2005 BMI Christian Song of the Year
A 17-year-old excitedly remarks, “There’s something about their songs…they just feel honest. Listening to a song like ‘The Space In Between Us,’ I don’t know, it’s obvious their songs have more meaning…they’re about something more. Building 429 doesn’t seem to be like any other Christian band.”
This kid, a music fan, talks passionately about Building 429’s full-length Word Records debut, Space In Between Us. It’s clear from the excitement on his face and in his voice that he’s not only found a new favorite but he’s been looking for something like this.
Yet the four guys in the band don’t want to be gazed at with star-filled eyes. Each one just wants to be known as a normal guy working his way toward God, learning to trust completely. “When it comes down to it, I want people to say, ‘These guys are real and they really believe what they say,” says bass player Scotty Beshears.
Even before he joined Building 429, drummer Michael Anderson could see there was something different about the way the band did business. “I was in a band that opened for Building 429. We had played a ton with them and I would watch them and just be blown away. Every evening God would move. And after spending so much time with them, I knew their hearts for this. The band I was in didn’t really have a mission. Building 429 knew where they wanted to go and I was really impressed by that.”
Frontman/guitarist Jason Roy and Beshears are now seeing a return for the work they put in four years ago as they set the foundation for Building 429. Borrowing an idea from a youth group’s “429 Challenge,” taken from Ephesians 4:29, Beshears and Roy started a band that would focus on uplifting others. An important step to the band’s beginning, “it was a name that meant something from the start, rather than finding a name and making up a meaning,” notes Beshears. They filled out the band’s sound by adding guitarist Paul Bowden one year later, while Anderson took up his dream position almost two years ago.
Signing with Word and releasing the Glory Defined EP was only the beginning of Building 429’s ride. The band’s first single and EP title track impacted Christian radio like very few songs from debut artists have. A multi-format success, “Glory Defined” hit #1 on a combined eight AC and CHR charts, staying at the top of Christian Radio Weekly’s (CRW) AC chart for 10 consecutive weeks—a spot it claimed faster than any single in the publication’s history.
Since their arrival on the scene, Building 429 has made many fans among industry types and the news about the band is spreading quickly. As a result of the success of “Glory Defined,” other opportunities have come their way. After hitting many of the major summer festivals, Building 429 has been invited to join Jeremy Camp and Todd Agnew on tours this fall.
The band is also working with Interlinc, a company dedicated to creating resources for youth pastors nationwide. By taking part in talk back sessions with youth pastors, its dedication to connecting with youth and young adults grows. “Our honest goal is to play for college-age and young adults,” Roy says, “and we focus hard on that, because we know those can be the most trying times, where they’re out on their own and learning what makes their faith their own.”
The band members admit they don’t have the answers for everyone in the audience. “We’re still growing up and trying to grow as godly men,” says Roy. “We go through many struggles and trials and I believe that we all come to a crisis of faith in our life of faith. That’s part of the journey. In life as a band, we see God change us. We look back and see the road, and how he’s shown his faithfulness everyday. When I have nothing to say, I spend time asking. You have to be faithful to the task—ask your question and then wait for the answer.”
Major label debuts oftentimes include songs written over the course of a newly signed band’s history. But Space In Between Us truly is a “snapshot of who we are now, as most songs were written just six months before we started the record,” notes Roy, the band’s primary songwriter. “It started with ‘Glory Defined’ and ‘Back to Me’ [both written with producer Jim Cooper], and then I went into a writing frenzy. The oldest song is ‘The Spirit Lives On,’ written on September 12, 2001, although it now has a new feel.”
Many listeners will recognize the album’s opening cut, “Glory Defined.” But digging past Building 429’s first gem reveals greater gold—heard in the hopefully desperate “Above It All” and the yielding “Shadow of Angels,” as well as in the straight-up rock of “One Time Too Many,” “Back to Me” and “Angeline.”
Building 429 is more than catchy hooks, meaningful lyrics and a killer vocal from Roy, though. With a consistent theme of God’s faithfulness, each song on Space In Between Us connects to the belief that every searching, questioning soul need only to ask God to change him.
This pursuit of God and grace is the heart of Building 429, perhaps making the title track and second radio single the album’s greatest treasure, “All I really want to do is fall into/The emptiness that is/The space in between us/Erase it and bring us together again.”
“People expect perfection from Christian bands,” says Roy. “We’re not that and we’ll never be that, but we still need to strive for perfection. We’ll never get there but we still need to look at the world through Christ’s eyes. That’s exactly what ‘The Space In Between Us’ is about. We can’t break through that divide between God and us. We have to be willing to fall off the edge to reach the other side and believe that God will catch us.”