Worship is a way of life, and Keith Elgin tries his best to make that evident through music. After recording two full-length albums and sharing the stage with artists ranging from Chris Tomlin to P.O.D., Keith recently released his first live album, a CD/DVD combo title Our Hope, together with Jason Hoard (Fee, Shane and Shane, Third Day). We are honored to be able to catch up with Keith for this exclusive Hallels' interview:
Hallels: You are currently the worship pastor of Vine Church in Washington D.C., how did you feel the Lord's calling to be a worship pastor?
There wasn't a real moment where I felt called to be a worship pastor. No lightening bolt. But it became clear to me over about a year's time period. In that year started singing in church and learning guitar. One week showed up to sing/play and the worship leader was sick so I was asked to fill in spur of the moment. Through that process, and through encouragement of friends and family, I realized that this was where God was leading me. And I continue to feel called to bigger and better things within the Christian leadership realm. Because Vine Church is a new church plant, not only do I still get to play and lead music, but I get to help shape discipleship, strategize how to creatively communicate the Gospel and things related to those ideas. And there is more room in a plant to experiment and try outside-the-box things to reach people.
Hallels: Recently you have just your live worship album "Our Hope," what were some of the blessings and joys in the making of this record?
It's funny. I still look at videos or listen to the record from time to time and think, "I can't believe I got to do that." As a guy who leads worship weekly, I've always felt "my sound" was how I sound live. I wanted the live record to represent who God created me to be, which is more worship guy than anything else. It was a lot of work, because a couple of months before the live recording, we decided to add a live video to the mix. Many live records include a lot of studio tracks with a lot of reverb. We couldn't have made that happen while doing a DVD too. So doing video and audio presented the challenge of trying to perfect the music live, but also how the lighting would look, how many people were there, etc. But God definitely showed me a lot about long term and short term planning. And how to plan and try to pull off something alone, only to realize it's impossible to do anything of value by yourself.
Hallels: Why did you decide to make a live worship record rather than just a studio recording?
As my band led conferences or played shows more and more, people kept saying, "I like your music, but you're way better live." I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not, but I took it as God created me to lead worship and it's better to experience that live. So we wanted to create that live worship experience, the best we could, through a CD/DVD project. Also, as a worship leader, I lead other popular worship songs. And our albums were mostly original music. This gave us an opportunity to record the versions of the songs we play live.
Hallels: You also got to write with Third Day's Mac Powell on the record, how did you get to meet with Mac? Tell us more about the songs you've written with him.
My buddy Jason Hoard, who produced my last three projects, was formerly the touring guitarist with Third Day. Now he writes and records his own country music, but produces and writes with Mac for Mac's country project. So through hangin with Jason, I was got meet Mac. He is a super humble down to earth guy. When I was working on my EP in 2012, I was writing in the studio with Jason and Brandon Coker, former Fee drummer, and we needed some help. Jason invited Mac to help. So we finished Our Hope is in You, which became the title track of Our Hope [Live].
Hallels: What's next for Keith Elgin? Are you already planning your next record?
As of now, there are no plans for the next record. I'm working on writing, and co-writing. I'm not sure if I'll do another live project or a remix project or what. I like trying to new things and taking on new challenges. I have seen how God has stretched and grown me through those types of things in the past, so maybe I'll do something different. We have a bunch of youth conferences scheduled from the end of 2014 through Spring 2015. We'll just continue working to grow musically and spiritually, and trust that God will make the next steps clear.
Hallels: If our readers would like to purchase your album or find out more about you, where can they go?
I'd say keithelgin.com is the best place. There are videos, blogs, photos, chord charts, etc. that I update with personal stories, as well as music info. If you want to buy hard copies of CDs or the DVD, that's the place. To buy music, you'll find everything on iTunes, amazon, and those types of places. I also use twitter and instagram a lot, and by a lot, I mean way too much. And Facebook.com/keithelginband. I love to get to know new people and find out what's going on in people's lives.