Interview with The Digital Age
Our team member, Wayne Wrzesinski, recently had the opportunity to interview Mike Dodson (aka Mike D) of The Digital Age about their new album. Enjoy...
Wayne: Thanks Mike for taking some time to sit down and answer some questions for our readers. This album (Evening:Morning) will be the second released by The Digital Age. How does the band’s vision/direction differ from that of the David Crowder*Band? How have you reinvented who you are?
Mike D: Our pleasure! Sitting is one of our favorite things to do, so this works out perfectly! Yes, you are correct, Evening:Morning is our second attempt at the creation of sonically pleasing awesomeness as the new collective known as "The Digital Age." That is if you don't count the, as of yet unreleased, but sure to be a hit seller, "Worship Anthems in the Reggae Style" project which we of course already have in the can. (would you expect any less???)
Evening:Morning is something we are of course really excited about and have been eagerly anticipating since the infancy of our "new" band! It may sound trite, but this band is really just a new chapter for us in a much larger story. Our vision with the David Crowder*Band was simply to try to collect words and sounds for ourselves and our community to express our joy and hope and awe, and our love for our Creator who is greater than those words and sounds will ever express. As The Digital Age, we are really just continuing that same pursuit in a slightly different form.
We are still very grounded in our hometown of Waco, Texas and our home church continues to be our same beloved UBC (University Baptist Church), the same church that we poured into during the entirety of our career whilst in the DC*B. I really think most of the "reinvention" comes naturally as a result of each of us sort of being placed in new roles. We are still just making sounds that we enjoy listening to! One of the biggest things we have had to overcome has been the loss of a great deal of fantastic hair (both facial and super-cranial) with the departure of one David Crowder. Thank goodness our drummer, Bwack, has a gift of growing fabulous locks and beards of great wonder, so I think we may have a career ahead of us after all!
Wayne: Where did you guys come up with the concept of breaking the night up in to hours or blocks of time and creating the album to progress through the night?
Mike D: Well, we were brainstorming, and as happens more often than not, we were stuck. Mark had a brilliant idea that at first I wasn't too sure about. He said, "Hey! Mike D! We should just Google it." So…we turned to the interwebs and crafted a very intricate Google search query (not to be divulged here of course)! This search led us to one result…a cryptic page which said, "Concept album. EVENING:MORNING. Creation. Change. Resurrection. 7AM. 7PM. 12 songs." CRAZY, I know! The Googles are amazing.
Seriously though, as artists, sometimes you look back and just wonder, "How did that happen?" I think much of the concept arose early on in the formation of The Digital Age, from our journey as musicians and leaders of corporate worship. We really believe in what we do, and with the end of the DC*B, we were entering into a time that we were very excited about, but one that didn't hold the same guarantees. I think the songs just came out of that state of being…knowing that we were closing the curtain on a very successful band, where it had become no big deal to have a tour bus booked year-round, or pack out theaters and arenas, and leaving that behind and moving into uncharted territory.
So I think this album mirrors our journey nicely. As you said, the album is arranged in a temporal fashion. Each song correlates to an hour of time between 7:00 in the evening and 7:00 in the morning. We begin in a place where we can see clearly the steps ahead. As the album progresses, the light grows dim, and we can no longer see the ground beneath our feet. I think this is a universal feeling for all of us at some point or another in our lives - the loss of a loved one, or job, or friend, or even one's own health. We are in a way forced into faith. There is nothing to do but hold on and trust. With each step of this journey, we realize that the ground is there, that the footing is true. And sure enough, we emerge on the other side a new creation, where the birds are chirping again. "And there was evening. And there was morning."
Wayne: What are a few things that you are most excited about on this album? Is there a track or two that really stand out as a favorite for you?
Mike D: For it to be out in the wild! It is so hard for us to hold onto these things for any extended period of time without sharing them with everyone! The greatest reward, and the reason we do what we do, is to hear the stories of how our songs impacted lives. So we are really excited about that. As far as favorites, they say songs are like children, so naturally the first one (“Captured”) is our favorite.
Wayne: I’ve enjoyed following you guys on Twitter and watching your YouTube videos and recently decided to like your Facebook page as well. What are some of your favorite ways of using social media to connect with fans?
Mike D: Thanks for the like! Man, social media has totally changed the way we can interact with fans these days. It is so weird that we can just have a conversation with someone in say Brazil, or Ukraine, or Albuquerque. Social media is one of those things that we really cherish in light of what we do. Each of us is very engaged, and we are very intentional not to farm out any of the daily tasks of posting, following, commenting, liking our friends photos on Instagram, etc. If you got a like, or a follow, or a comment, or you see a post, you will know that it came from one of us personally. We love how close all of our neighbors have become in this age of the digits.
Wayne: You guys play multiple instruments. What advice would you give to younger musicians regarding learning multiple instruments compared to mastering one instrument first? How much of a role does learning music theory and such play in being able to play multiple instruments well?
Mike D: Warming up is key. You know that trick where you pat your head and rub your belly at the same time? You've got to start the morning off right. So have a stretch, then start the warm up. Pat your head for a few minutes, then work in a belly rub or two. If you want to be an expert, go ahead and hop on one foot while you're at it! Really, though…that's what it feels like sometimes!
I would really start with trying to increase your skill level on multiple instruments (voice included) separately, then from time to time try slowing down your parts and experimenting with them together. Eventually they all become like different parts of the same instrument. Music theory can be a great help. A few of us are very well versed in all of that stuff (Jack is a true master of all of the different modes and uses them often in his glorious guitar shredding moments) but it's nice on occasion to have an outside perspective. Bwack is kind of our secret weapon in this regard. We try to keep him far away from music theory paraphernalia, which affords us some genius moments in our music that no sane music theory buff would ever think of.
Wayne: If you had a couple minutes to sit down with a local church worship leader who was struggling with the grind of organizing and leading a worship team week in and week out, what would you want to make sure he knew?
Mike D: Wow. This is a tough one. Surprisingly, there is so much that we really don't know about this subject. The four of us have been playing music together for many years now, so we haven't really had to tackle the task of organizing a new group of musicians and getting everybody on the same page. The one thing that we have learned over the years is that people respect you for your honesty. You've just got to be yourself and not try to be somebody else. If you love making music, love your church, and feel called to do that sort of thing, just roll with it. Also, be persistent, and be okay with not being totally perfect. You will fail many times, but you will learn something from each misstep that will help you along the way. Along those same lines, be gracious to your bandmates, and they will surely show the same grace to you.
===Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
Subscribe to Our Mailing List
Subscribe to our mailing list for exclusive deals and news! You'll receive one email a week, with an occasional two a week. You may unsubscribe at any time.