“There’s something powerful that happens when you mesh a spoken word message with the energy and explosion of live music,” says Planetshakers’ founder and director Russell Evans.
Planetshakers have been satisfying the appetites of the once spiritually bankrupt since 1997 when its first weekend conference was staged in front of 300 students at Paradise Community Church in Adelaide , South Australia . In the years that followed, the event ballooned at rapid rates, reaching 4,000 attendees by January 2000. Come this winter, Planetshakers pulled in 20,000 faithful in three major Australian cities: Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.
“Other than God’s hand being over the ministers, I think the reason for the growth is because Planetshakers understands young people’s needs and are able to bring it beyond just a worship experience,” contends Evans after a moment of reflection on its evolution. “The goal is for people to have an encounter with God and the objective from there on out is to build local churches and ministries that young people can get plugged into. It all boils down to the fact that this is an instrument in raising up a new generation for the church.”
Aside from the powerful preaching and enlightening instructional sessions, much of the soul penetration lies in the music’s strength, brought together by singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Henry Seeley. This creative director extraordinaire has been the figurehead behind Planetshakers’ four modern worship albums that have sprinted up the Christian charts back home.
Thanks to such effectiveness overseas, the Truth centered group has hit American radar screens, starting with various Word label representatives, leading to president Barry Landis. The well-respected music industry veteran caught the Planetshakers’ buzz upon immediate impact, which he hopes will be recreated in America via a record contract and the forthcoming Open Up The Gates CD.
As the two entities’ courses aligned on the same track, so did brainstorming surrounding the Planetshakers’ stateside introduction. Unlike the group’s previous recordings, which were recorded live and released following each conference, this album was cut in studio and available as an instant take home resource following this year’s gathering. The material is also 100% original and written entirely by group members, not just a rehashing of continuously covered standards.