The UK's KXC have just released a new worship song called 'Fighting For My Heart' with Rich & Lydia Dicas. Louder Than The Music spoke with Rich and KXC's Tom Eccleshall about the music coming out of KXC, the new single, and how they're coping as a church through the current pandemic situation.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about KXC?
[Tom] Sure, KXC is an Anglican Church in Kings Cross, Central London (UK). It is led by Pete & Bee Hughes and our church's aim is to recklessly give ourselves away to God, each other and the people of Kings Cross and beyond. As a worship team, we've been writing and recording songs for about 5-6 years now. We only ever record songs which we've also been using in our times of worship in the church, because if we see people connecting to the songs in our settings, it feels right to make those songs available for other people too. We did our first live album as a church in 2018, and have recorded a number of studios EP's prior to that. It's definitely been a really fun journey, but we're grateful for literally every new song that God inspires within our team.
Tell us about your new single 'Fighting For My Heart' and what the inspiration behind it was?
[Rich] ‘Fighting For My Heart’ is a worship song which was originally written for those wrestling with issues of self-hatred and self-harm, although the song has become an anthem of hope to many others too. The heart of the song is the Romans 8 passage that celebrates how nothing can separate us from the love of God - not even our own brokenness. The chorus echoes Psalm 139 and Psalm 23 with the words:
“Even if I go to the highest place or sink to my knees and hide my face. I cannot out-run, I can’t escape your love…”
At home we often talk about how we always want to ‘fight for each other’s hearts’. That we don’t want to let shame come in between us and that we always want to find connection with one another. We’ve both personally experienced how the Lord has done this in our hearts - he loves us as we are but always wants to see us step into greater measures of freedom and honesty in our relationship with him. He is constantly drawing us into deeper intimacy and inviting us to share with him both our joys and our disappointments.
The second verse paints a picture of lifting hands in worship and baring to him our scars as we openly surrender our hearts to him. The bridge is a confident declaration that we are ‘never abandoned and never rejected.’ It’s both a cry for those who have been struggling with self-hatred and also for those who can declare it over others. The words are written for the church to prophesy to a broken and hopeless generation that ‘you are never abandoned and that you have a Father who is fighting for your heart’.
You've talked about wanting this song to be "an anthem of hope", why is that so important to you?
[Rich] God’s plan for redemption was to become flesh and fully dwell in the pain of humanity, bearing our sins and rising from the dead so that we could be restored in relationship to God. We believe the Bible promises that he is in the process of renewing all things and that is an inherently hopeful message. When writing songs like this, we want to write with compassion (which literally means to ‘suffer with’) for those in pain - acknowledging it and being honest with it. From that place we want to point towards Jesus who is our enduring and unshakeable hope. We pray that in pointing to Jesus, this song can bring a message of hope to those who need to hear it, experience it and even sing it over others.
The song was written with LA-based songwriter Jordan Frye from Urban Rescue - how did you connect with him?
[Rich] Tom and I were in Nashville for a Worship Together song-writing camp and Jordan was also there. We were just hanging out and I played him the initial idea and the song grew from there. Jordan is a phenomenal writer and is releasing some incredible new singer-songwriter material.
Do you have plans to release any more music in the near future?
[Tom] Yes, there's quite a few things coming out of KXC this summer. 'Fighting For My Heart' is the first of a number of songs which Rich has written which will be available in the future. We also have a couple of singles coming out (the next one in two weeks) which will form part of an album which we will finish off recording in early 2021. In addition to that I am releasing a 5 track EP through KXC in the coming months too.
As a church worship group how are you coping with the current pandemic/lockdown situation?
[Tom] It's definitely been a challenge, and I can't wait to see people and worship together. Zoom worship has been a challenge for staff meetings admittedly. But I think by and large we've survived and the online services have been really rewarding to be a part of - it's definitely sharpened us as a team technically and brought a great level of unity. It's also amazing to make church as accessible as possible and it's great to see people inviting others to the service, it has never been easier!
Do you have any tips for running 'online church' worship for other church worship leaders and musicians?
[Tom] I'd say, just remind yourself of God's grace and don't be hard on yourself, we're just trying to do the best that we can to serve our local church. And we should know, that it never will sound or feel as amazing as it could when we're all together live worshipping together in person, and it's probably more sacrificial of ourselves than it normally is actually. But what we're doing is vitally important - because it's so important that we as a church, don't forget how to meet with God in worship, and the online services are definitely proving a lifeline to many. Having said all it's also a great opportunity to get better at recording yourself at home, which is also really fun and a great goal to set. So it's helpful to also see is as an opportunity to work on your craft as a musician a little more! So, 1) thank you for doing it! 2) Be gracious to yourself! and 3) try and see the challenge as an opportunity.
In these difficult times, what's your go-to music to give yourself a pickup?
[Rich] We have three young children in our house who regularly ask Alexa to play ‘Space Unicorn’ (which I’m not going to lie is an absolute banger). As a parent I also think it’s really important to educate our children, so I’ve been trying to teach them to head-bang to Bohemian Rhapsody, Van Halen and they love Less Than Jake.
More seriously, I’m a firm believer in engaging in lament rather than ignoring what’s going on around us. In difficult times I tend to lean towards melancholic music that empathises with our pain and can transform it into a beautiful tear-stained offering of worship. Andy Squyres’ brand new song ‘Dead Horse’ is a great example of this - it floored me when I first heard it. He’s a master of writing the kind of honest and raw worship songs that David wrote in the Psalms.
There’s also some really uplifting and inspiring new worship music coming out here in the UK - we’ve been loving the new album from St Aldates Worship and the new music Orphan No More, Lucy Grimble, Elle Limebear and Cat Rea have been releasing.
If you had to pick one worship song by another artist to record a cover of, which song would it be and why?
[Rich] Probably ‘When All Around is Fallen’ by Delirious. Cutting Edge 3+4 is very precious to me as it is the CD I got the day I first met Jesus. Even though this song is 22 years old, it still feels very relevant to now.
What does the next year hold for KXC?
[Tom] Hopefully lots of worship with our church family all together in one room I hope?!! In terms of recordings, yes we have another six songs coming out through KXC this summer, so between that and our online services - it's looking fairly busy!