For starters, let's just say that what began as an interesting idea a year-and-a-half ago has quickly evolved into one of the most potent and relevant bands on the contemporary scene. Combining hip sensibilities, emotional integrity, social conscience and melodic hooks as big as a house, TAIT came out of the chute intent on using every means at their disposal to find a point of connection with listeners. Beneath the sweat equity that goes with the launching of a new band, for Michael Tait, Lonnie Chapin, Chad Chapin and Justin York, it was always all about "connection"—connection with God, their fans, their culture and with each other. Determined to take a step beyond their ForeFront debut, Empty, TAIT has created a project with more power, sincerity and maturity with the release of their second project, Lose This Life.
"There's a believable passion that carries through Lose This Life," says Michael Tait, the band's lead singer whose notoriety as a member of dc talk gave the band TAIT its initial jumpstart. "Even the slow songs have this tremendous energy. This project exudes life and is really a statement from the heart. We're intense about saying things that matter. The older I get the more I realize how short my time on earth is. As a band, we don't feel like we have time to sit back and tickle people's ears."
Produced by Mark Hiemerman (dc talk, Stacie Orrico, tobyMac) and Michael Tait, Lose This Life does tickle the ears in a musical sense. Sublimating the guitar-wall sound that permeated TAIT's first release in favor of a more spacious and articulate interpretation of the new material, Lose This Life manages to sound big-budget posh and bare knuckles intense at the same time. The title cut for instance, "Lose This Life," soars over the sonic landscape, with euro-sounding guitars, driving rhythms and a vocal performance that begins like a whisper and ends at an emotional altitude usually reserved only for Bono.
"I love it when a lyric and a melody combine in a way that people can immediately absorb," says Michael. "'Lose This Life' just clicks. The song is about losing your life in order to find it, and the music and the vocal and the thoughts combine in a powerful way that makes the lyric believable. We've already been testing it out live and people really react to it in a big way."
That sort of artistic, emotional and spiritual connection is at the heart of what TAIT is all about. Friends long before they started the band, the members of the group initially saw TAIT as a good excuse to hang out together on a more frequent basis. As the band developed, the strength of their own mutual accountability, friendship, and spiritual encouragement became something that they found they could extend to fans, as well.
"The chemistry of this band has become something like a freight train over the last year. The momentum is building faster than we can keep track of," says bassist, Lonnie Chapin. "We feel like we are maturing musically and in the process gaining hard-core fans who really get what we're doing as a band. This new record will be an explosion of who we are."
"After every show we go out and shake hands and talk to people until the last person leaves the building," says Chad, TAIT's drummer. "We're usually exhausted afterward, but that's okay. We know this isn't about us. It's about the people."
The relationship that TAIT builds with their audience usually begins with the honest emotions they express through their music. Not afraid to bare their own souls lyrically, the band sees how their vulnerability becomes an open invitation for others to stop pretending and to be honest with themselves, with their friends and with God. Songs like the gorgeous ballad "Fallen" (written after Michael's sister died of AIDS), the plaintive techno-pop gem "Child," the poignant "Heartbreak" and the passionate heart-cry "God Can You Hear Me," all draw listeners into that place where the experience of their own woundedness and God's comfort coexist.
"'God Can You Hear Me' is all about crying out to God when you're in that place where life is just spinning out of control," says Michael. "You know God is out there but on some level you wonder if He's really listening. Sometimes we all reach that point where we're just tired of pretending and maybe we've been hurt by our own choices and we need more than just head knowledge, we need to feel the comfort of God's presence."
Actively conscious of the need for believers to live as salt and light in a drifting, postmodern culture, TAIT has never shied away from addressing difficult issues and encouraging others in the church to do the same. That emphasis is most evident on Lose This Life in the heavy, melodic pop of the song "Numb."
"As a society we've grown numb to things that we shouldn't be numb to," observes Justin, the band's guitarist and newest member. "As believers it's all too easy for us to grow numb to the movement of God on our hearts. We aren't passionate about the things God is passionate about. 'Numb' is a song to call people, ourselves included, to constantly reevaluate where our hearts are, where our priorities are, in relation to God."
The record also includes a throwback to the 1980's with Eddie Grant's reggae-flavored hit, "Electric Avenue," which has been updated by TAIT on Lose This Life with a matrix dance-pop feel. With the addition of a few words to the chorus, the song, originally about suffering and injustice, now communicates a message of love, hope and peace that this world so desperately needs.
Introspective without being self-centered, the songs on Lose This Life merge to provide a clear insight into the lives and hearts of the band members and a common bond to share with their growing fan base.
"A lot of these songs were birthed out of the struggle in our lives to move from a safe, comfortable place, into a place of total dependence on and total abandonment to the Creator," says Michael. "We talk about that a lot in our band devotions. We know that the only way to find true peace, hope, love, joy and salvation is to let go of the things of this life. God calls us all to release those lesser things, to give them up so that our hands are empty and we're ready to receive those things that are good and eternal and from God. That's a truth we want to live by, and a truth we want to share, both on stage and off. For us, that's what TAIT is about."
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