By Jameson Ketchum
Chad Johnson is the former A&R rep for Tooth & Nail Records. He recently left Tooth & Nail to start his own record label called Come and Live, which features a pretty original model for a label. Jameson from Wrecked interviewed Chad about his new project.
WRECKED: You’ve been credited with working with such huge acts such as Underoath, Anberlin and many others. Why leave your long time home at Tooth N’ Nail Records?
CHAD: My time at the Nail was incredible and I wouldn’t have traded it in for a life of risk had it not been for how strongly the Lord placed a calling on me to do something that was quite a bit further out of the box than what T&N would have allowed me. They gave me wonderful freedom to sign just about any band I loved, but God began stirring my heart towards something that is entirely focused on bringing glory to Jesus and giving money away to those in need.
WRECKED: When did the idea of Come and Live come about?
CHAD: September 14th, 2008. I was at a John Piper conference in Minneapolis, MN, when I distinctly recall the Lord telling me to ask Him how He would do it. I asked and the response was, “Look at how I already did it.” The focus of Jesus’ life was always to live out the gospel in overt ministry, but in a way that was so fresh and real that it confounded the establishment of His (and our) day. On top of that, He never charged a penny for the work He did and did most of the work outside of the church.
WRECKED: What is the label’s current status?
CHAD: We are gearing up for a summer ’09 launch. At this point, we are seeking donors/funders/investors and are asking God to lay the foundation for this idea so that we can easily build upon it.
WRECKED: What will be some of your main goals with C&L?
CHAD: To live fully committed to the call of making disciples of all men, to give music away free as a blessing to both Christians and non-believers, and to give 100% of our profits to the needs of others.
WRECKED: What do you look for in a band?
CHAD: The right heart. That’s really the key factor in all of this. If the band doesn’t have the heart for this new model, it’s just not going to work.
WRECKED: A few months back you spoke at The Wake, a three day tour in the South. Tell us a little about that experience.
CHAD: That was an incredible experience for me. The Lord really showed up and moved in power. I loved getting to know a bunch of new friends, and we experienced some incredible things on that tour.
WRECKED: You’re a very passionate speaker. Will we see this become a regular medium for you?
CHAD: If the Lord wills it, absolutely. He knows my heart and I want to share it as often as humanly possible with others while still keeping to the priority of God first, family second, and ministry third.
WRECKED: Come and Live is quite a leap of faith. What kind of outside support have you seen thus far?
CHAD: An unbelievable amount of support. For a vision that has never been released publicly, we’ve seen a slew of artists show serious interest, and I’ve had various friends either quit their jobs or start helping us on the side. In just five months since God gave me this vision, we are now a team of seven people. I believe that number is only going to grow. Funding in the financial sense is our great struggle but I’m confident God will provide when He sees fit. We are working in faith that the money will show up not a day too soon, or too late.
WRECKED: What would you say is the major pitfall that a lot of faith-based labels are experiencing today?
CHAD: The reality that the music industry has dropped by over 50% since 2000. It’s incredibly hard to break bands in this climate and to keep profits where they need to be. Everyone is being hit by the downturn in our economy, but labels are being hit twice as hard due to how poorly CD’s are selling.
WRECKED: What kind of music can we expect to see coming from your label? Are you sticking to any certain styles?
CHAD: A huge variety. The only common denominator will be their hearts to live as missionaries and to serve Jesus in a deeper capacity.
WRECKED: You’ve slated June as your launch month. Where would you like to see C&L a year from then?
CHAD: I’m praying the Lord will bring us 5,000 individuals that will serve as the early base for the ministry. These are people who pray for us regularly, fast with us, and commit to supporting us financially on a monthly basis, just like helping missionaries overseas.
WRECKED: I noticed on your blog that you are constantly reading. What book are you currently enjoying?
CHAD: I’ve really been reading a ton but I’ve also begun writing my first book so I’ve had much less time to read as I feel a burden to get the book finished sooner than later. I’ve managed to fit a couple of books in, though. One is called God’s Generals and the other is Releasing the Power of Jesus by Bill Johnson. For my daily devotional I’ve been reading through Jeremiah, Psalms and Acts.
WRECKED: What advice can you offer to artists interested in your label? Supporters?
For artists it would be to first of all spend one day (24hrs) committed to prayer and fasting, asking the Lord whether this is something that is meant for them. If they feel a peace, to get in touch with us and share their hearts. For supporters I would say they should contact us and let us know how much they’d like to contribute, how frequently (one time gift vs. monthly support) and we could direct them to where they could donate to us. We literally just started working full-time on this as of January 6th, so we don’t even have a website up yet. We do have tons of wonderfully gifted people already helping, which has been so encouraging to see.
WRECKED: We will be interviewing one of your upcoming bands, Fallstar, in our next issue. What can you tell us about these guys?
CHAD: That I think they’re crazy. I actually think any band that wants to work with me on this new venture is crazy. Oddly enough I see that so many of us just want to be connecting deeper with the Lord and learning to live in community with each other so we can do what we are called to far more effectively. I met the Fallstar guys on this past Wake tour and they really impressed me , both as musicians but also by their transparency on and off stage. I’m blessed to be working with them.
For more information on Chad Johnson and Come and Live, visit www.comeandlive.blogspot.com
Jamie is an aspiring writer from . He is currently an and works with the online radio station Hopecore.com as well as the non profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms.