The Digital Age is a modern-rock Christian band composed of four of the six musicians from the Grammy-nominated, multiple dove award winning David Crowder*Band. Yesterday they released their debut album Evening:Morning which is similar to DC*B in its tone and creativity, but also explores new horizons for this group of worship leaders who have been ministering together for over a decade. Mike Dodson, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist on for The Digital Age, gave us an inside look at the heart and art of the new musical venture.
How did the Digital Age come about? What led you guys to decide to continue your ministry under a new moniker of sorts?
Funny you should ask…well, there was this thing called the Industrial Revolution. It was an era of staggering advances in mass production, forging techniques, automation, and transportation. A time which brought about much…oh…hold on…Ahhhhhhhh…The Digital Age??!! You mean us! Like the band! OK! Well, as you may or may not know, all four of us, Jack, Mark, Bwack and myself, have taken upon the task of starting a band. Starting a band is the first and most crucial step toward being a band. It is a task with which we are not entirely unfamiliar. We’ve had some experience you could say. So yea, there are specific steps to this whole thing:
1. Gather a group of friends together.
2. Purchase, borrow, find, or otherwise acquire implements which create vibrations that move the air in such a way that the eardrum begins to beat, which in turn shakes some tiny bones, and causes the brain to perceive “sound.”
3. Watch This Is Spinal Tap together on Netflix.
4. Determine which “band member” has the most food in their home.
5. Bring sound-making implements to home of above “band member.”
6. Make sounds.
7. Talk about the sounds you’ve made.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7.
9. Repeat above step 642 times.
10. Find a friend with electronic equipment known as “recording gear.”
11. Invite him or her to be a “band member.”
12. Repeat step 9.
13. Press the record button (red circle) on the aforementioned “recording gear” whilst simultaneously performing step 6.
14. Download some sort of band naming app on iOS or Android.
15. Declare unequivocally that the first name that pops up is your “band name.”
16. Repeat step 3.
So yeah, that’s pretty much it. It may seem formulaic, but it works. It’s how our success in the David Crowder*Band reached such great heights, and so we are sticking with it. If it ain’t broke…!
Seriously though, we knew pretty early on that the four of us wanted to continue making music together in some form or fashion after the curtain was closing on the DC*B. We are all very invested in our community called UBC in a little college town called Waco, Texas, home of Baylor University. It is the same church that was the home of the DC*B and remains the home of The Digital Age! As far as the “new moniker” goes, it would have been a bit awkward to maintain the previous band name, so that decision was pretty easy!
What is The Digital Age’s current relationship with David Crowder?
Much of what was the catalyst for the change, the closing of one chapter, and the opening of another, was Crowder’s move to Atlanta. The land of Coca-Cola, Varsity hamburgers, beat-laden music, and Flying Biscuits proved an irresistible force, and one to which he understandably succumbed. It’s sort of a bizarre, but not at all uncommon friendship…all of us spent nearly every day in each other’s presence for the better part of a decade…now our interactions mainly consist of phone calls and texts…sort of like when you and your high school best friend go to different colleges. We can’t wait ’til we get to meet up on the road and catch up face to face!
What will you miss most about David Crowder?
First of all, we will definitely miss the hair, both that which is growing toward the earth and that which is growing toward the sky. With the loss of Crowder, we lost a great deal of awesomeness in that respect. Fortunately, Bwack has an unparalleled ability to grow fabulous hair and beards of great glory, so I think we are covered there! As for him being gone, undoubtedly the absence of volatile organic compounds known as “hairspray” floating in our vicinity all hours of the day and night.
DC*B was known as being musically adventurous; what can we expect from The Digital Age as far as musical accessibility?
We love the art of music. We love experimenting. We love exploring. You can expect many seemingly inaccessible moments from us in the future … but if one is persistent, one finds that those moments may be the most powerful expressions of joy and hope and awe. I think we have some great moments like that on our brand new album, Evening:Morning, but we always want more. So look for us to keep coloring outside of the lines.
How does The Digital Age impact worshipers? Is there a congregational aspect to what you do?
Most definitely. Getting in a room together with a bunch of folks and singing with one voice is why we do what we do. Our aim is simply to try to collect words and sounds for us and our community to express our joy, hope, awe and love for our creator who is greater than those words and sounds will ever adequately convey. We want people to forget about themselves and focus on their God, and it is a beautiful thing when we are in a room with others and this happens.
What is the tie between what is sung in church on Sunday and music that Christians listen to throughout the week?
That’s an interesting question to answer as a musician. I think it depends on what the intention is and what the end result may be. As sort of a “scientist” personality, I’m constantly searching for sounds that make me feel something. Be it the coffee grinder at Starbucks, clanking plates in a restaurant, or of course all sorts of recorded music. There is so much beauty that has been recorded. I think ultimately the question to ask ourselves on an ongoing basis about anything we are doing is, “Am I doing this for the glory of God?” If the answer is “no” then we should probably take a closer look.
You have already had a vast impact on young people around the world, what is the most important practical thing a worship leader or musician can do to care for the young people in their church or their community?
Put yourself in their shoes.
In much of Christian music, particularly the worship genre, music tends to sound very similar. Why do you think that is?
I know what you’re saying, but I really think this is changing. Honestly, I think that was happening because the music creators were all listening to the same things. Sonic diversity is something we have tried to push the boundaries of during the entirety of our career in the David Crowder*Band, and that is something we will continue to do in The Digital Age. I don’t think we are the only ones who are trying to do that, however, and so as a result the pool of sounds and ideas that the worship community is being exposed to is expanding. The palette before us is becoming more colorful.
What has changed in your collective mission from 10 years ago to today? What has stayed the same?
Not much has changed at all. We set out over a decade ago to create sounds that allow us all to express our love for God. We are continuing to do exactly the same thing. The great thing is that words and sounds will never be able to wrap around the greatness of our God, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop trying.
*Bonus Editor’s Question:
Why did you guys add the article “the” in the band’s name: The Digital Age?Because we are the one and only, of course! Well, besides that silly era in human history.