Lindz West from LZ7 was doing a whirlwind of interviews when they arrived in the van for Creation Fest, running late for their sound-check he still found time to talk with us, so we had a quick chat about Schools, Mainstream and the history of LZ7 amongst other things. After lighting up the Big Shed in 2016, it's great to hear that they are now already booked in for 2017. Check out what Lindz had to say below.
So you've got a new album out, what's it all about?
"Yeah, it's called Home and that's the title track, and you know that statement "home is where your heart is" I was just thinking when we wrote this song is, there are so many kids from broken homes, so many young people and not just young people, just people that find home and family in a different environment to what you would normally say was home. That might be out with your boys, that might be with your friends, it might be playing football., where you heart finds rest, I find that in Jesus, but where your heart finds rest that's home. That gives us a great way to introduce that you're part of the family, and that God designed you and chose you. You know the rest, that's the reason."
You've been going with LZ7 for 5 years?
"We started in 2010 officially with the song "Little Light" , so six years but we were doing about four years before that with Prisons and High Schools and so it's been going about nine or ten years under the radar but officially since 2010."
So since the start has the mission that you guys are on changed, has it developed and evolved?
"Yes it's definitely changed, yeah. It's developed in the face that we are now pushing the mainstream more so than ever. So we're doing a concerted push into MTV, Radio 1, Remixes, One-Extra all the kind of mainstream stuff is that, and that is taken on by the record companies and the marketing and PR and all that, and theother side is high schools. So when you couple those two worlds together and you say to kids "we're going to put the same show on that we tour around the world and bring it to your school or going to your local night club or your local venue and we're going to tell you about Jesus, you get this traction, "wow, you're those guys and your going to be in my class!" It creates the platform to be able to preach amazing news to someone."
You guys came out of out The Message Trust and that was the backbone of what they have done and you are bringing that back now...
"We never left it! I think we have an open door in schools, every school has to do one act of worship a day and you can go to them and say "we'll do it" and we'll take an assembly and we'll do it the way that we do it, and they love it, so as soon as they open the door and allow us to do it then God just does His thing and the kids have so much fun, they have such a laugh in our lessons."
Do you think about what happens if they change that kind stipulation about an 'act of worship'?There has been a lot of talk of that over the years.
"When we go to the States when we go to places like New Zealand and Australia you are not allowed to do it so they have shut the door. But you can go with a message, a positive message and you know whether whether you speak the gospel or whether you take a positive message so whatever you leave with those kids is going to be fundamentally what you do, so a lot of our stuff in New Zealand and Australia is anti-bullying, anti-suicide and anti-self-harm, a positive message. Lifting their hopes and aspirations and we see the suicides drop by between five and ten percent when we are on the tour in New Zealand nationwide because we do 200 high schools. In my head I'm like, well that's just Jesus using what we're doing, we just might not be using His name. It's a huge kind of social action and Jesus at the same time. No weapon formed against Him can prosper so He's going to go and do His thing anyway."
And you're also planning a new night club outreach too.
"It's a concerted effort on a High School tour called Illuminate, illuminate your city and we've partnered with the UK's largest nightclub network called Luminar (now rebranded at The Deltic Group) and they have given us the Friday nights and the Sundays so we can do the school tour in that in the town or city, book the nightclub, tell them if they want to know more about Jesus, become a Christian or even respond tonight, then come back Sunday because we're going to do the same thing week on week in a nightclub on the Sunday and local churches partner with us, so it's almost like a church plant."
Because you are doing it in a Nightclub rather than a church, some of the other people do it in a church hall but your are taking it out one step further.
"It's a venue that is non-offensive to anyone, parents have got a stereotypical view of what church is with smells and bells and that kind of stuff, and it creates a barrier for us. This breaks down the barriers, we go out of the church to take Jesus to where He should be."
So your heart is still to get it out there.
"Oooh mate, yeah 100%, that's never going to change."