Monday, January 3, 2011

TheKey Interview

Photo by Laura Means
I recently had the pleasure of being able to sit down with a young rock group from Macon, Georgia in the midst of their quest in the Georgia Lottery Artist Search. Clay Scott (Vocals, Guitar), Rachel Scott (Keys, Vocals),Ryan Cunningham (Bass, Vocals),Jonathan Wisdom (Guitar, Vocals),Josh Harnevious (Drums) all ended up coming together at Mercer University, where have been able to share the stage with acts like Augustana, Cartel, Gym Class Heroes, Shane and Shane and many others. Keep an eye out for their debut full-length release in early 2011! Go to for free music from theKey, including their previously unreleased single, "What I Want!"


How did you guys get hooked up with the Georgia Lottery Artist Search?
Clay Scott: I was watching a local news channel, which is something I don’t normally do, and all of the sudden a commercial popped up about this event. I thought it was pretty cool, so I looked it up online and then I told everyone last minute and we got ready. Two days later we went for our first audition, which was at the end of October.
Do you know how many acts tried out for the competition?
Jonathan Wisdom: Probably a couple hundred rocks groups, but overall about 1,000 acts tried out.
How did you guys get together originally? Did you all go to Mercer University (Macon, Ga)?
Jonathan Wisdom: Currently we have two Mercer graduates and three Mercer students.
Clay Scott: Josh and I were in a band together, so I knew him from that. When I came to college I started to date the keyboardist here, Rachel, so I had a keyboardist and I knew that I needed a few more people in my arsenal (laughs). I was good friends with Jonathan, and we led had led worship at BCM. At a D-Now thing that we were doing, I got roomed with Ryan and had to bum a ride to the event with him. He was really awkward at first (laughs), but we hit it off. I was really impressed with his playing, because he was playing in the worship band we were in. I got to know him while we were crammed in that house together and sleeping in close quarters. I really liked him, so I asked him to come and perform at something we had.
How long has it been since the actual formation of the band?
Jonathan Wisdom: I wasn’t in the band at that point.
Clay Scott: Jonathan came after our first performance, when we decided that we needed another guitarist.
Jonathan Wisdom: We showed up for a band promotional photo shoot, before I had even met Josh (laughs). We were taking band pictures together during the day, and that night we had our first band rehearsal. Basically, it was just taking what they had already, (bass, drums, keys and an acoustic guitar) and adding another acoustic guitar to it. It sounded alright, but then we decided to add an electric guitar in there and it sounded much better.
Clay Scott: And that formed theKey that we have today!
Speaking of theKey, where did the band name come from?
Jonathan Wisdom: Well, “theKey” is basically the point. What is the point of life? What we are trying to do is encourage our listeners to ask that question. What is the key here? What is the key to this particular situation, to my circumstances, to my life? What is the point of all of this? What we try to put across in our music is that the key to life is a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. We feel like there is a lot of apathy in the world and sometimes we are all a victim to that too, but we try to be proactive and get out there and get things done. We try to encourage people to get out there and do something! Live life! We want people to see that life is about a relationship with God, but we encourage a lot of other positive things too.
Do you guys want to be classified as a Christian group?
Clay Scott: We are all Christians in this band, and our lyrics are based on our faith in Jesus Christ. That is an absolute cornerstone to our band. As far as labeling ourselves as a Christian ban, that is something that we try to steer away from. We are trying to reach a mainstream market. We are trying to get out amongst the mainstream airways, much like Switchfoot and Relient K have been able to do. We are trying to reach the lost, and people who don’t know about this. We think that the best way to do this, is to meet them where they are. A lot of people shy away from that when they hear that a band is “Christian,” but our message is nothing short of that. We are trying to stay away from labels to try and reach as many people as we can.
Did you (Clay) write most of the songs on the first Ep?
Clay Scott: I had the majority of the songs already written, before I met the band. Normally, I come up with the structure and the words to the songs, and I bring it to the band like a lifeless body (laughs) and everyone plugs into it. Eventually it gets a heartbeat and becomes something that is alive (laughs). I bring the structure of the music, and the band fills in the other stuff. I don’t play drums, keys or bass very well, so I let them fill in the gaps and give the songs life.
What about for the record you guys are working on right now?
Clay Scott: Once we got together, and got the feel for everything, it became just a tidal wave of writing music. We would just come up with something, bring it before the group and it would be maybe one practice before we would realize that this was something solid. There was a lot that was discarded, but the ones that did make it we are really confident int. We definitely co-wrote a great deal of these songs.
Jonathan Wisdom: A majority of the songwriting comes from what Clay will do on his own time, and then bring it to us. There have been a few instances where we are in practice, and someone is fooling around on an instrument and it sounds cool, so we will put off everything we are doing and go with it. We have even gotten a couple of songs out of doing that! Definitely for this next album, the other four of us are having a larger portion of the songwriting than what was on the Ep.
Will the full length have some of the same songs from the first Ep?
Jonathan Wisdom: The Ep has eight tracks, and six of the songs off of that are going to be re-recorded and then there will be seven brand-new tracks on the album as well.
Clay Scott: That was a long time ago when we recorded those, when we were still wet behind the ears. We have been playing those same songs for the past couple of years and we definitely do them differently now. We want to bring the updated version to everyone now!
What is the goal for you guys as a band?
Jonathan Wisdom: The goal is to do music and ministry full-time. We would love to support ourselves and our families with what we do with this band. That is the ultimate goal, and that is where we feel called. Now the steps to get there are difficult. We are trying to determine if and when we can pursue this full-time. Right now we are full-time work and full-time school.
Clay Scott: God has taught us a lesson about trying to make plans, as in it is useless. We are just following Him completely, and hoping that he leads us to do this full-time over the next year, but we have no idea.


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