Creating community with rock and roll
Having already talked to band founder Russ about the band’s history in a previous interview, we discussed the meaning behind his songs and the community the band has fostered throughout lockdown.
Juliette: What is your artistic mission and philosophy?
Russ: It’s an artistic mission as well as a philosophical or spiritual mission.
Our last album 'Liquid Exorcist' was our first concept album. It was really trying to tell a story and all the songs are flowing into one another.
That’s more of what I want to do because, for me, that’s really ambitious. And every album we release, I want it to be more creative than the last one, more ambitious, more musical, more catchy, more philosophical and more profound than the last.
On the more philosophical or spiritual level, I think that this band and me personally, we have a very unique voice in the world for what we’re wanting to communicate to the world. There’s certain things I’m passionate about like the concept of Shalom.
God’s original intent for creating this world was harmony.
I believe that God’s original intent for creating this world was harmony and this state of Shalom, where everything is in an optimal state of being.
I want to do my part, as who God created me uniquely to be, to restore that harmony to Earth. Part of that is through songwriting and music and our band. I’m trying to be just one piece of the puzzle of restoring Shalom to the Earth by basically inspiring people through lyrics and music, and through filling people with imagination and wonder.
Juliette: What have you been up to during lockdown?
Russ: We actually made a quarantine T-shirt that says "You haven’t been quarantined ‘til you’ve done it on a submarine" because our last album was submarine-themed. It’s funny because, obviously like every other band also, we’re all just trying to figure out how to stay afloat – nautical pun intended.
We’re really pouring into our fans more than ever before.
Since we’re not getting money from shows and stuff like that these days, we started a Patreon. We’re really pouring into our fans more than ever before. It’s not just them giving us money to support us through this time but they’re really getting a lot of stuff from the band in return for their support.
We started a secret club called the Ghost Shipp. When people join our Patreon page, they essentially come aboard the Ghost Shipp and we invite them into this private Facebook group.
One of the things that are important to us as a band is, of course, making really great quality music and having an empowering message in the lyrics. Then the other part of it is the community that we’re trying to build.
We literally want this music to bring people to us to cultivate a Rusty Shipp community where we can have some level of relationship with these people.
Everybody needs community.
Everybody needs community, and so it’s pretty awesome that we’re able to do that through this band, in a small way.
Juliette: Do you have any projects lined up?
Russ: We’ve got a new music video coming out soon, which is going to be for our new song "Hundred Crosses" from the album Liquid Exorcist.
After that, we’re just getting ready for the next album. I’m already working on songs, but, like I said before, the goal for this next album is: How can we make it more creative and ambitious than 'Liquid Exorcist', our last one.
Once I have it conceptually plotted out, I’m going to take a lot of unfinished songs from the past and basically start plugging them into this new album concept based on the styles of those songs.
Spiritual messages throughout the songs.
The next step would be, now that everything’s in place, what is the flow of the lyrics for telling this story. The greater challenge is telling the story and finding ways to have spiritual messages throughout the songs as well.