Q & A with Biola’s own Parachute Passing

With the chance to play alongside such artists as MercyMe and Todd Proctor, Biola band Parachute Passing is already getting a taste of what performing on the main stage of the contemporary Christian music scene might be like.

Composed of five current Biola and Talbot students, the band was drawn together through a last minute need for a worship band to play at a Christian camp. When the need for a band dissipated, the fellowship and combination of musical talent stuck. Through their music and ministry, contracted through Biola Youth, the five band members make it clear that their primary goal in music is to glorify God. Currently working on a five-track album that will be released early next year, Parachute Passing is attempting to hone their musical talent without losing sight of their overall goal.

The Chimes: What has recording the new Parachute Passing album been like?

Lee Sherman (Lead Guitar): The process was fairly painless (except for one song). As a band, we knew what our roles were and simply had to translate them in the studio.

Rob Croft (Bass, Vocals): It’s been great to see all the different ideas that each member has been putting into the recordings. There’s a lot of creativity and talent here, and the tracks coming out sound even better than we had originally imagined.

Nathaniel Warne (Drums): Recording for the project has been pretty quick due to deadlines that need to be met. Each member has had to do all [his] individual tracking in less than a day each. In some respects, this is a good thing because it allows the performances to be raw and not overly produced. I am excited to hear the record when it comes out.

The Chimes: What is a highlight song for you off of the upcoming album?

LS: The highlight for me is “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” I enjoy the powerful truths that come with a hymn. It also features a beautiful B3 organ.

NW: I do not really have a standout song at the moment. Typically what happens when drummers record is we get a really rough scratch track and click track to play to, and at the end of a recording day all I get to hear is unmixed drums and maybe bass. All that to say, I can answer this question better when the record comes out, and I can hear what everyone else has done to make the song their own.

The Chimes: Is Parachute Passing a worship band?

NW: Parachute is a worship band, but I am not sure the listener will get that vibe from this record. Sure, the lyrics and music were intended to draw people closer to God, but only if God desires it will people worship through these songs.

CJ Casciotta (Vocals, Guitars): It’s funny — 10 years ago, worship music was a super sub-genre of Christian music. Now, anyone’s who’s a Christian has crossed over that line, with bands like Switchfoot. What does that leave for Christian music? Praise and worship. But we live in a funky society — should worship leaders be rock stars? I always think it would be funny if John Newton and Horatio Spafford came back, if they would be exalted as rock stars. When I write for the band, I write songs for the intention of corporate worship. We’re a band that exists for worship.

The Chimes: How has the Biola community benefited Parachute Passing?

RC: I think a lot of the ideas behind our music have been influenced by some things that we and people around us are contemplating and regularly face from day to day. Whether it be exclamations of praise or cries of despair, we at Biola express so many things through our spiritual lives.

The Chimes: What is Parachute Passing all about?

LS: All we have are songs. All we do is play music and sing some lyrics, but if the Holy Spirit comes and fills the songs, that’s when it becomes powerful.

RC: Unworthy people giving everything we are to a worthy God.

NW: Parachute is about glorifying God … period. If it were not strictly about giving Him glory, I would not be in the group.

CJ: We want to raise a generation of worship leaders. We’re very serious about that. We want to say that whether or not you play a lick of guitar, you can be a worship leader in your churches and schools. Lead people and yourself into worship.

The Chimes: What will be happening in the band’s near future? Any shows?

RC: We’ve also always enjoyed playing camps. Since the summer of 2006, we’ve been playing at various junior high and high school camps, and even spent a month on the road. We’ve been talking about some opportunities: conferences, camps, churches, more touring. We’re always looking for opening doors.

CJ: We’re booked to play a camp in Ponderosa Pines for nine weekends in winter. We will definitely have a big release show for the album and invite the entire Biola community out to it.

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