When you ride in a van half of the year, life really gets put into perspective. Hours go by and sometimes the only way of passing time is to confront the questions that sometimes evade us in the "rat race" of normal life. It's normally effortless to spot one of the guys, or myself, lost in a maze of thoughts. They're mostly the "Am I doing the right thing?" or "What's my next move?" moments. We've all asked those questions in life. It's part of being human, and in most cases, how we grow. The content of those questions, however, aren't what this blog is about. Everyone's experience is different. We all ask different questions and follow the road of our hearts to whatever end we seek. What's encouraging to me is the transparency of my friends/band mates. Nothing sits inside too long with these guys. I love it. Whether it's problems or random thoughts about life, they are quick to address it. It's this transparency of the soul that helps us stay friends in the midst of everything from judgmental people to grueling thirty hour road trips.
About three years ago, I was struck with a terrible case of the deja-vu's. Honestly (I've never told anyone about this), I thought I was going to die. Every day, some different deja-vu happened and almost made me go nuts. Finally, after much deliberation within my own heart, I found the source of the problem. I wasn't living from the inside out. Like quite a few Christian artists, we got thrown into a scene of music that expected you to be a preacher and have life answers that far exceed your experience level. I felt enormous pressure when writing songs along with presenting my art to fans with a facade that was palatable or un-offensive. I think the deja-vu bombardment was my heart's attempt at manifesting an example of what it would be like if I continued to live from the outside. I eventually realized that I was wrong. I write songs to express myself, not just to make others happy. I want to be transparent, not tippy toe on religion. This is where the fuel for "Mean What You Say" began.
After I realized these things, the deja-vu assault stopped. Life was back to normal. But that season taught me a valuable lesson. Without losing tact, use the talents you are given to their full potential. So what if you're not perfect. Without mistakes we wouldn't learn. Life is about taking steps forward. People are going to be judgmental in whatever you do, just like a few who are reading this now. You're a product of love. Be true to who you are. Express your heart without fear. Light will expose the truth, and from there we'll keep growing.
For “Mean What You Say,” the band’s second album they partnered with Producer Rob Hawkins (Fireflight, Disciple), and made a record that, frankly, few bands could even conceive of making. Front to back, it is a triumph in production quality, unforgettable songwriting, and uncanny passion. It is dark and disquieting, yet uplifting. It is contemporary without being derivative. Yet for Riner and company, Mean What You Say is not simply an exercise in flexing their sonic might, but a vital response to a spiritual crisis in our culture.
Read the full Biography
Zach Riner - Vocals
JJ Leonard - Guitar
Andy O'Neal - Guitar
Jon Arena - Bass
Dane Anderson - Drums