Joel Auge Interview with All About Worship
Here's a special interview we did with Integrity Music artist Joel Auge.
Q: Your first for Integrity, "On the Blue", was inspired by your wife and explored what you've termed as "Godly romance" . What inspires "Invisible Things" and what message are you hoping the listener will take away?
A: The whole album explores the idea of the power, presence and potential of invisible things. Faith is invisible, but undeniable... especially when you've spent a long time trusting someone. There's no need to question them after they've been there for you over and over again. You can just believe in them. Hope is invisible, but drives us to persevere when we've lost it all. Love is invisible, but nobody would deny it's existence. And although many people question God's existence, these three things help us perceive His interest in us. He is passionate about us - and shows us by using many very real invisible things. The universe is personal - and Jesus is the person behind it all. That's what I wanted to convey.
Q: Your style of art-rock isn't commonly found in today's worship music. How do you see it fitting in with corporate worship? Which songs from "Invisible Things" have had the most impact on your congregation at The Meeting House?
A: This last year has been a time of deep transition for the music at the Meetinghouse. Sadly, I haven't been able to use any of my songs there yet... but plan to in the not-so-distant future, once we've nailed down how to best navigate our new musical waters :)
Q: The production on "Invisible Things" is striking. In particular, the middle third of the album is reminiscent (at least to this listener) of Fleetwood Mac circa "Tusk", produced by Lindsay Buckingham. Tell us about your production team.How did you select them for this project? How much influence did they have on the "feel" of the album?
A: I was in the middle of selecting a big L.A. Producer (who I love, and shall remain nameless) for this project when I stumbled upon a new artist/producer "Alexander Fairchild" and his first project. I have to use quotes because "Alexander Fairchild" is Nathan Finochio's pseudonym. Nathan, and David Kuwabara our engineering producer, have been toiling away in their own little studio at Koinonia Christian Fellowship, in Bloomingdale Ontario for several years together. They've been honing their craft every night in secret. :) Upon hearing Nathan's record, I immediately fell in love with the raw style and musicality of their stuff. They also allowed for a lot of noise to stay on the project. I love noise. I love hearing the room and the air between the instruments and the microphones.
It turned out, they were local and this was smack dab at the end of Michelle's pregnancy. I'm first a husband and this was our first baby - so I wanted to stick around for that. I'm sure everyone understands :) As it turns out, God was giving me a special gift by building this amazing relationship with Nathan and David right near my home. I went into the studio and immediately knew we could do something amazing together. We approached the project with this vision: "If we couldn't record the instrument in one whole pass for the whole song, it shouldn't be there. We want performances, not necessarily perfection." We didn't use any auto-tune on the lead-vocals and I forced myself to sing whole passes of the songs and then pick the pass we liked the most. The whole thing has this organic feel. I'm really quite happy with the outcome. Here's another reason it was amazing: Nathan is a killer multi-instrumentalist.
If you open the album credits you'll see that his skills are ALL OVER this record, and David is always recording-ready. It made the demoing process incredibly quick. Nathan knows what he just played on the drums when he picks up the bass, and then the guitar, and then the piano... so it's like there's a whole band in his head - and he knows all of their parts perfectly when he's playing... because he IS the whole band. He's a stunning talent. But stunning talent is only as good as the way it's captured... and that's where Dave comes in. A true audiophile, Dave is committed to capturing audio in its purest form. In fact, we recorded nearly everything in the console room - where all the instruments are setup. No vocal booth, or drum room. Just... one room... with everything in it. It was awesome. There was no conscious effort to have "a sound"... although I appreciate the Fleetwood Mac comparison... I grew up listening to FM with my brothers and sisters.
Q: Much as with secular music, Canadian artists frequently take a backseat to their American counterparts. Do you find there is a challenge in reaching across the borders and getting the attention of American worship leaders?
A: I try not to pay attention to divides. :) Although I guess a border is a real, yet invisible thing. (Ha! - Stupid joke... sorry). Not to be contrarian, but I have to disagree. If you look at the spectrum of Canadian artists who are superstars in the U.S., there's a deep history of Canadian success in the U.S. music (and broader entertainment) industry. (To clarify, I'm not interested in being a superstar - believe me). Canada has 1/10 the population of our friends to the south, but Canada as a whole produces a ton of great artists. In the realm of worship music it's no different. Brian Doerksen, David Ruis, Starfield, Paul Baloche (who is born of Canadian parents - he just HAPPENED to be in the U.S. when it happened ;), Chris Tomlin (okay... Chris isn't even remotely close to being Canadian, but the thousands of people who follow articles on Chris will read this article just to find out why he was mentioned, and then they'll learn that he's not Canadian at all - useful info to be certain). There is no backseat. I like to think we're both drivers in a race to have people experience God... The American car is just bigger. Isn't it always? ;)
Q: What Canadian artists have been influential to you? What other Canadian artists should we be aware of including other worship leaders? Who's flying under the radar?
A: Nathan, for one, is coming out with a worship record written and performed with his brother. They're both amazing. Look out for it.
Q: Many worship leaders have other full-time commitments and lead worship as volunteers. You are managing fatherhood, running a software company, leading worship, writing music, and promoting a new album. How do you do it and what advice would you give those volunteer worship leaders in terms of balancing priorities?
A: God is gracious... and I have a patient wife. If I'm honest - it's not easy. I find it hard to balance them all. I try to live one day at a time. I commit to doing what I'm currently doing at the very highest capacity possible. I surround myself with amazing people who are better at what they do than I am at what I do. People who are good at what they do are usually highly productive.
Q: A question we ask at the end of every interview...share with us your most embarrassing moment while leading worship.
A: This could be any number of different situations.... but if I had to pick one... I'd say it was a time, early on when I was leading worship with Capstone (my first worship band after becoming a Christ-follower), where I was jumping around the stage - quite actively - and giving it my all - when under the full force of one of my bellows, the button of my pants popped off! The crazy thing was... I noticed quite quickly (before my pants fell off) and somehow finished the song while holding onto my pants with the bottom of my guitar. After the song I transitioned to a song where Brad would play an instrumental piano piece while I figured things out. A shoe-string later and I was up and running again. Improvising is key. :)
A special thanks to Joel for taking the time out of his busy schedule for this interview. You can check out our review of his latest album here.Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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