Talkin' With Relient K
By Jasmine McNealy
When you think of rock groups featured
on popular television shows like Smallville, video game platforms like the
Nintendo Game Cube and music channels like MTV 2, you think of bands with
incredible energy and charisma. Enter Relient K, whose first two releases have
sold more than 200,000 units worldwide and earned them a Billboard Music Award
Although their story starts out like
most rock bands, these Ohio teens never started out in search of the big bucks
or a major record deal.
“We never really tried to pursue a
career in music so to speak, we always were kind of playing around” said
Matt Thiessen, the group’s lead vocalist and guitarist.
“As soon as we got a drummer we wanted to start playing shows just to
have fun. We recorded a demo and
one of the owners of our record label heard us and liked it.”
This is not to say that Relient K’s
work ethic is lax in any way. When
it comes to their music, they are very focused.
“We’re just really passionate about
it”, stated Matt. “Even if I had opportunities to do other things, I’d
really just prefer to do music. Its
cool when you realize that the one thing that you really want to do is what
you get to do.”
Their love of music has made the band
indifferent to the labels that some people want to put on Christian bands,
especially given the mainstream success of their newest album, Two Lefts
Don’t Make A Right…But Three Do.
“Its always kind of a debate”
Thiessen explained. “Are you a Christian band or are you Christians in a
band? Call us whatever you want, we’re not really into labels.”
Along with other artists such as MercyMe,
POD, and Stacie Orrico, Relient K is making a name for themselves outside of
the Christian music arena. However, Matt is surprised that Relient K hasn’t
experienced the resistance that many Christian artists before them have faced
once they become successful outside the realm of Christian music.
“There’s no real resistance,
that’s one thing that has really surprised me. Other groups have paved the
way. Bands like POD and Switchfoot are getting signed by major
corporate labels and getting shoved into the spotlight. Its becoming more and
more accepted in Christian circles.”
Their ability to crossover into the
mainstream has allowed Relient K to reach more people.
Unlike their mainstream counterparts, this is how the members of
Relient K define success.
“A lot of times people misconstrue
[success] with how much money you make and what kind of job you’re going to
get. I think those things pale compared to other stuff. I think [success] is
when you get an e-mail or you talk to someone and you find out that your music
has changed someone or impacted them in a really serious way. All the success
that the world could give you doesn’t matter compared to one person’s life
In fact, Matt advises teens to think
about life's big picture when trying to achieve goals and remember what’s
really important in life.
“Its really important to get the priorities straight early in life. You’ve got to get your faith in order and what you believe in and work at it. Make sure the relationships around you are strong and healthy especially with your family and friends. Those are the big things.”
For a review of
Relient K's new album, click here