MIKESCHAIR Talks about the Inspiration Behind
Their New Album “All or Nothing”
On April 1st of this year, the world got a brand new MIKESCHAIR album, All or Nothing, and, thankfully, it was no April Fool’s Day joke. It was the real deal; the album is available exclusively at Family Christian stores, as well as iTunes, Amazon, and most digital retailers worldwide. I’ll be reviewing the album in this article after the interview, but first let’s hear from front man Mike Grayson, who was kind enough to chat with me and give an in-depth, behind-the-scenes view of what inspired this new album:
“All I Can Do (Thank You)” is an amazing song. I have listened to it 300 times, and I have yet to get sick of it. What inspired you to write this catchy, uplifting song?
That song came out of a time when all of the band and our wives were doing a small group together, and we were going through this book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and it is an awesome book. The whole first chapter is about prayer, kind of the way that we approach the Lord when we pray, and the things we think about when we pray. Honestly, it convicted me in the sense that I realized that when I pray I feel like I am always going to the Lord with wants and needs and almost kind of whining a lot. What I realized is that I don’t want my life to look like that. A lot of the songs that I write aren’t necessarily how my life looks; it’s more of how I want my life to look, and so this song is really like a prayer to God, like if I have nothing else to say let it be “Thank You.” Let the first words out of my mouth be thank you. Because, ultimately, I am breathing in air that I don’t deserve. So the song is the reality check about what we are really doing when we approach the Lord — just to let the first words that come out of our mouth be a sincere thank you.
“All Or Nothing” is a pulse-pounding song that can easily get a person motivated: is this the reason it was chosen as the title track?
This record was different than the last two because this album was the first time I kind of had a theme in mind from the very beginning. “All Or Nothing” was the first song that was written for this album and it kind of set the tone for every song that followed it. You will notice through the record the word “All” is in multiple titles, and it is just kind of one of those things that makes a bold statement; as believers we are really called to be all or nothing. The prayer for this record is that it would be a force to encourage people to be on the “All” side of that phrase. The last song on the album is called “All to Jesus, I Surrender All,” and that really is the prayer: by the time the record is done, we will all be at a place where we can say, “Yes I am all in, and I want to surrender all.”
Can you tell us how the current tour is unfolding?
We are out on the road with Aaron Shust and Jonny Diaz. It has been an awesome tour. Aaron is a great dude, and Jonny is a good friend; it has been a blast hanging out with people that we really enjoy. They both have killer music, and they came out with new records this year. So far we are about half-way through [the tour] at this point [at the time of this interview]. We haven’t killed each other yet. [laughs] The shows have been fantastic, and it has been a great tour.
MIKESCHAIR has been at it for 10 years. How do you keep the momentum and inspiration alive and well?
For me it has always been the thing of looking to the Lord for inspiration in any and all ways [and asking], “What is it that You want to say; what is it that You want us to say?” That has changed a lot over the past 10 years, and the Lord has brought us into different seasons, and we have had some original guys come and go because of touring and family and kids, but the Lord has definitely replaced those people with awesome guys. My prayer has always been, “Lord if you continue to open the doors, then we will continue to walk through them.”
Since their 2009 major label debut, MIKESCHAIR has become a core artist on Christian radio with recognizable hits like “Let The Waters Rise,” “Keep Changing The World,” “Someone Worth Dying For,” and “All For You.” The new album All or Nothing will be no different. Every song is awesome, upbeat, and inspiring from beginning to end. In my opinion, it is Christian music’s answer to secular music’s Daft Punk and their album Random Access Memories — as far as the magnitude and impact it will have on music. This is MIKESCHAIR’s first studio project in three years, and it still maintains the trademark pop sensibilities the band has had since their beginnings at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. However, it also has a more organic array of instrumentation, which gives it a fresh sound. Fans have already enjoyed the singles “All I Can Do (Thank You),” and current radio single “People Like Me,” which is already a top 10 hit. The album was produced by Matt Bronlewee (Plumb, Jars Of Clay) and according to press release the album “is a clarion call for faith for believers unsatisfied with lukewarm faith to completely surrender every part of their lives to the cause of Christ.”
To see a full list of tour dates for the band, visit www.MIKESCHAIR.com.