An Interview with Wild Harbors

Chris and Jenna Badeker are calling it quits. Kind of.

The husband and wife duo have been playing shows as Chris & Jenna for years in addition to other facets of their careers. Jenna has been a leading lady in a venerable big band outfit. It’s hard to tell, but there might be a picture of her meeting a president at a show. Chris maintains an inspired art and design gig. There’s certainly a picture of him with a penguin, which is nearly as cool, depending on how you feel about presidents. The running thread through all of it has been their folk-pop pairing. Now though, Chris and Jenna say Chris & Jenna are done. They’re stepping up their game with a new album under the moniker Wild Harbors, produced by Andrew Osenga.

Now entering the make-or-break week of an exciting Kickstarter campaign, the pair were kind enough to sit down and answer a number of my questions.

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Son of Laughter: No Story is Over

An Interview with Son of Laughter

Carrie Givens: One of the things I love about your music as Son of Laughter is what I would call its density. There is a lot happening in every song, both lyrically and melodically (not to mention the complexity of the recorded music). Can you share a little about your writing process?

Son of Laughter: Sure. In terms of my process, I don’t aim for complexity. Instead, I would say I am inspired by synergy. I have trouble developing an idea unless I am connecting it with a lot of other ideas in a way that interests me. I discovered that about my songwriting when I was writing the title track for The Mantis and the Moon. As I was trying to write about the stepsister from the German Cinderella story I realized the line “I don’t want to be someone who does not want to be who they are” reminded me of a lot of other stories, particularly an African folktale about why a praying mantis prays, a story a friend told me about his advice to follow dreams influencing someone leave their family, and my own discontent with who I am and the dangerous ways I deal with it. That last part is key. No matter how many ideas I have simmering in the pot, I have trouble tying it all together without deep personal conviction. “The Fiddler” combined a lot of stories and images, but I couldn’t finish it until I connected it with my own distracted prayer life. On the new record that was a missing ingredient for the longest time with “The Hurricanes.” I wanted the narrator to wrestle with his own destructive internal hurricane and I couldn’t finish it until I informed it with my own.

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Created for Worship

Over this last year I have found myself grumbling more than usual. I have always had a cup half-full personality. Yet, I became lost in the mundane tasks of life. We all know it, house cleaning, laundry and trips to the grocery store. Necessary tasks that we can’t ignore to keep our homes running began to dig into me. I found myself growing increasingly frustrated about being a slave to these tasks. I started to despise them and dread them. It was a negative mindset I had created for myself. Through some quiet time I was led back to some old notes I had taken while listening to a podcast. I didn’t write down the speaker but it clearly punched me in the gut then, and without a doubt I needed the reminder.  I needed to be reminded that I was created to worship. Now first let me say that I always associated worship with music. But my heart was stirred to a deeper level of worship for our heavenly Father than just pelting out words from my mouth. Worship, I realized, was and is based on His worth and it is our opportunity to value God for who He Is in the midst of everyday life.

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Every Morning Coffee: a review of Every Moment Holy

The holiday season passed with a flurry of shredded wrapping paper, sugar comas, and age-old family traditions. A shiny new year with infinite possibilities and opportunities is spread before us like a banquet. A whole new year, when we can finally do all those things we promise ourselves we are going to do each and every new year, for which we never manage to find the time, of course.

I’m not one of those folks who puts together yearly resolutions I intend to follow through with. It’s simply not my nature. There are times that I do envy those who think that way, but those moments are rare. I enjoy the days as they come, knowing that each day is similar to the last. I have my morning ritual: start the kettle, grind the coffee, fill the French press, wait four minutes then call out “Plunger Boy!” My five-year-old son’s morning is thrown completely out of whack if he doesn’t push the plunger on the French press. Then I go to my office and read the news. All of us have similar rituals, even if they aren’t coffee related.

At the core of what it means to be human is an inherent desire to have order and intentionality in our lives. 

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Why We Read and Write Hard Things

When I was a kid, I had to write a book report in Senior English. Ms. Southern gave us a list of famous novels and works several pages long, and each student was to choose from among these. I was a rather morose teenager, enjoying moody music and—as with many teenagers, I expect—anything that smacked of resistance for resistance’ sake. As to what we were resisting, who could say? This being the case though, I perused the list and selected the suggestively titled Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut.

I didn’t know any Vonnegut. The title felt like a fragment of the cultural landscape, like a roadside hillock I had passed a million times without thinking about it. Plus, it seemed to imply violence of a kind, which fit well into my social lexicon. This was the dawn of the new millennium; Gladiator had come out, along with the acrobatic martial arts of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. My friends and I had recently discovered Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. I enjoyed Michael Crichton novels and bloody Japanese cartoons. In that instance, violence at least felt like a method of enduring schoolwork’s rigors and ennui.

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Thank You, Thank You!

We’re excited to give you another episode in our film series. This time, we’ve partnered with Robert Allen at The War Room to bring you a song by Glen Phillips, front man of Toad the Wet Sprocket and an excellent writer. We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

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