Meet the band who say “gigs” is a dirty word and are reluctant to promote their own music. They claim to be “the worst band to have on a record label” and warn their audience they are not a “typical Christian band”.
The Remission Flow talk to Christian.co.uk
(c) Mikey Oldfield
The Remission Flow would hate to be billed as “the next big Christian band”, but the reality is they may be just that.
Recently signed to 7Core Music, the band have just released their debut album The Light That Floods. The story begins in 2010 with seven friends playing at an event called 'Remission in Southern Ireland', and leading young people in worship.
The band says they never asked to play anywhere, but as invitations steadily rolled in, the friends decided to form a band.
“We came up with some really bad names,” lead singer Darren Mulligan tells me. One Direction was even suggested at one point. “It would never catch on,” he jokes.
“That word 'remission' meant a lot to us because our ministry was birthed out of that, and we’d seen God do mighty things under that banner. The bassist, Mark Allister, said: "Why don’t we call ourselves 'The Remission Flow'?”
“There can be no remission of sins without Christ. And the flow signifies that the grace and the blood that flowed keeps flowing. We’re still in that day of grace so we’re still part of that remission flow. It means a lot to us, thankfully, because 'One Direction' would have really sucked!”
A Unique Sound
The band are passionate, friendly and have already made a significant impact through their music. But Darren is almost apologetic for the songs the band have written.
“There aren’t any ‘verse-chorus-verse-choruses’…These 12 songs God has given us may not be the catchiest you’ve ever heard, but they’re the truth,” he says.
Guitarist Trevor Brimage agrees. “It’s hard to compare the album with something else, but the cop-out is to say it is what it is.
"We know everything is about God first and God has given us these wonderful songs and each other as a way to express our love for him and to reach others with the gospel."
Just making the album has been a financial adventure for the band.
"We don’t need to push anything, God will always open it. We never asked for anything, but God provided the exact amount of money. Today we have £200 in our bank account, which will cover the flyers for the album launch. Everything else has been covered because God has provided it.”
The perils of promotion
The band are clear that 7Core is the perfect label for the band to be signed to. They praised 7Core founder, producer and band manager Trevor Michael throughout our interview.
We never asked for anything, but God provided the exact amount of money.
“If you don’t share our heart and don’t share our vision for God, and if you’re not grounded in total humility, then we struggle with that. We couldn’t work with some record label that wanted to churn out stuff and make us wear clothes to look different or do things we’re uncomfortable with.”
“We didn’t want anything on a CD to be about us getting recognition or some kind of glory or fame. That’s all we ever sought in our old lives, but now it disgusts us. We sat last night talking about how we’re going to promote it. We’re possibly the worst band to have on a record label because we can’t even decide whether to tell people about it!”
At this point Trevor Michael interjects and explains: “Anything that they feel is saying: ‘Look at us we’ve done this’, they don’t want to do that, because it’s about God. I’m trying to convince them it’s OK to say: ‘We’ve written some good songs,’ but they don’t like promoting themselves.”
Trevor and Darren from the band
(c) Mikey Oldfield
In the end, it seems the band manager won the argument! Just a few days after our interview, Darren posted a blog on the band’s website entitled ‘promotion, regret and broken chains’.
He writes: “It felt weird telling people about something we have made. It's almost like we felt that if we said the album was good... we would automatically become proud and that our eyes would be taken off the things of God.
“However, I to my shame, believe the opposite occurred. I believe that in not actively promoting this record that we belittled the giftings and ministry that God has given us in creating this record.”
When ask them to name their musical influences, the band are silent before admitting they don’t listen to much music. Interestingly, Trevor believes this fact has helped the band be creative.
“I used to think it was a good thing to have a diverse collection of music to listen to. But, at this stage of my life, I think it’s completely the opposite; the less stuff we have our heads bombarded with, the better. It’s better to hear what God wants us to do than be influenced by the world.”
Darren agrees, asking: “What would be the point in us writing a song that had a good hook in it and people are going to like listening to?
“That would be so fraudulent. We’d be just creating that and making that,” he says.
We won’t say let's worship together because we’re in this really spiritual place. Because we’re not most of the time. Human beings are not, and I don’t care who you are.
"There’s no superiority complex. We’re not looking at other bands that write really pop-y Christian songs and saying: 'What are they doing?' Them guys are doing amazing work for God and seeing thousands of people come to Christ.
“But we firmly believe God has given a voice - not just to people involved in large movements, but a voice to the young fellow sitting in his bedroom writing songs on his guitar and the little bands going around youth groups who are a million miles away from that area of Christian music.”
7Core and The Remission Flow are a match made in heaven. Both may be small and relatively unknown, but they also share a powerful vision. It’s unusual but also refreshing to meet artists who talk about God more than themselves.
As well as their sole focus being on God, the band also exhibits honesty and a purpose for greater things.
“I believe that Jesus Christ wants to see people telling the truth and he is discontented with a lukewarm people, of which I am one a lot of the time," Darren confesses.
“He is almighty and we’ve turned him into this cuddly thing we can hold and mould. I don’t think he’s very happy with what we’ve done with his church and good news.
“We want to encourage people through our own failings. When we play, we tell people what our hearts are like. If my heart has been rotten that day I tell them. If I’ve had lustful thoughts or whatever, we’ll tell them. We won’t say: 'Let's worship together because we’re in this really spiritual place', because we’re not, most of the time. Human beings are not, and I don’t care who you are!
“But that’s not satisfactory. That will not do in my life, so we need to change that. People won’t be satisfied with the ordinary and the mundane and fibbing to God. We want people to hunger and thirst after him, but all these things we say and do are mostly directed at ourselves. So when we minister to others, we minister to ourselves...Sorry, I’m ranting again.”
March 7th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes