by Sam Robinson
All Things New are a fantastic band out of Florida, USA. Their big focus as a band is communicating the grace and redemption found at the cross, as they share their own past struggles with listeners. They released their self-titled debut album earlier in 2013, and I got to spend some time talking to lead singer Garrett Hornbuckle about it, and much more.
Sam: Garrett – you’re part of a band called All Things New, can you tell us how you guys got together?
Garrett: Yeah All Things New, we’ve been together since 2007. We got together kinda through a local outreach in the community. I was leading the worship and just met the guys through FCA – Fellowship of Christian Athletes – and my buddy – we kind of played together in this little group and I brought him on for this worship event and ever since then man, it was just one of those things, I think we rehearsed once or twice, but it just went great. It was so natural and organic, and I’m like – ‘man, we just have to keep this thing going’. So we had a couple of member changes, ah, and we just started kinda playing wherever we could. FCA events, churches leading worship, local youth groups. Basically anybody who would give us a stage and let us lead worship, man, we were doing it, so we’ve been doing that since 2007 and really grew to what we are now. We had some member changes, really refocused who we are as a band and who we are as individuals, signed to BEC/Tooth and Nail records about a year ago and the album just came out here in April. So yeah, I’ve been doing it on a national level for about a year.
Sam: I guess that’s a long time until you release an album, isn’t it?
Garrett: Oh yeah man, it is. It’s a process – songwriting, and just getting the songs. I think we had like, almost 70 songs before we did our album.
Sam: Could you tell us what the meaning is behind the band name All Things New?
Garrett: Yeah, well All Things New came up, ah, Jeff our guitar player came up with the name and – it’s from 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says “In Jesus Christ we are a new creation, the old is gone…”. Y’know, because of the cross we have been made new. Because of the cross we are worthy and we are accepted and he’s taken our brokenness and he’s mended it. He’s taken our brokenness and he’s turned it into something new. And that’s just what we wanted to proclaim and that’s where we came up with the name, out of 2 Corinthians 5:17. All Things New.
Sam: That’s fantastic. And I’ve read your band’s biography and I guess you’re very open about the struggles you’ve had in the past, and also in present, and I guess that restoration that is found in Jesus.
Garrett: Yeah man, I can share a little bit about my story if you’d like.
Sam: Yeah – that’d be great.
Garrett: Yeah man, at a really young age my dad – he left me and my mum. I really didn’t understand what was going on. I just knew that something was broken – I knew that something wasn’t right, y’know? When you’re three or four years old you don’t really understand why your dad’s not around. But I could remember calling him and he would never really answer. I remember seeing him and he’d say he was going to hang out with us on the weekends but he never really did. So at a young age I kinda started struggling with the thought of ‘Man, maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe there’s something about me that I can’t be loved by someone.’ Well my mum ended up re-marrying when I was nine years old to my step-dad and their marriage was just broken on so many different levels. And you can imagine how that brokenness stemmed over to the household and transferred over to the home. So home was chaotic. Home was a place I never wanted to be. On top of that my step-dad was very verbally abusive and emotionally vacant my whole entire life while they were married. And also, my oldest sister was heavily addicted to drugs so home was a place where I couldn’t even stand to go. I remember getting off the school bus and seeing cops and just would continue to walk cos I didn’t wanna be in my own house.
When I was about a freshman in high school my step-dad ended up leaving. I remember just kinda being like – ‘How could this happen? How could this happen again? God – why could you do this to me again? Why can you not only let my real dad leave, but man, this guy who I considered my dad – how could you let him leave as well? How could this happen to me twice in my life?’ Well – from then I started really to search for acceptance in love and everything but Jesus Christ. I remember searching for it in sports and relationships and music, in the way I looked, in the way I acted, and maybe if I was funny enough that would get the attention of somebody. Maybe if I played a sport good enough, I would feel accepted in this friendship, or I would feel accepted in this clique. And maybe if I looked a certain way that it would give me a significance about myself, but in actuality, the more I searched for acceptance and love in those things – the lonelier and the emptier I felt. But I had a youth pastor, around my freshman and sophomore year of high school that really started to speak home in me; he really started to speak life into me. He was the first man in my life to really do that. And, because of that I really started to read the Word. I started getting involved in my youth group. I started leading worship, and I really realised that if I am in Jesus Christ then I am a new creation. If I am in Jesus Christ then I am whole, I am worthy, I am accepted, and I’ve been made new because of the cross. And I realised that if God has made me in his image then I am exactly the way he created me to be.
Sam: And praise God for that, hey.
Garrett: And it’s amazing because at the moment me and my step-dad, through this whole process, God has really restored our relationship and me and my step-dad have an amazing relationship. And he’s actually – I consider my dad here on this earth. And my oldest sister who struggled with a drug addiction her whole entire life, in and out of prison, she has now been clean for a year-and-a-half.
Sam: Great. Praise God.
Garrett: Yeah man. There’s nothing that the cross is not bigger than.
Sam: The first track on the album I think is pretty reflective of this – Washed Over Me. And it sets a real scene for the album – what can you tell us about that track?
Garrett: Man, Washed Over Me, we really went into that in the studio we’re just like ‘man let’s write a song that’s just fun. Let’s write a song that people are going to hear and they’re just gonna want to dance and just wanna stomp their feet. We’re from the South [of America] so we love the really southern influence – the banjo and the harmonica – that rootsy organic feel. So we wrote that song, not in an… not intending for it to go to radio but it’s actually now our second single out on radio right now. And, it’s a song declaring God’s love. And it’s amazing that we can hold on to the fact that no matter what we go through in life, God’s love still washes over us, y’know? There’s nothing too big for God’s love.
Sam: Where was the album recorded, Garrett?
Garrett: Yeah the album was recorded at the Brown Owl, in Berry Hill, Tennessee – right outside of Nashville. And we did a lot of stuff there, did a lot of stuff at the record label, just recording vocals and stuff like that. But yeah, we tracked that album at Brown Owl. Which is really cool – kind of a smaller studio – a lot of the studios here in Nashville are actually just homes turned into studios. So it’s got an awesome vibe and we really loved it, and we ah – we did the album with Jonathan Smith, Casey Brown and ah Jason Ingram was the executive producer.
Sam: Was it fun making a record?
Garrett: Oh man it was! It was a lot of work, but y’know we love making music and – I wake up every day and just being so blessed to be able to do this for a living. So, I just ah – it was a blast – and it was a blast to finally create something that we’re so proud of, y’know, like we can put our name, we can put our stamp on it – and be like yes, this is All Things New, this is what we’re proud of, this is what we love, this is who we are.
Sam: And listening to this album, it seems that it’s more than just an album just about Jesus, it’s also a way of offering hope to so many who are going through tough times. Would you agree with that?
Garrett: Oh yeah man. Basically, the album for us man, is an album about redemption. That no matter what you’re going through that God can redeem you through that, and you’re not too far from God. Y’know like, so many people feel like they’re so far gone – that God’s not gonna love them, but no matter where you are, no matter where you are in your situation or your circumstance, God never left you.
Sam: Have you heard stories from people who have listened to the record who’ve been really changed by it?
Garrett: Yeah man, really have. It’s just been incredible and encouraging to see the emails and the Facebook messages come in and just ah – really been impacted by this album and impacted by the – especially the song New Man and really been able to relate to that – just the broken home, not feeling good enough, y’know, no matter if it was your dad leaving you or no matter what it was – so many people just don’t feel good enough in life and they search for this worth in everything other than Jesus but the only person that can fill that void in your life is Christ.
Sam: That song New Man… I saw the clip the other day and I thought it was just incredible that – not only are you playing this great song which almost brings me to tears when I listen to it – but in the video you let people share their testimonies over your song! I thought that was just such an incredible idea.
Garrett: Yeah Connor Farley actually came up with that – the concept – and I loved it, because, that song, I don’t want people just to hear the song, y’know. I want people to hear the story behind the song, so – it’s really cool to have everyone share their story and how it can relate to the whole concept of being made new by Christ. Y’know, no matter what we’re going through, no matter what – if it’s your struggle with alcohol, no matter if you struggle with drugs, no matter if it’s your struggle with coming from a broken home, or – just growing up in the church and not feeling loved in the church – I feel like everyone needs to hear that and I love the way that video came together, it just really showed that.
Sam: What the response been to the single New Man?
Garrett: Oh man it’s been great – it’s been overwhelming. We just got off the road with the Newsboys and um – fellow Australians, well, not all of them now but they used to all be Australian (laughs). But yeah man, that was really cool and people hearing the song New Man and coming up to us at the merchandise table, and just having little kids come up to me and just saying ‘Sir, my dad just left us a couple of weeks ago’, and it’s just crazy just to know how many people are hurting out there. And not only just people who are hurting in the world but people who are hurting in the church as well. And it’s been incredible just that that song has been able to encourage so many and really make an impact on someone’s life. It’s been incredible to be a part of that.
Sam: There’s more than just the music ministry to All Things New, you’re also linked to One Child Matters.
Garrett: Yeah we partner with an organisation called One Child Matters that’s dedicated to serving children around the world that have been stricken with poverty – and it’s incredible we’re able to present that and really be able to speak up for the children around this world that can’t speak for themselves, y’know, and… it’s a child sponsorship programme, so people can sponsor a child for $34 a month and they can provide the medical attention, food, shelter, and most importantly the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed in Christian education.
Sam: That’s fantastic. And I read you’re doing a fun run around Disneyworld?
Garrett: That’s the Hands and Feet project with Audio Adrenaline, but yeah we’re doing a fun run with those guys, and all the profits goes to their organisation that they partner with in Haiti and that we’re really excited to be a part of that with those guys in Disney.
Sam: Have you been in training for that?
Garrett: Oh man I went on a five mile run yesterday with my aunt here in Nashville. She kicked my butt! But I’m working on it.
Sam: Awesome. So it’s around Disneyworld, do you get to take a break and go on some rides as you go around?
Garrett: Oh well I don’t know if we do man, but I’m gonna see if I can. Me and Mickey Mouse are pretty tight us being All Things New from Orlando, Florida, so…
Sam: (laughs) That’s right – you’re probably used to all those rides.
Garrett: Oh yeah man, we go to Disney a lot.
Sam: Now you mentioned briefly before about the fact you toured with the Newsboys and Building 429 – that must have been a pretty surreal thing?
Garrett: Oh man it was so surreal, especially the… be doing that for your first tour. It’s pretty much one of the biggest tours you could ever get on, and to do that as your first tour was incredible and a lot of the guys in our group grew up on the Newsboys – that was I think our drummer’s first concert – that was our bass players first CD he owned so it’s like – so surreal to be hanging out with those guys, and we really built a great relationship to them and I still keep in contact with […] Michael and they’re an incredible group of people and we’re just so thankful for them and Building 429 those guys were great as well. They showed us a lot of love and really encouraged us, and Jason really spoke a lot of hope into me as a front guy, and it was just really neat.
Sam: And you’ve been touring around the US since then, and I saw a photo that you were playing to a crowd in a swimming pool – what was that like?
Garrett: Dude! It was weird man, but it was awesome all at the same time! We played in front of a wave pool at a water park and ah – it was crazy man. You can’t really tell anybody to jump cos they’re treading water, so how are they gonna jump? How are they gonna clap? They’re floating on tubes listening to your concert. It was different but it was a lot of fun. Definitely ah – it would have taken stage diving to a whole next level if we actually did it.
Sam: I was going to ask about that – you wouldn’t want to jump in with your gear.
Garrett: Oh no we wouldn’t want to but we almost were like ‘man, what if we all at the last song, we all take our guitars off and we jumped in?’ but the lifeguards weren’t having it, so…
Sam: Ah… You’d just been touring around playing towns around America, is that how it’s been going?
Garrett: Yeah man we’ve been doing a lot of one-offs, they’re just called one-offs, and a lot of festivals. We did a few festivals, and it’s been great man, we’re ah – doin’ that we’re about to hit the road this Fall with Rhett Walker and Rush of Fools for the Come to the River tour, we’re really excited about that.
Sam: …the track Greater Things, what can you tell us about it?
Garrett: Yeah Greater Things was written with our good friend Mia Fieldes and Jonathan Smith, one of the producers. It’s just a song declaring hope, declaring how God says ‘you are going to do greater things, as I have’ and stand on faith and say if God is in us, then we are going to do greater things and that anyone who believes that we can stand… that we can speak to a mountain and tell it to move if we just have the faith – and so it’s a song declaring that faith and declaring God’s greatness over your life.
Sam: Garrett, is there a big idea or key message to this album as a whole?
Garrett: Yeah man, just a message of redemption. The message of no matter how far you feel you’ve gone away from God, that you’re never too far. That you’re always in his reach, y’know, you’re always in the reach of God. I feel like so many people just don’t feel loved, they don’t feel cared about, they don’t feel accepted, but because of the cross, you are accepted, and because of the cross, you are loved and I just wanna let that message be known – just that message of redemption, and that message of, he can use anybody to do anything and God has you exactly where he needs you, not where you always want to be, y’know? But just that message of redemption is what we wanted to declare over this album.
Sam: Now you’ve been touring around America with this album, is there any chance you might come to Australia?
Garrett: You know what, man? If there’s one place I could go, it’d be Australia. So we need to make that happen.
Sam: OK. Alright – I’ll talk to my people and – no, I’ve got no people really (laughs). No I think it’d be great, there’s the music that’s great, there’s the message that’s great – it’d be really good to see you guys down under.
Garrett: Oh man we’d love to get to Australia man – as Florida boys we love the beach, we love the ocean, we love it. So we’d love to come down to Australia.
Sam: Well when you’re here, we’ll set up a show on the beach. I mean where I’m from [Wagga Wagga] it’s nowhere near the beach but, that’s ok – we’ll meet you there!
Garrett: (laughs) Oh, that’s funny man.
Sam: Well you are touring later in the year, then what’s the plan for after that? Do you have anything locked in?
Garrett: Not anything locked in, just we’ve got a Christmas – we did a Christmas EP… we’ll have a single going out to radio for Christmas and ah – excited about that so we’ll probably do some Christmas touring as well.
Sam: Is this original Christmas songs, or covers of carols?
Garrett: Um.. One original. Two covers.
Sam: Oooh. That’s exciting.
Garrett: Oh yeah man, we’re really excited about it. It’ll be fun. We’re really proud of it and excited for people to hear it.
Sam: …You Came For Me. What should we listen out for on this one?
Garrett: You Came For Me is actually my favourite song on the album probably. It’s written from Romans 5:8 that says ‘For God demonstrates his love for us by sending his son Jesus Christ to die for us while we were still sinners’. And I don’t know about you man, but that just wrecks me. To know that God loves me so much that in the midst of my sin, and in the midst of my struggle, he would send his only Son to die for me. And I feel like we cannot really fathom that. But just to know that he did it is just incredible – to know that God loves us that much that he would send his only Son to die for us in the midst of our struggle and the midst of our sin and it’s incredible, so… I really love that song. And it’s probably one of the most raw, vulnerable songs on the album vocally and musically, and I just love it, it’s my favourite.
Sam: A great way to finish the album then. Garrett, thanks so much for chatting to me today, your testimony and your story and this album all coming together – it’s such a fantastic thing that you’re doing so thanks so much for sharing it with us.
Garrett: Well I wanna thank you so much for having me and hopefully we’ll get down to Australia.
All Things New by All Things New is out now. It can be purchased on iTunes.