Based on the spiritual side of the spectrum, A Past Unknown present their own impassioned brand of heavy worship that is inspiring to behold. Their debut full length To Those Perishing has been unleashed through Red Cord Records, a thunderous collection of tunes whose vibrant message and relentless intensity will surely gain the band a good deal of notice. Here is a recent interview we conducted with one of the members to find out more about this thought provoking entity.
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in A Past Unknown, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Grant Lilly (Vocals) and the band consists of Trevor Rozendaal (Guitar), Nick Powell (Guitar), Dirk Wiese (Bass), and Jack Van Gent (Drums). We have been a band for a little over 2 years now !
Where is the band based out of and what is the music scene like there? Do you have any local bands you could recommend?
We are based out of Cedar Falls Iowa. The music scene here is definitely growing. We have so many loyal fans that are amazing, we can’t thank them enough for their support. There are awesome bands around here such as Dividing The Masses, A Casual Affair, Senseless Beauty, And The Greatest Of These, Greg The Hero and many many more.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title To Those Perishing?
To those perishing comes out of the second song on the album “the consequence of silence.” We are a Christian band and that’s what we stand up for as a band and what that song talks about in particular is not being a coward for sticking up for Jesus. He has changed our lives in the most amazing way and we can’t go silent about it. We wouldn’t be doing our job if kept quiet and that is basically what the title is about cause we want to bring a message of hope to those who have none.
Select two songs from the new CD and what inspired the lyrical content.
They all have deep meaning to them. I write about experiences in my life dealing with struggles and everything else that has gotten in the way in my life. The two songs that stick out though are probably “this is where we meet” and “what if you’re wrong.” This is where we meet was written when I was really angry at myself for some mistakes I had made but I knew I wasn’t the one with a solution to my pain. That song is a specific cry out to Jesus and where He met me at a time of weakness. “What if you’re wrong” has everything to do with finding truth. What is truth when you’re taught so many different methods, religions, ways, all of these different directions people tell you to go and is there absolute truth? I’ m a firm believer there is absolute truth and that’s Jesus and that is what that song talks about with so many different “answers” and ways, I think there has to be just one.
How did you wind up being signed to Red Cord Records?
We shopped out our full length album and heard back from many different labels but they seemed to be the one that fit the most with what direction we wanted to take being a ministry band. We know it gets messy when dealing with labels and all the business behind them but with Red Cord, they gave us a great contract and were such a blessing at the time of signing.
What was it like working with Jamie King and what did he contribute to the overall recording process?
Jamie King is the man. He is one of the most knowledgeable men in the music industry. You could ask him one question and he could go on for half hour if not longer on that one question telling you everything he knew haha, it was great. When it came to recording, everything he does with the click of a button was mind blowing and he has an ear like none other. Notes that no one else would hear, he would and we would have to do a retake, but it was all well worth it. He is an amazing producer and we can’t thank him enough for doing this album.
Who did the artwork for To Those Perishing and how much input did you have on it?
Chris Moore of Zero Art Studios did the album artwork. He is the ex vocalist in the band I See Stars. Honestly, it was pretty much all of his work. He put the combination of “A Past Unknown” and “To Those Perishing” together and came out with the idea. It represents a man who has been in desolation with the artifacts of his life, trying to find his way and finally he makes it to the end. Everyone will put their own ideas to the picture, but it represents the man trying to do it all on his own until he finally realizes he can’t and turns to Jesus.
Would you consider A Past Unknown to be a Christian band or ministry? Why or why not?
Absolutely. The term Christian is so loosely thrown around these days it is almost a genre and we don’t want to be in that category. However, we are very up front that we are born again Christians on and off stage and we view this band as nothing but a ministry. We would like to do this as our living soon but that is definitely not what it’s about at all. It’s seeing lives changed by the power of Jesus Christ. No one is born a Christian, even if they think they are, and Jesus didn’t come for the “righteous”, He came for the sinners and we have been into so much stuff as a band (sex, drugs, alcohol) that has left us empty and Jesus has been the only one to help us with any of these struggles. There is power and love in His name unlike any other substance and we want people to know that no matter what they are struggling or battling with, there is an answer and there is hope, grace, peace, and most of all true love, and we haven’t found it in any other thing than the name of Jesus Christ. His death and Resurrection is what we as a band will always stand by cause it has changed us from the inside out.
Have you ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?
We have actually. We played at Cobalt Café in Conoga Park while being on tour last year with a band called Deception Of A Ghost. We are definitely looking to be out there again, we just don’t know when. We have an East Coast tour set up for November and waiting on September and October right now so we may be out there in those months.
An elderly lady at your church finds it enchanting that you are in a band and would like to attend a A Past Unknown show. What would you like to tell her about your band before she makes the trek to your next concert?
Well, I would let her know there would be a lot of screaming involved and loud music, but I would tell her we have a great message so she should come to the show and that Jesus loves her!
Have you ever played Cornerstone and if so, what was the experience like?
This was our first year at Cornerstone and it was awesome. We played in front of very large audiences and it was an amazing experience to see kids screaming our lyrics and having an awesome time, kind of a surreal moment. We are pumped to be back there next year .
Any final words of wisdom?
Just want to say thanks for the interview, means a lot that you would do this. We love everyone, doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, we would love to meet you and want you to know that you are loved, not just by us but the ultimate love and that is Jesus. Thanks so much for this interview. Make sure everyone checks us out on Facebook and twitter!
(Interview by Kenneth Morton – Band Photo by Tim Dodd)