Back in September, Emery had announced that they were departing from record label, Tooth and Nail Records. Rumors began swirling that there had been bad blood between the band and label for years. Rather, this became the time for Emery to begin their personal mission. This entailed starting their own record label, Bad Christian, a podcast, an E-Book, a blog, crowd funding, etc. while maintaining a community of respect and faith in Jesus Christ. Emery’s determination in sharing their views and their lives on these different mediums isn’t colluded in gaining follows towards Christianity, but rather meant to be an open book in how Emery views the Church, the Bible and the religious community.
Cliché’s Heather Glock spoke with Emery’s guitarist Matt Carter about the band’s goals, how religion plays a role in their decisions and what it means to be a Christian in their perception.
Cliché: There had been some rumors over the past few years that there had been some tension brewing between Emery and Tooth and Nail Records. After ten years since the release of your first full length album The Weak’s End, you decided to depart from the label. Does the separation between Emery and T&N mean that there had been tension? Or was this a mutual break?
Matt: That’s funny, I know people try to have good PR and make sure to say nice things about each other, but that’s not what this is. WE LOVE Tooth and Nail. There is nowhere else we would have ever wanted to be. They are personally friends of ours and deserve a lot of credit for Emery being a successful band.
We think they are a great label, and so much so, we wanted to have our OWN awesome label and be that to other people. The bottom line is that we want to control everything so that we can simply be more involved. We see the value in interacting directly with our fans and simply want to do that instead of using a whole another company to do it. We have learned a lot in 10 years and now want to see what we can do.
Was there tension between the label and the band that birthed the conception of the band’s catch phrase “We Do What We Want”?
That is also funny. People have taken that title many different ways, but that one isn’t one I’ve heard before. We kind of just like the way it feels to say that. We also like to say that regardless of what they say, people just do what they want, as in we are responsible for our actions, the artwork makes it appear that we use the bible to justify what we want it to say. So yeah, there is a lot of ways you can take that title.
Is there still a relationship with Tooth and Nail or has the bridge been burned?
We do in fact hope to work with them in some capacity in the future, not sure exactly how, but for now we just want to figure it out on our own.
As a band, you all have been very receptive and vocal to fans’ comments and questions whether through social media, e-mails or during a set. How have you all been dealing with the negativity and positive support streaming from fans since your departure from T&N and the announcement of your own record label Bad Christian Music?
We like to hear what people think. We really do. It is OK if people have different opinions. We learn from that, and we are tough enough to take criticism. We have little respect for the trolls, but they are pretty easy to ignore.
What can you tell newcomers about Un-learning.org and the name/label Bad Christian?
Everything is going to be badchristian.com. It will be THE place for everything Bad Christian, the blog, podcast, music, video, and crowd funding opportunities. Its more than a website, it’s a community, where we share everything that we are and believe and other people do as well, i.e. Other artist as well as fans and regular people. All are welcome.
In correlation with Un-learning and Bad Christian Music, you are also working on a podcast series. What can fans expect from your podcast? From what I understand, Emery isn’t here to preach about your personal religious views nor do you all expect to build The Holy Church of Emery while rearranging the face of Christianity. So what exactly would your podcast consist of?
We are developing it now, but the main idea is to feature honest dialogue more than teaching or answers. We want people to know what we are LIKE, and how we interact. We will have interesting guests and hopefully it will have some serious content, while showing people it is okay to loosen up. We like to sit around and talk, so we are going share that.
The definition of truth is the true or actual state of a matter. Honesty is defined as the honor-ability in principles, intentions and actions. Would you say your E Book is a matter or truth for fans to understand or honesty?
Well, we typically use the word honest to describe it, but by these definitions it is more about the “truth” of what we are like, what the bible is about, what the church is like, and what community means. It is not a book about solutions, but rather a look into who we are and how we see the bible, the church and community.
Emery has been a band for over ten years now. With scheduling, member departures, the starting and maintaining of families, along with the normal day-to-day challenges that life can bring, does Emery plan on moving forward as a whole?
OF COURSE. Being in Emery is an amazing privilege and gift. We do whatever it takes to steward that well and put in the correct amount of time and effort to maintain Emery while not overdoing it so as not to burn out or over burden our families or other responsibilities. That is why we may not tour 250 days a year anymore. At that pace, we would have had to quit by now, so I would say that is one of the things I am most proud of is that we have figured out how to exist for over 10 years. Let’s try to do 10 more!
If I may share a quote from Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Would this be an accurate description of Emery’s goal with everything from the podcast, to the E-book, the record label and Un-Learning.org?
Almost, I do not love that quote because I really do think there is something extra special and meaningful to “the preached word.” We love and support church; we need preachers and sermons–something special happens in that. I would say what we intend to do is to glorify and serve Jesus which can be, and perhaps is mostly done with actions and not words, or at least overt words that declare the direct intention. God can be worshiped and glorified in all that we do. The Bible says this in “the greatest commandment.” We would say, “glorify and worship God when you drink beer with the other bands on tour and also at church on Sunday morning.”