Minneapolis-based husband/wife folk-pop duo Him + Her Worship have just released 'Even In The Dark', their full-length debut album. Louder Than The Music chatted with Seth & Jenna to find out more about how they got started and to hear about them traveling around the US in their camper, and what inspired their new album.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
Seth: We are a husband and wife Christian worship duo called Him + Her Worship, and we have been touring, writing, and recording music for a little over two years. Jenna and I have been together since high school and have been married for three years. We live in our camper (Scampy) full time, and we travel all across America! At the beginning of our marriage we both were leading worship at church and completely fell in love with worship music. We weren't feeling fulfilled by our careers, and we felt called to sell all our possessions, buy a van, camper and equipment, and start touring churches.
What's it been like traveling around the country in a camper while you tour? That must be quite an adventure!
Jenna: Yes, it is such an amazing adventure! It is so cool how we get to experience our country and all of the people and cultures that come with it - I wouldn't trade these last few years for anything! It also has allowed us to spend a lot more time with the people we love and a lot more time outdoors. But I have learned that adventure means embracing all of the highs and all of the lows. There are difficulties and things that make this really tough, but to repeat what I once heard from another indie artist, "When you let go of expectations, you can receive experiences."
Tell us about your new album 'Even In The Dark' and what the inspiration behind it was?
Seth: We started writing this record about a year ago while we were going through a pretty tough season. There were a lot of unknowns with our ministry, many ups and downs while on the road, and having a lot of broken expectations. On top of that, my mom was diagnosed with cancer in August, and by the beginning of 2020, she passed away. Most of our songs were written in that season. We went back on the road after her funeral and we knew we had to make this record. So, we got a cabin in the middle of nowhere in East Texas and basically turned these songs into a record. By March, our touring came to a screeching halt and we finished recording the album while we were stuck quarantining at a church in Phoenix.
Which is your favorite track on the album and why?
Jenna: “It'll Be Alright” will always mean something special to me. I'm pretty sure it will be the song we sing for the next five decades. We wrote it for Seth's mom on January 2nd before we even knew she was being brought to the hospital at that same time; we didn't know while we were writing this song for her that that day would be her last. There are other songs we love that at times might overshadow “It'll Be Alright,” but I think this one will always be really, really special to me. It is just a simple encouragement: I know how this story ends, I know where I'm going. And this song has brought us so much peace in the mourning.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
Seth: The essence of this record is that God is good and there is hope even in the dark. We wrote these songs as prayers and our own encouragement in our season of darkness, but as we are all now in this new normal, we realized that these songs weren't just for us, but for all of us, collectively. People need to hear that Jesus is our hope in every moment and every season. Our mission is to be honest with both our audience and God, and we pray that others are inspired to do the same. We hope that Even in the Dark leads people to a deeper relationship with God, and that we all get better at bringing everything to Him, including our failures and worries and disappointments.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
Jenna: Our style is singer/songwriter, but it can also be considered indie folk/indie pop. Our record is heavy on lyricism and cinematic textures, and it’s absolutely a worship album, though we do take some different creative risks. The Lumineers have been our biggest influence for years - their simple instrumentation, honest vocal production, and storytelling elements have been a guiding light as we grow as musicians. Other influences for us would be United Pursuit, All Sons & Daughters, Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, and Nathaniel Rateliff.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Seth: Hillsong’s Joel Houston. Every time I hear a song he's been a part of, I can just feel an intense depth in the meaning, but also a really profound honesty. I think a lot of times that can be lost. You sometimes need to make the choice between writing something simple or something that is deep theologically or something emotionally driven. He just knows how to mix all of those together in a really incredible way, and I would love to work with him.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
Jenna: This is something we struggle to answer for ourselves, actually. It is so easy to get caught up in the numbers of it - the figures, the followers, the subscribers - and start to believe that success is an arrival. We can look at other artists and think they "made it" because they're on the radio or signed to a label. But what I need to remember is that we started playing music because we felt like we had to, nothing else has ever felt as right as it does playing our music for people who need to hear its message. And I'm finding that success for us looks like talking to the high schooler who tells us how much our music has mattered to her in a tough time, or a middle-aged man asking us to pray with him. That just means so much more than opening up Spotify for Artists and seeing the stats. Numbers can be purchased, fought for, and won, but those personal experiences are the Holy Spirit working through us, and I think that facilitating a moment where someone draws nearer to Jesus is the greatest honor and success I have ever been given.
What is your favorite album of all time?
Seth: Cleopatra by the Lumineers was released a couple of years ago and has been so important to me. I love the production - they don't use a ton of tracks, but the ones they do use matter. Each song has a specific narrative that cuts into your own experiences, and the performances and lyrics mixed together communicate emotions in a really beautiful way. Sometimes an album comes to you at a critical moment in your life. As we prepped to leave for tour for the first time it symbolized freedom and adventure, and when we got in the car, we listened to it all the way across the West. I'm pretty sure we know all the words. It was the anthem of that first summer adventure and it has the power to transport me back.
What does the next year hold for you?
Jenna: I wish I knew... We had big plans for a southern tour this winter, and I was hoping we could go through Canada or Alaska in the summer. We had hopes and dreams that this record would change some of our day-to-day life and our direction for our ministry. But in reality, it looks different than we expected. Maybe we will be able to stay on the road, maybe we will need to take a break. It's been really hard to read what God is leading us to, but I think it's another exercise of trust.