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But I think the reason people probably think “I don’t want to listen to this band” is because when they think of Christian music they think of Stryper or something crappy; they think of music that’s not as good.
SB: And religion can be polarizing, but music is what brings us all together.
I think the whole idea of live is to have more energy, at least for us, so the rock thing makes the most sense. I was thinking today – I got a direct message or something from this guy, and he said, “I hate the new record.
So when it came time to sign a record deal, Christian record deals came and we said no to all of them. But the thing that’s tricky, it’s like, people don’t call Johnny Cash Christian music. There’s a spiritual thread running through a lot of your work, but it’s frequently not an explicitly Christian message. We’d like to be one of those bands with brothers in it that doesn’t end up breaking up because we fight so much. I hate the idea that they somehow feel like I didn’t make the music for them, that we didn’t play music for everyone.
Waited a couple years until the right record deal came, which was Atlantic, which we’ve been on ever since. Bear: The thing that’s tough for us to deal with is, one way to get away from the Christian stereotype would be to be the opposite. The idea when you make music or you write songs and whatever and you have an audience in mind, I would say Christians are probably really late on that list, maybe last on that list, I don’t know, but it never comes into my mind as a target audience. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Christian music.
Their most recent LP, Hard Love, came out in mid-July and landed at Number Two on the Billboard 200 (behind Drake’s dominant Views), their strongest debut to date.
Hard Love also represents a distinct shift in style, taking the band from the anthem-heavy Southern rock and folk of 2014’s Rivers in the Wasteland to decidedly more dance-influenced territory, as on the Shovels and Rope collaboration “Great Night,” which bears a trace of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” or the soulful funk groove of “Money and Fame.” “Some of our fans might think that some of the synth-y things, programmed drums, stuff like that, is like a pop thing,” says singer Bear Rinehart. We saw it as like this new frontier that we had never touched.” Though frequently tagged as a Christian-rock band because of their initial successes in Christian radio markets, Needtobreathe resist that categorization because of the challenges it presents to non-evangelical listeners.