Needtobreathe went into making its latest album, "Hard Love," with one mission.
To make some noise -- especially after the quieter approach the Christian rock troupe took on 2014's "Rivers In The Wasteland."
"With any record I think you go into the studio trying to reinvent yourself, kind of give yourself a fresh chance," keyboardist Josh Lovelace says by phone from his home in Knoxville, Tenn. "The record before this we kind of stripped everything back and did a kind of acoustic record, a lot of acoustic instruments. For this record I think we wanted to get as far away from that as possible and kind of explore new sonic landscapes, try new instruments and kind of throw the kitchen sink back into our record.
"So I think that was one of the biggest things we wanted to do, to challenge ourselves to do something we had never done before, and that our fans had never heard us do before."
The fans apparently liked it, too; "Hard Love," which came out in July, was Needtobreathe's third consecutive No. 1 on both Billboard's Christian and Rock albums charts, and its second straight to top the Alternative Albums survey. More important to the band, however, is the upbeat tone "Hard Love" strikes, especially since it came after "a hard time" that Lovelace says follows "Rivers In The Wasteland."
"We were fighting every day. Some of us were in separate dressing rooms. We were just kind of forcing this thing down the road," Lovelace recalls. "Two of the guys in the band are brothers, so there's a lot of history, I guess, with that. When they were kids their mom and dad made them share a waterbed, so you can imagine THAT would cause problems that would last long into your life.
"We just weren't enjoying what we were doing, but we knew that the machine was kind of going so we needed to jump on and suck it up or quit."
Not surprisingly, faith was as important as persistence in helping Needtobreathe get to the other side and into the positive headspace that's exhibited on "Hard Love."
"Our faith has definitely been the thing that we can call on, that we can rely on," Lovelace acknowledges. "But it's like with anything; You have to kind of go through hard times and grow through it and come back on the other side and learn from it.
"So for us, yeah, definitely, having something to lean on got us through. I don't think on our own power we could've done anything. Our faith is extremely important to us, and that will always echo in the songs that we create, I'm sure."
Needtobreathe, Mat Kearney John Mark McMillan and Welshly Arms
7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28.
Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills.
Tickets are $46 and $36 pavilion, $27 lawn with $1 per ticket donated to One World Health.
Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.
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