Alive With Worship Remix #1: Chris Howland
6 minutes minute read
We're so excited to share the first official Alive With Worship remix with you!
We love the music that American producer Chris Howland makes and wanted to hear him apply his tasty touch to our very own Alive With Worship so we asked him to remix it for us! We're excited to share it with you and we know that you'll love it just as much as we do!
To release this remix, we've teamed up with The Good Christian Music Blog - a YouTube channel dedicated to sharing great Christian music of all genres. Having previously shared Chris Howland's music (among many others), their channel has established itself as an excellent resource that's always sharing new and exciting music from artists around the globe and is the perfect place for us to launch this set of remixes we have to share!
You can also find the remix on our SoundCloud page, where we suggest you hit follow to ensure you hear the other remixes coming soon!
Our interview with Chris Howland:
In 5 words or less, how would you describe your sound?
Melodic, emotive, clean, chill, smooth.
You’ve been making music for a number of years, what would say are your greatest highlights (This can be moments, events or specific songs)?
I have 2 original songs called "Let You Go" and "Faithful" that are both like trophies for me. Between writing lyrics, locating vocalists, recording, getting the music to sound right, and doing the mix and master, they just took so long to finish. So when they were finally done it felt very satisfying. The lyrics for both were very personal and real for me. I poured my heart out, so these songs felt like so much more to me than just some cool sounding music. They were kind of a snapshot of my life and what I was feeling at the time.
When you’re remixing a song like this, how do you approach it? Do you have a specific sound in mind before you even reach for the music equipment?
A lot of the time I do have a general feel for what sort of direction I think I'll go based on the first few times that I listen through the original song. With this remix it was almost immediately apparent that I wanted to play off of the happy vibe of the original and take it down the tropical/melodic house route. I like to choose a genre that feels like it would sound very natural. For instance, if a song has a very slow, serious vocal, then a big electro house remix isn't going to sound very natural. Vocals definitely play the biggest role in setting the mood for the song, so I'll just solo the vocals and begin to sketch down some chords. Once the chords feel good, it's straight into browsing for the right sounds. That's the part that I feel like is the most important after the chord selection... just good sound selections with your synths. Once I find two or three satisfying synth patches that give me a nice bed of sound, the rest of the song kind of makes itself. It really all rests so much on being inspired by that initial foundation of synth choices.
What would your advice be to someone who is new to producing and wanting to make music like this?
Reference tracks! Find 2-3 songs that you really connect with and love and just listen to them with a very critical ear. Pick the songs apart and hone in on all the different individual sounds that are happening in the arrangement. This has helped me so much. Critically listening to music can be extremely educational. I learn so much from listening to other people's music. There's about a million other pieces of advice that I can think of, but for the sake of being brief I'll just say that YouTube is almost as powerful as attending a music school if you'll put in the hours to find good tutorials and digest them.
Do you think you’ll ever make it to the UK to DJ/perform?
I haven't DJ'd in years to be honest! I played a few gigs when I was younger, but I feel so much more at home in a mellow studio environment than in front of a crowd. If God really leads in that direction then maybe someday I'll return to DJ'ing, but I think the studio is my home for now.
I’ve heard you’ve got some big plans for 2016 what can we expect to hear from you over the coming months?
I've been working a lot with a studio/production team from Brooklyn NY called JahRockn. They focus almost entirely on working with Christian artists, mostly in hip-hop. I've got a handful of songs I'm producing for Christian rappers, so that's been a very exciting and new direction for me musically. It's changing my tastes a lot. It's likely that I'll be putting out my own small EP of instrumentals with more of a chill trap, rnb, future bass sort of vibe so that people can get more acquainted with that side of my sound. It'll be interesting to see how people react to it.
What do you think the future holds for music like this within Church?
So before I answer this, let me just go on record and say that I absolutely love hymns. I adore the theologically rich words. I marvel at the way I can sing songs that generations of saints before me were singing, even as far back as 100-200 years ago! But as much as I love traditional worship music, it's not always what I want to blast in my car when I'm driving with the windows down on a summer day. I believe that's the role that this sort of music plays for the people of the Church. It's music they can bump in their car, while they workout, or while they have friends over for a barbecue. It's music that promotes a God-honoring worldview, but does so in a way that doesn't necessarily involve acoustic guitars and soft pianos. The church houses a great number of people, and among those people there's a very wide spectrum of musical tastes which are represented. I think it's good when Christian artists acknowledge that diversity and set out to make music that can be enjoyed in an environment other than the Sunday morning worship service.
And lastly, if people want more of your music, where should they head?