Sunday, 6 May 2012

We're back

Anyone with anything to do with Early to the Vineyard will probably be fully aware that we've been nothing more than inactive over the last few months. 2012 was sizing up to be a big year for us, gigs were coming in thick and fast, discussions of further recordings were bouncing around and new songs were being created almost too fast for us to keep up with. Then it all just stopped. It's not for me to go in to the details of why but is for me to announce that we're back and with more passion, excitement and sense of expectation than before. This time of dryness in the vineyard has not been a time of futility or waste. More a strengthening of the foundations. We've reaffirmed why we do this and have improved how we do it. We've become more aware of the need to persistently improve and grow and make sure we're giving G-d our very best. Whenever we've talked, met or played as a band recently there's been much more purpose to it and we can't wait to play gigs again. Keep your eyes open for dates.
Thank you as always for your continued support friends.
Peace be with you.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

What it's all about part 3

This next part is a brief description of how the band came together and if the other guys are reading this i'd love it if you all posted your own entries on your experiences of this, with your perceptions and what was going through your heads at the time. This is simply mine.
i joined St Nics church almost 3 years a go now, that seems strange to think of. Not long after i first joined i talked to Steve the Rector about my Vision concerning music, about the calling i felt i had. He said just find one like minded person and start praying about it with them, let G-d form your band from there. So i started praying for this one person but there didn't even seem to be one.
When i met Mike i'd stopped looking for potential band members. He had returned from Hull where he'd been at Uni and i'd joined his church while he'd been away. i liked him immediately and though i didn't talk to him much in the pub we always go to after the church service i remember feeling like i really wanted to talk to him, to get to know him. This probably sounds weird and i wasn't sure of why myself but i just felt like i needed to talk to this guy. i didn't have the confidence to do this straight away though. At this time i was working on a small musical project with a friend and we needed a bass player. So i asked my friend Abi from church (who interestingly is now going out with our drummer) and she said i'm not that good ask Mike he's a much better bassist. i added him on Facebook with the intention of sorting details on there but the project never really progressed and got abandoned in the end. However seeing Mike on Facebook chat one day and still feeling compelled to talk to him, i took the opportunity of the cowardly route and started a conversation. i was asking him about music and what he liked. After reading his answer i realised this is the guy, the like minded one i've been praying for. i told him about the vision immediately relaying some of the story i put in the previous blog and his answer was more exciting than i could have imagined. i expected an excuse, like i'm busy right now, that's not my sort of thing or many other excuses i've heard from musicians i've tried to get on board in the past. He didn't give any excuses, just said i've wanted to be in a band like that since i started playing music. Thank you G-d. Me and Mike started praying together a few days later and we started discussing other potential band members. i said though drums was my main instrument i wanted to try vocals and guitar, he said he'd like to have a go at guitar too though bass was his home. We just needed a bassist and drummer then, the 2 instruments we could have covered but chose not to. He immediately suggested Lucas for Bass. Lucas had only recently joined St Nics but had already got involved in the worship group so we knew him to be a solid bass player. i called him that night and he phoned me back about 11pm. In my voicemail i left for him i told him the vision and said we'd love you on board if you have both the will and the time. He phoned me back and said i have the will and i'll make the time, that commitment i love :)
Me, Mike and Lucas, met a few days later in the Malt Cross to start praying and talking together. We met at my house the following week to start writing and carry on praying. We couldn't find a drummer, we kept praying for one, looking for one, even giving shouts out at church for one but none came forward. G-d had a plan though and brought Luke one of Mike's friends back in to His life. They met for a drink and Mike learned Luke to be both a man of faith and a drummer, just what we were looking for. Mike asked Luke, Luke said He'd think about, G-d told Luke do it, Luke said He'd come along to a practice.
We got Luke along and i sat him down told him all about the vision, what this band was about and he cut me short saying "josh i don't play music for me, only for G-d." That was just the kind of guy we needed. We played him a few of our songs and he was impressed by our focus and liked the songs. We got on well with him socially and it became clear to everyone Luke was the guy to take this band on the next step of the journey. It's been a beautiful, at times hard but always inspired journey since then. We've grown so much, we've helped each through hard times and we've become the best of friends. We have so far to go but to look back at where we've come, well it's so exciting. It says in the bible talking of true followers of Christ "you shall no them by their love for each other." i think G-d's helped us grow into a band where we do love each other sacrificially and with commitment. As far as i'm concerned he's given me a group of guys that are easy to love and amazing to walk this journey with. i've not got any great stories of how G-d's used us to change lives or save souls. i just know that we're following Him, we're doing this for Him. We will keep doing that and leave the rest to Him.
It's worth at this point throwing out a thank you to a few people. Firstly to our church, well mine, Mike's and Lucas's i mean. They let us practice there, they've offered us a lot of support and been very understanding, we couldn't have done this without them, genuinely. Also to our friends and families, all of them. For their support, coming to gigs, taking an interest and just being generally amazing, again we couldn't of done it without them. Especially a core group who have been attending gigs and offering amazing support from the very start, we've been humbled by you and thank you. Thank you most of all to G-d for everything and thank you to you for taking the time to read this blog which has by now become far too long, i best conclude.
(Early to the Vineyard)

Sunday, 5 September 2010

What it's all about part 2

Interestingly the last post by Mike was titled "what it's all about" and that's the very subject on which i was intending to write. His contained a wonderful example and reminder for us on this so as a follow on i was hoping to use this blog as a chance to go a little more in depth in to why we're in this band and indeed what it is all about.
This will focus mainly on me and my experiences, a testimony of sorts i guess. That's simply the story i know best to tell and i hope the others maybe will tell you theirs sometime.
Also things may not be ordered quite chronologically correct, that's not a Alejandro Gonzalez style attempt at an artistic approach, i just can't quite remember when it all happened.

So i guess one large requirement for being in a band is a love for music and i don't think that was ever really in doubt with me. There was however a misguidance in my love. After a while of blindly following whatever caught my ears i eventually opened my eyes and found myself in a dark place. i was impressionable and music is influential, if the songs spoke aggressively or with words of assault then so did i, when the songs mentioned sex then my mind started on a path leading my eyes to unclean images and if the song was sad then i was most definitely sad. i'd cry to G-d for help, read in His word how i should be the very opposite to what i am, i would live on without change and blame Him for it all. In the end he asked me for a sacrifice, in comparison to His one so very small and yet in my distorted perception something so hard to do. With G-d's patience come a persistence and for each ounce of gentleness the request had it also had a frequency that made it very hard to ignore. Through gritted teeth i eventually obliged. A full rack of CD's were emptied into a plastic bag and thrown out of my life into a bin. All that remained were a Delirious CD and a DC Talk CD. Don't get me wrong i love those bands and still have those albums to this day but as good as they were they alone could not cover the purpose of variety. "Church music" really did nothing for me and with little knowledge of any other "Christian" music this as far as i could see signaled the end of the relationship between music and me.
At church the following sunday morning i sat through the service despising each uninspired song for everything it was, longing for passion or heart or just some music that meant something (disclaimer - i see now this feeling was partly due to my ignorance, but only partly). After the service i went to talk to my friend Kumar as i usually did. He was keen to tell me about something and with perfect timing spoke of a CD he'd brought of a band that played heavy music, like really heavy, distorted guitars, blast beats and even screaming but they were Christian and their music was Christian. Thinking back now it seems weird how surprised i was by this, it made absolutely no sense to me, like it was unheard of. i'd heard of Christians having feeble attempts at rock but my friend here was describing an uncompromised musical assault. He had a personal CD player, headphones and the relevant disc with him so my introduction could happen there and then and i was hooked, by intrigue more than anything because the music was too heavy for me. Will gave me the URL to a website where i could find other bands defying what Christian music was expected to be and each in their own style. Over the next months i listened and explored these bands, the music grew on me and intrigue became love, i was excited by these bands. i still remember the day my first CD of this new era arrived. It was New Medicines by Dead Poetic and i opened the parcel in the hall of my old house in Southwell with a distinct feeling of excitement, like i understood the new era this marked without really understanding it at all. The collection grew and with it i think i grew too. G-d would talk to me through this music and i felt like something i loved so much had become such a positive influence on me too. Another strong memory for me was the time i first heard mewithoutYou. i listened to them online without really knowing who they were but was immediately excited by them. i remember just dancing round my lounge with no inhibitions solely caught up in the sounds these Phili boys had made. i researched and brought one of their albums with little hesitation. It was Catch for Us the Foxes, their second album. Once it arrived it actually took some getting into but i was so glad i stuck with it as it quickly became my favorite album, a spot in ways it still holds today.
What followed was for me what felt like a very difficult year, in hindsight i think i just blew things out of proportion but it seemed really hard at the time. My parents split up which was just surprising more than anything else but what caused someone as self absorbed as me more pain was the splitting of me and the girl i had been seeing for almost a year. This was my first experience of this kind of "heartbreak" and i didn't respond well to it. i soon found though that how i felt matched so well with Aaron Weiss's (mewithoutYou's vocalist) lyrics and this sort of identification became a comfort. A more in depth study of these songs compelled not just comfort but a challenge as Aaron seemed to see all he had as so unimportant in comparison to knowing G-d. i realised that it didn't matter what i had in this life, it was all from G-d anyway and it was all to be given back to Him.
i was at Grapevine with a few friends one year listening to Andy Hawthorne talk about using music for mission. He was talking about using street music to reach street kids and trying to inspire others to do the same. i had no love for street music myself and though i would commend those who do feel called to reach street kids that didn't feel like my calling. i felt called to do something i wasn't aware (though i was wrong) at the time anyone else in the UK was doing. i at this moment felt called to use the music i love to reach others who love such music but don't love or even Know G-d. There was a call forward for those who wanted to be prayed for at the end of the talk and i stepped forward. i had no experience, no knowledge, no idea quite how to go about any of this but i just wanted to say here i am G-d, use me. i think that was like my commissioning in a weird way and since that He's been teaching me, helping me, leading me and growing me into someone He can use.
In 2007 mewithoutYou announced they were going to tour the UK, i had been waiting ages for this. On the 11th February i went to see them play in Birmingham and got there very early with the hope of meeting Aaron before the show. Somewhat incredibly and beautifully me and the friends i was with not only got to meet Aaron but we got to talk to him for about 2 hours. i told Aaron how much his band meant to me and how his lyrics had helped me. His words of response will stay with me forever, he said to know that his lyrics had helped even one person, to know they'd helped me made not only writing them worth it but made all the difficult experiences and feelings he'd written about and learned worth going through. i think these words sum up our calling, this makes so much sense with what we wanna do in this band. Just as Aaron helped me to be able to say we helped even one person would make everything G-d taught us, everything He'd inspired us to write, all those hours of practice, traveling, playing, writing, praying, talking and anything else. Everything, it would make it all worth it.
We get so much out of this band and we genuinely love it but that's not why we do it. We do it because we feel G-d has given us music, we feel He's given us the ability to write and play it and we want to give that back to Him in worship and we want to use that for Him, to help the people He loves.
Since i felt this calling i have made a lot of mistakes, i've tried to mould people i've played with and bands i've been in into what they were never meant to be. i've tried to force a message from the stage down peoples throats and i've mistaken a need for attention for the calling i thought i was following. To anyone who this has effected i offer so many apologies.
When my band Broken with Remedy split i wasn't sure what G-d was doing. Not like He did, my problem was i didn't know what i was doing, like He did again. i wasn't doing it for Him, it was all for me really and i was making a mess of it. G-d forced this time out for me to reflect on who i was and what i was doing. He helped me grow, made me realise i needed too. Both musically and as a person, i still have a long way to go in both but i've moved from where i was, that i'm sure of. Through this time i kept saying i'm ready G-d and he kept saying not yet. It wasn't till i saw myself for what i was and said there's no way i can ever do this that G-d said now you're ready. Not that i was, i'm still not, but it doesn't matter as i long as i know this, then i can do it in His strength and not mine.
(Early to the Vineyard)

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

What it's all about.

Evening all,

This will just be a quick one [hopefully], just to report that for [I think] the first time, we as a band have really undertaken our mission of reaching lives through our music.

We were mid-practice last week, and half way through a song a couple of people just wandered into the church. We either didn't notice or just played on anyway, and at the end of the song received warm applause, and a request for another song. Which we duly obliged.

After this we got talking and it turns out these two people, who I really wish I had names for, had had a pretty rubbish day, and just in walking past the church had heard us playing music, thought it sounded pretty good, and figured they'd come take a look. And they thanked us for playing for them, and said our music had brightened up their day. They then asked why we were playing in a church, so I started telling them we worshipped here. That got a pretty disappointed response truth be told, it turned out that, the man in particular, was a staunch atheist, and was certain that no God existed. However we came to a mutual agreement that we'd love each other despite our differences, and I think this readiness to accept him and his views, or more to the point, not care about them and just care about him and his friend, touched him. I got a big hug, which felt great [not as great as Lucas' hugs mind, if you haven't tried it yet, get involved], and as they were walking out with big smiles on their faces his friend said that we'd opened up their minds to the possibility of God, so although it wasn't a direct conversion, I like to think that, through God, we've managed to finally start fulfilling the purpose of this band, and more importantly, positively affected some lives.

I wanted to share that with you because it gave me a lot of joy, we as a band have been praying for them since, and I know I have too in my own personal prayer time. I really hope and pray that God will find those two and just take them into his love, they clearly needed it, and God can do so much for both him and her. So, if any of you who are reading this pray, I would urge you too to pray for these two. And if, by any stroke of luck, or they did just use the card I gave them with our websites on, they stumble across this rambly blog, I want them to be reminded they are loved, and they aren't forgotten.

God Bless you both, and God Bless anyone who took this time to read this.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Holidays are evil

It's a shame how dispersed practices are at the moment, if it wasn't for holidays I feel like this would be such a productive time for the band. I'm currently torn in feeling like I need a holiday and feeling contentment towards them for the way they keep taking my band members away from me, who knows how that story will unfold.
For now I'm taking encouragement from how well the one practice we have managed to sneak in recently went. It's not like it was just good or fun, it was more, it was like something was really beginning to take shape. We were working on new stuff, mainly a song initiated by Lucas and we were beginning to create such a dynamic writing style. It was evident how well we'd all grown both together and individually, I can't wait to see where that takes us.
Please come back from Wales soon Lucas, I wanna crack out some more tunes.
Peace friends.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Undiscovered Country

Hi all,

This is officially Mike Addis' first ever attempt at blogging, so for all those with experience please be gentle with me, I'm sure I'll pick it up in time!

I guess the inspiration for the blog is the lack of the band really doing anything at the moment, due to various commitments and holidays I think we've only practiced once, maybe twice, in a month, which has started to frustrate me greatly, not that this is anybody's fault, I just feel the band has so much cool stuff to be getting on with for me to be sitting around blogging!

The cool stuff include finishing recording on the EP, which hopefully will be with us in the next month or so, so get your CD racks ready in the 'E' section, it's about to get a new entrant! And also we're starting to crack out some new songs. Lucas has started us off on what looks like a brilliant song, and even I've chipped in, and from the comments I've received from the rest of the band it also looks set to be a decent effort. [Thanks to the guys for all their encouragement, it has definately helped.] I think Josh also has some new stuff in the pipeline, and going on his past form with song writing I know they're going to be brilliant.

But as per usual with new songs in E to the V they're a completely new genre/direction to everything that precedes them, which is both exciting and infuriating. We struggled to define our genre when asked before, how the hecky-thump are we suupposed to manage now?! But some problems aren't really problems, I love our diversity, and the ideas bubbling around in my grey matter I'm sure we'll write more diverse songs in the future.

***SPOILER ALERT*** Both Josh and I have commented that we want more pacy, rocky songs in our repetóir, so be on the look out for them in the coming weeks and months!

Anyway, Thomas the Tank Engine season 4 has finished, and I need to get ready to go hang out with Early to the Vineyard's official number one fan, so I'll bid the blogsphere 'Adieu' . I've enjoyed rambling at whoever ends up reading this, so I may well blog again when I have enough to talk about.

Take care & God bless.


Sunday, 11 July 2010


I am listening to Plan B, strange hey?

I have no doubt that people other than me will post on this blog soon, I just wanted to throw out another post before I advertised it, give those I tell about it a little something more to read, besides there was things I wanted to write about.

Unrelated stuff over.

I believe life is a journey. I love road trips, the chance to travel with friends, see what might catch your eye along the way, what adventures might unfold. Why hold the fun until the destination is reached when the journey itself can be enjoyed? I want to apply that attitude to life. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in reaching a destination I forgot to enjoy the road I'm walking along. The band too is a journey and one I want to enjoy each step of.
I was just reading an interview with As Cities Burn who are no longer a band, but were once a very very good band. In the interview Cody talks about the journey they went on and how he wished he'd enjoyed it more rather than looking ahead all the time, how he wished he'd made the most of each tour instead of hoping for bigger tours. Wether it's hanging with my buddies writing tunes or recording a song, wether it's playing in a small room to a small group of friends or on a large stage to a big crowd I wanna make the most of each step and enjoy each moment. If this is as good as it gets, this is good enough. I love this band and I love the friends I've made through it. I used to long to be in a band, that day came. Then I hoped for the chance to write my own songs with a band that too happened. The next wish was to be able to play these songs too others and sure enough that became a reality. I sometimes look at songs far better than I can write or shows far bigger than I could play and feel so far off the dream, yet if you'd asked me a few years ago what I'm doing write now would have been a dream. If I can't
enjoy this right now I don't think I'll ever be satisfied, but there is so much to enjoy right now. I said it in my previous post but I'm so excited about the stuff we're writing write now, I can't wait for you to hear it, I can't wait to hear it myself.
When Luke gets back off holiday I'm sure we'll have much more to talk about, for now, shalom.
"Love people, eat stones"