Despite recent successes, rising popularity and recently winning the dove award for “rock album of the year,” Knoxville-based metal band “Disciple” stays true to their name with an unwavering commitment to be disciples—wherever God may lead them. I had the chance to catch up with the band during the Sea World Cross the Line tour featuring Superchick, Britt Nicole, KJ-52 and Starlit Platoon in San Antonio, Texas. Even a venue as large as Sea World could not withstand the incendiary enthusiasm and passion of this rock band. With the addition of three new members: Andrew Welch – lead guitar; Micah Sannan – rhythm guitar; Israel Beachy – bass, and the original members, Kevin Young – lead vocals; Tim Barrett – drums, Disciple is truly on fire for God.
Congratulations on winning GMA’s Rock Album of the year. What does it feel like to win?
Kevin:“We have been nominated and lost for so many years, so we weren’t really expecting to win. To be completely and totally honest with you, I was so shocked when they called our name that my mind went blank. It honestly felt really good to win.
What is your favorite song out of all of your albums and why?
Kevin:I’ve got a favorite song because of its originality— “Into Black.” It’s also very creative and original. I also like “Game On” because Micah does a back flip off of the amplifier. I’m going to go with “Into Black, Regime Change and Game On all in one song—final answer!” Micah: I’d have to say “Scars Remain” because it’s hard and heavy. Also, I like “Worth It All” because it’s a really powerful song. Tim: It’s a song called “I Just Know.” It’s off of one of our previous albums and it’s such a good song to play live.
Since you write most of the songs on your albums, do you have a ritual you go through while writing a song? How do you get your creative juices flowing?
Kevin: It’s usually just the strangest moments of inspiration, when I hear someone else’s song I really like, and when I hear a motivating topic or something that interests me. For example, “Game on” was written when an Al-Qaeda terrorist was captured. I just kept thinking about it all day long and couldn’t get it off my mind. “Things left unsaid” is also a really meaningful song for me. It was written when my grandfather died and it’s the only way I really got through it.
Since your music reaches and appeals to so many non-Christians, have you thought about going mainstream?
Kevin: I think we are always going to be who we are. We are Christians and that can’t stop. One of the things we have always said is it’s important to be who we are. If doors open up for us to play in mainstream venues, that’s great, but it couldn’t possibly change who we are. We are children of God—that doesn’t stop. If God opens a door for us, we will go through it. We aren’t looking for doors to open, we are just asking God to open them and take us where he wants us to go.
How do you stay grounded in your faith with all the groupies and adoring fans? I imagine it would be easy to get caught up in the rock star mentality.
Kevin: We know the truth about each other and most of us are nerds. We don’t get to go to church much, so our relationship with God depends on how much we put into it. So we have to spend time with God every day. Church is such a blessing when you have it and if you take that out of your life and you still want to be a Christ follower, you have to put time and effort into it. It’s like a marriage, you can’t be absent if you want it to work.
Micah: It helps to remember that all we are a gateway to Christ. If there is one kid who gets saved and we impact him or her in the slightest bit, we have done our job and it’s not really about us anymore. Israel: I try to stay in touch with the people who really know me and keep in touch with people from my church. If you start thinking you are a rock star, you are a rock star.
It says in your bio you just know you were born to do this. When did you discover this calling?
Kevin: When I was 12 years old, I had someone tell me that he believed I would travel and be involved in music ministry. From that point on, the seed was planted in me and it started from there. A few months later I met Tim, and we’ve been playing music ever since. Every time we question if this is what we are supposed to be doing, God reminds us that this is it. For example, a young girl came up to me and said, “Two weeks ago I was going to take my life and I was praying that God would show me a sign that he loved me. I turned on the radio station and heard “After the world is no more,” which is a song about how God has loved us from the beginning and how he will love us forever. After she heard the song, she decided she wanted to live and instantly gave her live to Christ. After hearing something like that, you know God is using you and that you are here for a purpose.
What advice would you give aspiring musicians interested in heavy rock music who haven’t “made it”?
Israel: Never be content with what you think you can offer. You can always refine something and make it better. You think you may have done your best, but you can always do better. Andrew: Try and figure out how you would define your success; keep your motivations pure; do it for the right reasons. Kevin: Anytime we tried to do something on our own, we couldn’t do it. And anytime we were just content with what we were doing and our hearts were pure before God, that is when he took us to the people we were supposed to meet and he made it happen.