In 2004, Dove Award winning band, Building 429, exploded on the music scene with their mega hit "Glory Defined," hitting #1 on eight different radio charts. In March 2006, their sophomore album, Rise was released. Amy Hammond Hagberg recently caught up with lead singer, Jason Roy.
AH: How did you come up with the name Building 429?
JR: Well, my wife came up with that name. We had written probably two or three pages front and back of all these different dumb names, you know. And she walked in and said "You guys should name yourself something to do with 429." 429 comes from Ephesians 4:29, it was a challenge that my youth group did called the 429 challenge which says, "Let nothing unwholesome come out of your mouth except that which is helpful for building others up according to their needs that might benefit those who listen."
AH: What's going on with the band these days.
JR: Actually, as we speak, we are signing 1,200 CDs!...Though we had that first record, and Glory Defined did great and all that kind of stuff, we struggled to find our voice in our first year as we looked around and saw the Third Days and Mercy Me's and Casting Crowns and started kind of wondering why do we really need to be here? What's the point of us being here if God already has all these other artists who are doing stuff on such a huge scale? And then we got an email that kind of slapped us in the face from a kid who had decided to commit suicide and changed his mind over our music... It just kind of made us fully aware of the fact that God has put us here to shine.
AH: For someone who doesn't know your music, how would you define it?
JR: I'm going to give two guys who are signing autographs here a chance to chime in. (aside) who do you think we'd compare ourselves to in the mainstream voice? Switchfoot meets Coldplay meets the Foo Fighters. That is a good answer, well said Scotty.
AH: I'm curious what you like the most and least about being a "rock star."
JR: I absolutely love what I do. I love being on the stage. For me, there is nothing that I enjoy more than being able to relate to an audience... The worst part about it is without a doubt being away from our families... We live these "rockstaresque" lives and that's not reality. Reality is that our families are at home and they need us. And reality is that when I walk in my door at my house I'm not a rock star anymore, now I'm just daddy.
AH: You've had a real profound amount of success in the last couple of years, it's like you hit hard. I'm curious if you ever have issues of struggles with being in the limelight all the time and being so successful.
JR: You know, yes. There are issues and there are struggles with it. I think to whom much is given, much is required... I think that walking into what we do, we had no idea how much was actually going to be required. We just kind of knew we were going to be given this opportunity to tour and do all this cool stuff, never knowing that you're onstage the second you leave your house. And that's kind of something that's difficult because we're human and we make mistakes. So yeah, we make all kinds of mistakes and it's a struggle because we're trying to figure out how to be perfect when we're just not. We're just not even close.
AH: I understand you do between 150 and 180 shows a years, that's a staggering amount of travel. How do you manage to stay grounded?
JR: It's priority number one for all of us. And I think that all of the guys in the band, I'm always impressed with their resolve to not lose track of their relationship with the Lord. I have a mentor who calls me just about every day who lives in my home town, cares deeply for me, doesn't really care too much for the rock star side of it, but cares a lot about who I am and is constantly asking me pointed questions that sometimes make me uncomfortable. But you know what? You've got to have some accountability. So I'm thankful for that.
AH: So what's in your CD player?
JR: In my CD player are two bands. One is called Decyfer Down, they're amazing... Just watch out. They've got this one song, I'll Breathe For You that's pretty amazing on the record. I just love them. They're pretty heavy, but man are they going to have a serious impact. There's also a new band, indie band that I'm pretty big fans of, we've known them for a while, a band called Common Roy and I like them a lot.
AH: We know that what you read influences what you write. Tell me what you are reading right now.
JR: Waking the Dead, John Eldredge. Great book, love it to death. I'm also about to start reading a book called Classic Christianity. These are two books that my mentor gave me. Wild at Heart was a book that had a pretty big impact on me. I wanted a Harley - my wife didn't go for it! I Am Not, But I Know I Am a book by Louie Giglio, awesome book. And for fun I read stuff like Piercing the Darkness and Frank Peretti stuff. I just read a book called Monster, just like two weeks ago. It was really, really good. But it's kind of an interesting, scary book too.
AH: When you travel a lot, reading is a nice escape.
JR: Yeah, you know it is. And I'm trying to train myself to read more. In fact, now that I just rattled off the books that I read, I feel pretty good about myself; because I'm usually the guy who's watching movies!
AH: What is your very favorite movie?
JR: Okay, I've got a series, it's my favorite series ever. I actually just downloaded these to my iPod movie last night. It's the Back to the Future series. Man, there's just something cool about them - they're funny and they're entertaining and they make your mind boggle a little bit over some of the stuff they did.
AH: What is your most treasured possession?
JR: I have a guitar that my grandfather gave me for graduation from high school. And his dad bought it for him when he was in the fourth or fifth grade and made straight A's. They bought two of them, they are both exactly the same color. It's a 1947 Gibson acoustic and it's just, it will be my son's guitar and it will be his son's guitar and it just reminds me a lot of my grandfather and the life that he lived... So he has one and I have one and when I pull it out I'm always thinking about him.
AH: What then would you consider your greatest extravagance?
JR: I don't have a whole lot of extravagances, but I do have one. The greatest extravagance that I have, I actually just bought the other day and I still feel guilty for buying it. But I love the thing, it's awesome. I bought an iPOD movie... That way I get to watch my favorite movies in my bunk on the bus.
AH: The age old question - if you were going to have a dinner party, who would you invite to it... alive or dead?
JR: It is kind of the clich» answer, but obviously Jesus would be the number one. I have a lot of questions to ask Him. Number two would be this guy Nelson Mandela; I've been reading a lot of his quotes and am really impressed with who he is. I would love to have Bono, President Bush and whoever is in charge of Area 51 as long as they'll give me a tour.
AH: So if you had that eclectic group of people, what would you serve for dinner? What's your fav?
JR: My favorite, oh man, I'm a big fan of dressing, you know like turkey and dressing... You've got to have black eyed peas, they are like my all-time favorite, cream corn is really good or corn on the cob, like the actual stuff, not the stuff you buy at the market. Sweet peas would have to be a part of it too, and the final thing that would be served would be a pecan pie with some homemade ice cream. Come on, score one for me, that's pretty good!
Amy Hammond Hagberg is a frequent contributor to publications around the world. Her first book, How Do You Know He's Real: Celebrity Reflections on True Life Experiences with God was released by Destiny Image Publishers in April 2006. The first in a planned three-book series, it is a collection of testimonies from well-known athletes, musicians and actors on how they know Christ is real. The second book in the series, God Unplugged, is due out in November 2006. She is also the author of My Favorite Christmas (Integrity Publishers), which will release in October 2006. Both can be found on her website: http://www.amyhagberg.com.
Writer: Amy Hammond Hagberg