Through grace: an interview with Christian hardcore act SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE

Formed in the winter of 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio, SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE came together with one vision, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With religious texts in the very centre of their lyrical sphere, these guys have decided to put a strong emphasis on worship and pack it up with some sick, passionate, powerful melodies that we’ll keep you going. Hyping the record for months, these guys have signed with California label On The Attack and are on the very right track to spread their wings and let the world know about their punchy, out-of-the-box tunes that I thoroughly and honestly dig. I sat down with SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE to learn more about their approach to faith, its role towards the band, their local hardcore scene and a lot more. See the full interview below and stay tuned for their new album, coming later this year!

Catch the band’s debut album “With Eyes and Ears to See and Hear” directly from the band, via iTunes, AmazonMP3, and through the official OnTheAttack store.

Hey guys! Congratulations on your signing with OnTheAttack! Please tell us a bit how you guys teamed up and what does it mean for the band?

When we started this band six years ago I think we all would have liked to imagine ourselves being a signed band, however, we never made that goal our main priority. Instead, we focused on writing original music, being passionate on stage, and presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So when OnTheAttack hit us up and shared their heart and what they wanted to do with us, we couldn’t have turned it down. Not only do we have a much further reach now, but all of the proceeds from our album go directly to support a missionary family in Costa Rica. It was definitely a win/win for everyone.

Would you mind introducing yourself and explain how you fit into your local scene?

We are SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE from Cincinnati, OH. Joshua Simmons is the vocalist, Josh Summerville plays guitar, Jeremiah Medley plays bass, and Adam Simmons plays the drums. All of us fit into our local scene a little differently, actually. For the last 10 years or so, the majority of us have been involved with a variety of different genres and bands. Although, the local scene here in Cincinnati is not very active anymore, it’s those past experiences that enable us to reach a much more diverse audience, and not just specifically the punk/hardcore scene.

Who were your biggest musical influences growing up and how has your interests evolved over the years?

Oh man, such a good but loaded question. Every single one of us grew up listening to a huge variety of music. That’s still the case today too. Everything from hip-hop and classical, to hardcore and worship. We believe that it’s imperative for today’s artists to have some understanding of different genres and backgrounds of music in order to keep things new and fresh. We’re definitely influenced by bands such as ADVENT, NORMA JEAN, SLEEPING GIANT, THRICE, and VENIA, just to a name a few.

Have you guys been in other bands prior to this project? Were they Christian lyrically?

We have all been in multiple bands before but nothing like this. Before SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE happened, many of the bands we were playing in had similar messages but generally it was all about having fun and seeing how big you could get a mosh pit in a basement. Fast forward several years and what you’ll see now is a likeminded group of guys who see the brokenness and hatred in the hardcore community and who want to do something about it. We want to love others as Jesus loves all of us and that love is unconditional and unbiased.


Are there any divisions between Christian hardcore and metal bands and the rest of “the scene” in your area? Are religious bands somehow bridging the inevitable divide between secular and Christian cultures?

In complete honesty, we don’t necessarily believe that there will ever be a permanent bridge between the gap of Christian and secular cultures/bands. Now, in some ways, we have definitely seen it temporarily but it depends on the situation. We play with dozens of bands that don’t believe as we do but we all have a genuine respect for what each other does musically. So, in a sense, we “infiltrate” the secular community by playing heavy, original music, with passion and creativity. People recognize that even if we are screaming about Jesus. But as much as we would love that permanent bridge to be there, the reality is that not everyone wants to hear the message we bring to the stage. Some will inevitably walk away and not give us a second look. Still though, we believe that having a relationship with Jesus is absolute truth, satisfying the deepest desires of the heart and healing our darkest wounds, so we’re going to proclaim that. Besides, who wouldn’t want that sort of freedom and happiness? But if people ignore the message still, it’s cool, we love them regardless.

How has your faith influenced your art?

Our faith has influenced our everyday lives, not just the art we all love. From the moment we wake up, to the moment we go to bed, we are constantly seeking ways to serve those around us. Being a Christian is the greatest joy that we’ve ever experienced as individuals. So as a band, having an audience to share that with is extremely gratifying. Our faith drives us to write music that invokes thought, feeling and truth. Not just mindless breakdown after breakdown, although we still love that too ha. But it influences every aspect of our music and helps us create something special for all types of listeners.

What was the most surprising thing you discovered through faith?

Grace: The free and unmerited favor of God. So often we’re taught that our worth is measured by our accomplishments. The things we do, or don’t do, the way we look or don’t look, the way we act or don’t act. It defines how we’re treated by the people who are around us every day. Most worldviews and beliefs are defined by earning forgiveness and favor through a person’s own works and actions. God’s grace is different though. His love and favor through Jesus Christ existed before we could have accomplished one thing. It was undeserved, unexpected, and absolutely surprising. It puts things in a new perspective when we view God as a loving father. Someone who’s there for us through thick and thin, regardless of our shortcomings, and not as a demanding boss or authority figure who’s waiting anxiously to punish us. Through this grace and forgiveness we’ve been shown, it propels us to serve others in the same way.

Ok guys, you formed this band 6 years ago. What took you so long to pop up with a debut full length?

Haha! Good question. In all fairness though, we spent about a year and half writing and perfecting our music. We didn’t want to throw a few songs together and immediately start playing shows, just hoping they sounded good. We approached this band way differently than any other project we had ever been a part of. So, in 2014 we released ‘With Eyes and Ears to See and Hear’ after two long years of saving money, working through two member changes, and being four busy dudes with full time jobs and families. The only problem was, we didn’t have the resources or connections to get the album in any legitimate outlets until OnTheAttack came along. Through it all, we’ve been creating and performing a ton of new music which we’re really excited to record and release later this year.


What was the catalyst for this album?

More than anything, we wanted to finally release what we had been performing and to pick up the pace from where we had been. A lot of material and lyrical ideas we wanted to focus on for the future were placed on hold since we had all of this older music still unrecorded. It was time to get to work and to complete what we had started at the beginning of our journey.

How do you think artists can stand out from the crowd in these hard digital times with floods of artists trying to offer their art for free. How do you try to position your efforts on the market? Do you find it hard to promote your work?

We don’t think it’s necessarily hard to promote our work but it definitely can be a challenge. Someone we know once said something along the lines of, “Hardcore is not the kind of music that ends up on late night talk shows like Jimmy Fallon, or even something that shows up on the radio.” It’s rare you’ll find that in this scene. What’s not rare, is finding people all around who have similar taste in this type of music. We just have to be responsible for knowing the market that we’re aiming to reach. Outside of that market, the only way to be a band that sticks out of the crowd is to be explicitly clear about what we believe in, being honest and open about what it means to us, and not drifting away from that message neither to the left or right. We stand firm on the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His freedom. Our dedication to drop what we’re doing and listen to someone or to give them encouragement and pray with them will be the very things that will set us apart.

Ok guys. I guess that’s it for the initial check in here on IDIOTEQ! Thanks for the chat buddies! All the best in your present and future plans! Do you have any last words for our readers?

Thank you for the interview from all of us in SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE! We love you guys. Be looking for our new album to drop fall of this year. Blessings.

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