Award winning DJ, producer, worship leader and 'missionary to popular culture' Andy Hunter is just about to release his new EP, we caught up with him to talk music and mission, and why its ok to make mistakes.
His latest record ‘Glow’ will come out later this month, and Andy was keen to explain the motivation behind two of his favourite tracks.
He said: “For me there are two particular tracks that really mean a lot. There’s ‘Spiral’ featuring vocals by Beth Bullock. Back at the start of this track I was inspired by spirals and how they always continue to get bigger, always evolving. That’s something that I want for my music and life.
“The other track is ‘Glow’ featuring vocals by Monique Thomas. I wrote this track with Monique after our visit to Kolkata in India with Compassion UK where I had the opportunity to meet the child that I sponsor and see the work of Compassion in action.
“Well this trip blew me away and certainly challenged me in how I was serving the poor. ‘Glow’ contains a recording of some of the Indian children we met over there and speaks of our experiences on that trip.”
Always more than ‘just’ a DJ, Andy Hunter has sought to use his abilities to encourage a diversity in worship leading – leading the way in incorporating dance music into congregational worship. But does he find it frustrating that in the vast majority of church settings, worship remains the same as it always has?
The connection with music through the decades isn’t with the sounds but more what inspires the music and the meaning behind the music.
“I think what I find frustrating is there are so many talented people within the church that are just not given room to express their gift in worship. So it’s always the same format and songs. On a weekly basis where’s the poetry, painting, dance, sculptures, different genres of music?
“If it’s dance based then as a worship leader you need to realise that not everyone is going to be used to dance music. Being there’s not many words and it’s not like traditional songs, you need to give people access points in which to use the music to worship - such as references to scripture either by saying it out or on video, or maybe by getting people to pray in certain sections of the music.
“Oh, and people need to understand that it’s ok to make mistakes.”
And how does Andy imagine the future of congregational worship?
“I guess we may be singing Martin Smith/Tim Hughes songs as traditional Hymns, I’m hoping though that it will be a bit more creative and more inclusive to the people and their gifting within that church.
“I think music is something that most of humanity connect with, either through our emotions, our spiritually, or our physical bodies. I guess the connection with music through the decades isn’t with the sounds but more what inspires the music and the meaning behind the music.”
Many Christians are wary of getting involved in something as blatantly ‘secular’ as club culture, but as one of the ‘missionaries’ to popular culture trained by NGM in the 1990s, how does Andy see the clubbing scene?
“For me some churches always seem to be telling people what they shouldn’t be involved in, but how can you be salt and light when we just hang together all the time?
I really see myself as someone who is trying to live the way God wants them to live, I follow what I believe God’s direction is for my life.
“We need to be involved in communities, and cultural scenes, and affecting those places for God. I don’t condone all the things that go on within club culture, but I love the music.
“I really see myself as someone who is trying to live the way God wants them to live, I follow what I believe God’s direction is for my life.
“I certainly like to equip people to live this way. I love to talk to people about my faith and I love to talk to people in the industry about my inspiration and for me that is my relationship with Jesus. I feel that the only people who understand the terms ‘missionary’ and ‘ministry’ are Christians, so I tend not to use them a whole lot.”
The DJ's latest EP ‘Glow’ is released on July 23rd. He is streaming a track a day for free on his Facebook page all this week.
July 17th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross