Redeemer is a dynamic Christian hardcore band whose impassioned lyrics and intensive music are profoundly moving. Their debut EP for Rite Of Passage / Mediaskare Records First Degree packs a powerful punch, and is destined to gain the Phoenix based band a good deal of recognition. The band’s powerful mission statement reads “We stand here to make a declaration of war against the one who has bound these chains around this generation for far too long. Chains of religion, self doubt, condemnation, pity and faithlessness.” (Read the statement in its entirety on their Facebook page.) Such ambitious words from a band who can more than deliver the goods within their musical art and in a live setting. Here is a recent interview we conducted with Redeemer to find out more about First Degree, their mission as a band, stories from the road, and other topics of interest. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Redeemer, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Austin Wayman and I play guitar and backup vocals.
I’m Tanner Swift and I do vocals and we’ve been together since March of 2010.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We’re based out of Phoenix Arizona. The scene here in Phoenix is growing, we’re just thankful for our loyal friends who have been there since the beginning.
Is there any story or concept behind the EP title First Degree?
Yes, First Degree is a story of a man who seeks his revenge after his wife and son are killed in a drunk-driving accident.
How did the cooperation with Mediaskare/Rite Of Passage come about?
Nelson Flores, our previous manager and guitarist for Sovereign Strength (R.I.P), talked to Baron Bodnar and the rest of the guys at Mediaskare and they liked what they heard! : )
Sorrow And Regret starts off the EP with spoken word. Does the singer also write poetry, and what inspires the spoken word – not a lot of bands do that. Will there be more spoken word on future Redeemer songs? It is super effective!
I (Tanner) have always had an interest in poetry. It seemed to fit the part that I was writing, so we went with it. Though we have no plans for any spoken word in upcoming releases, we can’t rule anything out. If the situation calls for it, spoken word is always an option.
What could one expect from a live Redeemer show?
Expect the unexpected.
What kind of touring has the band done so far and what was the experience like? Any unusual stories from the road you could share?
We’ve toured with some great bands such as Sovereign Strength, Creations, Deserters, Kublai Khan, Ironwill, Messengers, and Mureau. Every tour has been a brand new experience and we’ve definitely learned a lot along the way. We had a drunk lady pretending to be a cop try to check our I.D.’s that wouldn’t let us leave a parking lot in El Paso, a drunk sound guy in Klammoth Falls, OR get his soundboard thrown across the room, and Josh and Phil broke a bunch of stuff trying to get a flat tire off of the van. We were not prepared. Thank you to the one person that stopped.
Who did the cover art for First Degree and how much input did you have on it?
We don’t know the person who did the cover art, but it was someone at Mediaskare Records. We had a lot of input. We told them exactly what we wanted and they combined that with their own awesome visions for the art and gave us a great finished product.
What made you decide to give away First Degree for free?
We didn’t really have much to do with that, the guys at the label took care of that for us. We’re very happy with the response it’s gotten, it’s great to be able to tell people they can listen to the music without having to pay.
Would you consider Redeemer to be a Christian band and/or ministry? Why or why not?
I would consider us to be both a Christian band and a Ministry. Our songs are about real struggles that happen to real people. We aren’t perfect, but we’re worth something. We believe in a message of hope and love that we share with a world stripped of self-worth and emotion. We’re all Christians and share our beliefs through our music.
How do you feel about kids who are really into your band and music but may not necessarily be Christians?
Our music isn’t geared toward a strictly Christian crowd. We have songs about fair weather friends and songs about not being sure about our beliefs. We write what we feel and what we experience. If we don’t have honesty in this outlet, we don’t have anything. I don’t think any kind of negative dividing line between Christian and non-Christian belongs in this world, much less the hardcore music scene.
How close is Redeemer to recording a full length?
We’re starting the writing process for a full length, hoping to have it out by the end of the year.
Any final words of wisdom?
Think before you speak.
Tanner Swift – Vocals
Cody Swift – Drums
Austin Wayman – Guitar
Josh Mata – Guitar
Phil Hreniuc – Bass
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Redeemer on Facebook