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  • The Canvas Waiting
    Friday, January 26, 2007

    Nathan Medina, leader of the band The Canvas Waiting is a quiet, thoughtful young man, a fact one doesn't find surprising after listening to the songs on their debut EP, In Search of Beginnings. The music is emotionally powerful and deeply spiritual, which, again, is not surprising, considering his deep faith and convictions. Talking to him was brief, but it was a pleasure to spend a few minutes talking to a young man with such deep conviction.

    When you guys formed Canvas Waiting, did you form out of a desire to make music or a desire to share your faith and the Christian message?

    That's a good question. (Thoughtfully) I would say it's a mixture of both. Everyone in the band, we all love music, and we definitely wanted our music to serve a purpose. One thing we didn't want to do, though, was to be a band that preached at people. Most of our songs aren't preachy; the songs are intended to make people think. There are definitely spiritual overtones to our music, but it's not so much of a converging factor. We're not out there to try to convert everyone who comes to our show, because we don't really feel like that's our place. It's more to present the way we see life and the way our faith improves our lives and it comes out in our music. So when people say, "are you a Christian band?" I try to choose my words carefully, because a lot of people within the music industry in general and our fan base--with their age group, if they hear the term "Christian Music," they automatically think "bad" or they think over-the-top, cheesy music. We would rather people listen to our music with an unbiased perception about what we are, and then maybe approach us again, and then examining who we are and digging a little deeper to find out what we're about, to see, "hey, they're talking about faith, they're talking about God in some of their songs." A lot of our songs are not Christian-based; they're just songs that we like. We've always been about music that inspires us and provokes thought. I'm a real introspective kind of person, and that is the kind of music I write. I wouldn't necessarily consider ourselves to be a Christian rock band in the generic sense of the word.

    That term "Christian Rock" is a scary term for some people...

    (Laughs) Yeah, very scary.

    Does it scare you?

    It doesn't scare me. I don't want to be ashamed of the fact that we have the beliefs that we have. Like I said, the stigma that is attached to that term, like being Christian makes you an elitist, that you're going straight to Hell if you don't think like us, that's not us.

    I have talked with some musicians, and over the course of chatting, it came up that they are Christian, but then, over the course of the interview, they'll get very apprehensive about revealing certain aspects of their faith. I think it's a sad testament to our culture and to our music business in general, that people can't openly talk about what they believe. People are afraid of stereotypes.

    I totally agree, I would never say, "don't mention anything in your article" or something like that. But some people, they fall for the assumption that faith is bad or that being a Christian artist means being over-the-top, and that the music is cheesy, or things like that. Ideally, I'd like for people to listen to our music as they would any other band. Our faith is an element, but it's not the only thing we're doing. I don't think my purpose is to preach through my music. I don't feel like that's what I'm called to do. I feel called to play music, and through the gifts we've been given, we can show who we are. The way I write my lyrics, it's a little bit subtle. That's the way I disciplined myself to write.

    I've noticed a lot of spirituality within emo in general. I look at bands like Copeland, Mae, or even going into the rock world, Switchfoot--these are bands who are deeply spiritual in their beliefs and their message, yet...they're not. In the confines of the "emo" genre--do you find it easier to write about spiritual matters within a style that's already emotional and confessional?

    It's not so much easier for me to write about spiritual things than secular things. For me, I guess...a lot of the music I write is more of a struggle for me. Struggling to find a place for faith and a place for the real world and fixing these two elements together, and most of the time, they conflict. It's more difficult than it is easy. For me, a lot of the times I find myself writing more somber type songs, where it's harder for me to write a song that's more worshipful, as strange as that may sound. I wouldn't say that it's easier to write about God than a girlfriend or any other sort of life issue. But since my faith and my spirituality is a pretty big part of who I am, I think those things actually tie into all aspects of my life.

    What I like about your songwriting is that your lyrics are personal, yet seem to be a cathartic experience. You have sadness and nostalgia, and you put your innermost feelings into your lyrics. I like the way these things just blend together, and they make for a pleasant yet thoughtful listen.

    Thank you--that's what we've intended to do. When we wrote our album--or at least the songs on there with the full band--we were all coming straight out of high school. We were heading off for college, leaving home, and moving on. All seven songs, in a way, are an album of how I dealt with that change from teenager into adulthood, that loss of innocence--things that naturally occur when you get out on your own and you start seeing things you've never seen before. It's a wake-up call. But I think these things are applicable to older audiences, too. That's something I've always wanted to have--a broad appeal, not just writing and playing for fifteen and sixteen year old high school kids. We'll have shows with 45-year old moms and dads, thirtysomethings, and they'll all say, "we love your music." I think a lot of bands would say, "Whoa, that's weird I don't know if I want that." But I try to write music that's not bound by an age restriction or appeal. Like, when you hear the term "emo," you think "high school." I don't want my songs to be bound to any age group. That broad appeal is something that's important to me--something that can connect with a large audience.

    The Canvas Waiting's expanded reissue of their debut EP, In Search of Beginnings, is available now


    posted by joseph kyle @ 10:56 AM  
    • At January 26, 2007 at 6:13 PM, Blogger CH!LL said…

      nice i heard them and they are pretty good, did i already mention that this is my primary source for new music?
      Keep it up man i love your blog.

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