A few years ago, David Crowder and his band mutually parted ways. One of the great things that came from that parting was not only Crowder’s new projects but also the Digital Age. The Digital Age is made up of the members of the former David Crowder band. They’ve released a lot of great tracks since leaving the David Crowder band. I talked recently to Digital Age member Mark Waldrop about their upcoming record and what it’s actually like rehearsing together.
Gabe: What have you guys been up to?
Mark: Well, we are sitting on a record right now. We’re putting some final touches on a record called “Galaxies”. We’re super excited about it. We’ve been working on it for about a year and a half. Unfortunately, we’re not the kind of people that can do something quickly. It takes us a long time. We’ve got a studio in our hometown of Waco, Texas. What that means is we aren’t really accountable to anybody (laughs). We will seriously spend a week on the kickdrum on one song. If we had some hard deadlines, that usually helps. But we really just want to do this record right. We’ve been taking our time but it’s really exciting that we’re almost done. We’ve also made some Brazilian connections. We did a record with a Brazilian worship leader down there. So, we’ve had some things like that which take our time. But we’re almost done and we’re super excited about it.
Gabe: You’re the lead vocalist now. What’s that been transition been like compared to your role in the David Crowder band?
Mark: Well, we actually don’t have a lead vocalist. We kind of all take turns singing. That’s a distinction that we did. Actually, Mike, our bass player, sings more than I do. I sing lead on a couple songs. One of the things we wanted to do with the Digital Age was let everyone sing. You know when you get a bunch of people together and start to sing to God, it’s supposed to be a communal thing. We wanted to do everything we could to foster that environment. Having 3 people in our band sing is important to us. I don’t know where it came from but…after Crowder band, we were rehearsing and writing songs. We were all singing and live-tracking it. And we decided that it was cool when we were all singing. So there’s songs where all of us are singing unison on the melody or one of us will be singing the harmony. We decided that our main rule would be that we wouldn’t have a lot of rules on genre or who sings (laughs). It’s given us freedom to be creative.
When we transitioned from David Crowder band to Digital Age, we lost an acoustic guitarist and singer. So we thought “We don’t have an acoustic player now and we don’t have the really cool, scruffy voice of David”… All of us have pretty clean voices. So we wondered what we should do. So there’s a few Digital Age songs where I kinda scream a little bit…things like that to create new textures. Losing an acoustic was one of those moments where we say “Okay, we’re a worship band but we don’t have an acoustic guitar. Do I need to start playing acoustic?” We talked about that a bit and we decided that that wouldn’t be true to us. We decided to stay plugged in and loud. So now we rely a little more heavily on myself playing piano now than we did in the past. But I would say that most of the music that we all listen to is plugged in and loud. So we decided to make music that sounds like what we listen to while driving around in our cars. That’s not to say we don’t use acoustic guitars. But we have the mindset that we’re not going to be acoustic driven as a worship band.
Gabe: You talked a little bit about rehearsing and that was actually the titles of two of your EP’s. What’s the typical rehearsal of the Digital Age look like? You’ve got some guys that play a ton of instruments.
Mark: (laughs) That’s actually a good question. When we rehearse, we just set up in this one room in our studio. There’s two ways we can do it: One is being true to the track and Two is being true to the live setting. So if we’re being true to the track, we’ll all sit in the control room and go through the song. We’ll actually assign different instruments and parts to everyone. We just try to cover as much space as possible because we honestly hate using a lot of backing tracks. We try not to that. If we can, we’ll physically play it.
And then the other way with our rehearsals, we’ll get in a room and learn a song if we have to. So if we played Oceans, we’d go through what we would need to do. A lot of that is just messing around seeing what happens. We’ve got instruments all over the place usually (laughs). We just play around with all the instruments and see what we can come up with. There’s really no rules or regulations. One of the most nerdy things we’ve done is completely the time signature on It Is Well on Rehearsals Vol. 2. Most people probably don’t even notice when they listen to it unless you’re a nerd like us.
Gabe: Thanks Mark!
Mark: No problem!
Keep on the look out for The Digital Age’s new record by following them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thedigitalage