Rend Collective Experiment
Life is an experiment, and we’re thrilled to be part of the journey. – Gareth Gilkeson
In a culture where people typically have more friends on Facebook than meaningful connections in their living, breathing everyday existence, the yearning for authenticity, particularly on the complex journey of faith, has probably never been greater.
And that inherent desire for something spiritually substantive in our increasingly artificial world is exactly what brought a movement of friends together known as Rend Collective Experiment. United by a common purpose, these twentysomethings hailing from Northern Ireland began exploring the intersection between God, life and community.
Rather than sharing what they learned along the way in lofty sermons and heady theological books, however, the group found its unique voice through the universal beauty of musical collaboration. And that unfussy, unforced approach to making art that resonates with the masses is what inevitably shines bright on the band’s highly anticipated Stateside debut, Organic Family Hymnal.
Since the band has always played its music in organic environments like the local pubs, the title Organic Family Hymnal just made sense for Rend Collective Experiment’s official introduction.
“Everything we do is growing in a natural, non-manufactured environment,” band leader Gareth Gilkeson shares. “Rend was a student movement representing numerous churches, and the ‘collective’ grew out of that. The songs came from an organic environment, searching after the heart of God. We wanted to reflect what God was doing and teaching us, and offer that up for the rest of the world to hear.”
As for the group’s unusual moniker, Rend Collective Experiment is a nod to the places in Scripture where it says to “rend your hearts” and not your garments,” a bold call to be genuine.
“Those passages are a reminder not to put on a show, but to be real and authentic in all we do,” Gareth explains. “In Isaiah it also says ‘rend the heavens and come down,’ so a connection with God warrants an authentic response. And the ‘experiment’ part is there because nobody knows where we’re at really, do we? We’re all just experimenting with life and going with it.”
When it’s all said and done, Gareth simply hopes that people would appreciate the group’s bond that comes through their music.
“There’s already enough albums in the world, and we’re not interested in simply making CDs for music’s sake,” Gareth shares. “We’re trying to create songs that speak from our heart and line up with God’s heart for His people.”
However, the music the Rend Collective Experiment is serving up isn’t just congregational worship as usual.
On Organic Family Hymnal, the authentic lyrics on songs like “You Bled,” “Come On” and “Faithful,” a collaboration with another artist who’s known for being out of the box, David Crowder, are paired with an innovative array of sweeping modern rock textures that can’t help but make listeners feel something special when tuning in.
“Rend Collective Experiment is special,” relays Crowder. “I don’t intend a clichéd usage of the word ‘special,’ but my hope is for the word to be fully vested with meaning, as in: Rend Collective Experiment is better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. And when I say this, I don’t intend to reference the music, solely. It is immediately apparent that the music is simply an extension of an approach to life and faith that is equally notable; the music and life functioning in a symbiotic way, each feeding and sustaining the other. When given the opportunity to participate in such a thing, I was honored and humbled.”
Often described as the freshest—and most exciting sound—in worship since Delirious? hit the scene in the early ‘90s, what also separates the Rend Collective Experiment from the pack is how the lineup shifts and expands from gig to gig.
“The Rend Collective Experiment came together as a few friends and we started praying and seeking God. We wanted an authentic outworking of our faith and felt that we would just see what happened,” Gareth shares. “Before we knew it, people just started gathering around us and we had more than 100 people involved, musicians and artists, bank workers and teachers, and together we tried to figure out our faith.”
As far as how many musicians participate in the group, well, that simply depends on the night.
“There's probably about 15 of us who are in the collective. Chris Llewellyn, Will Herron, Patrick Thompson and I are there all the time. We write the songs and work together like an immediate family,” Gareth shares. “We don’t have a lead singer, but Will and Chris both jointly take that role to add to the collective heart. And then there’s the rest of our family that varies in size. Why things are structured so differently is because we don’t believe that Christian music and worship music should be about individuals. It’s about a body and a movement of people, and that's what we capture and bring to the rest of the world. It’s a diverse group of people on a journey."
For more information on Rend Collective Experiment, please visit www.rendcollectiveexperiment.com.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT REND COLLECTIVE EXPERIMENT:
“Movements are stimulated and motivated by music, and here’s some music that will motivate Christians to participate in God’s revolution in the world. If you are committed to seeing something of the Kingdom of God made real in our world, this music will go a long way to encourage you,” says well-known author/speaker Dr. Tony Campolo regarding Rend Collective Experiment.
“I LOVE their music, but I was even more impressed with their passion for Christ,” says Francis Chan. “It’s nice to see a talented young band that desires Jesus far more than they desire fame, money or anything else
“This is the freshest and most exciting sound in worship probably since Delirious? kicked in!” exclaims Adrian Thompson, Kingsway A&R. “Rend Collective Experiment are precisely at the point where today’s music culture meets worship – I suppose the musical equivalent of what people like Rob Bell and Francis Chan are trying to do with Church…I can’t wait for people to hear this album.”
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