Southbound Fearing are one of those down-to-earth Christian rock bands that aren’t too in your face about their beliefs, yet you can still feel their faith resounding through their songs. MEB staffer Craig Roxburgh recently had the chance to catch up with their vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Brady Leonard. They discuss various topics like what influences their music, the break-up of Anberlin and how their upcoming record was thrown about.
MEB: What is the story behind the name “Southbound Fearing”?
Brady: Fearing Blvd is a street in Toledo, OH where we’re from. It runs north and south…that’s it, no real meaning. (laughs)
The band is still relatively young yet you’ve managed to have a lot of success, especially in the USA and in the Christian rock circles. How does this make you guys feel?
We’ve definitely made some major progress in recent years; the band has been around for over eight years so it doesn’t feel like we’re a new band even though a lot of people think we are. Our fans are awesome and we’re honored by all of their support! We just try to keep focused on the future and our goals!
Are you hoping that you’d one day be able to reach people on the other side of the world in places like Japan, South Africa and so forth?
Yes absolutely!! We were supposed to do a European tour, that was derailed by what is happening in the Ukraine/Russia but hopefully we can get that back on track soon. We hope to go international this year and we want to play EVERYWHERE!
What is the inspiration and the meaning behind your recent single “Easy Way Out”?
“Easy Way Out” is all about working hard. We’re from a blue collar town and none of us have ever had a lot of money. The band doesn’t have financial backing like most other bands do and we’ve had to work very hard to get where we are and we’re never going to stop working hard. In the music industry and in America in general these days it seems like everyone is looking for a handout, they’d rather ask than earn and we want to set the example that you can still do things the right way in this business/country, that nothing beats hard work!
This may be a bit of a delayed question. Anberlin was, or is, a pretty big name in the Christian rock scene. What was your reaction to the news of them breaking up and embarking on a farewell tour?
Did Anberlin have any of an influence on your music?
I grew up listening to Anberlin so I’m sad to see them go but if their hearts aren’t in it or if they just want to move on to other things then I know of a talented, hardworking band that would love to take their place. :)
Also, what other bands have had an influence on your music?
My favorite songwriter of course is Johnny Cash, bands that influence me are Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Sublime, Zac Brown Band, Blindside, Bleach, Thrice, a ton more. I can’t speak for the other guys, we all listen to different stuff!
You guys are in a pretty unique position of straddling the gap between the traditional Christian bands like Switchfoot and Relient K and then the heavier bands like August Burns Red. There isn’t much of a go-between the calm and the extreme within the Christian music scene. Why do you think this is?
Typically to “make it” as a Christian band labels, managers, etc will tell you that you need to be an AC/CHR (softer rock) band or a metal band. There has been a notion lately that you can’t make a living playing rock and roll, which is weird because bands like Red, TFK, Skillet etc seem to be doing just fine. With our new album we really just decided to be ourselves and play whatever we wanted and forget about trying to fit in or be marketable, the response has been great so far and I can’t wait for people to hear the record!! Our label Red Cord Records have supported us 100% and encouraged us to be ourselves.
Obviously your faith has an enormous influence on your songwriting but are there any particular aspects you guys focus on when writing?
We love Jesus so obviously that comes out in our songs a lot. For this new album especially, I really tried to be honest in my lyrics; if things were going great I wrote about that, and when things really sucked I wrote about that as well. I was personally and professionally going through some tough stuff when we were writing this record and I tried to be honest in my lyrics about those things.
So your new album Undefeated gets released on May 27th. What can people expect from this record, lyrically and musically?
Undefeated is way more “us” than anything we’ve released in the past…much heavier, more honest lyrically and way more creative than anything we’ve done before. I know bands say that all the time about their “new records” but I do believe that with all my heart.
This is the final question. If you could see one band live, doesn’t matter if they’re still together or not or if they’re from ages ago, who would it be?
Any band regardless of time and circumstances? I’d have to go with a tie between Johnny Cash and The Beatles.