Gungor with The Brilliance and the Hope College Chapel Band
Dimnent Chapel, Hope College
Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m.
$10 students, $15 staff, $25 community
hope.edu/student/life/sac, (616) 395-7491
Michael Gungor isn't a big fan of labels, especially when it comes to his art. Yes, he's Christian. And yeah, his faith comes through in the music he writes. But that's not because Gungor is a “Christian band,” it's because the music is written from a place that's completely honest.
“For me, I have a hard time separating my personal thoughts and life from my songwriting,” he said. “Everything that I experience goes into the pot, if you will. Songwriting is simply how I express myself in response to the circumstances that I've encountered.”
The band's latest album, I am Mountain, defies any sort of genre pigeonholing as well. One minute it's rugged and country, the next it's electronic and experimental. According to Gungor, there's a theme behind the album's lyrics that ties the varying styles together.
“We've always been a little eclectic with our music, but with I am Mountain, we really felt that the lyrical themes of the record lent themselves to wide swaths of stylistic experimentation,” Gungor said. “There's a lot in the record about wandering and being on a journey that is never settled in one place, and I feel the musical stylings of the record reflect that as well.”
While Gungor doesn't like being shoved in the “Christian music” box, much of the group's music and life outside of the band is driven by their faith. Michael and his wife Lisa were worship leaders at a Grand Rapids church for several years before moving to Denver in 2007 and founding the house church community known as Bloom.
“Church music is sort of my heritage and while Gungor has experimented with church music before, we have never been exclusively a church music band,” Gungor said.
Most recently, Michael and Lisa have moved to Los Angeles and are working on a new album, which they hope to finish early 2015. In the meantime, you can catch Michael and his brother David Gungor (of The Brilliance) along with the Hope College Chapel Band this month.
“I can't take credit for the idea, but I'm certainly looking forward to it,” Gungor said. “As to what to expect, I'm not quite sure about that either, but it is sure to include some eclectic music, some awkward dance moves, and a real good time.”