Their name is Unhindered and their goal is to provide an “unhindered” worship experience for God’s people. Being signed as the first band on Teen Mania’s newly formed record label, EE-Taow, was the icing on the cake for the guys in Unhindered, a band formed by friends Pat Barrett and Ben Smith. As the two continued to play music together, they eventually added J.R. Collins, Christian Paschall, and Ashley Dasher to Unhindered’s line-up. Soon after Unhindered was playing a slew of events aimed at teens including the Acquire the Fire, an outlet of Teen Mania.
Despite a busy tour schedule playing at events such as Battle Cry gatherings, Xtreme conferences, Student Life camps, and local church concerts and camps, band co-founder and co-leader Ben Smith took time talk to talk to Backseat Writer about the band’s debut album Be, corporate worship, and Unhindered’s quirky habits.
Being the first band on Teen Mania’s newly formed record label, EE-Taow, can I assume that Unhindered a band that is particularly interested in ministering to teenagers? Why or why not?
We absolutely love to see the church as a whole experience the presence of God and worship Him with their lives. For now, we have been given many opportunities to lead teenagers and we love it. Teenagers are an open book and more willing to be lead by people who believe in them. All five us were changed by God in a powerful way in high school, so our passion to see young people encounter the Lord will probably never end.
“Light This World” is incredibly catchy! It really sounds like an anthem for a generation. Would you please tell me a bit about this song?
“Light this World” was a song that started as a simple desire just to see people go crazy and get excited about being the light of the world. Jesus has called His followers both “the light of the world” and a “city on a hill,” and our desire is to see His church shine in a world that is crying out for an encounter with the living God.
“Father, Will You Come” sounds like a song that could play in any church on a Sunday morning (“Light This World” would give the boomers in my church a heart attack.) You mentioned that the song is inspired by Revelation 5—please explain.
“Father Will You Come” continues to be one of the most powerful songs we have ever written. The chorus is based on the prayer Paul prays for the church in Ephesus (found in Ephesians chapter 1, starting on verse 18) which states “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
I had been meditating on this verse and one day sat down on the piano and just started singing the prayer, “Father will you come, open up our eyes” and the rest just came out. I started singing the bridge at a conference we were playing and Pat came up to me and said, “what was that?” Anytime you have a band mate ask you that question, you know it was good. The bridge is right out of Revelation 5, verse 13, and it gives us an amazing picture of what worship in heaven will be like.
You made an interesting statement—that “one of the biggest obstacles to worship is believers who are self-conscious.” How are believers self-conscious in worship?
Many times, people are so concerned about what others are thinking that they are unable to give their full attention to God in worship. I completely understand why this is the case, as I have been timid to worship God before based on the fear that people might think I’m a little too expressive about my love for God. As worship leaders, we try to bring that self-conscious wall down right at the beginning of the night (sometimes we’ll loosen the whole crowd up by jumping around, clapping, etc.). Our desire is that people can let go of the worldly concerns that they might have and will freely worship God out of the overflow of their hearts.
Does anyone in Unhindered have any unusual quirks. If so, what are they? (for example, does J.R. use more hair product than a high school girl? Dish it!)
Ashley has a passion for watches (he is always on Ebay looking for a new watch), J.R. has a passion for music with a TON of low end (so that his entire car shakes), Christian has a passion for sunglasses (he has at least 5 pairs of aviators), Pat has a passion for quick fads (he has started and stopped so many desires: working out, playing golf, reading literature, etc.), and Ben has a passion for buying and replacing keyboards (because he doesn’t take care of them enough…you would think he’d learn his lesson, but he still has not)!!!