Canadian rock band, Starfield have been touring behind their latest release, Beauty in the Broken with such hits as "My Generation" and "Son of God" making serious waves on the radio charts and now heading to the Shai Awards in Edmonton on January 25 with their fellow nominees. Amy Hammond Hagberg recently sat down with frontman Tim Neufeld to discuss the release.
SS: For the record, how did you come up with the name Starfield?
TN: We got it from a Bruce Cockburn song. Bruce, for those who don't know, is an old school Canadian folk star. He's been around since the late 70's. At the time he was kind of flirting with Christianity he wrote the song, "Lord of the Starfields" from which we take our name÷ It was just a cool name for a band and it had some spiritual application as well - the "Starfield" the vast expanse of God's creation.
SS: Your latest recording is, Beauty in the Broken - why did you title the album that?
TN: We thought it was descriptive of the journey that the album kind of took the listener on. We wanted to write a worship record that didn't just kind of sing songs about running through the fields of daisies with Jesus, the mountain top experiences, but one that was a little more true to our lives. When I come into a worship experience, it's usually only after I've been able to kind of acknowledge the state that I'm usually somewhat removed from that place of real intimacy with God. It's like Dr. Phil said, you can't fix or change what you don't acknowledge. And the album really is about seeking beauty from the brokenness that we kind of come to God with in our lives.
SS: You're right, being a Christian isn't all about running through a field of daisies, it's much harder than that.
TN: It is; it totally is. And there's a lot of broken moments and there's a lot of broken pieces that we try to fit together and make something real. But the only real peace and lasting joy in our lives is going to be our relationship with God and the beauty that comes out of that brokenness that only He can bring.
SS: The things you are singing about on this recording are really very deep. What was your goal in writing some of these songs?
TN: The primary goal for this record was to write a record that was really worship-directed. For us, the worship genre kind of breaks down into two categories, either it÷ is written for people to sing in church and catch on to rather quickly, and make its way onto the charts where it's a popular song that everybody would kind of know and sing along to. The other is just a real God-directed kind of vertical song that is a little more personal in its nature. So the melody might be a little more complex or the subject matter might not be as singable but it's still drawing on those worship teams and really asking questions and pulling people towards intimacy with God. That's what we set out to do, write a record that's kind of combining those two types of songs÷ The themes are really everywhere along that "brokenness to beauty" spectrum, songs about feeling beat up by the years. I turned 30 this year and I kind of did a lot of looking back over my life and read through some journal entries that I had done five years ago and I was still struggling with the same things. Some of the lyrics really kind of tend to talk about that struggle and that journey growing up and wishing I was farther along than I actually was.
SS: So what can a fan expect from one of your concerts?
TN: Well, it's a worship concert. 90% of our concerts, unless we do the odd show in a more secular environment, for the most part our heart is just to lead the church in worship. I guess you could expect to meet with God. If you don't meet with God and you aren't in a place of singing to God, just getting introspective and communicating with your Creator, then you're probably not at a Starfield show. If that happens then we're not doing the job that we've kind of set up to do.
SS: Who are your main musical influences with regard to your sound?
TN: We're really influenced by British music, probably 90% of our playlist is up and coming British rock/pop bands like David Gray and Keane and Muse, Radiohead and Coldplay and U2, just those kind of artists÷ But we're also very influenced by worship writers like Delirious? and Tim Hughes.
SS: I noticed that you are involved with World Vision. Do you sponsor a child yourself?
TN: My wife and I, we sponsor two. We've had a girl named Kafelo from Congo in Africa for a few years. We just actually visited El Salvador about four months ago with World Vision Canada and got to spend some time with different projects that they've been working on in that country. We met a little guy named Carlos who wasn't sponsored at the time and just fell in love with him. He comes from a horribly poor area of El Salvador and he lives in a little mud hut÷ We just kind of fell in love with him and realized he wasn't sponsored and worked to set up a sponsorship for him.
SS: Who are your heroes in life?
TN: I'm a huge fan of Martin Smith; he's the lead singer of Delirious? Bono is another hero of mine, because he's using his influence and the voice that he has to his maximum capacity to change the world. I respect his selflessness in that so much, I just aspire to be that selfless and generous with my time and use the gifts and opportunity that God has given me to help improve other people's lives and bring justice to the world.
For more information please visit www.starfieldonline.com.
Amy Hagberg is an internationally published freelance writer. Her work has appeared in magazines all around the globe. She is also the author of three books: How Do You Know He's Real: Celebrity Reflections on True Life Experiences with God, and How Do You Know He's Real: God Unplugged feature the Christian testimonies of famous actors, recording artists and athletes. She also wrote the book, My Favorite Christmas (Integrity House, 2006), which shares precious holiday memories by noted celebrities. Find out more on her website, www.amyhagberg.com.
Writer: Amy Hammond Hagberg