Rock band Relevant Discord (aka, the one-man band headed up by musician Nick Depew) is taking a slightly different approach to releasing a full-length album. The full-length, called The Pathways of Brokenness, will be released in increments, starting off with two songs that are available on this dual-singles EP; the first song is called "The Days of Deferment" and the second is "The Refrain." Depew makes mention of the full album changing in sound and lyrical theme from beginning to end, but these first two songs are very similar to each other. They're also very similar to the majority of the mainstream Christian rock bands of today. In fact, they're spitting images of the average rock song that you would hear from Red. The guitars follow pretty much the same progressions, and there are some strings in the background as well. Depew's vocals also fit in with the genre. Normally, songs like these wouldn't make me interested in hearing any more from the artist, however, I am interested in hearing the rest of this album, based on the fact that it's not supposed to be the same from start to finish. Once The Pathways of Brokenness is released in whole, I would like to give it a listen.
- Review date: 9/21/11, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Jesus freak Hideout (Scott Fryberger): So you do all of the writing, playing and recording for Relevant Discord?
First of all, I would like to say thank you for this opportunity. I definitely appreciate it.
Yes, I write all the songs. As far as performing, I have a small roster of guys that can rotate in and out of the live line-up depending on the event and/or how personal schedules align. That roster currently consists of Jeremy Miller (bass or guitar), Jonathan Doud (drums), and Jai Callahan (drums, guitars, bass, or whatever else I need at the moment). I am the only official member of Relevant Discord; however, these guys make the live show possible.
As far as the studio, I will usually take a drummer with me. For our two current singles that were recorded with Rich Veltrop and Sylvia Massy, Jai joined me in the studio and contributed drums and a little bit of texturing to the intro of "The Days of Deferment." Jai also contributed drums to a five track demo Relevant Discord released in 2009 titled "The Pathways of Brokenness - Volume 01." While in the studio for the current singles, we also had the help of two incredible classical musicians - Scott Fegette on cello and Stephanie Lee on violin.
JFH (Scott): What are your favorite instruments to play?
My favorite will probably always be the guitar. It's what I learned to play first, and it's what I use when writing new material. However, when I need a break from it, I do really enjoy picking up the bass. Much of Relevant Discord's sound incorporates a driving element. The bass just really helps bring that quality to life.
JFH (Scott): How long have you been a musician?
I first picked up guitar in May of 1996 (the end of my junior year of high school). At the time, I had a couple friends that were getting into it, and I attended some of their practices. Upon hearing the versatility of the instrument with pedals and effects, I was intrigued. It was quite something to hear them mimicking the sounds of popular rock and grunge hits of the time.
JFH (Scott): What made you want to get into music?
After the experiences seeing my friends recreate popular songs of the time on the guitar, I was curious to give it a try myself. I had no intention of pursuing music at that point; I figured I would be happy enough if I could just teach myself to play a couple rifts from some of my favorite songs. However, after I learned one, I soon wanted to learn another. Things quickly built to the point where I was writing my own rifts.
As far as piecing things together into full songs - that followed soon afterwards. At this point, I was a senior in high school. At my school, there were a couple guitar players that everyone would rave about. They would perform at most of the talent shows, playing more complicated rifts from bands like Metallica and AC/DC. They were also starting to write a couple of their own songs that people loved. I basically got to the point where I had one hundred-plus rifts written plus a number of lyrical ideas starting to run through my mind. So, I essentially said to myself - "If they can do it, why can't I?"
JFH (Scott): Why are you releasing a full-length album song by song instead of the whole thing at once?
Right now, the plan is to actually release things in small increments of two or three songs at a time. The material currently being released is part of a full concept album titled The Pathways of Brokenness. "The Days of Deferment" and "The Refrain" are tracks one and two (respectively) from that project.
The decision to do so is two-fold. First, from a business standpoint, albums seem to be disappearing in favor of the EP or single. It's not a move that I'm a fan of. I absolutely love the full album concept. It paints a much broader picture and sets the emotional landscape for the art that is being conveyed. However, as the industry changes, it's wise to keep an awareness of such conditions in mind.
The second factor in releasing songs in small groups is financing. Relevant Discord operates through a record label of my own operation and funding. That means it's solely up to me to raise the resources necessary to cover studio time, manufacturing costs, marketing budgets, and so forth. To really do things right requires some money, which takes time to earn. However, after having had the opportunity to record these new singles in a full professional environment, I really don't have any desire to go back into a home-studio set-up just to save a few dollars while losing considerable quality. It may take longer to release things this way, but I would rather wait a little longer if it means having a better finished product.
JFH (Scott): Is there a certain circumstance that inspired the concept album The Pathways of Brokenness?
Over the last several years, I have had to walk through a number of experiences entailing set-backs, disappointment, loss, rejection, and more. Some were larger in scale, others not so much. I have also witnessed people going through similar and/or worse trials. The connection is that all of these are very relatable experiences. These are the circumstances in life that bring us to the end of ourselves and make us yearn for substance.
The album has individual songs addressing these issues and more. As issues are addressed over the course of songs, answers, hope, and resolve start to gradually enter the picture. An individual song may not give the listener the completed picture. Instead, it is intended to be a piece in the narrative, like a chapter in a book. Nevertheless, as the album nears its end, hope and resolve become clearer.
JFH (Scott): What is the meaning behind the name Relevant Discord?
I have a number of meanings behind the name. It's a question I'm asked quite often. :) Most of the meanings can be summed up within:
1. The act or process of finding meaning, purpose, truth, and/or beauty in the midst of chaos and/or uncertainty. 2. To make an appeal against the boundaries and confines of tradition and/or indifference. 3. A civil yet necessary movement of resistance and/or discourse. 4. A voice of reason in disharmony. 5. Musical tension and dissonance coming together in a unified, relatable message of reflection and/or resolve.
JFH (Scott): What has God been teaching you lately?
This question is a little difficult to answer, simply for the sake of being concise. However, a few of the highlights would include:
- Learning how to be patient and content in the waiting periods of life. (I still struggle with this one.)
- How to have a Barean type of faith - one that does not blindly accept but that studies things out before making a decision. (Acts 17:11)
- Being willing to question, challenge, and think outside of the boxes we create.
- An awareness of the disparity between the message of hope and love that Christ offers, and how that message gets distorted through the lenses of pride, selfishness, and tradition.
- How faith is acts of love - not sermons, hierarchies, and institution building.
- How when done right and with pure intentions, even moments of dissent can walk hand in hand with unity. (Proverbs 27:17)