Like all great journeys, this one started with some small steps, as singer/songwriter/guitarist Adam Carmichael explains:
“The three of us grew up together in Morpeth, Northumberland. We decided to form the band when we started high school, just as a bit of fun. We would practice in Matthew’s cellar and as we were all beginners we learnt our instruments together.
“I wasn’t a Christian at the time but I knew Simon (Napper – ex bass guitarist) and Matt (Chambers – drums) went to church. We started playing some Christian songs – which I found interesting! – and as we got to spend more time with each other they started to share with me what it meant to be a Christian. In March 2001, they invited me to NE1 at Newcastle arena, with bands like Delirious and YFriday. I gave my life to God that night.”
From there on the pace picked up. Adam’s songs gravitated more and more towards the subject of God Himself, and the band decided that at the heart of their music would be a bold, uncompromising declaration of their faith. From their early gigs in school halls and community venues talking about God was as much a part of the event as singing about Him.
Fast forward a few years and in August 2009, after appearances on BBC1 and The God Channel, the band decided to record a third album. A year earlier Adam had started meeting with Ken Riley (YFriday) to hone his song writing.
“Ken was a great help pushing every aspect to be as good as it could possibly be, and by August 2009 we had a handful of strong songs we were really happy with.”
The partnership between Ken, Adam and the rest of the band extended beyond the writing room, and Ken joined them as producer of Supreme, bringing a fresh selection of sounds, increased production values and the ability to help release the band’s potential as contemporary rock worship leaders.
The result was an album that was full of life and passion. From the euphoric title track that starts it all off to the heights of Live For You, the album was full of songs that affirm faith and unleash endorphins by the trainload. A change had taken place, and the band knew it.
“I think with Supreme we moved into the genre of gig worship. Our gigs are entertaining and crowd pleasing but there is also a deeper experience than that and through the lyrics of our songs people can connect with God, and that’s what we have a real passion to see.”
Yet this journey was not just about personnel or production. It was one that was guided by encounter with God, as Adam explains:
“As a band we are passionate about seeing people encounter God, whether for the first time or not. As I became a Christian at an event a lot like the ones we play at these days I know for a fact that it is a powerful ministry that can change lives. We have had the honour of hearing about many people becoming Christians at our concerts and we love meeting and praying with people after our gigs. This is the reason we do the band; God has changed each of our lives and we want to tell as many people about Him as possible.”
In 2010 the band linked with a charity called International China Concern, which brings love, hope and opportunity to abandoned disabled children in China. Matt tells us more:
“We have felt a real calling to use the time we have on stage to make a difference and encourage our audience to right the wrongs of this world. In September 2010 we had the privilege of visiting China and seeing the work of the charity first hand. The injustice was hard to witness but to see childrens lives saved through love was incredible.”
In June 2011, Simon Napper moved on from the band and was replaced by new bassist Matthew Browell (Matt B). The new line up have begun gigging fresh new songs like the massive ‘Universal song’ and more reflective ‘Wonder in my heart’. These songs and more were recorded on an EP called Luminous, which was released in time for Christmas 2012. The EP was recorded and produced entirely by the band, the first release of it’s kind.