Interview with Jon Egan
The Desperation Band has been a service to worship leaders around the world for over a decade. With the original lineup being led by Jon Egan, Glenn Packiam, and Jared Anderson playing at the “Desperation” conference for college and high school aged students. The latter two have pulled away from being “in” the band, but the outfit, currently led by Jon, is as strong as ever. Their new release Center of It All drops on 4/10/12. We at WL got an early listen and can definitely recommend it, in fact it’s as solid as anything they have ever done. We got a chance to check in with Jon Egan and ask him a couple of questions about the new music and the mission of the band. Here are his responses.
WL: It’s been said, “The Desperation Band has always been more of a ministry than a band.” Can you explain what is meant by that?
Jon: We’re rooted in our Church, New Life. We serve and lead worship there. We mentor young musicians and songwriters. We’re hands-on with whatever our church is working on in our community and beyond, especially social justice causes, outreaches for orphans, widows. And it’s always been that way… the band is an extension of what we do at church. As a musical unit, we’re called to carry His name to others and worship provides us with that opportunity.
WL: Desperation Band has been “together” for about a decade, what is different about the mission/ministry focus? And/or what is the same?
Jon: The band formed out of our church’s youth movement and our Desperation student conferences. So for a while, we ministered primarily to students. And we’re still focused on reaching young people. But over the years, that has shifted and we’re now ministering to the whole Church, all ages. As this has shifted, we’ve discovered that one of the best ways to impact young people is for them to worship with the larger Church. We learn from one another, depend on one another and grow together.
What’s the same? I think it goes back to our core mission of awakening people to the presence of God through worship and proclaiming freedom to the oppressed. Worship music is like a cup that carries living water. Hopefully, we have been good stewards of that cup.
WL: In your current testimony, what is heavy on your heart regarding worship?
Jon: It’s our nature to focus on ourselves. Even when we try not to, we end up making it all about us. Worship is our corrective … when we make Him THE focus, THE center of it all, everything realigns. We breathe Him in, and then breathe Him out into the world. It becomes action. More than ever, I want to see us become the body of Christ and I don’t even think we’ve come close yet. But the more time we spend in His presence, the more we “correct” our thinking and habits through worship, the closer we’ll be to getting there.
WL: How does the new record relate to previous Dband releases in a musical and missional sense?
Jon: From the first recording, I believe we have been called and anointed to proclaim freedom. Freedom from sin, from anxiety, depression, addictions, whatever chains are holding down the people of God. And I believe we’re called to wake people up—instead of crying for revival, God wants us to BE revival.
Hopefully, our songs continue to call light out of darkness and life out of death. We want to see people rise out of their situations and walk into a God-life, to become who God says they are.
WL: You guys worked with your first outside producer, Paul Mabury (from One Sonic Society, Hillsong United, etc), for this record, how did he affect the overall project?
Jon: Paul was involved in every aspect of the process. From crafting the songs, to crafting the overall feel and sound. First and foremost, we wanted to create a project that serves and equips the church. But we also wanted to create a project that ministers to the individual listener. Paul has a real gift for doing that. He really owned the album with us.
WL: What other worship music is exciting to you right now?
Jon: There is so much! All Sons & Daughters, KariJobe, Paul Baloche, Jesus Culture, Hillsong. They are all so different and that’s such a beautiful thing.
WL: Tell us a little about TheDBandExperience and how it would be useful to a worship leader.
Jon: TheDBandExperience has been an opportunity to access exclusive content before the album releases (April 10). When you pre-order the album on the site, you get a full album stream, video song devotions, acoustic video sessions, chord charts … all kinds of “extra” stuff that you wouldn’t get just by picking up the CD. But you also get a copy of the album. We thought it would be a good way to connect with worship leaders early on, give them access to songs more quickly and hopefully make it fun.
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With years of experience, such as serving at Colorado Springs’ New Life Church for 18 years and making recordings with his church and with Desperation Band, the student-focused touring group which he co-founded, Jon Egan has also collaborated with numerous game-changing artists, producers and writers such as Jeremy Camp, Kari Jobe, Jason Ingram, Paul Mabury, Mia Fieldes, Paul Baloche, Mitch Wong, Chris McClarney, and Jacob Sooter, to name just a few. Jon also has penned worship standards and appeared on a variety of New Life Worship and Desperation live audio and video recordings, including "Strong God," "Soak (instrumental)," "Counting On God," "You Hold It All," "Light Up The World," "Center Of It All," and "Banner." For more information, visit JonEgan.com.