Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Looking back at 2008 and ahead to 2009

2008 was a turbulent year for most of us. The shaky economy, a new political regime and all the hoopla that preceeds that, and just general un-easiness was in the air. The music industry once again took some hard blows this year and it seems that there was much more news about layoffs and bankruptcies than there was about positive events for music in 2008.

Despite the doom and gloom that seemed to be all around us though, I am humbled to say that the Facedown label family (Facedown, Dreamt, Strike First) had another year of growth in many areas in 2008. Rather than letting go of employees, we actually increased our staff. Facedown Fest 2008 sold out both nights. We re-launched Strike First Records (which is off to an incredible start), and we had the priviledge of releasing some great new albums from War Of Ages, For Today, My Epic, Wrench In The Works, Take It Back!, Thieves & Liars, Call To Preserve and more!

Looking forward to 2009, I can honestly say I am more excited than I have been in the 11+ years of being involved with Facedown Records. Sure, the release schedule is the strongest we have ever had (more info on that a little below) but most importantly, the roster of artists that we are working with and the staff here at the label are more focused than we have ever been. Now I'm not talking about a "positive mindset" or anything like that. I'm talking about a strong desire to honor, glorify and bring joy to God through what we do. We all count it a huge blessing to have the opportunity to do what we do with our lives and it would be a wasted life if that wasn't turned back to glorify the ONE who gave us all that we have and who all creativity flows from. It is my prayer that people would be impacted by God through the music that our labels release. Whether you've been at an all time low, or are currently at an all time high, I pray and hope with my whole heart that the God who created the universe would enpower, encourage and humble each and every one of us. That we would be drawn to Him and that along the way, we would see others as greater than ourselves and that humility would be our strongest desire. That we could say as the apostle Paul did in I Corinthians 11:1 "Be imitators of me as I imitate Christ". That Worship would be so much more than 40 minutes of music at a concert or church service, and that we would realize and grasp the fact that without humility, there is no worship.

This label exists to bring glory to God. To be facedown is an act of falling in reverence and humbling yourself to something far greater than yourself. I pray that the albums we release would help bring you to this place in life. As I type this, we have 5 bands currently in the studio pouring their hearts out over the music they are preparing for you. 2009 will be bringing new albums from Impending Doom, Hands, Sleeping Giant, The Great Commission, A Plea For Purging, For Today, Earth From Above, A Hope For Home, Thieves & Liars and many more. It's going to be an exciting time and I cannot wait for you all to hear these albums. I had the priviledge to spend some time in the studio this week with Impending Doom and I can honestly say their new album "The Serpent Servent" is going to be unbelievable!!! I've also had the honor of having some new material from Hands (our newest signing, just announced today) for the past few months and it is nothing short of amazing. This blog posting was written while listening to their song "Revelation" and I encourage everyone to check that out on the bands myspace page now. It's a long track (almost 10 minutes) so if you have A.D.D., then fast forward to the 5 minute mark and enjoy!

I will be doing my best, along with the rest of our staff here at the label, to keep this blog more updated in the new year. It's my goal that this blog can be a more personal side of Facedown Records and the ministry that we are involved with. In closing, I want to say a huge "thank you" to everyone who has supported this label in 2008 and over the years. To anyone that has bought an album (either a CD or on iTunes), merch from our online store, or has supported our bands on tour, you are the fuel that keeps this label going forward. Thank you so much for that. I pray that we can serve you through the music we release and that it would inspire you to serve others and to live your life to bring joy to God in all that you do.

"Hear O Earth, the Lord Our God is One"
(kindly borrowed from Hands "revelation")

Jason & the entire Facedown Family

this blog and my days lately have been inspired by the following:
BOOK: "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper

MUSIC: "The Sound Of Earth" by HANDS

Dec. 16, 2009: Encinitas, CA. Sunset before the annual Facedown Staff Christmas dinner and year end meeting. "God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:10

Thursday, September 25, 2008

For Today!

We had the privilege to hang out with the For Today guys last Saturday. We had some Applebee's dinner and a great time of fellowship. The show was great and packed out! Right now they are in Mexico for 2 weeks playing shows and working in orphanages. Right before they left they were in a really bad accident. You can read all about it here:
Keep those guys in your prayers!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hanging out with Jesus Wept!

Wednesday, Aug 6th, we had a great day of hanging out with the Jesus Wept guys. They all came over to our house and then we headed off to the beach. First we drove to Encinitas and had a wonderful lunch at Swami's. Then we all flipped through hundreds of used and new CDs at the famous Lou's Records. From there we went to the beach and soaked up some sun and rode some waves. Actually just Jason and I went swimming because the Erie boys didn't bring their swim suits. From there we headed over to Carmel Mountain and played video games at Nickel City until our fingers hurt.

Then we ate at In & Out where Tim Mason (NIV) joined up with us. We ended the night at the Donut Corner in Escondido with butter logs and homer simpson donuts. Can't beat that!

(hanging out at the Donut Corner)

(Davey, Neil, Tim, Jason and Dan)

Going to see Jesus Wept play tonight in Rancho Cucamonga and looking forward to it!

Virginia - Facedown

10 Years Of Genuineness (Seventh Star)

It's been an honor to be involved with a band like Seventh Star.

What I love about these guys is the genuineness of their hearts and that "real" feeling that I get from them. I have seen a lot of people come and go over the last 10 years or so of doing this label. People change, sure I get that, but I don't always agree with it. That's why it was refreshing to have guys like Seventh Star around. These guys didn't just talk the talk when it came to their faith or their music, they walked it too. They weren't obnoxious and they weren't phony and that is what stands out to me after knowing them for almost 10 years. They are the same guys now that they have always been.

I first met the Seventh Star guys in person in the summer of 2000. NIV was on tour with Hatebreed and we had an off day in Florida. Mike from Seventh Star offered to put on a show at his church so with 1-2 days notice they crammed a bunch of kids in a small room at their church and we all had a great time. From that show and some all you can eat pizza at CiCi's our friendship began to grow. Seventh Star's first tour was in the summer of 2001 with Underoath and Point Of Recognition. Outside of Florida, they were an unknown band at the time. I'm not even sure if their "Life Blood" CDep (Warfare Records) was out yet at the time or not. The Underoath guys wanted to bring them on the tour, so that was that and it was booked. It got their name out more on a nationwide level. The next year they were on a tour that stopped by California and they all stayed with Virginia and myself at our house / office. I had been watching the band grow over the previous 2 years and thought that they were ready to take the step up to Facedown and put out a full length album. The guys were all super nervous to ask me about a deal while they were staying with me, but finally by the last day, Shawn had gathered up enough courage to ask me something along the lines of: "Hey man, do you think we could talk about whether you are interested in us for Facedown?". I just laughed and answered with something like "Let's do it, I was just waiting for you guys to ask.". From then on we were all real pumped and the official Facedown relationship with Seventh Star began.

In 2003 we released their first album "Dead End". It came out at a great time along with albums from Comeback Kid, Nodes Of Ranvier, Sinai Beach and more. The label was growing quickly and kids were excited to be friends and fans of the bands and the label. Shortly after "Dead End" came out, the bands singer Jai left the band. He was replaced by Johnny who played one of if not his first show at Facedown Fest 2004 in front of 1,000 people! It was everyone's first time seeing and hearing Johnny (including myself) and he did not dissapoint!

In 2005 the band released "Brood Of Vipers". The album was much heavier and pissed sounding than the previous album. Kurt Ballou @ God City did the engineering and the album came out amazing. The band did countless tours in support of the album in both the US and Europe alongside of bands like Agnostic Front, Dead Hearts, War Of Ages, Bloodlined Calligraphy, Daggermouth, Embrace Today, Jesus Wept and many more.

2006 saw the release of their DVD "100%" which was completely put together by the bands bass player - Drew Russ. Drew is still doing video work and is currently working on a War Of Ages DVD (Fall 2008 release). The video was funny, and well put together and is a must for all Seventh Star fans if you haven't checked it out already.

In 2007, they released what would be their final album, "The Undisputed Truth". Recording took place once again at God City Studios with Kurt Ballou and the production is solid! Touring took place including stops at Facedown Fest and Cornerstone Festival. Late in 2007 the band announced that they would be breaking up.

The band played some final Florida shows in January and March of 2008. They then headlined Facedown Fest 2008 in Pomona, CA as their final show. However, right after the band played Facedown Fest, they got an offer to return to Europe one final time to play Freakstock Festival in Germany and Total Armaggedon Fest in the Ukraine. They just got back this week from Europe and what sounded like 2 incredible final shows!

2008 was a time of change for all of the members. Not only with the band coming to an end that they had poured their hearts and souls into for the past 10 years, but also with personal tests, trials and changes. Whether it was joyous news (3 members being married or engaged) or the terrible news of the loss of Johnny's father in January, the guys were tested and tried, but not beaten down or shaken. Their faith was put to the ultimate test, and they stood on a solid foundation the entire time. That is very rare to see. Their relationship with Jesus was and is their life and that is what has always been so encouraging to me.

Like I opened this blog with, it has been an honor to be involved with these guys and they will truly be missed from here on out.

Seventh Star 1998 - 2008

Jason - Facedown Records

(Seventh Star's final show was on the Black Sea in Ukraine)

(Total Armageddon Fest on the Black Sea Coast in Ukraine)

(Total Armageddon Fest - Ukraine)

(Total Armageddon Fest - Ukraine)

For more pictures of Seventh Star @ Total Armageddon Fest, check out:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

32" LCD TVs, War Of Ages and Hatebreed

Congratulations to Wes Hanson of Yorba Linda, CA for winning the 32" LCD TV in the War Of Ages pre-order contest. Thanks to everyone who entered that one. We're going to post a couple more War Of Ages themed contests in the next week or so on the Facedown site so check back for that. Oh yeah, and War Of Ages will be on tour in September with Hatebreed so that should be incredible. Good times ahead for those guys.

(Wes Hanson of Yorba Linda, CA with his new TV and WOA pre-order)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just back from Sonshine Fest 2008

I hadn't been to Sonshine Fest since 2001, and holy cow has it gotten to be a great festival! In 2001 when I played at Sonshine with No Innocent Victim, people didn't really know what to think of Hardcore music. But Sonshine Fest is officially on the map now! I am really happy that I was able to make it out this year and definitely plan on heading back each summer.

From the Facedown camp, we had War Of Ages, For Today, Means and A Plea For Purging. All of the bands put on incredible shows and had the crowds going crazy. Some of the bands did some autograph signings (see pictures below) and those were entertaining to watch as War Of Ages signed a giant inflatable lobster!

Other highlights of the week were watching Flatfoot 56 play live (always an incredible show) and creating the biggest circle pit of the weekend, eating huge sno cones with Alex War Of Ages, Carribou Coffee each morning and getting to catch a few minutes of Flyleaf's set when the singer really got to talk to and encourage the mainstage crowd. She spoke about God's mercies being new every morning and the fact that every day that we wake up, God is blessing us with another day and showing us that His grace and mercy is sufficient for us. Definitely encouraging stuff!

I am really looking forward to making it back next year.
Jason - Facedown Records

(War Of Ages signing at the Best Buy table. Yes, that is an inflatable lobster!)

(For Today signing at the Best Buy Table)

Cornerstone 2008 Report

This was my 12th year at Cornerstone, and there is always a surreal feeling about being there. I give it up to the people at JPUSA in Chicago for putting on this fest for 25 years now. It is truly different than any other Christian summer festival because of the diversity that they showcase. Not only with the teaching and the music, but with the people that attend every year. Although I never plan for it to be, it's always a highlight of my summer. It's great seeing friends from all over the US in one place and it's great to hang out with most all of our bands in one place and at one time. It's like a big Family party each summer!

Facedown night was Thursday, July 3 and once again took place on the Underground stage. It was an amazing experience from beginning to end. The tent was packed and the attitudes of everyone there could not have been better. It was truly incredible to see such a large group of people gathered together for something more than music. Whether that was fellowship, worship, or to just see what the buzz was about, no one was let down. It's an honor to have a roster of bands like we do right now and I thank God every day for that!

Jason - Facedown

(Sunset at Cornerstone Festival - Bushnell, IL)