It was an absolute pleasure and honor to be able to serve in the Extreme conference in Mackay, QLD. This year was extra special as the team felt impressed to capture the songs and the ecstatic atmosphere of conference with an EP under the band name Freedom Fire. This resulted in a huge collaboration with people from all over Australia. As part of this process, I was able to connect Jen & Jacques Du Toit, Extremes amazing worship leaders and songwriters with Luke Munns. Luke has an outstanding track record from his early days drumming for and producing Hillsong United live albums and now producing worship artists all over the world. Once hearing some of Luke’s current works with his band Lukas, Jen & Jacques connected instantly with his up to date contemporary style and were so excited to get working on the project.
Back in July, I was able to flesh out some of the ideas with Jacques for the EP, so when Luke arrived 2 weeks prior to conference he had some material to get to work with. When I arrived 1 week later and heard how he had began to flesh out the songs with amazing synth parts, I was totally inspired to start tracking guitar parts. Luke was great to work with, super encouraging and I had so much fun coming up with guitar parts with him. I used both my Strats for the project and had one permanently set down to Eb. I was also impressed with Lukes ability to pull such usable guitar tones, very similar to my own, “in the box’.
As the Freedom Fire team are passionate about worship and being able to flow with the momentum of any particular meeting of conference, it became our challenge to be able to play all the keyboard parts live. Last year, I was able to lead the team on this same journey by introducing them all to MainStage. This year I was astounded by how much they have grown in using MainStage at both Mackay Christian Family Church and New Life Church Mackay. This year we decided on having 3 keyboardists, Jacques on piano and lead synths, Clara Tompkinson on Pads and backup piano and Joel Tompkinson on arpeggiators and rises. Joel, from New Life, did an outstanding job creating patches for all 3 keyboardists combining his own sounds with sounds creative by Luke for the EP and patches from chrislangmusic.com.
We were all a bit nervous leading into the conference with all the new songs and arrangements and sounds but thankfully setup went very smoothly. Dominca Sound on the Gold Coast supplied a Digico SD8 for front of house console, which meant we could pair it up easily with my Digico SD11i for separate record control in a room side of stage. Also having 4x Nexo PS15R2s lining the stage as front fill ensured that the mosh pit had an experienced. As conference was under way, we worked closely with our sound man Matt Spark. He gave us helpful advise for us to making sure that all the different electronic sounds were controlled in tone, volume and timing. When playing with tracks, this is tightly pre-produced. However, with 3 different keyboards and percussionist with an electric kit layering up different sounds, this was a challenge we had not quite been through yet. The process of balancing everything tightly to suit the dynamic of the band really helped the team flow together and made Matts job much easier.
Luminosity Studios from Cairns headed up the video recording of the EP, which was another huge undertaking. Connor McCullum did a stunning job with the lighting with superb programming and awe inspiring lasers. Being our first live video production, none of us really for sore the scale of what we were doing. Thankfully, everyone kept a sweet spirit and as we rehearsed with the production team I think we all grew closer as a team and creative network. I am so excited to see and hear the EP when its released early 2016.
This years Extreme conference was a huge win. We had people gathering from all over QLD as far north as Bamaga, west from Mt Isa and south from the Gold Coast who got to be apart of the passionate explosion of praise and worship and here super inspirational and informative messages from this years line up of preachers Daniel Ross, Psy Rogers and the man who founded the conference 15 years ago Ben Naitoko. Special thanks to Ps Tim Spark at MCF, who heads up the conference and thank you so much for all the hard work of everyone involved. Looking forward to #extremeconf16
Sept 30 2015