Ask anyone who has ever been to a DecembeRadio show to describe the experience and you’ll get an enthusiastic barrage of comments about the band’s blistering stage show, an adrenaline-fueled rock spectacle that leaves audiences nearly breathless. Yet intertwined among the searing guitars and anthemic choruses, the heart of the band shines through on every note. It’s that unwavering commitment to spread the Gospel that defines the essence of DecembeRadio and reverberates throughout their sophomore set Satisfied (Slanted Records).
“God has called us to do this and we know that,” says guitarist Eric Miker. “Every time we play a show we hear how our songs have impacted people. We’ve had people come up to us after the show and say, ‘This song is what made me realize that no matter what it was that I was going through, I could turn back to God.’ They just need to hear the words.”
Few bands more effectively fuse music and ministry than this Virginia-based foursome. Miker along with lead vocalist/bassist Josh Reedy, lead guitarist Brian Bunn and drummer Boone Daughdrill burst onto the national scene with their self-titled Slanted Records’ debut in 2006. The project was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album and earned the group four Dove Award nominations, including nods in the Best New Artist category and Song of the Year for “Drifter.” That night the band claimed their first Dove Award when DecembeRadio was honored for Rock Album of the Year, an impressive feat for a new band.
Their winning streak continued at radio where “Love Found Me” and “Dangerous” heated up rock radio airwaves while “Drifter” and “Find You Waiting” became back to back Top Five hits in the CHR format and won fans among AC listeners as well. “Dangerous” became the theme song for the Discovery Channel’s “Hazard Pay” program and was used in the CBS-TV drama “Cane.” DecembeRadio was named Breakout Band of the Year at the Rock Radio Summit and were the only Christian act touted among Billboard Magazine’s 2006 “Artists to Watch.” Christianity Today named them Best Band of the Year and Best New Artist.
Needless to say, there’s a heightened level of expectation surrounding Satisfied. The band confesses to feeling a little nervous as they headed into the studio to work on the new album. “There’s definitely a lot of pressure,” admits Bunn. “At the same time, we know we’re doing this for the right reasons and God’s going to take care of us. So we went into the studio, and we did what we love to do best. We just tried to make great music and have fun doing it. It’s as simple as that.”
Daughdrill agrees. “God started to show us…that He is working in all of us. New ideas, new lyrics, new riffs just started coming out of nowhere. All of a sudden we had a couple of really cool songs, and that got us really excited about this new album. All in God's timing!”
DecembeRadio recorded their sophomore effort at Atlanta’s famed Southern Tracks studios and once again turned to producer Scotty Wilbanks. “It just goes so much deeper than just being a producer. Scotty is like a brother to us,” says Bunn. “He really is like the fifth member of the band you could say. He understands what we want to do and where we want to go musically. We grew up on a lot of the same things and listened to the same music; but at the same time, it’s nice because he’s a keyboard player and we’re a more guitar-driven band. It’s good to get that different perspective from somebody who’s not a guitar player. He brings us balance and helps us stay true to who we are.”
“While recording the new record,” says Josh Reedy, “we tried to ask ourselves a few questions: ‘Who are we and what are we trying to say?’ The song ‘Satisfy Me’ not only represents who we are musically but how we feel spiritually as a band. You can never be satisfied with who you are alone. You'll come up short every time. The relationship we have with God is the only thing that will ever satisfy us. Music will never satisfy us, nor money, fame or any of those things. Being satisfied by Christ is the reason we're here on this earth. To satisfy is exactly what He died to do. The music, lyrics and soul of this record as a whole are about not being afraid to be who you are. Be satisfied.”
As they began writing and recording their sophomore effort, the band felt a new sense of confidence in their musicianship and a feeling of creative freedom. “We started finding out that we had grown so much as writers and as a band,” says Reedy. “We were having the most fun that we’ve ever had in making this music and that’s the way it should be.”
That creative energy and sense of fun leaps from the speakers when listening to Satisfied. “Gasoline” is like a musical Molotov cocktail, filled with fiery guitar and Reedy’s blazing vocals. Bunn cites it as one of his favorite songs that the band has ever recorded. “It’s about the revival that we feel when God changes our lives and it burns like gasoline,” he says. “It’s just a rockin’ song. Sometimes I really feel the love of God and I get excited about that; that song sounds like what’s inside me.”
Daughdrill says there’s a very celebratory feel to the new record. “[There is] the peace and joy that only Christ can give and it's the reason we do what we do. A lot of these songs are about love, hope and enjoying this awesome life that God has given to us. It's a celebration!”
In addition to the unbridled rock anthems, Satisfied includes “For Your Glory,” a beautiful worship song with an instantly memorable melody. “Look for Me” is a gorgeous ballad that reminds us God is always there for us no matter what we’re going through. “Find You Waiting,” which has already become a top-charting hit at AC and CHR stations, was inspired by tragic circumstances. “A close friend of ours named Chris was battling cancer and cancer took his life,” says Miker. “His wife really relied on God and remained strong. That really touched our lives--her whole outlook and perspective.”
DecembeRadio has toured relentlessly the past two years, most recently opening for Third Day in the spring of 2008. The band has an intriguing dynamic on stage. Though they definitely have that powerful rock ‘n roll stage presence, they also have a unique ability to be accessible to the fans. There’s a bond that’s forged between the guys and the crowd that erases that unseen barrier between artist and audience.
“People connect with how real you look them in the eye whether you’re rocking out or you’re getting them to sing along with you,” says Reedy. “When they feel they are a part of the show, a part of the band or just a part of that song, that is what we strive for when we step on that stage.”
Miker says their live show had considerable impact on how they made the new record. “We learned more about our fans and what they like,” he says. “We learned a lot about what works best live, and we wanted to make sure all the songs work great live. We just wanted to make music that the fans like.”
“We want to share with the world what Christ has done for us and for them,” says Daughdrill. “I feel like God calls us all to be a light...we have a choice in how we respond to that. Hopefully we can be an encouragement to others, letting them know the satisfaction we’ve found in Christ as we rock 'n roll for Him.”
Adds Reedy: “God wants to bless us all and take us places that we never thought we’d go, and that’s exactly what He’s been doing with us. We’re just happy and blessed to be where we are. We’re enjoying the journey.”