by Tracy Darlington
Article One Interview
"...a full trust and reliance in God is the best and only way to live." --Dave de Smit
Article One’s Nathan and Matt Piché didn’t really have a choice when it came to pursuing music. Unlike a lot of families, their parents were both music teachers. In addition, Nathan and Matt’s dad toured as a solo Christian recording artist and served as a worship leader. “He traveled a lot around Canada, so we were exposed to Christian music from a young age.”
Now as Article
One, Nathan (vocals, guitars, piano, bass) and Matt (violin, mandolin,
along with Dave De Smit (drums, vocals) are using the skills
they honed early on to follow in their dad’s musical footsteps, albeit
with a more current musical approach.
Tracy: Tell us about your new album Colors and Sounds?
Nathan: I think Colors and Sounds is a really bold record for the Christian music industry. We wanted to make a record that was accessible, yet artistic, and we wanted to capture the energy of our live show and highlight the uniqueness of Matt’s violin playing. I truly believe he is the best violinist in pop music, period. I encourage everyone to come to a live show and see this for themselves. We spent a lot of time in the songwriting stage, and I think we put together a record that’s filled with great songs that you will want to hear again.
What is your favorite song on the album and why?
Dave: My favorite song on the CD is “Searchlights.” It includes diverse musical moments within the song, but still maintains its focus from beginning to end. A lot of the songs on this album feature moments and sounds that are unique and original, but this song, to me, stands out as having the best in song writing, production and lyrics.
How does Colors and Sounds differ from your debut CD?
Nathan: Colors and Sounds has much better songwriting and musicianship than our debut CD. Much of this comes from the natural maturation process every artist goes through, but a lot of it came from Tedd T. As a producer, Tedd really pushed us to develop every idea to its fullest potential and encouraged us to push until we had tried every option before settling on a lyric, chord change, melody, etc… As a result, this CD is filled with great songs and really raises the bar on what people can expect from us as a band.
What was the biggest challenge you had in recording Colors and Sounds?
Nathan: I think one of the biggest challenges came in trying to meet deadlines. We, as well as Tedd, are real perfectionists and it took a lot of effort to get to the point where we were ready to let go of the project. Missed deadlines and delays caused us to start overlapping the recording process with touring commitments which made for an extremely busy schedule, but neither of us refused to sacrifice the quality of the end product.
Your bio says that this project seems to revolve around the theme of purpose. Can you explain that?
Nathan: I really believe that each of us has purpose in life and unfortunately, I think a lot of people get caught up in the “comfort” of a daily grind and never experience what they could be doing with their life. We believe we’re supposed to be making music and playing in this band, however I think a lot of people would be surprised to learn about the sacrifices it takes to get a music career started. Because we’ve gone through this experience, there’s a part of us that wants to encourage others to do the same. It’s been quite a ride and I know I would have regretted not being in Article One. At the time, there were many people who thought we were foolish to pursue this dream. On the record, the idea of living with purpose and looking for meaning really comes through on songs such as, “If the World Gives Up”, “Without You”, and “Taken By the Storm”.
What message do you hope people will come away when they listen to Color and Sounds?
Dave: Our hope is that this album will encourage people wherever they are at in their lives, and that these songs would offer inspiration through their creativity and messages.
What was it like to work with Tedd T. on this project?
Nathan: Working with Tedd was a real honor. He is a remarkably talented producer (just look at his credits that include Mute Math, Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, etc.) and one of the nicest and most humble people I have ever met. He really wants the best for you as an artist and as a person, and he’s a lot of fun to spend time with. Throughout the recording process we got to spend time with his family, and they’re really awesome too!
Are there any steps you take to stay on track spiritually?
Nathan: I think it’s really important to have people in your life who can keep you accountable. I have a group of really great guys back home who I stay in touch with. We are honest with each other, we pray for each other and we’re there for support.
If Jesus were not coming in our lifetime, would you do anything differently?
Dave: I don’t think I would do anything differently. I would still try and strive to live for Christ as much as I can!
If you could say one thing to this generation what would you say?
Dave: I would tell this generation that a full trust and reliance in God is the best and only way to live.
What’s the biggest obstacle in your life God’s helped you overcome?
Dave: One of the biggest obstacles I’ve overcome is the decision to do music full time. I had a solid full time job that I left to pursue this career, and that was a not an easy decision to make. I knew I would be taking a risk in pursuing a music career full-time, but God, as usual, has been incredibly faithful through these years.
What’s the coolest prayer God’s ever answered for you?
Nathan: Actually, just the other day we had a full length show (75-90mins) and I honestly did not know how I was going to get through the show. For about three weeks I had been suffering from some sort of throat irritation or virus and it was only getting worse despite a trip to the doctor and lots of “fluids and rest”. It was getting to the point I could hardly talk without coughing, and as a result my voice was totally shot for about a week (I was talking about an octave lower than normal). The day of the show, I called my mom and she made me hang up because I sounded so bad… Right before the show, we got together and I asked the guys to pray for my voice and I got my voice back. I made it to the end of that show just fine and I made it through the next two nights of shows as well. It was cool!
Do you have any advice for someone trying to reach their friends for Christ?
Nathan: I think the most important thing is to live a life of obedience and love. If people see us saying to live one way, but living another, they’re going to think we’re hypocrites and never give us the time of day. In particular, if we say we love God and love those around us, but do anything that contradicts that, people will think we’re fake. I believe that patience is another big thing as well. People go through good times and bad times, periods of searching and periods of feeling like they know all the answers. I think we need to try and be there for them through everything and be sensitive to what’s going on in their lives.
Is there anything you do to beat stress and keep in shape while on the road?
Nathan: I like to read while I’m on the road. I’ve stayed in touch with my running coach from high school and she likes to give me stacks of books each time we head out. I wish I could get out and run more often, but we spend so much time in a van and showers are not always readily available at the churches we play at so that doesn’t happen as much as I wish it could!!!
What’s the most memorable place Article One has played?
Nathan: One of the most memorable performances I can remember was opening for the Newsboys in Houston on their Go Tour. They played a sold out arena show for 8000 people and it was an amazing experience. At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve also played our share of “dud shows”, particularly when we were starting out and no one knew who we were i.e. playing for eight people, three of whom were my Dad, our drummer’s Dad and our youth pastor, at one of the dirtiest heavy rock clubs in Toronto, watching the other band walk off with the pay, driving home through a freezing-rain storm, and having to get up to go to school the next day… whew…
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
Nathan: I have won a number of awards as a classical pianist and I was very shy when I was a young boy.
When you’re not singing, what do you enjoy doing?
Nathan: I love to catch up with friends when I’m home and not on tour. This summer I plan on spending a lot of time at the cottage and a lot of time just hanging out between shows.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Nathan: I’m in Florida as I write this, and I had bacon and eggs and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Three things always found in your refrigerator:
Nathan: Soy ice cream, chocolate sauce, and orange juice.
You’re next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
I ordered a Passion Tea Iced Lemonade and a cookie there yesterday… I’m
not a big coffee drinker (which I know is unusual for a musician!!!).
Dave: Coffee Frappuccino!!
What’s currently in your CD player/iPod?
Nathan: I’ve been listening to Sufjan Stevens quite a bit recently. His Illinois CD is really amazing.
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.