Mass Anthem is a Christian pop band originally from the Chicagoland area now located in Nashville, TN. The trio is comprised of brothers, Chad and Tyler Sowards, as well as Joey Atansio. Their debut album "ALIVE" was released in June, 2014 followed by their most recent record "Through People Like Me" which will be released on DREAM Records in January, 2018.
Q: Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. Why do you call yourselves Mass Anthem?
Romans 15:5-6 says, "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
We want to eliminate the separation between the stage and the audience when we perform. We want the anthems that we sing together to be with one mind and one voice. In short, the definition of our band is, the masses of people gathering together to lift up their anthems to the Lord.
Q: "Through People Like Us" is your first album with DREAM. Did you approach this album any differently compared to your debut album?
We most definitely approached this album differently compared to our first. During our first album, we were still figuring out who we were as a band, and the message we wanted to sing about. We wanted "Through People Like Me" to grab the listeners attention and speak over and into them the truth that God chooses to change the world He has created through ordinary people like you and me.
Q: Why did you name the album "Through People Like Me"?
I believe that so many believers, including myself, have gone through the stages of life thinking that we don't have any value, or we don't have anything to offer. Because of whatever wrong we have done in the past, or whatever wrong has been done to us, we are disqualified for God to use us. But the gospel is that Jesus came and died for us while we were still sinners. God doesn't ask of us to be perfect in order for Him to use us. He desires for us to love Him and allow Him to use us to impact His Kingdom. Jesus is the one who qualifies us to do that.
Q: I believe you have a passion to reach out to the younger generation. How can this new record help in drawing young people to God?
We most definitely have a passion to reach the youth. We feel that there are so many distractions in our world today, so many things that fight for the attention of the youth. We set out to make an album that was relevant to today's music culture, but that carried the gospel message that's been sung about for thousands of years. We think our music is pushing the boundaries of what Christian music has been for the past 10 years. We want to sound "cool" and "relevant," not to change the meaning of the gospel or pollute it in any way, but to take back the youth and show them that you can love God, love others, and pursue your talents to the best of your ability.
Q: How would you describe your sound and music?
I would simply call it "pop" music. Our music sounds just like anything you'd hear on secular pop radio. And that was our goal. We want to create music that engages the youth and young adults.
Q: Though there are many upbeat tunes but you have not avoided the important issues like suffering. Tell us more about "Beauty in the Tragedy." Why do you think there's purpose in our sufferings?
I think so much beauty is created from our pain. If you look back at the pinnacle points in your life, you will start to see a pattern that you grew the most during difficult and challenging times. We have Jesus as the perfect example. Scripture says, "that with the joy set before Him, He endured the cross." If Jesus can live His life knowing He was going to be crucified, yet He still chose to see the beauty and power in His story, then I believe we too can see beauty and redemption in our own stories.
People need to hear honesty in songs. People need to hear they're not the only ones who struggle or mess up. When I write my lyrics, I write about my story. I write about my struggles. I believe our struggles unify us. It's a lot more genuine and authentic to connect with someone on a common failure rather than a common success. For as long as our career lasts in music, we will write and sing songs about real topics that people go through on a day to day basis.
Q: One of the songs that I really like is "The Answer" which speaks of the need to return to a childlike faith. The song also has an autobiographical ring to it. Did that song come out of your own personal work? Tell us more about how the song came about.
That song is basically a dialogue I had between me and the Lord. It was shortly after the attack in Paris and the shooting in Orlando. I questioned God's authority and his presence in the world. Then I thought back to how much simpler life was when I was a kid. No matter what was going on, I knew Jesus was there. I didn't need to have all of the answers to my questions, because Jesus was enough. It's easy for us to grow out of the comfortability of a child because of the brokenness we experience in the world and in our lives. We all need to be reminded that we can trust in the One who holds the answers and who holds the world together.
Q: One of the songs on the record, "Hero," speaks of how God answers prayers. Can you give us an example in your own life where you have seen the hand of God move through prayer?
I grew up in the church. I've seen God heal people, I've seen him mend broken relationships, and I've seen him provide for families financially in ways I didn't think were possible. However, I came to a point in my life in 2015 that I felt like he loved everyone but me. I saw him do miracles in peoples lives, but never in mine. I felt like an outcast who didn't want to be on this earth anymore.
One night in my college dorm room, I cried out to God and said something along the lines of, "If you are real, and if you really do love me, show me." And He did. It finally hit me that what Jesus did 2,000 years ago, dying on the cross, He did for ME. When he was hanging on the cross, He had my name on His heart. That broke me. For the first time, I really began to understand how much God loves me. I was asking for a hero to save me this whole time and I didn't realize that God had already sent one. Jesus. Jesus is my hero, restorer, redeemer, healer, and savior. He was yesterday, He is today, and He will be tomorrow. The song Hero is a prayer that the Lord answered before I even prayed it.