New Music: The Walla Recovery
The Brink was privileged to meet the front man Zack Smith of the folk group The Walla Recovery. New to the music scene, the band hails from Ft. Worth, TX. Here's our conversation with Zack.
Brink: Tell us about your band's name.
Zack: I grew up on a street called Walla Avenue in Fort Worth, TX. When I
was a child I had certain hopes and dreams that have been lost through
the process of "growing up." I have often felt that I would be a
better human being, that is, better acquainted with my true heart, if
I hadn't. I believe that many of us have similar stories and at times
feel as if a part of us is missing. Perhaps it's the part that helps
us come alive and find the strength to live truly satisfied lives.
Most young children seem to have an innate trust in their caretakers
and guardians in difficult circumstances, and know exactly what they
want to become in this world. The Walla Recovery is our own pursuit to
find and relearn those qualities, and our encouraging others to do the
Brink: How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Zack: We met and began playing music together in late 2001 at our church. I
was a youth ministry intern at the time, and Brandon, Jonathan, and
Justin were high schoolers in our student praise team. For more than 3
years we led worship for their peers on a weekly basis. We often look
back on those times as foundational to who we are now, individually
and corporately, musically, creatively, and socially. We found playing
music together to be something we loved enough to keep going.
Brink: What is your purpose or objective as a band? What do you guys want
to add to music?
Zack: We have so many goals! We want to create art that brings encouragement
to those who need a friend, helps people to cast away their fears and
experience joy. We'd like to fill a void of substance we see in
popular music by offering well-crafted songs housing intimate
conversations about our own lives and honest struggles, in hopes that
people can find them worthwhile to engage with in their daily thoughts
and relationships. We pursue a peaceful, intelligent presence, and
excellence, because we believe the endeavor to produce something
beautiful is difficult, should require our whole hearts, and will
sharpen us and teach us more about the creator of all things. We'd
like to become part of a community of people loving one another,
finding our voice, and speaking the truth.
Brink: What are your thoughts on your latest EP, With Trembling?
Zack: This has been a project in the making for some time. Some tracks were
written nearly a decade ago, and have been waiting to be refined and
sent out into the world. It is a collection of related songs written
during a tumultuous few years in my life, when I had ideas about
entrusting myself to the Lord, but also found a hard time being
comfortable with his sovereign will, and more questions and answers.
Is he good? Will he do what's best for me? Can I trust him? At the
start you'll find our main character living the best he can on his
own, self-absorbed and ultimately dissatisfied. At the end, you find
him open and curious, beginning a new journey toward a kind of death
that makes way for true life: a joyful sacrifice. The road between is
littered with events and conversations planned to help him remember
the only one he can trust. It tells this story in the style of our own
human history, pointing out creation, fall, redemption, and
Brink: What's your favorite song on the EP? Why?
Zack: Each of us in the band will have a different answer to this, but I
have to say my favorite is "She Said." Honestly, it's easy to play and
sing along with, and it speaks intimately about the source of our
knowing who we are in this life. I often feel as if our songs come
from outside of us, bearing messages that we need to hear as much as
we need to relay, and this is especially true on this one. The
realization it's helped me make has been life changing. A runner-up is
"The Spoils of Warring Hearts," which is fun to play live, and the
words really remind me that God loves me more than anything I love in
Brink: Is there a band or song that inspires you when the Christian walk
Zack: You should really check out 'Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken' by
Indelible Grace (igracemusic.com), sung by Andy Osenga. It's brutally
honest about how impossibly strong of a commitment is warranted by the
astounding work of Jesus; thereby, it shines with the promise of grace
to me. And the melody is enchanting. I can't sing every word of that
song truthfully, but I pray that I will live in them nonetheless.
Brink: Are you guys going on tour any time soon?
Zack: We hope to be out playing shows later on this spring and summer, and
we'd love to hear where our listeners would like to see us play, so
that we can connect with them in their own cities and towns. At the
start of 2010, we're currently taking a little time to further develop
our live show and experiment with some new material, as well as make
connections with as many indie bands and cool listening spots as we
can. We also have some big secret plans in the works and we're really
excited about the future.
Brink: Can you share the experience that led you to Christ?
Zack: When I was just out of junior high school I went to a summer camp with
my youth group. I remember the speaker halfway through the week,
talking about what you might experience when first realizing that
you're dead because of your wrongdoing, trapped by a curse you can't
escape, and that there's a way to live, to be free again, in Jesus.
Even after attending church my entire life, I knew I hadn't
experienced anything he was talking about. Grace found me there, and I
saw the hopeless condition of my heart for the first time. A
transformation from darkness to light has been taking place ever since.
Brink: How can people who are interested in The Walla Recovery get your EP?
Zack: It's available online at our website, thewallarecovery.com; on iTunes,
Amazon MP3, and most other digital download stores. We are also giving
away our previous EP on Noisetrade, and we like to let our Facebook,
Twitter, and mailing list followers have a free download every now and
then, too. You can find all the links to that stuff and more at
Brink: If you weren't a musician, what would you be?
Zack: This is so random, but lately I've been thinking about writing. I'm
finding more and more great writers of fiction who inspire me:
Tolkien, Lewis, Austen, Rowling. I think it would be fun to be an
author and sculpt stories that take a while to ingest and people can
really dive into. If that didn't work out, I think I would have fun
getting into photography. Just more ways to join a meaningful
commentary of life and enjoy all the wonderful things the Lord has made.
Check out The Walla Recovery's site: http://thewallarecovery.com
They're also on twitter: http://twitter.com/wallarecovery