Ian Yates Shares His Vision for New Worship Movement Elim Sound

Ian Yates

Elim Sound is the worship department for the Elim Pentecostal Movement in the UK.  They have just released their new single 'One'. 'One' is the first single from their new album project of the same name.

Elim's theme for 2018 is 'One movement - One mission'. This inspired the title track and first single which features Sam Blake and Helen Yousaf. As the Elim family is growing worldwide we are positioning ourselves to look outward beyond the shores of the UK. With the belief that we are one church who worship one God and there is blessing in our unit.

Nearly two years in the making, this project began by gathering many writers together over two sessions in both Malvern and London. With over 90 song ideas for this album and with 28 writers involved, the team chose the final album tracks through a feedback process.

The album will feature 15 new songs that have come from 19 different writers. These new Elim Sound writers include Chris and Abby Eaton, Mark Stone, Lucy Rose Garnish, Suzanne Hanna and Fiona Crow.

We are honored to chat with Elim Sound's Ian Yates for this exclusive interview.

Q:  Thanks Ian for doing this interview with us.  Who or what is Elim Sound?  

Thanks for asking us :)

Elim Sound is the worship department for the Elim Pentecostal Movement. Elim have around 550 churches in the UK and over 3,000 around the world. Elim Sound isn't a band, it's a collective of worship leaders, pastors and creatives from across our movement. Our heart is to inspire, encourage and equip worship leaders and teams within the Elim churches. We run a School Of Worship course which is in it's 7th year, we have networks across the UK and we write songs from the movement for the movement. We started out in 2010 and have been blessed to make a few albums, lead worship at national conferences and write songs for our churches. Last year we led our first Global Conference in Cambodia. We are excited for what's ahead for the global sound of Elim.

Q:  You have a new album "One" coming out on March 30.  Is there a significance behind the title?

This year Elim's theme is 'One movement - One mission'. This inspired the title of the album. This album is our most collaborative yet and we are in the process of looking at what does Elim's global sound and worship look like. Looking at how we can learn from other nations and help and resource each other. It's really exciting for us, we are seeing some amazing things happen in our global family. This project feels like it's at the beginning of a new season. Our desire is to be one movement with one mission across the globe.

Q:  How would you describe the sound of this new record? What sets this album apart from the many worship albums out there?

I hope this album has a real collaborative feel. Musically it hits a number of styles and what set's this album apart from our previous releases is that it contains a number of 'ministry' songs and 'struggle' songs. A number of the writers had gone through some tough situations and that came out in the songwriting process. Yet in the midst of personal trials and brokenness, there is always hope. Hope is a theme which a lot of the songs touch on.

I think it's Elim's sound's most mature album yet and that even though we have included a number of voices it feels like one complete work. 

Also with the evolution of the way people consume and listen to music with playlists and single tracks I think there could be something for everyone in the local church on this album. 

Q:  If you were to introduce 2 songs out of the record, which would they be?  And why? 

This is a hard one. The two that I would introduce today are 'Still God' and 'We Say Yes'

'Still God' was Probably the most worked on song on the project. We had about 80% written in a session in Malvern, UK and then it took lots of back and fourth on the lyrics. The song was written by Lucy-Rose Garnish a young songwriter based in Birmingham, Mark Stone a pastor at our Halifax church and myself. It's an honest song about pain, hurt and anxiety. It started off with Lucy-Rose sharing about a recent time of serious anxiety and how she'd never experienced anything like that before. Mark and I could relate to that in our own lives and the lives of others we know. The song starts with an honest, psalm like question and declares that even when our faith is torn, we are hurting and we are experiencing pain, God is still God, there is always hope. He holds on to us in every circumstance and we can choose to praise Him in the midst of it all

'We Say Yes'  started off with a conversation with John Glass who had recently retired as Elim's senior leader. He was instrumental in the start of Elim Sound and has encouraged us more than anyone else. Our Core team, which currently consists of Sam Blake, Stephen Gibson, Joel Pridmore and myself met John for lunch. He was sharing about saying yes to God, saying yes to God in whatever He has for us and that sparked the idea. This was the second to last song to be finished. We've been loving leading this at our churches and events. It's an upbeat, positive, missional song that declares God is for us as we step out in what God has called us to do

Q:  I believe you have 19 writers for the 15 new songs on the record.  How did you gather these songs from these writers together? 

Our Core team are regularly writing, but for this album we wanted to include more songwriters from our local churches. We started that off by having two writing retreats, one at our headquarters in Malvern and one in London. These kickstarted a number of the songs that made the final 15. In the end we had about 90 ideas from 28 writers. We then asked everyone involved to rate the songs based on an overall rating, if they thought that the song was congregational and if they would use it their local church. 

This then presented us with the top songs. The top 15 stood out from the rest, however 11-15 were only separated by 2 points. So in the end our Core team decided to go for all 15. 

Q:  Who are some of the major singers on this album? 

There's 13 singers in total all from Elim churches. They include Noel Robinson, Nathan Jess, Helen Yousaf, Suzanne Hanna plus our Core Team. What's also exciting is we have a choir of 40 from a number of our churches on the album plus 6 international worship leaders who joined us before we hosted our first international School Of Worship in January.

Q:  Last year, you yourself released an excellent solo worship album, do you have a solo project in the works?

That's very kind. At the moment I'm looking at releasing a couple of 3 track EP's. I've been writing a lot and we're hoping to start recording them in April. 

Q: In the process of making this album, what new insights have you learnt about God and worship?

I think the level of collaboration was fantastic on this project. It certainly makes it harder to manage, however it feels like we've made something special. One of our values is to champion others and thats something we hope we achieved with this project. 

This process has confirmed that we are stronger together and unity always commands a blessing. I've lived with these songs for a while and one thing that stands out to me is that God is always with us and there is always hope.​



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