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Interview with The Gray Havens

Interview with The Gray Havens

By Admin on February 22, 2015

We recently had the opportunity to interview husband and wife folk-pop duo, Dave and Licia Radford, The Gray Havens.

All About Worship: First of all, could you share how you guys met?

The Gray Havens: We actually met in British Columbia on a missions trip through our home church in Chicagoland. I had just graduated college and signed up to go last minute. In truth I don't remember the first time Licia and I met, but I do know I kept asking people how to pronounce her name (which is Lee-sha, not Alicia). A couple months after the trip I asked her out, and the rest is history!

AAW: How did you come up with the name: The Gray Havens?

TGH: We kickstarted our first EP in 2012 and desperately needed a band name when it came time to print the CD's. We didn't like any of our ideas, so we asked our "backers" for help, and one of the names we got back was "The Gray Havens." We liked it a lot, so we went with it.

AAW: You just released your first full-length album, Fire and Stone. Congrats! I love the songs! As independent artists, what was the process of working on this project like? What challenges did you face?

TGH: Thanks! Every project is different, and it usually comes down to what kind of producer you're working with. We partnered with Mitch Dane, and he was definitely a great fit for us. We did a few days of "pre-production" first. This means playing through the song, making tweaks and changes (some minor, some major), which was painful to do at times, and then we record a rough (or "scratch") version of the song. Then we bring in the studio musicians to play over the scratch track and then Licia and I sing the final vocals.

That's the basic gist. The biggest challenge was trusting Mitch's instinct and experience with some of the changes he wanted to make. When musicians (or anyone) hears something a certain way over and over for a long time, the idea of changing can be incredibly hard. Mitch calls it "demo love." We definitely had some of those moments, but we were glad of the changes in the end.

AAW: One of the songs on the album is called “The Stone,” which is featured on the All About Worship Collective 11. The song and the chord chart are available for free, for a limited time. (Click Here to download it.) Tell us the story behind that song.

TGH: Sure. It's a song about the resurrection and its implications for believers. The song begins with "the stone" being rolled away from Christ's tomb. The stone that, in a way, was the very first “witness” to his resurrection. Then came the words (over the course of weeks),

The stone heard inside

The first breath of life

It rolled as it shook

By the ground where they stood

Where the angels stood by

Oh the sight

As I continued writing, I thought of another kind of stone the Bible speaks of.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Man’s heart is by nature like a stone; but God, through His grace, removes the stony heart and gives a heart of flesh.” This idea turned into the words:

We were far, yet

We were taken from the dark, yes

Turned from stone to flesh, new hearts, yes

Curse is broken

AAW: Who/what inspires you in your songwriting?

TGH: As weird as it sounds, the music drives the bulk of the inspiration. I usually write a chord progression and a rough melody. This part of the process is farily quick. The rest of the time is spent teasing out imagery that comes to mind and trying to find a clear lyrical direction for the song. The imagery usually is inspired by something I happen to be reading at the moment. Word flow plays a huge part as well.

AAW: There are a lot of artists and bands out there. What would you say sets you apart?

TGH: That's a dangerous question! Hmmm... perhaps the "narrative" form that our lyrics take in much of the songwriting.

AAW: If you could share an encouragement with other independent songwriters, what would that be?

TGH: First, put the time into honing your craft. Read a lot of books, listen to a lot of music, and write as much as you can (with as much excellence as you can!). Second, don't try to do it by yourself. Find the right people and ask for help in reaching your goals. Lastly, be professional. Always answer your emails! :)

AAW: What are the best ways for our readers to connect with you?

TGH: Our handle on instagram, twitter, facebook, and youtube is "GrayHavensMusic." You can also visit our website at www.thegrayhavensmusic.com.

Disclosure: The iTunes widget above is a part of an affiliate program. If you purchase the album through the widget, a small percentage of the sale will benefit All About Worship.

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