Rend Collective Experiment is an eclectic collective of multi-instrumentalists from the North of Ireland. An inherent desire for something spiritually substantive in our increasingly artificial world is exactly what brought the movement of friends together. United by a common purpose, these twenty-somethings began exploring the intersection between God, life and community.
“The Rend Collective Experiment came together as a few friends started to pray and seek God. We wanted an authentic outworking of our faith and felt that we would just step out into the unknown and see what happened,” Gareth shares. “Before we knew it, people just started gathering around us and we had more than 100 people involved, musicians and artists, bank workers and teachers, and together we tried to figure out our faith.”
After many years in Ireland, the band felt the call to step out again into the unknown as the core 5 of the collective felt they were being called to reach more people. They have now grown into an international success with major tours with Chris Tomlin, MercyMe, Tenth Avenue North and Lecrae under their belts. Their heart is to bring not only a fresh approach to congregational worship, but also a heart and message through the spoken word. Their partnerships and tours with church leaders like Francis Chan, Louie Giglio and Shane Claiborne certainly shows this.
Concerning the band itself Gareth comments,”We are a collective of people like a family and not just a band. We want our music to be what we call Organic worship, an honest and natural connection with God, something which is authentic and not artificial. We want to create an environment for people to have genuine encounters with Him and to find themselves singing to Him in ways that they find real”
Homemade Worship by Handmade People
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that anything homemade is typically better than its slick, factory-produced counterpart. Much like a handwritten note, a birthday gift that wasn’t procured at the local mall or a mouthwatering, made-from-scratch meal savored with family and friends, Irish worship artists Rend Collective Experiment wanted to approach the follow-up to their universally praised debut, Organic Family Hymnal, in the same decidedly homespun fashion. So instead of holing up in a studio for weeks on end, Rend Collective Experiment held their recording sessions a lot closer to home—namely in Gareth and Ally Gilkeson’s own living room in Northern Ireland.
For some musicians, working at home would be the very definition of chaos. But for the group who’s always been less of a band and more of a family anyway, it was an ideal experience that culminated in the group’s exquisitely crafted (and appropriately titled) second album, Homemade Worship By Handmade People.
“The best way I could describe it was that we didn’t want to get involved in any clinical, polished studio where things felt detached from normal life,” Gareth says. “We wanted things to feel homey, and there was something intimate about that. Naturally, there were guitars and instruments everywhere for the better part of six months, and I’m not sure how my wife [Ally] coped, but it was an experience none of us will ever forget. It’s a fun way of making music.”
More interested in creating a raw, authentic vibe than necessarily getting all the technicalities right since they also produced the album, the aim of Homemade Worship By Handmade People was to write songs with congregations in mind, and to remind the Church universal that we’re all unique, valuable and made with God’s own hands.
“We’re all handmade people created by our God who is not safe or small,” Gareth shares. “Our heart was ultimately to make music that was sonically creative and pushed the boundaries, but we also wanted to write something that really served the Church. It’s not us trying to do something crazy and different for crazy and different’s sake, it’s our response to a truly magnificent God with a wild imagination.”
What others are saying…
“I LOVE their music, but I was even more impressed with their passion for Christ,” says Francis Chan. “It’s nice to see a talented young band that desires Jesus far more than they desire fame, money or anything else.”
“Rend Collective Experiment is special,” relays David Crowder. “I don’t intend a clichéd usage of the word ‘special,’ but my hope is for the word to be fully vested with meaning, as in: Rend Collective Experiment is better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. And when I say this, I don’t intend to reference the music, solely. It is immediately apparent that the music is simply an extension of an approach to life and faith that is equally notable; the music and life functioning in a symbiotic way, each feeding and sustaining the other. When given the opportunity to participate in such a thing, I was honored and humbled.”
“Movements are stimulated and motivated by music, and here’s some music that will motivate Christians to participate in God’s revolution in the world. If you are committed to seeing something of the Kingdom of God made real in our world, this music will go a long way to encourage you,” Author / Speaker Dr. Tony Campolo
“This is the freshest and most exciting sound in worship probably since Delirious? kicked in!” exclaims Adrian Thompson, Kingsway A&R. “Rend Collective Experiment are precisely at the point where today’s music culture meets worship – I suppose the musical equivalent of what people like Rob Bell and Francis Chan are trying to do with Church…I can’t wait for people to hear this album.”