Interview: Carlos Whittaker
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]arlos Whittaker, the well-known creator of Ragamuffin Soul most recent release, Fight, is an explosive and expansive recording that lifts hearts in worship as sure as it lifts our spirits in fresh musicality and creative approach. Whittaker took some time to answer the things we had on our mind.
Tell us a little about your new release, Fight. What’s the significance of the title and what would you say are the prominent themes?
The purpose and mission of this next record is the kick the devil to the curb. Lol. What I try to do in the record is to deliver to the listener tools to actually accomplish this mission. Ephesians chapter 6 verse 12 says this… For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers against the authorities against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The record sits in a space where that is the end goal.
In art as well as the church, sometimes it is important to reach back and renew our old rituals to find innovation. Fight innovates partially because in places it reaches back to a more synthy sound. What can listeners expect to hear on this new release? And what was your inspiration to move in that direction?
The sound is definitely driven by keys on this record. People consider me this creative guy. People hire me to be their creative coach. So I had to stretch my musical style and do something completely different. The goal wasn’t to just come up with a different sound, but I surrounded myself with people that were farther along in their musical journeys than I am. The thought was not to have a more keyboard driven sound, but in the end the results was this.
With that in mind, how important is it for you (for any artist) to stretch the creative boundaries inherent in the Christian genre?
I obviously believe that we serve a creative God. If we serve a creative God it is our utmost responsibility to pour our creativity into our arts.
I think stewarding this responsibility well, is going to be what drives us to the next level musically
Why do you think there are stylistic “boundaries” in Christian music … worship music in particular?
Stylistic boundaries are found in all music genres. The thing is that Worship music is still a newborn when it comes to a style. I believe that it will ultimately keep evolving we passed where it is today. But I definitely think the guitar driven leads and delayed sound is going to be a thing of the past.
What are some of the elements that every worship record should have? What should worship releases try to avoid?
Scripture, Scripture, Scripture, if our songs are not coming from scripture and just from our hearts then there is a possibility that we will lead people astray. I do believe that we need to pool our stories out of our souls, but we must attach them to Scripture.
You have a thriving online community. How has this aspect of your life influenced what you produce as an artist and worship leader?
I believe that my online community is essential to the music that I create. The stories of struggle that come out of my blog comments are so many times the things that lead me to write specifically especially on this record about the fight we are in.
How do you envision a service of worship 10 years from now?
I definitely think that the style of worship service where we try to attract people with production and great music is soon going to fade away. I am finding more and more that people want the simplicity of Jesus, and that alone. This does not mean that quality will go away, it only means that it will not be front and center.