Ohio indie band Admiration & Affection just released their new album 'Lessons & Carols'. Louder Than The Music spoke with band members Laura Krstolic (Vocals), Jason Buffin (Bass, Guitar, Vocals) and Jonathan Wehman (Drums), all about their music and what inspires them.
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?
I have been doing music in the church in some capacity for about 20 years. I started singing in choir and eventually directed the church choir and lead worship on Sundays. I love all kinds of music and on any given day, you could hear me listening to anything from a Mozart opera to prog metal. - JB
Music has been in my life since I was born. My father and mother both were into music. My dad actually is a huge reason I’m as active as I am now. Music for me can range from every aspect. With being an Audio Engineer, I can almost listen to any style any day of the week. - JW
Music has always been a huge part of my life and has quickly become my passion. Growing up in the church singing since I can remember. I’ve also just been blessed with so many opportunities to use my voice. LK
Tell us about your new album 'Lessons and Carols' and what the inspiration behind it was?
A year ago, Jon and I made a couple Christmas tracks under the A&A name. We decided then that we wanted to do a full-length Christmas album. The idea for ‘Lessons and Carols’ being a concept album was inspired by groups like Trans-Siberian Orchestra and their Christmas story albums. We felt that there was nothing out there that was telling the story of Christmas like that. We wanted to make something with a heavier sound and tell the story of Christmas but with a real Christian message. - JB
I think Jason answered this well, however the idea of “L&C” stems from the old service style that churches would do. So you can get a good dose of Gospel and Music with every track. It’s a pretty neat concept. But again with all of us having a “Prog” background the idea of concept albums always is interesting and the story of Jesus is the greatest story ever told! So why not do that! - JW
Which is your favorite track on the album and why?
For me, I love the opening track ‘A Christmas Alleluia’ because of how much it really builds anticipation for the rest of the story. There is this tension with the Scripture readings telling the story of sin and how it entered the world and anticipating the release that doesn’t really come until you hit ‘Hallelujah’ near the end of the album that sees Christ victorious on the throne. - JB
Actually, I have to say some parts of each song is my fav. However, if picking only one. I will say ‘Christmastime’ that song for me is such a rich meaning and style to me. We couldn’t have a full orchestra, but the fact we were able to translate that to a modern rock song and include an ensemble singing on it. That just makes Christmas to me in music ... again from my background. - JW
I love them all...I love the hearts, talent and passion put behind each one. LK
What message would you like people to take from your music?
This album is the story of the Gospel. I want people to see their need for a savior and to see Christ as that Savior and to be drawn into worship of Him. - JB
Honestly? I hope people can see the genuine heart we displayed. Our pastor recently sent us a text saying he “saw our heart” in it. And that to me speaks louder than any drum beat, cool vocal effect, or how cool a compressor we used. - JW
I want people to see Jesus and His love and hope when they listen to our music. LK
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
We are most closely related to modern worship bands with a distinctly heavier sound. I’m influenced by bands like Vertical Worship, All Sons and Daughters and CityAlight. On the heavier side, I listen to a lot of progressive metal like Dream Theater, The Dear Hunter and Devin Townsend. - JB
Style? I’m me ... again with being a mix engineer for a living I listen to so much music that at times it will change. But my style really is rooted within my dad. I grew up listening to Orchestral music and Country. So, it wasn’t until I was a bit older I got into the heavier music. But currently I’m listening to: Cassadee Pope’s Stages. - JW
I agree with Jon on this one...I’m me. No particular style for sure. Always love trying and experiencing different music genres. As far as influencers, as a child and young adult Amy Grant...as of late, Vertical Worship, Praytell, Meredith Andrews to name a few. LK
Vertical Worship without a doubt! Their lyrics are so very gospel rich and you can transparently see their hearts. LK
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Neal Morse because he has this gift of taking a vision and creating a sonic landscape and blending it with just the right lyrics. - JB
Micheal W. Smith because he just knows how to do the right stuff the right way. I admire him a lot. - JW
How would you define success in your career as artists?
Honestly, if we can change people’s lives through Christ then the success will be great. Yeah all the other things would be cool. But, the best reward is knowing that what we do on stage and what we do off stage reflects and shows others how to be better in faith. - JW
By letting God do His thing. My voice is a tool for Him. LK
For Laura, how is it being the lead singer of a more edgy worship band?
It’s definitely an honor and fun being stretched vocally to do things I may not have ever done! LK
What is your favorite album of all time?
Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional by The Dear Hunter - JB
That is so hard! If this was songs I’d have it in spades, however if I have to pick it and I’m sure my band mates will laugh but Anberlin - Cities or New Found Glory Self Titled. - JW
Is it bad that mine is a Christmas album? ‘It’s Almost Christmas’ by Jon & Valerie Guerra LK
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
The Dance of Eternity by Dream Theater - JB
Not fair! Jason took the easy way out!! But ... Worlds Apart - Jars of Clay (fav song of all time) - JW
Wow this is SO hard to answer! I would definitely want something that I could sing along to and the one that sticks out to me the most is “A Million Dreams” from the Greatest Showman soundtrack. LK
What does the next year hold for you?
We are currently working on an EP for Holy Week and will be writing a full-length album to be released hopefully later in the year. - A&A