While it’s often been said that “change is good,” it can also be downright scary if we’re honest. And oftentimes, it’s in those uncertain moments, the ones where we’re the least sure of what exactly God has for us, that we inevitably draw closer to Him than ever before.
This revelation, the reality that change isn’t always easy, is something that the guys of Stellar Kart faced firsthand in 2009. Not only did they switch guitar players and record labels, but like so many of us in the wake of serious financial upheaval, the band wasn’t really sure what its next steps would be professionally. All the guys knew is that they still loved playing music, and that above all, they wanted God’s will, whatever that entailed.
Welcomed with open arms to INO Records, the band began working on a unique collection of vertically minded songs that continue in the pop/rock (with a splash of punk here and there) tradition of Stellar Kart’s past work. But instead of focusing on more relational matters, the band, which comprises frontman Adam Agee (vocals, guitar), Jordan Messer (drums), Brian Calcara (bass) and Jon Howard (guitar), has taken a decidedly worshipful turn, a nod to the band’s roots.
“We had performed at a camp earlier in the summer before recording, and we really discovered that we loved leading worship for youth again,” says Adam. “So we tried to find some of the songs that were our favorites and wrote a few new songs, too, and that eventually became Everything is Different Now.”
Produced by Dove Award-winning producer Ian Eskelin, Everything is Different Now lives up to its ambitious title in every way. Not only is the music catchy and progressive from a stylistic standpoint, but the songs’ positive, hopeful lyrics are perfect for what’s still a very uncertain time in our world’s history.
“Ultimately when we record a project, we want it to be encouraging and something that lifts people up,” shares Adam. “We want to make great music, no question about it. But there’s a lot of great music out there in the world, and at the same time, there’s a lot of lyrics that either don’t mean anything or are very detrimental to people listening. We want our music to be something that brings a smile to someone’s face when he/she is listening on the iPod. I hope it makes people feel better about themselves—and their lives.”
Given its decidedly call-to-action message and the way it really sums up what Stellar Kart is all about missionally, the album’s first single “We Shine” was really the ideal choice. “As a band, that’s exactly what we want to do in front of the adults, kids, anyone listening—shine,” says Agee. “We hope that everyone will shine his/her light and not be afraid or ashamed of what they believe.”
Keeping the praise-focused theme front and center for the album’s catchy opening track “All My Heart,” and later on with congregational-friendly “Rescue,” Adam also had an opportunity to write with a few of the guys from Hillsong United. “That was a huge deal for me because I grew up listening to them,” Adam says.”
Like previous efforts, Adam also collaborated with Ian on several tracks including the standout title track and the comforting strains of “It’s Not Over,” a poignant reminder to “leave what’s broken in the past/take my hand and understand/it’s not over.”
Adding texture and interest to what’s already a solid effort, covers of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,” Audio Adrenaline’s “Until My Heart Caves In” and Matt and Beth Redman’s anthem to God’s never-changing nature in an ever-changing world “You Never Let Go,” round out the project with style.
“With all of those songs, especially ‘Spirit in the Sky,’ we wanted to think about different ways of worshipping God, and not necessarily the same corporate songs we sing every Sunday,” Adam shares. “There are all kinds of songs from all walks of life that can be used for the same goal. And that’s how those songs fit well with the rest of the album.”
I LOVE SK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)| Posted January 18, 2011
Stellar Kart is my VERY FAVORITE BAND!!!!!!!! The guys are sssooo funny and their music is AWESOME!!!!!!!! I can't wait to see them in March!!!!
Lifting spirits| Posted January 17, 2011
I think you guys are a wonderful band :) We all go through pretty hard times, but I have found the music to really be uplifting for me. It helps bring a great realization, but at the same time has a real modern beat to the music :D