Creative Christian Moments
“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”
Blog Article 49: Email Interview with Andrew McArdle of The Incandescent
Over 50,000 Christians joined together in unison on April 9, 2016 at the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival from the early twentieth century. For over fifteen hours, Christians from all spectrums joined together in collaborative choruses of worship songs married with intense sessions of prayer intercession for the global church, America, and the rest of the world. It was said by many different leaders that this was the beginning of another great awakening throughout Christendom but I would say these stirrings were happening in pockets around the country long before the gathering; especially within the Christian music communities of the Pacific Northwest.
As the embers of revival begin to fan into flames across the West Coast, bands like The Incandescent are arising within this hour as reflective anthems of the Holy Spirit’s movement across the land.
The reason “we called ourselves The Incandescent is we really wanted to live out the definition of the word incandescent which means to emit light as a result of being heated within,” states vocalist Andrew McArdle in this intro video below (The Incandescent, 2013).
Originating from Spokane, Washington, The Incandescent’s band members are comprised of Andrew McArdle (vocals), Ryan Armstrong and Collin Johnson (electric guitar), Shane Collins (bass), and Zach Wright (drums).
In describing their music, Wright states “we really try to bring a unique energy and unique perspective to our audience members. Depending on the show you might see us at, as you’re walking in you might see two of us on the stage playing ping pong as we carry a ping pong table with us while we’re on tour.” (The Incandescent, 2013,)
Personally, I found their music intriguing. Their vocals sound similar to Hawk Nelson while their instrumentals mirrored other bands like The Afters, Steller Kart, and Hillsong United from the later 2000s. The Incandescent blaze that beautiful indie rock sound native Washingtonians are familiar with hearing. If I could only describe their music in simplistic terms it would be a rallying cry for Christians around the Washington State. “Wildfire” and “Great and Glorious” are by far my favorite track from these guys that you can listen to below.
The genuine nature of the The Incandescent’s music is felt in every song they perform. One atheist on a YouTube forum mentioned that he likes Christian music because of the tender care, love, and dedication placed into the music by these musicians. Armstrong’s own comments from the introduction video echo this same sentiment. “We all have day jobs. We’re working eight hour days and then coming to the studio, do some tracking, and we’re super tired but it made for a lot of fun” (The Incandescent, 2013). While secular music views the goals of money, fame, and other ephemeral pleasures as the epitome of success, Christian musicians pursue other lasting treasures of reward: glorifying God and sharing His message as the measures of success.
The Incandescent have “played Creation Festivals, Spirit Festivals NW, Spirit Festivals Texas, Dove Fest, Son Fest, High Voltage & Worship Fest” and toured with artists like “TobyMac, Third Day, Peter Furler of The Newsboys, Kutless, Ryan Stevenson, Colton Dixon, and Starfield” (The Incandescent a, 2016, para. 1).
Barry Irwin Brophy: For those who may not know about you or your band, could you tell us a bit about yourself and the band?
Andrew McArdle: For sure! I am Andrew, I’m the lead singer & play rhythm guitar for The Incandescent. We are a rock band from the PNW [pacific northwest] who love Jesus and want to reach the world with the His love using music and media.
Barry Irwin Brophy: How did you come to faith in Jesus Christ?
Andrew McArdle: I grew up in a Christian home, so I knew about God from a very young age. My dad led me to the Lord when I was 3 or 4 years old but I honestly did not pursue my relationship with Him whole heartedly until I was in my late teens/early twenties.
Barry Irwin Brophy: Tell us a bit about your current music projects. Music videos, new songs, tours, etc.?
Andrew McArdle: We’ve been in a crazy season preparing to release a ton of new music! We’re planning to release three different projects in 2016. The first is a Worship EP that we’ve been recording for the last year, the second will be a record of new original music, and the third is a full length live record that we just recently recorded! So yeah… Haha there’s a lot going on as we prepare to release these records and their videos/media over the course of 2016.
We’ll also be on the road for a few shows with Crowder this spring! We are looking forward to being at many festivals and shows throughout the summer. Including Creation Fest, High Voltage Fest, Dove Fest, Praise Fest and more!
Barry Irwin Brophy: How has God been using the band to spread His Gospel message? Any stories?
Andrew McArdle: I think that God has been using the band to spread the Gospel in different ways. One story that sticks out in my mind is of a young lady we met in central Oregon. She had an elaborate plan laid out to take her own life, but heard our song “Dear Robert” after reluctantly going to church one last time… She pulled us aside and said she knew instantly that she couldn’t go through with her plan. She went on to say that she needed to meet Jesus, so we were able to pray with her as she accepted Him into her life. It’s been so cool being able to watch her grow from a depressed young lady, into a women who is full of life and has an incredible passion for the Lord!
Barry Irwin Brophy: What do you think are the biggest obstacles within the Christian Church institution in America and how can we change to be more effective in preaching the Gospel?
Andrew McArdle: We think one of the biggest obstacles within the American church is this phenomenon of isolation. We build walls up between different church bodies or denominations and can’t seem to look past our theological or creative differences. This creates small pockets of passionate world changing believers… But how much more effective could we be if chose to focus on the major points of salvation, and work together as the united bride of Christ. We think that this would be a great step for the church to take in reaching the nation more effectively for the Lord.
Barry Irwin Brophy: How do you think your music will influence the coming revival?
Andrew McArdle: I think our music will help influence the coming revival in the sense that it’s highly relatable and honest. The material that we’re putting out comes from life experiences and honestly, a place of brokenness… We used to write clever songs that we thought would sway people to pursue Jesus. But as we’ve grown, we’ve realized that people are looking for a message that has an authenticity to it, and that’s where these new songs are coming from…That place where real life and faith intersect.
Barry Irwin Brophy: What advice would you like to give to Christian musicians just getting started? Please provide any helpful tips or painful lessons of what not to do.
Andrew McArdle: We would say be honest and realistic with yourself about this dream/calling that you feel on your life. A lot of young artists don’t understand that growth is a process that takes time, patience, and persistence. It’s ok if things don’t work out how or when you want. In fact, most of the time they don’t. Stay focused on what God has for you right now and be faithful in it.
For example we found ourselves in a season where it seemed like nothing was happening with our band. The shows were not as frequent or lucrative as they had been in the past. We were coming up short creatively, and just really in a place that seemed like a complete standstill. We found ourselves asking “Where do we go from here?” We came to this place where we agreed to remain faithful where God had us. Even though we couldn’t see the end of that season from where we stood. Collectively we decided to prepare whole-heartedly for whatever it was that God had in store. Looking back on that season today, I’m glad that we used that time to get better at our craft, pursue the Lord, and build relationships at home.
Barry Irwin Brophy: What software, equipment, etc. would you recommend to someone on a tight music budget or just getting started?
Andrew McArdle: Great question! I think the biggest lie we believe as musicians is that you need amazing gear before you can make music that sounds legit. The truth is you just need a few good tools and some knowhow to get started. I’ll list off a few suggestions below:
1. A reliable and quick computer. Could be a laptop, desktop, mac, or pc.
2. An audio interface to get your sounds into the computer. Some inexpensive options are the Presonus AudioBox USB or the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4.
3. A digital audio workstation. (DAW) Software that lets you record multiple channels of audio and lets you mix them together with effects to create your music. Some great options are Reaper, Studio One, Logic Pro X, & Pro-Tools. (Note: some audio interfaces come bundled with a DAW so you may be able get the software and the hardware in the same package.)
4. A medium-large diaphragm condenser microphone. Some good options are the Blue Microphones “Bluebird”, the Audio Technica AT2035, or the Rode NT1.
5. A good pair of headphones for recording and mixing you music. Here are some budget friendly options. The Sennheiser HD 280’s, Audio Technica ATH-M40x’s, or the AKG K240’s.
Barry Irwin Brophy: I’ve also encountered many struggling Christian musicians who have given up on pursuing their calling because of chaotic hardships in every form imaginable. These guys and girls are really in the fire right now and have been severely burned. If you were speaking with them one on one what would you say to them?
Andrew McArdle: We’d say hardships are inevitable. We’ve had many hardships ourselves in one form or another. There’s a huge difference between making music and making music for the glory of the Lord. And by choosing the latter we are engaging in an ongoing spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). The enemy is going to attack from all directions, especially (at least in our experience) in our relationships. It’s so important to always be seeking the Lord and asking Him for the ability to identify these hardships as attacks that are meant to draw us away from the work that God has called us to. The good news is that God is always greater and is faithful to walk with us through the muck when we submit to Him.
Barry Irwin Brophy’s Closing Thoughts
The maturity by which McArdle and The Incandescent approach their music is refreshingly intentional. I greatly appreciate McArdle’s closing statements about hardship and the spiritual warfare often experienced, too. So seldom do Christian leaders discuss this aspect of Christianity.
Growing up on the east coast, I have seen the isolation that Christians tend to walk in as McArdle stated earlier in the discussion. Christians always walk this fine line of ingraining themselves in the community around them but not letting the worldly perspectives, thoughts, and patterns of thinking compromise their faith. The Apostle Paul states this action again and again in his letters to the Church in the New Testament. We are told in Romans 12:2 “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will”, which speaks about the sanctification process by which God renews the patterns of our thinking from the patterns of the worlds thoughts on perspectives and values.
In another letter, Paul states “to the Jews I became a Jew, to win Jews. To those under the law I became like on under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1st Corinthians 9:19-23). Paul ingrains himself in the culture he is ministering too, without compromising his faith.
As The Incandescent travel around the country on tour, I know from the McArdle’s interview answers that these men will walk that fine line throughout the coffee shops, stadium concerts, and unplugged sessions of music they participate in. May Christians around the world walk into their spheres of influence with the same mindset as Paul.
Thanks for the gear tips guys! Even though I’m more of Linux user when it comes to making music (mostly for budget reasons), I am glad to have found some other musicians who know what it’s like to work with a next-to-nothing budget. Believe me, I took those notes to heart and will be shopping around for gear for my own projects in the future!
So if you are in Washington state within the next few months, do not forget to see them live with David Crowder and then again in Kennewick, WA at the fabulous four day epic event: Creation Northwest 2016. As allows connect with these guys through social media or joining their newsletter of their website. If you are a pastor, minister, or Christian leader, why not book them at your church, youth retreat, or any other event? Purchase some of their music and merchandise too! But most importantly partner with The Incandescent in prayer that revival would flow from their songs.
The Incandescent’s Pages
Official Website: http://theincandescentmusic.com/
Great & Glorious Lyric Video, YouTube, 3:05, posted by The Incandescent, January 5, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wlB2Q1Jqm8&ebc=ANyPxKoGTfDOfSl6DhEKLAEX_Z3D3oySt3x0-K8ZzXB-a-AOVxmWgdLcvrqmOxKtZ5BjZQ9ggUguWE56GgN-a52ZqxWiDj0Upw (accessed April 19, 2016)
The Incandescent. “About.” The Incandescent Music. http://theincandescentmusic.com/heritage/
(accessed April 18, 2016)
The Incandescent. Band Portrait. Big Cartel. http://theincandescent.bigcartel.com/ (accessed April 18, 2016)
The Incandescent, email message to author, April, 5, 2016.
The Incandescent. Planting Bulbs EP. Copyright 2012 by Elevate Music, MP3. http://theincandescentmusic.com/planting-bulbs-ep
The Incandescent. The Incandescent EP. Copyright 2014 by Elevate Music, MP3. http://theincandescentmusic.com/the-incandescent-ep
The Incandescent. The Porch Sessions. Copyright 2016 by Elevate Music, MP3. http://theincandescentmusic.com/the-porch-sessions
The Incandescent, YouTube, 3:20, posted by The Incandescent, May 30, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mcg-5R9BkI (accessed April 19, 2016)
Wildfire – The Incandescent, YouTube, posted by The Incandescent, March 7, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mcg-5R9BkI (accessed April 19, 2016)