labels interested; but the reason we went with Slanted was we really felt like they were After Edmund fans and we’d seen what they had done with DecembeRadio," McFadden continues. "Slanted didn't feel like business. It was really more like a partnership and friendship where we’ve both decided to work really hard."
The results have proven to be overwhelmingly fruitful throughout the ambitious Hello (February 2008), which fans from any scene can recognize for its artful approach when it hits the shelves in February. Between the vast degree of inventive muses, plus members' own individual talents and chemistry with one another, the disc is drenched with an engaging sonic landscape and thought-provoking lyrical fodder.
"When we talk about several of us being classically trained, it is not meant to sound like showing off," explains drummer Adam Stanley. "Hopefully people won't listen and say 'they sound like music majors,' but our goal through that kind of practice and study is the ability to make better music where we know what we're doing in the studio rather than just stabbing around in the dark. If our backgrounds are not facilitating better art, it's pretty worthless other than just for amusement's sake."
"This is definitely one of the most talented bands I've ever worked with," confirmed Wilbanks. "Most of the guys play at least two to three different instruments. It's pretty cool when the drummer can pick up a guitar and start playing jazz standards and the lead guitar player goes over to the piano and starts playing some Joplin . The guys do a high energy live show, and I wanted to do my best to capture that vibe in the studio...there's no programming on this record. Everything was played live in the studio by the band, kind of 'old school' for today's way of making records. I'm really pumped about the sounds we got on this record..."
Other selections stem from a deeply dug spiritual sustenance. Thank God has become a live classic, bearing musical resemblance to the Foo Fighters and Muse while unveiling thoughts of God being the ultimate source of peace and stability over temporary earthly treasures. The artsy, almost chromatic feel of Clouds speaks of Christ's presence in our lives through the storms we face and how He lifts us above the clouds while simultaneously encouraging the downtrodden that better days are yet to come.
"Scotty has been a huge influence on us, and that's helped make all of these songs better than our original intentions," offers McFadden. "He helped us bring out the best in the songs and made sure they sound like us and accurately convey the musical and personal messages we have in our hearts."
Much of those emotions stem from the guys' personal lives, which have been openly intertwined into the progressive fabric of the project. Ben and Matt are each married (and Matt also serves as a youth pastor); Mitch has a wedding on the way; several of the band members are actively involved in their local churches while at home, including serving as worship leaders; while recent university graduate Yates scored the top spot in his graduating class.
"A lot of our ministry is off stage since we enjoy talking to people and hearing what's on their mind," Stanley sums up. "God doesn't come into every conversation; but He does much of the time, and we are happy to share how faithful He's been to us. Being a musician, life is really uncertain, but we've never missed a meal! We'll be happy to share that, plus a lot of people are looking for someone outside their families to help them feel validated. Just being a listening ear does wonders for their self-esteems, which is an important part in finding the Truth. Sure we're all sinners; but on the flipside, we're beautiful in God's eyes and people have to realize how much He loves them."