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QRD #49 - Christian Artists Interview Series
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Christian Artist Interviews:
Jamie Barnes
Alan Sparhawk
Jeremy Johnson
Joseph Kendrick
Scotty Irving
Joe Badon
Brian John Mitchell
Kirk Adam
Doug Tesnow
Bryce Eiman
Tara Vanflower
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Interview with Christian Music Director Joseph Kendrick of WNCW
March 2011

Name: Joseph Kendrick
Radio Station: WNCW

QRD – Do you try to keep your faith life & musical life separate?

Joseph – I don’t try to separate faith & music life, but try to remember to show my faith in all aspects of life.

QRD – When listening to music do you feel closer to God?

Joseph – Oh yes, if only at times. Depending on the piece of music, I can feel transcendent. There’s plenty to be learned about God when listening to the right music.

QRD – How has music helped you grow as a Christian?

Joseph – Music makes its impression lyrically & sonically while it encourages one to sing along. All these aspects of music & interaction with it like singing, writing, & playing it can be synced up quite well with spiritual growth. It depends, as always, with what music one is listening to. For me, I’ve grown to love many hymns & Christian themed songs from about any & all genres & find that they lend me strength in my faith. Singing along with praise is great because singing is good for you (you know that people who sing live longer); it’s worship & it’s fun. Everyone wants to sing along with a song, even if only in their minds & the songs with the right message can do worlds of good.

QRD – How are your faith & aesthetic ideas linked together?

Joseph – Sacrifice is one of the strongest themes in the Bible & giving of oneself dovetails nicely with music. Practically everyone making music is doing it for the love of it & is giving up worldly success with that sacrifice of time & energy, really. There are examples to counter this description of a common musical artist, but they are few.
Music is a form that can achieve the closest thing to perfection on earth & faith envisions ultimate perfection.

QRD – What has been your experience being a Christian in an underground “artistic” community? Have you experienced any negativity towards yourself regarding your beliefs?

Joseph – Being a father of two young children, I don’t get around much anymore (sorry, can’t help myself)! So I’m in pretty predictable circles, mostly. I won’t wilt in the presence of negativity though & hope that I can be strong enough to do my fair share of witnessing when those times come.

QRD – How do you reconcile the idea of liking “dark” music against the perception that Christian music “should” be music of praise or trying to “save” people?

Joseph – The Bible contains all sorts of descriptions of dark characters, their horrible actions & the resulting scars. With that in mind, I think that darker themes in music can be character studies, cautionary tales, & examples of what not to do. They might also serve as a kind of psychic ventilation, helping one to address or let go of issues.

QRD – How do you feel about performing with & for people who have a completely different set of beliefs than you do? 

Joseph – Sometimes that can be really tough! It doesn’t happen so much with me being at work with the same folks every day (although there are non-Christians there, not surprisingly). Be a good Christian at every opportunity though & you know all will be well.

QRD – What’s your take on bands that refer to themselves as Satanic or Pagan?

Joseph – That’s one of the only non-starters that I might open up in the mail or see in the inbox. I hate censorship in general, but bands with strong atheistic themes as well as satanic or pagan references would find a very large hurdle in the way of getting airplay on my station. That said, however, the majority of music that we play is secular, & much of that can tend towards other worldviews & conflict with Christianity. This is a given & is another challenge.

QRD – What do you think of Contemporary Christian Music?

Joseph – The style of contemporary Christian music is not my taste for the most part. Ultra slick production of generally inferior melodies & hackneyed vocal gymnastics don’t make the grade honestly & while I’m sorry if that smacks off as musical snobbery, that is what I hear. That said, a lot of songs aren’t really bad & can be more pleasing when sung along with the congregation.  Now, a black or Pentecostal church is a completely different ball of wax. Put a full band up front with strong gospel tunes & the church becomes a full on jam session of praise. That is powerful stuff & everyone should go to this kind of service at least once!

QRD – How did you become a Christian? Can you share your experience?

Joseph – I became a Christian at age 11, I think. We were regular churchgoers from my elementary school years onward & it was a natural rite of passage.

QRD – Name a scripture that has personal significance to you & why?

Joseph – It’s hard to come up with a favorite verse in the same way it’s hard to bring a favorite song to mind. There are so many. I love Psalms & am reading the Bible of late all the way through for the first time.

Other QRD interviews with Joe Kendrick:
Interview with Joe Kendrick of WNCW (October 2013)
Christian Musician interview with Joe Kendrick of WNCW (March 2011)
Music Director interview with Joe Kendrick of WNCW (April 2008)
Musician Dad Interview with Joe Kendrick of WNCW (May 2007)