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Band: Risen

Members: Ben Fair, guitar and lead vocals; Joe Forney, percussion; Rick McVicker, bassist and vocals

Who we talked to: Fair

How did you guys get together? There was a competition a long time ago . . . in Shrewsbury. Joe, my drummer, came and Rick, my bassist, came. Rick was actually in the competition. Joe came to watch. Joe and I went to high school together. One day, we decided to jam and stuff. I had a song I was working on, and Joe was perfect for it, and we just clicked really well. He recommended Rick to be the bassist because they had played before, too. Ever since, we've all just have been playing music for God. We have been together I'd say for about four years.

Describe your sound and style. We play metal music and heavy rock, and what we try to do is to bridge that gap between the kids who are listening to that stuff. But the messages they're listening to are messages of destruction and stuff, and our lyrics are about hope.

What are your musical influences? I listened to everything. I didn't really listen to a lot of Christian music when I was younger. Different events kind of changed my life, and then I realized I needed to get my life straight. That's when I really started getting into music a lot. I realized I needed to play music for God because that's who inspired me. (Joe's) very well-rounded. His main (influences are) Latin and jazz and some rock. Rick has some punk and funk and some rock, too. I have southern metal and rock and blues to me.All that mixed together has really clicked very well.

Have you guys been playing out in the area a lot? Oh, yeah. We've played in York, Maryland, Lancaster (and) Gettysburg. We've played at battle of the bands. We've played at churches. We did a benefit show for my niece, who actually went on a mission trip to Russia. We're looking to do a benefit tour. (Our friend's) house burned down. I think we're going to (tour) over a three-month period and get as many shows as we can and just raise money for him.

Like any other local groups? Cease the White Horse. They're . . . like hardcore, not quite metal, but they're really, really good guys. Another band called Signs of Scarlet (is) really good. Those are the two bands we've established really good relationships with. (We're also friends with) the lead singer Ryan Lewis from Elyon's Fire.

When you play out, do people get the wrong impression? Some people are like, "you guys are a metal band and that can't be good." The thing is that we will always try to make a personal connection with people.Everyone, to be honest, has been very, very accepting. There (are) only a few people . . . mainly from an older generation who are expecting, like, softer rock. We try to talk to people (in between songs, sometimes). From the choruses and the verses, you're able to tell what our message is.

Have you been in the studio at all? We have a CD out. It's not published yet, but that's something we've been working on. We have a lot more songs we're looking to get back in the studio and put out. Joe's brother (Dave Forney) owns Mellow D's Studio in York.We actually went to Ohio to record a single. (Fidelity Records) saw our MySpace (page) and talked to us. It helped us to see what areas we need to work on and what we need to strengthen and what style we're going for.

Is there a difference between Christian and non-Christian shows? It doesn't matter as long as the music is pumping. In a Christian crowd, you can kind of talk to them and relate a little better. If it's not a Christian show, we definitely want to give a message of hope, but we don't want to jam it down their throats.

- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF

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