Exclusive Interview with Sanctus Real

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You guys have been together since 1996, how have you strengthened in dynamic and changed your outlook on Christian music and songwriting over the years?

We were teenagers when we started Sanctus Real, and we launched our career as more of a punk pop band. As we enter our thirties, we can see clearly that our life experiences have shaped our sound as well as how we communicate our thoughts, feelings and faith through the songs we write.  Our primary focus is to write and perform songs that draw people closer to Jesus. 

How is your approach and focus different this time around in your new record, RUN?
RUN is more than an album title, it’s a statement about this season of our lives. We’ve spent a lot of years walking, sometimes stumbling through doors of opportunity as God has opened them one by one. You could liken our early career to an individual living paycheck to paycheck. We’ve set our eyes on a some new goals and dreams, and with God’s help, we’re ready to run.

With your single “Promises” from your record already climbing the charts, what are you most excited for in the release of RUN?
We’re most excited to still be making music. We’ve seen a lot of people come and go over the years, and we know its just God’s grace that we’re still here.

What sorts of future plans are you looking forward to?
We’re in the process of planning a new live show and experience for our fans. That’s gonna be a big thing for us this year.

How have Chris Stevens (TobyMac), Jason Ingram (Brandon Heath), and Seth Mosley (Newsboys) working together as producers on your album RUN reshaped your sound and voice as a band?
Each of our producers bring out different strengths and weaknesses in every band member, from writing to arrangements and performance. Each one of those guys have stretched us to be better individually and as a band.

After 17 years as a band, do you now have a new outlook on the ways you play concerts and write music?
There are parts of what we do, like writing better songs, that have come very naturally over time. However, there are other areas that it takes more work for us to evolve in, like making our live show more of an experience for our fans. That’s hard, but very rewarding each step of the way.  It’s become a high priority for us focus more intensely on every aspect of what we do. We want to be good stewards of the platform God has given us.  

How has your songwriting changed over the years? Do you have a different approach?
The approach is pretty much the same as it’s always been. Either we write as a band, or I come in with a developed idea and get the band around it. Over the past few years, we’ve started inviting more outside writers into our process, and that’s been a really good thing.

As a songwriter, do you feel you are most connected with God when you write songs?
It’s when I’m alone writing, spending time with God, that I feel most connected to Him. I would go as far as to say that writing has been the pinnacle of my personal experience with the Lord; when I pour it all out there and He meets me over a song. 

What is the meaning of your album title, RUN? What do you hope to convey to long-time fans as well as new listeners?
We always hope that our songs help people feel connected with God and to put their hope in Him. We also want our album title to convey that Sanctus Real isn’t planning on going anywhere but forward from here. We have a renewed vision and sense of calling.

Matt, Chris, and Mark have been together since the band formed in 1996. What is the key to remaining strong in your relationship as co-writers, as a band, and as brothers in Christ?
I believe the things that keep us together are honest communication, grace, and a shared vision for using our gifts for God’s glory instead of our own.

What would you suggest to bands just starting out, hoping to someday do what you do? What should their priorities be?
I would discourage people from limiting their view of success to how they perceive that someone else has achieved it or is experiencing it. Success is being faithful right now with the talents God has given you.  It’s good to have dreams, but don’t be so focused on what your future to look like that you miss what God wants you to be doing today. He’ll open and close doors at the right times.

How will your tour be different than any other tour you’ve done this time around?
I think our fans will see a lot of growth in our live show this spring on the Promises Tour. However, I’m most excited about the RUN tour this fall, because of the live production elements we plan to have on the road by then. 

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