By Alyssa Bjornstad It all started with three young men, a computer, and Google, a popular Internet search engine. Looking for venues on the eastern seaboard, lead vocalist and guitarist Jason Roy along with drummer Michael Anderson and guitarist/keyboard player Jesse Garcia got a thousand no’s for every yes. Still the band ended up playing 150 shows that year. Now eight years later, Building 429 just released their fifth studio album, which is self-titled, to critical acclaim. On the eve of Building 429’s new album release, lead singer and guitarist, Jason Roy took time for a “Take 5” with Backseat Writer.
As a band, what are your greatest struggles in sharing the message of hope?
Building 429 has always been a band by the church, for the church with no eyes for anything else. Our ministry focus is that we would shine a light on the life of faith that we have lived, and the person of Jesus Christ who has inspired and sustained us through the years. We believe in entertaining an audience. Then, once they are invested in the band, they are interested in what we have to say about faith. That is the moment we live for: when we are able to encourage the audience dare them to ask tough questions about themselves and how Jesus might into the equation. The greatest struggle is keeping that message of hope fresh, and making sure that we are in the Word enough for truth to pour out from our hearts.
People expect us to be highly spiritual, and it’s a struggle to never settle with where we’re at. We always want to be moving forward in our relationship with Christ, and living out the message of hope. Anybody can say the right thing to get an emotional reaction. The struggle is to care enough about people, and care enough about our relationship with Christ not just go through the motions but to communicate truthfully from our hearts.
What do you want listeners will take away from the new record?
The heartbeat of the new record is for all those control freaks like me who live their lives building perfect little American dreams only to watch them falter in the end. That’s so hard because I am #1 on the list of know-it-alls who have big plans that I’m ‘gonna MAKE happen. The reality is that all of us are going to meet a day when everything that we called certain… money, family, church, will be shaken to the core. That’s the moment God designs for us to be embraced by the reality of this world’s uncertainty. It is in those moments that I’m reminded of His plans to prosper and not harm His people (Jeremiah 29:11). These are crazy times around the world, but our God is not surprised by the seemingly endless chaos. These themes run rampant through the record. Crazy thing! The record’s themes didn’t seem to emerge until I started listening. I was amazed… it was almost as if this record was written just for me!
Over the last decade, how have your musical influences changed?
I think that the older I get, the more I enjoy music that is subtle. Shawn Mullins, Coldplay, Augustana, etc. I was a little late on the Coldplay band wagon, but this last record Viva La Vida they solidified my love. WOW was all I could muster after listening to the record all the way through. I think a well written song catches my attention now. Whereas in the past it was just about the energy of the song. A great guitar riff used to be enough to classify a song as awesome. Now I need depth, lyric, and melody—if you don’t have that, you don’t have my attention.
What is the best venue you’ve played and why?
Spirit West Coast Del Mar. There’s just a super cool feel to the show and to the race track that you play on. There’s nothing like San Diego in the summer, and we always have to spend at least a day in the city any time we go. The people are amazing and the grand stand is a sight to see.
Favorite after concert munchie?
Our favorite after show food would have to be sushi. It’s weird to some people but it’s healthy and not greasy… a nice thing!
Alyssa Bjornstad Alyssa’s greatest accomplishment to date was picking one major in graduate school. Her undergraduate career was filled with indecisiveness—namely, English, Communication, Journalism, and Psychology. When not reading textbooks, doing research, or writing papers, she can be found drinking coffee, painting, philosophizing, blogging, listening to music, drawing, or playing an immovable stringed instrument. After graduation, Alyssa hopes her dream of working for Passion Conferences comes true! Until then, she stays busy editing and contributing to the field of sanity. You can contact her by e-mail plansforhopeATgmailDOTcom.