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Fuelled by pure creative passion and a heart to worship, the Ember Days continue to push the boundaries of music with songs that reflect the glorious and untamed beauty of God. Painfully honest lyrics, emotive intensity and powerhouse vocals all distinguish this New Zealand based quintet.
From the beginning, the Ember Days have not been afraid of going against the grain of the music industry. Inspired by the generosity of musician Keith Green, they sought a way to create epic worship music that would be accessible to everyone. “We wanted to do something radical, something crazy, but we didn’t know the format for doing that. Then we met Chad and heard his vision for Come&Live and we wanted to be a part of it,” says Jason.
For the Ember Days, choosing to give their music away as a gift through nonprofit organization Come&Live was just the start of a dynamic and sometimes unconventional music career. With influences ranging from Thrice to Sigur Ros, they began developing a sound that didn’t quite fit any category. Somewhere between ambient-instrumental, worship and pop rock, their experimental vibe was especially evident in early releases Your Eyes Light Up (2007) and their self-titled EP (2008).
Gaining momentum with their US tour, the Ember Days shared the stage with bands like. Underoath, The City Harmonic, and August Burns Red. “We developed a special unity being on the road. We figured out who we really were as a band. It refined the music and brought about a new sense of cohesion and fluency to the songs.”
The Ember Days were reaching new heights with their next two albums, Finger Painting EP (2010) and Emergency (2011.) With 4 New Zealand Music Award nominations under their belt and a full schedule playing different concerts and festivals, things were in full swing. “As our music was growing, our passion for God grew all the more. We started developing a sense of community with our fans. For us it’s never been about building a “fan base” but about building a community with Jesus in the center of it.”
It was at this high point in their career, just weeks before embarking on the Emergency tour that the band got some tragic news. Janell, the vocalist was diagnosed with Lupus. Within weeks she was too sick to walk and the band was instantly thrust into a 6-month hiatus.
During that season Janell was faced with some hard questions. Is God faithful? Why is there pain? Can God really heal? These prayers eventually became some of the most heartfelt songs Janell had ever written. After a grueling recovery process, Janell’s health improved and out of the ashes came some incredibly rich inspiration for a new album. It wasn’t long before the Ember Days were back in the studio.
With the support of their fans to help fund an album Kickstarter, the Ember Days teamed up with two Grammy award winning producers, Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, David Crowder) and Paul Moak (Reliant K, Third Day) to create music unlike anything they had done before.
More Than You Think is an album that truly holds nothing back. Exposing the raw vulnerability and bitter struggles of the human experience - yet contrasting it with the beauty and strength of the God who never leaves our side in the midst of pain. A tone of reckless surrender weaves throughout the record as Janell’s soaring vocals and the bands epic instrumentals produce a soundscape that travels seamlessly from roaring intensity to quiet tenderness and back again. Says Ed Cash, “The Ember Days sound like they’re from another world, and I’m not just talking about New Zealand.”
Without a doubt, the Ember Days will continue chasing their passion for glorifying God through their music and connecting with fans in a powerful way. “As we look to the future, I think our aspirations and commitment is to write honest, and heartfelt songs to the Lord. To try and reflect his beauty in the music, to voice the things that we can't say with words and to see thousands of lives impacted by the goodness of God through his presence.”
All this delivered by 5 worshippers, ardently disappearing in the music in order to let the Maker speak what He will.