Pillar's latest album One Love Revolution is dropping next week, and BREATHEcast had the opportunity to chat with vocalist Rob Beckley. In part two of this interview with the frontman we discuss Pillar's anthem songs, music as an evangelism tool, and the message of the new album. (Part 1).
One of the things Pillar is known for is their ability to create songs that are surefire anthems. "We've kind of always had this in your face, the music is aggressive but lyrically is just like anthemic stuff. Like 'Embrace the Chaos', 'We Ride', 'Nails' - these songs are all anthemic in nature. The tone in the songs work with the lyrics. It is very intentional going in," said Beckley.
Some examples of their huge arena shouting anthems are "Fireproof," "Frontline," and "Bring Me Down."
Pillar has also always been a band that is not afraid of addressing their faith within the music. Even as the band reached mainstream success, the topics of the music never wavered from encouraging fellow Christians or providing hope for people who do not believe.
Rock music seems to have this innate way to cross boundaries in terms of who will listen to it. For someone who does not identify as a Christian, they may be drawn to the music because of the heaviness and even the genre. These people may not necessarily be able to relate to worship because it is a form of music that is specifically geared toward praising God.
"It's definitely a very touchy topic because if you say it's a more powerful tool than worship...it's just a different tool," shared Beckley. "Over the years I've learned worship music is just as powerful as far as reaching people because there's no greater witness than seeing someone who is a believer worshipping God."
He continued, "Paul talks about going into the world and reaching people for Christ. Rock music is a just a tool to reach people that maybe worship music isn't reaching, or to reach people that say the Gaither Vocal Band isn't reaching. Music in general is a very powerful tool, and it is an evangelical tool when that's the purpose of it. Music in it's soul, at the core, it's an emotional and spiritual stirring tool."
It is no different in One Love Revolution. Rob knows the purpose of the record, and this "purpose" is what keeps Pillar moving on, it's their calling.
"The real intent of the record is to inspire people that know Christ to be more in love with Him and inspire people that do not want anything to do with God to at least take a second to inspire them to a conversation at least" the vocalist revealed.
Most importantly his hope is to inspire others to start a relationship with Christ.
"The One Love Revolution banner if you will, think about the American flag. You think back to September 11th, the American flag stirred all those iconic pictures of the flag sticking in the rubble. It brought up the emotions of the American people that this is something worth fighting for and to talk about."
Pillar wants the focus to be on the unity of people, and used an Old Testament example to express his point.
He said Moses was known for having a staff that he carried as kind of "a banner, an icon." Moses would stand at the top of the mountain and hold it up during a battle and the people would fight hard and keep winning. When his arms began to weaken and the staff lowered, people would run over and support his arms. That help in raising the banner would make the army start to fight hard again.
"Think of the banner being love, not this accepting type of love, this action type of love," said Beckley. "If God is love and we are to fight on His behalf, it's fighting with love."
Another example Rob gave was online activity and everyone's new found ability to have an opinion. He said sometimes saying nothing on Facebook is the most powerful thing you can do because you're not actually saying anything. The song "Disconnect" on the album is about just that, being disconnected from social media.
"There's so much that goes into this entire fight with love, the song is a big banner, let love win," Beckley said. "The whole heart behind that is what Jesus did for us on the cross is the ultimate act of love, dying for our sins, for people to be able to speak, to take a stand and say, 'This is the God I serve and I'm gonna love Him no matter what' and sometimes love means having a very difficult conversation as a dad with five kids, I can appreciate that."
One Love Revolution comes out in Lifeway stores on August 18 and can be purchased on digital distributors on August 21.
Be sure to read part one with Rob Beckley where he talks more about the album, some of the challenges in being independent, and the band's rap/rock roots.