Bit of an exclusive for you here on All4God – we recently did an interview with Chris Lockwood (guitar/background vocals) from 33Miles about the band, some of their songs and their new album One Life (released Tuesday 16th September).
(from L-R 33Miles are: Collin Stoddard, Jason Barton, and Chris Lockwood)
1. First off, for people who don’t know, who are 33Miles, where do you come from, and how did you get together?
Jason was doing some fill in work with another group, but was praying and dreaming about the idea of a group that’s very vocal but band driven as well. One of the guys from that group suggested that Jason meet me as a possible member. So Jason and I met, hit it off, and a couple of months later finished a demo. Collin came on board not long after that. 6-7 months later we were signing a deal with INO records. It happened much faster than I ever expected it to. The group is based out Nashville, TN.
2.Where did the name 33Miles come from?
33Miles is the 33 years that Jesus lived, and the miles represent the journey and the legacy of His life. We translate years into miles to show how he walked out every mile of His life in total obedience to the Father, and in turn challenge ourselves and the body of believers to do as He has done.
3. On your first album one of the songs is called “There is a God” – how can teens going in to school, facing challenges daily to their faith keep firm in the belief that there is a God, and answer critics who say there isn’t?
Know your Bible. Carry it with you everywhere you go. That’s my encouragement. Faith is not easy to explain to the mind that exists off of common sense, but that will not matter if we know our Bible, and more importantly, live out the word of God. People are inspired by something that is “real”. Show real faith… stick with Christ no matter what you go through. Love when you are hated. Honor the Lord above all things, no matter the cost. Faith and life that is grounded and devoted to Christ, whatever the circumstance, will get people’s attention and will have critics turning into believers
4.On your song ‘What could be better’ you sing “I’m living in the days ahead” – to what extent do you feel we need to live in the days ahead, and to what extent should we remain rooted in the present?
We can’t ignore that we live in the “world”, and that we have responsibilities to fulfill while we are here. However… I honestly believe that everything we do, dream, think, say, how we respond, what we desire… everything should be eternally driven and rooted in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It’s not easy because it requires us exercising faith, however we can NEVER be TOO close or TOO devoted to Jesus Christ. If our devotion to Christ means us being condemned and beaten at the end of everyday… then take every condemnation and beating with a smile. I’ve begun to look at my life over the last couple of years from a more eternal perspective. Live EVERYDAY with an eternal perspective because everything about this world will come to an end one day, but those who trusted and followed Jesus Christ will live forever. It is our duty and call to glory in the living God through Christ Jesus. If our roots our buried into this world at all… we will sadly be disappointed.
5. What has been the inspiration behind this new album One Life?
Our inspiration, as always, is the Lord Jesus Christ. We just wanted to have songs that continue to feed the church and inspire people to live life to the fullest in Christ. “Apologize” talks about swallowing our pride and forgiving one another, “My Offering” is encouraging because it reminds us how the sovereign God takes the good AND the bad things of our lives and uses them for His glory, “Gone” helps us to let go of the old dead man of the flesh and live in the new life of Christ, “One LIfe” encourages us to make the most of loving in this one life that we have today… it’s our one shot. There’s so many songs that we excited about seeing God use in the life of the church, but we are only inspired by the glorious message of Jesus Christ.
6. How do you go about writing your songs? Is it a whole band process or is it more of an individual thing? Where do the song ideas come from?
Nashville is full of GREAT songwriters, so we are always happy to have songs from others come to the pot. We love to write individually and as a group, but we believe that the best song wins…. our song or not. There’s a lot of times that we get songs from other writers that say what we wanted to say, but they just say it MUCH better than we could’ve ever said it. “One Life” was that song for us.
7. What do you feel is the most important message for people to get out of your songs?
Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.
8. Have you any advice for people who are musically gifted, maybe thinking about starting their own band, and want to use their talents for God?
Practice, practice, practice. Be open to God and what He wants to do THROUGH you and not what YOU want to do for God. What God does through us holds so much more value than anything we could do for Him. 33Miles is a group that was started and led by the Lord. I have no other explanation. I wanted to go get my masters degree in jazz studies… God had other plans. I only pray that He stays in control and has His way. But… if you are a musician and see God’s hand on your life and Him using you in that way, shape, or form… practice and be open to the Lord. He knows more about what He wants to do with your gifts than you do. And… there’s not a better way than the other, so always be encouraged and thankful that God would use you, whatever the vocation. Church, band, janitor… who cares. It is an honor to serve the Lord.
9. Finally, beyond the new album, what does the future hold for 33Miles?
God willing… more albums, dates, and exciting changes in the lives of people. Other than that… I know heaven is just up ahead, so we’ll be looking for that in the mean time.
You can get the new 33Miles album One life from Amazon or CrossRhythms (UK). It should also be available through iTunes and other legal download services from Tuesday 16th.