HOUSEFIRES, a group of musicians from Atlanta, GA who pursue authentic worship of God, release their third full-length album, HOUSEFIRES III, through The Fuel Music. The album perpetuates the organic root and sound of the unique Grace Midtown church worship community that consists of almost 50 house churches-small gatherings of regular people who meet in individual homes-in and around metropolitan Atlanta.
Grace Midtown formed as a couple hundred people came together in the heart of downtown Atlanta in 2009 to establish a next generation-kind of church that hearkened back to something ancient, New Testament even. HOUSEFIRES organically formed out of this movement in 2014 and is perhaps best-known for their song from HOUSEFIRES II, "Good, Good Father," a modern classic anthem popularized by Chris Tomlin that has spread like wildfire worldwide.
We are honored to catch up with HOUSEFIRES' Pat Barrett for this exclusive interview.
Q: Thank you for doing interview with us. Who are the Housefires? And how did you come together?
In our home church community in Atlanta, Ga we have both Sunday Gatherings and House churches that meet during the week. As you can imagine, the worship that takes place in both of those settings can be quite different from each other. Sometimes in those smaller spaces, you have a lot of "room." Room for spontaneity. Room for space. Room to linger in moments a little longer than you normally would be able to in other settings. We really wanted to capture the heart of those smaller spaces and release some of the songs that have been impacting our own church in a very raw and communal way.
Q: You have a very unique sound that is very organic. How would you describe your sound? And who did influence you in terms of defining your sound?
The sound that we were going for was actually an attempt to be as simple, live and communal as possible. What makes worship with others so powerful is not necessary the sound coming from the instruments as much as it is the sound coming out of our voices. There is always something deeply moving when you hear people singing things that are true at the top of their lungs.
Q: One of your biggest songs is "Good Good Father," which has been recorded by Chris Tomlin, Zealand Worship, Passion, Casting Crowns and so many others. How did the song come about? Why do you think the song appeals to so many Christians?
The origins of that song started in a spontaneous moment in a house church. A lot of our songs have actually been birthed out of worship that happens spontaneously in a worship setting. We have been really blown away by how many people have connected with the song. In our own community it really became an anthem before we ever put it on a recording. Deep down we all have asked this question: What is God like? Jesus told us that God is a Father. And we all have a wide variety of experiences with earthly fathers. Many people have not had a great relationship with their father. So when Jesus tells us to relate to God as "Father," that can trigger a lot of images that we then project on God. But God is not just any father...he is a Perfect Father. We have found that healing begins to happen when this Abba Father relationship begins to be restored in our hearts and minds. And the thing that is most true about us...our deepest identity...is that we are loved by him. As we begin to live out of this place, we live as free daughters and sons.
Q: As a result of "Good Good Father's" success, did you feel the pressure in making "III"?
The only pressure that we felt, was the pressure to continue to write and sing these songs from a place of honesty and authenticity. The songs on "III" have been songs that we lead in our communities in Atlanta and we were really excited to share with all of you the songs that have impacted us over the last couple of years!
Q: How is "III" similar or/and different compared to your previous projects?
This record is similar in that we captured them in the same setting as the previous record. Obviously the songs are different, but hopefully the expression is the same. We really believe that when people gather together and lift their voices to God that powerful things can happen.
Q: What were some of the highlights in making of this new album?
We really hold the value that "anything can happen at anytime" during our worship times. That makes live recordings really interesting and exciting because you go in with a road map, but we love to see what happens when we go "off the map" in a sense. "Life is a gift," for example, has a lot of spontaneity in it. We have sung that line as a tag before, but a lot of what happened in that track was spontaneous and specific to that night.
Q: I believe Matt Redman did co-write a song. Who were some of the other co-writers? Were there any interesting stories while you were co-writing some of these new songs?
Yes - Matt helped out on "build my life." He's such an incredible voice, so to have his fingerprints on the record is so fun and meaningful. That song was really interesting because it has been years in the making. Sometimes songs are like that...you may get a line or a chorus and years later go to revisit it and find that there is still some "life" on it. Other friends that have co-written on this project include Jason Upton, Daniel Bashta, Ben Smith (Bread and Wine), Chris McClarney, Mia fields, Will Reagan...and the list goes on!
Q: Can you describe a time in your life where you experience God as your "Good Good Father"?
I know this is simple, but my understanding of God as a Good Good Father most recently changed with the birth of my kids. My daughter Harper Grey is 5 and son (Crew) is 3. It's amazing how much I love them simply because they are mine. That is something that I was told my whole life, but didn't come to understand until I experienced being a Dad. To think that God would love me for that same reason...simply because I'm His... It really does challenge any place in my heart where I would try to "earn" his love and approval. That is my prayer, that people would allow our Heavenly Father to change not only the way we view Him, but the way we view ourselves.