MercyMe will be at Gateway Ministries in Williamsport at 7 p.m. tonight. The Christian rock band recently released a new album “Welcome to the New,” with many songs inspired by their “new” understanding of God’s grace. A portion of this email interview was printed in today’s edition of 72 Hours: The FNP Weekender . The full interview, with responses from Nathan Cochran of MercyMe, is below.
SG: Hi MercyMe!
Awesome album! I picked up a copy of “Welcome to the New” last week and listened to it on a weekend road trip. I won’t ask which song is your “favorite,” (I’ve been told by other songwriters that it’s like picking which of your children is your favorite!) but will tell you that “Greater” is one of my favorites. Very joyful and makes me want to dance around, which is not recommended when driving through “the mixing bowl” of No.Va. and D.C.!
SG: God’s grace “can take your sin and free ya” is a recurring message in songs on this album. Christ alone, not Christ plus something else. Was this an intentional theme/message for this album or just the way it happened (providential maybe)?
MM: It was intentional. We certainly went through a process of deciding where we were and how that would translate into the music we were making, but this message about identity- who we are because of the cross- is what we are consumed with. So yeah, every song is about that in one way or another.
SG: These songs are upbeat and uplifting. Tell me the back stories of a couple of the songs. Title track “Welcome to the New” and “Wishful Thinking.”
MM: “WTTN” is all about introducing what for us is a new life. Not just a new season but a new way of living.
“Wishful Thinking” is about us realizing that some of the songs we have written in the past were just that…Wishful Thinking. But now we understand that the Gospel is better than we thought.
SG: MercyMe has been together 20 years (right?).
MM: Yes this year is 20 years.
SG: How did you get together? Has Christian rock music always been your focus? Tell me in a couple of words what each of you brings to the band (besides the instrument you play).
MM: We met while working in different ministries doing missions work. We have always been a band out of the church and still continue to write and sing about our faith.
Mike, vocalized thoughts
SG: “Shake” is the first single from “Welcome to the New.” Why that song?
MM: It was the perfect way to introduce a new sound and attitude if you will. It is a fun song and we make no excuses for simply wanting to have fun.
SG: What’s most rewarding about what you do? What are your toughest challenges?
MM: Knowing that our songs are having an impact on people in a positive way is why we do this. Being away from our families is still the hardest part about what we do. But in the ‘new’ for us is actually traveling less. We want to be present husbands and fathers.
SG: What’s a MercyMe concert like? Will your Williamsport show on May 8 be an acoustic set or full band?
MM: We will be bringing everything we can to make it a great show. Hopefully presenting the entire new record in the best way possible as well as doing older favorites. It has been a great tour so far.