Interview: Bluetree

May 07 2012

As Northern Ireland worship band Bluetree release their new album 'Kingdom', we speak to lead singer Aaron Boyd about how they follow up their world renowned anthem 'God Of This City', plus the personal story behind some of the new songs.

Tell us a little bit about your new album 'Kingdom' and what the inspiration behind it was?

It's really a two fold inspiration :

- The journey of Exchange Church Belfast : every song is based in teaching series and life experiences we've been on as a church since we started in 2009

- And the story of David & Goliath : the idea that when David stood before Goliath, he knew he was in covenant with God, so in the natural it looked like Goliath, the giant, was gonna kick David’s butt, but in the supernatural the truth is that David had the full weight of the God’s authority behind him. This also inspired the armour in the artwork; David knew that Saul’s armour hadn’t proved itself to him and was a poor fit for what he needed. God’s kingdom had proved itself to David, and the challenge for us is to see that play out in our lives & circumstances by trusting in Him alone.

The track 'Jesus Healer' has a particularly personal story to it, can you tell us about that song.

My eldest daughter Lily (6) was born with cystic fibrosis, and the song came out of the journey of trying to figure out what the Bible actually says about healing. Our church did a series on healing last year where we also shared some of that journey and the song was also inspired by that teaching. So even though we are yet to see Lily completely healed in the natural, we know that all Jesus’ promises are His will for our lives and our journey to see that wholeness and fullness continues.

You're known as writer of the song 'God Of This City', were you surprised how much that song took off and does it bother you that many people only associate you with that one song?

It doesn’t really bother me, it is a big song and has a great story behind it, but the people who follow Bluetree know and understand that there is much more for us and in all of us. God Of This City is a special song and was a really special moment, but I feel this new album has lots of special moments - maybe not characterised by the same circumstances perhaps, but songs that hopefully more people can relate to every single day, rather than just being an inspirational moment. We all know people who are sick, who need to stand on the promises of the Cross, who need breakthrough need to lift Jesus over their lives, and I think Kingdom is going to do that for more people.

What's your song writing process?

By going into church, worshipping, and melodies come out of that place of meeting together. So in prayer meetings, people might bring a word and we’ll respond in worship, so there is a lot of spontaneous and prophetic songs. Rest came about in this way when we were learning to understand Biblical rest through the chaos of life and church planting, while the chorus of Jesus Healer was a response to a message preached. Lots of the songs are born in this way - I can’t actually just sit down and write a song, it just doesn’t work for me. So if we’re doing a series on love for example, I can pull some of these melodies and spontaneous moments together craft them into songs, put the meat on from what we’re learning and my own personal revelation to sing back over the church and they have new songs directly inspired by what we’re all learning and walking through to sing over their lives.

If you could work with any song writer, who would it be and why?
I’m actually really privileged that I get to work with someone I love, our Exchange Church worship director Griff (Ryan Griffith). I love the fact that we do life together and we’ve both learnt a lot from each other. Outside of that relationship, I’d love to work with Matt Redman. I think he’s consistently written great songs for the church and I think shares the same heart. He writes songs that might point out the craziness of life, but always sings about the goodness of God over those circumstances.

How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?

A bit of everything, and I wanted that to be reflected in this album. I love Danish band Carpark North, I love Jonsi (from Sigur Ros), I love The Prodigy, a lot of Christian music, and loads of different people, and wanted to pull that all together - along with everyone else who creatively speaks into the process - throw it all into the middle, and just see what came out.

In your opinion, what makes the perfect worship song?

A worship song about Jesus, that’s what makes sense to me. I don’t like singing laments like David sometimes did in the Psalms, I feel like that’s an old covenant thing and we live in the new covenant where we’re not actually in a battle, we’re in a victory. So songs that point to Jesus and His goodness, no matter what it is that we’re walking through. It’s not denying that stuff is going on in life, like with Jesus Healer, I don’t deny that my daughter has symptoms of cystic fibrosis, but choose to believe that Jesus has been and always will be ‘healer’ and that is an unchanging characteristic of God.

What advice would you give to any aspiring bands or songwriters out there?

Firstly, find out who you are, and don’t be defined by being a band, a worship leader, a drummer or whatever. Be defined by what God tells you and how He sees you. I’ve always known I’ve been built and called to be a worship leader, but that’s not who I am. I’m not Aaron Boyd, worship leader. I’m Aaron Boyd, son & heir, prince within the Kingdom of God. So out of who I am, I respond by writing songs, by being a father, by being involved in Church and loving my church. The music side of everything is very subjective, there’s lots of different ways so explore what’s right for you. We live in an exciting period where things are getting redefined and having a creative approach is really important - not just with songs, but everything that goes along with it. Believe that you can do it, knowing God wants you to succeed.

Bluetree - Jesus HealerYou're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?

That changes all the time. I really love Furious by Jeremy Riddle at the minute. So if I was there today, that’d be it. Next week it might be something that’s not even written yet.

What does the next year hold for Bluetree?

More of the same, throwing our energy into church and leading the people of Belfast, growing family and life - not growing a ministry because ministry should grow from those relationships. But in all that, still pushing the boundaries and just becoming more focused and intentional on what it is we’re here to achieve - building the Kingdom.

Find out more about Bluetree on their website

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