Hot on the back of our NEEDTOBREATHE album review, GIGsoup spoke to the band about the release, Grammy nominations and Taylor Swift tours…

As an ensemble your sound has almost been pigeonholed as ‘Christian Rock’. Do you think this is fair to your sound, or would you rather Needtobreathe was acknowledged for their more nuanced sounds? 

We just want to make music for anybody that will listen. We may be the only four guys in the world who don’t think we are a Christian band, and we’re okay with that.

For your album ‘H A R D L O V E’ you collaborated with the husband and wife folk duo Shovels and Rope for the track ‘Great Night’. Can you describe your working relationship with S&R, and how you met, and are there any other bands or artists you’d consider working with for future releases? 

We’ve been friends with Michael and Carrie Ann from Shovels & Rope for a few years now. We both live in Charleston, SC and we are massive fans of theirs. It’s always fun to collaborate with people you love so working together on “GREAT NIGHT” was a blast.  As far as who else we’d like to work with, maybe someone totally left field from us like Selena Gomez or something.

Your previous album ‘Rivers in the Wasteland’, received fantastic reviews from almost every media outlet going. Did you feel any pressures or uncertainty to continue your success as you returned to the studio for ‘H A R D L O V E’? 

I think you always feel a little pressure whenever you head back into the studio. We went through a rough time as a band while making the last record. It almost broke up the band. After figuring some things out, we came back together more inspired than ever. We were excited to make music together again and I think you can hear that in the songs.

You have also started to experiment with synths and electronic ideas, which seamlessly blend in with your rooted rock sound. What helped you as a band to push through the unfamiliar practices and challenges with learning a new style to help aide your music? 

It was time for us to step out into uncharted waters and try something new.  We wanted to challenge ourselves more than ever before. Creativity deserves a fresh canvas.

It was almost seven years ago that you toured with Taylor Swift, performing as her opening act for her Speak Now World Tour. How did this experience help you reflect on your music, and could you imagine an opportunity like that happening when you first started with ‘The Feature’ ten years prior? 

We’ve come a long way since then.  Looking back, we were still trying to figure things out as a band and keep our head above water. We had never played to crowds that large so we definitely learned a lot opening up for her. It’s crazy that that tour was almost seven years ago.

NEEDTOBREATH were nominated for a Grammy Award in 2015. Do you think accolades and awards are still relevant for bands (such as yourselves) that have already made an incredible impact on their listeners and the music scene around them? 

We don’t pay too much attention to those kinds of things. It’s an honor to be recognized for the thing you love, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t change how or why we do what we do.  It can open up other doors, for sure, and we’ll continue to walk through those doors whether or not we end up having trophies on our mantles or not. We just keep our nose to the grind, making the music we want to make.  We’re proud of that.

This NEEDTOBREATHE article was written by Sarah Ebockayuk, a GIGsoup contributor


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