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We caught up with chris llewellyn from rend collective
Can you tell us how all the members of Rend Collective got together?
We actually started off as a little bible study for just a few of our friends. We kind of discovered that the late teens, early 20s is this really pivotal, difficult phase for faith. The things we learn at youth group and Sunday school suddenly start to collide with real life as you start to go out into the real world and go to university or work force. So for us, we were hit by reality, coming into collision with the narrow and black & white things we’ve been taught in youth group. So Rend began almost as just a group of people trying to work out “hey, how do we follow Jesus in the real world, whenever we aren’t safe in church?”.
That was literally it, we played the acoustic guitar sometimes, or sometimes we just hit play on a Chris Tomlin CD and sung along. That was the extent of worship, it certainly wasn’t about a big show or anything like that. It was 50 people that gathered to pray and read scripture and to find out what Jesus is really calling us to do. Overtime that community became a place where we learnt so much about Jesus, where we began to develop and deep and richer
relationship with Him. It was natural for us to start writing songs out of that place. We made Eps that we gave out to our friends and we didn’t think much of it because if you do Christian music in Northern Ireland, it’s certainly not a career move. There isn’t an industry in Northern Islands for that. We were just content making music that we really loved. Then all of a sudden, the biggest worship leader on the planet, Chris Tomlin, invited us to go on his American tour. And we just knew that it must be God, because the degrees of separation, between us and Chris Tomlin were considerable. It’s kind of a miracle that he got to hear our Eps, most of them went to my mum. He invited us on tour in the States and it kind of spiralled. None of us were trying to do that, we were just trying to follow Jesus and we were happy to keep our part time jobs, so it’s been kind of amazing.
Speaking about ‘My Lighthouse’. Thinking back to when you wrote it. Did you know that you had written something very special?
Nope. Where not very good at working out what songs are going to connect with people and which ones aren’t. We thought it was really fun. We really liked the concept, we really liked the picture. We thought that it was something that people would be able to get their teeth into, in terms of it’s a good strong visual image of Jesus that isn’t kind of over done in the Christian world. Time and again we meet people who tell us that this song has been kind of their anchor in incredibly difficult seasons. People have lost children, and this has been the song to help their families to go through that kind of grief and struggle. That stuff is just crazy to me. It’s such as special honour to have God, I think to have miraculously, what is, I think a very simple pop song. But with His Holy Spirit on it, it can become something so much more than that, it can become hope and peace to people. And that’s what’s been really special about it. I guess we kind of wrote a cheerful pop song without thinking too much about it & for some people its kept them going and that’s really special.
A special thanks to Chris for taking the time to talk to us about Rend Collective’s new album and the faith journies behind their popular songs. We look forward to seeing you play live on the 18th March!