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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
An Interview with Kristin Nicholls
By Jessica Heikoop
"To be ministers of the gospel to all people at all times through music, evangelism and lifestyle, to promote Christ alone," is the goal Fear of God set for themselves when they started in 1997. After five years, many accomplishments, many changes, and full faith in their future, they are still going strong, staying true to their goal.
The Ontario-based band has reached many note-worthy accomplishments in the past five years, such as getting national distribution through CMC Distribution, selling over 2,500 units on their own, opening Kingdom Bound, touring throughout eastern Canada, receiving radio play in Ontario and New York, several chart placements in Buffalo, and much more. And they did it all as an independent Christian band with the humble attitude, "It's all God."
Along with these endeavors have come many changes and trials. One of the most impacting changes for Fear of God is the recent departure of their vocalist, Laura Woodley, who left the band to pastor at a church full-time. The remaining four members - Kristin Nicholls (vocals, guitar), Jamie Altena (bass), Allen Bilston (drums) and Cole Brown (keyboards) now comprise the band.
Nicholls says, "We love Laura, but we're happy with just the four of us too." And says, "through all the trials and change, God's there. It's the four guys now, so writing new material is easier for us. It's easier to get together for practice and everything." He continues, "even though we're going through these changes, it's for the good. (The fans) should be excited about it, excited about the music and excited to check out our shows."
The writing and preparations of new material is exciting for the band. With Woodley's departure, Nicholls takes on the role of lead singer, and continues to be main writer of the band, though he says it has been more of a collective work this time with more input from Altena, Bilston and Brown.
Bands from the Brit pop scene, such as Radiohead, Travis and Coldplay have become greater musical inspirations, and that sound may be more apparent in this recording.
"It's got more of a British feel, and a bit more aggressive. It's not overly aggressive, we're not going into really heavy rock or anything, but it sounds a bit more like that I guess because it's just us four guys now," explains Nicholls.
Along with the new album will come some touring, one of the band's ministry highlights. A typical show includes songs from their album, a time of preaching, and worship with more traditional songs. The set list can be expected to include a few new songs, which is something to really look forward to.
Unlike some Christian bands, Fear of God does not restrict themselves to churches and Christian venues. It is one of their passions and goals to get out to more secular scenes. Nicholls says, "I would love to get out to those people." He continues, "People know there's Christian music. We've got POD, Jars of Clay, etc. who broke through to the secular side. So they know it's out there. The problem is that Christians tend to stay in their own little cliques. But we need to get out there." Which is exactly what Fear of God has been doing. Playing in front of secular crowds hasn't proved to be as hard as some may think. He says, "The people that saw us knew we loved God. We didn't preach as much, but everyone knew we were Christians. They are the ones who need to hear it. It's about God. We want people to take that with them. Nicholls says they want to "let the light shine in a dark place." They want to have "songs that touch people to be more than just music to preach and really be real to those people."
With these goals and standards
comes the struggle to keep their standards. Nicholls says, "Integrity's
always hard to maintain, for everyone. We're faced with so many things
and we get so frustrated and angry at the sin we see, and the lies that
Satan tells people. And so it's hard to keep that integrity." But he continues,
saying God is teaching them to trust in Him and continue to rely on Him.
And with that, we all have much to look forward to in the future of Fear