With a Voice is a band I watch grow from a fan and the three bands that were in that fans area. Through the years they have been closer then brothers to me, and even though I’m sad to see WAV come to an end I could not be prouder to know these guys. As I watched this band grow I’ve grown and today I can say I would not be the man of God I am today if I were not for them. I wanted to sit down with them and ask them a few questions about the past, the present, and the future of WAV.
Please Introduce yourself
I’m Kord Maurer, and I play drums.
Mark Sands, I play bass in With A Voice.
Dylan Raftvold, Vocals
When/How did you guys first meet?
Kord: I first met Dylan at a show that his old band (Visions Foreshadow) played near my hometown. They kind of got me into the local scene (A.K.A. The three bands that existed within a 100 mile radius of small-town Warroad, MN). I then met Michael at a show in Thief River Falls, MN, where his band (The Day Will Come) played. A few years down the road from when we started, we were in need of a bassist, and put up a bassist application on Facebook. Mark ended up filling one out, and he came to hang out with us for a weekend, which sealed the deal.
What is your message as a band?
Kord: We preach the Gospel and love of Jesus Christ. A lot of people out there don’t really see the amount of love that Christ has. They choose to see the media’s biased displays of the hatred some Christians choose to spread and automatically assume that’s what Jesus is about. The fact is, He is the most loving being in existence. We as His followers definitely suck sometimes, but He chooses to pursue relationship with us and love us unconditionally. We hung Him on a cross, and He bore the sins of the world on His shoulders, putting death in its grave to save the very people who killed Him.
What is your message as individuals?
Kord: One of the coolest things Christ has taught me recently has been that I can be completely open and honest with Him, and I can actually have a relationship with Him. He is my best friend. I used to have this strange idea that God didn’t want to hear from me unless I had some sort of hope or joy to what I was talking to Him about. Even if I was feeling my worst, I felt like I still had to fake some crap about “Yeah, this sucks, but I know it’s all part of Your plan!” Sometimes, we legitimately don’t feel that way. And that’s okay. Jesus loves us anyway. I vividly remember one night where I just started writing poetry to Him, and it was my wake-up call that He wanted me to be honest. He wanted me to tell Him how I really felt, and so I did. He reminded me that He felt the exact same things. He didn’t only create the full spectrum of human emotion, He’s felt it. He’s gone through everything you and I have, and He’s here with us in the midst of the worst.
Tell your favorite tour story.
Kord: This past April, we went on the Stay Alive Tour with Household, and had a blast playing music and seeing the country for a week and a half. One night, we had just got done playing a show at a coffee shop in Lawton, Oklahoma. We were at a Taco Bell just eating and hanging out, when the Household crew got the idea to go scour the dumpster at Little Caesar’s to see if we could score any fresh Hot N’ Ready pizza that had been thrown out that night. Sure enough, Nathaniel came back with a huge garbage bag full of fresh ‘za. After we feasted on some dumpster deliciousness, we packed up and hit the road to Texas, leaving Household to dispose of the rest of the pizza. As soon as we pulled out onto the road, the Household crew started throwing pizza at us. We were driving side-by-side through a small Oklahoma town at midnight lobbing dumpster pizza back and forth. Dylan ended up taking an entire 3-Meat-Treat to the face, and I’m pretty sure there’s still a marinara mark on the side of our van from it.
What are your biggest inspirations?
Dylan: I’ve always loved, Oh Sleeper and Underoath. Those two bands really did it for me.
Mark: I’m really influenced by Underoath, The Chariot, The Devil Wears Prada
Kord: As far as musical inspiration goes, I have a ton. My favorite drummers are Aaron Gillespie (Underoath, The Almost), Seth Hostetter (Children 18:3), Matt Greiner (August Burns Red), and Travis Barker (blink-182, +44).
How long have you been into/playing music?
Dylan: Since I was 14, I’ve been doing vocals in bands.
Mark: I think I got into heavier music when I was in 6th or 7th grade listening to Hawthorne Heights, Underoath, and The Almost (not that heavy but oh well). Came 9th grade I really got this urge to want to be in a band, picked up a bass for the first time and just started jamming with some friends to later form our first band
Kord: My parents raised me on music, so I’ve loved it my whole life. I got my first drum kit for my 8th birthday, so I’ve been at it for 13 years now.
Why should someone that has never heard of you check your band out?
Dylan: Whether you like heavier music or not, I believe there’s always something that could grab your attention. The lyrics, guitars, drums, or overall energy of the band could help you enjoy it. We put a ton of time and hard work into this band, it be great to have anyone take a listen.
Mark: People are entitled to their own opinions. If someone comes up to me and asks me to check out their band, I will.80% of the time I probably won’t like it but I still gave it a shot to what it would sound like.
Kord -I’d like to think we write catchy, unique music. I have a hard time putting a genre on our music or making an honest comparison to other bands. I’m not saying we’re groundbreaking or game-changing, but we’re definitely not your typical metal/metalcore/post-hardcore/whatever-you-want-to-call-it band.
With the band coming to an end what would be your favorite memory of With a Voice off tour?
Dylan: Now there are way too many to count. I honestly loved the times Michael and I would finish up vocals on songs. We would spend the whole weekend cranking them out and have a pretty good time.
Mark: Going to Qdoba or Taco Bell after practice.
Kord: Man, there are so many. We’ve had so much fun over the years through just hanging out, writing music, playing shows, and making friends. We have thousands of hilarious inside jokes to look back on. With A Voice has been such a great experience.
Do you guys have a plan as to where you are going to be or what you will be doing after With a Voice?
Dylan: We are all moving on to new bands and keeping God and music the forefront of our lives.
Mark: We all have our certain projects we are going to be a part of post WAV. Keep your eyes peeled!
Kord: I personally plan on taking a few months off to focus on my relationship with Christ. He’s been really pushing me to seek the truth lately and to be bluntly honest with myself, and through doing that I’ve learned that I need to stop putting other things before Him. I put this band before Jesus for the past four years and tried to justify it because we were a Christian band. I’m nothing but thankful for With A Voice and all of the great things God did through us, but it’s time for me to grow up, move on, and give Jesus the attention He deserves. As far as music goes, Dylan and I are planning a new project with our old guitarist Josiah once we’re comfortable with starting again. We really want to make sure we do things right this time. Now that WAV is going to be over, we can look back and see what worked and what didn’t, where we were right and where we were wrong, and use those things as reference points for starting from the ground up again. We hope to be even more ministry-based this time. Jesus only!
What is the meaning behind your latest ep Unending?
Dylan: Even though WAV and anything else in this world comes to an end, Gods love for you is unending. He himself is unending.
Kord: Plain and simple, it’s about how the love of Christ is unending. It’s about how even though With A Voice is calling it quits, the love we showed people isn’t.
How do you find time to connect with God and have quiet time on tour?
Dylan: Although it is hard on tour, usually when you’re not driving you can pop some headphones in and pray or read the bible. But also in a different way, you can connect with God through the fellowship of your band and the bands you are touring with.
Mark: It’s very hard for me to connect with Him while on the road. Sometimes while we are driving in the van I will turn on “For the Seekers” by Behold! The City and we just kind of stop what we’re doing and embrace His presence surrounding us.
Kord: We only went on tour like twice, so I guess I couldn’t say I have a set routine for specifically doing it on tour. I have a lot of ways of connecting with God at home, though! Getting out my skateboard at night and going for a cruise with my headphones in is always something that helps me just get lost in Him. Otherwise I just have quiet time in my room. I’ll usually put Sleeping Giant or Hands on the record player, turn off the lights, and just be with Him. I had a much-needed meeting with Jesus at Sonshine this year, and I’ve been hanging out with Him a lot more lately. His grace and love for me is so crazy. Any good you see in me is all Him.
What is your personal message to the people reading this interview?
Dylan: No matter what, don’t forget that you are loved. Endlessly and fully loved. And don’t let anything in life stop you from what you are being called to do.
Mark: Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because of the way you look, the way you act, your beliefs and the color of your skin. You are you and that’s what makes you beautiful.
Kord: Lately, it’s really easy to get caught up in the negative connotations that come with the Christian music industry. I myself hate the fact that companies slap the name of Christ on entertainment to sell more, but I can tell you that there’s still so much integrity left in the scene. I spent this past weekend at Sonshine festival hanging out and getting to know a lot of newer bands, and I met so many genuinely good-hearted people. Support bands like Silent Planet, Colossus, Household, Strengthen What Remains, Conveyer, Darkness Divided, Comrades, and Phinehas. I know for a fact that those bands are full of genuine, Spirit-driven people who just want to do work for the Kingdom.
I will be keeping tabs on these guys and sharing with you, the reader, where they’re headed. Stay tuned.