Change is not a respecter of persons, although success might be, but the past year shows that Building 429 is a good example of how to handle both. Starting 2004 as a debut artist with a hot radio single, joining significant tours thereafter and adding a member to the line-up half-way through, the band then played a significant role in Redeem the Vote, encouraging believers to participate in last fall’s election, and closed out its first year with four Dove Award nominations, claiming the 2005 Dove Award for New Artist of the Year, and being honored at the 2005 BMI Christian Music Awards as “Glory Defined” was given the most coveted accolade, Song of the Year.
Still solidly believing this journey in music is not about five musicians in a successful band but solely about the message of Christ, Building 429 has put the events of the past year in perspective. “Even with the award, we’re still a bunch of guys that don’t deserve anything,” says frontman/guitarist Jason Roy. “We’re nowhere near perfect but we’re called to do this. For some reason God keeps showing us that he has something really special planned beyond our own strengths.” Roy and bassist Scotty Beshears continue to see a return for the work they put in five years ago.
Borrowing from a youth group’s “429 Challenge,” taken from Ephesians 4:29, Beshears and Roy started a band that would focus on uplifting others. They filled out the band’s sound by adding guitarist Paul Bowden one year later, and drummer Michael Anderson took up his position about three years ago. Making Building 429 a five-piece rock band last year could be the most significant change moving forward. Newcomer Jesse Garcia’s guitar and keyboard give the band more versatility to explore guitar-laden rock songs and more emotional piano ballads. “The song palette is huge now with piano, extra vocal and guitar. We’re able to paint with much broader strokes, really. There’s more sound and more layers,” says Roy.
Signing with Word and releasing the Glory Defined EP was but the beginning of Building 429’s rock ’n’ roll ride. The band’s first single and EP title track impacted Christian radio like very few songs from debut artists have. A multi-format success, “Glory Defined” hit No. 1 on a combined eight AC and CHR charts, staying at the top of Christian Radio Weekly’s (CRW) AC chart for 10 consecutive weeks—a spot it claimed faster than any single in the publication’s history.
Since the band’s debut last year, Building 429 has made many fans through touring opportunities with Jeremy Camp, Todd Agnew, “Winter Jam” and this fall’s upcoming tour with Casting Crowns. Through Redeem the Vote, the band was included in a faith-based political story on ABC’s “Nightline with Ted Koppel,” CNN’s “Inside Politics” and “Paula Zahn Now,” and
“FOX News Live” hosted by Rita Cosby. Building 429 was also featured in The Washington
Times, The Washington Post and “The World Café” public radio program.
The band continues working with Interlinc, a company dedicated to creating resources for youth pastors nationwide. By taking part in talk back sessions with youth pastors, its dedication to connecting with youth and young adults grows. “Our honest goal is to play for college-age and young adults,” Roy says, “and we focus hard on that, because we know those can be the most trying times, where they’re out on their own and learning what makes their faith their own.”
The band members admit they don’t have the answers for everyone in the audience. “We’re still growing up and trying to grow as godly men,” says Roy. “We go through many struggles and trials and I believe that we all come to a crisis of faith in our life of faith. That’s part of the journey. In life as a band, we see God change us. We look back and see the road, and how he’s shown his faithfulness everyday. When I have nothing to say, I spend time asking. You have to be faithful to the task—ask your question and then wait for the answer.”
Many listeners will recognize the opening track on Space In Between Us, “Glory Defined.” But digging past Building 429’s first gem reveals greater gold—heard in the hopefully desperate “Above It All” and the yielding “Shadow of Angels,” as well as in the straight-up rock of “One Time Too Many,” “Back to Me” and “Angeline.”
Building 429 is more than catchy hooks, meaningful lyrics and a strong vocal from Roy, though. With a consistent theme of God’s faithfulness, each song on Space In Between Us connects to the belief that every searching, questioning soul need only to ask God to change him. This pursuit of God and grace is the heart of Building 429, perhaps making the title track and second radio single the album’s greatest treasure, “All I really want to do is fall into / The emptiness that is / The space in between us / Erase it and bring us together again.”
“People expect perfection from Christian bands,” says Roy. “We’re not that and we’ll never be that, but we still need to strive for perfection. We’ll never get there but we still need to look at the world through Christ’s eyes. That’s exactly what ‘The Space In Between Us’ is about. We can’t break through that divide between God and us. We have to be willing to fall off the edge to reach the other side and believe that God will catch us.
“I see all the people standing on the edge of this ‘grand canyon’ waiting for God. I think we need to see what it would be like to fall off and have God catch us. At the end of it all, I hope someone says that we never settled for one side of the canyon, waiting for grace to reach for us. I want people to say that we were God chasers.
“Over the last year, we’ve gained more confidence in what we’re doing and we’ve seen a lot of blessings, but we’ve also learned about what matters,” says Roy. “We’ve learned it’s about the people in front of you. This spring I said I don’t care about having to prove anything anymore because it’s not about the band or me; it’s about what God has called us to do. There is such freedom in that, and it’s good to be in that place.”
Source: Word Records