An unspoken side effect of success, particularly creative success, is comfortable complacency. There’s an ease, an expectation almost, in continuing to do the thing that’s always worked. For Building 429, anthemic battle cries about living an unshakable faith have been the catalyst to multiple smash singles and touring the world playing for millions of fans. But it only takes one listen through the band’s latest offering to hear a new bend in the road. Live the Journey, a collection of songs that dive deep into themes of struggle, shame and reconciling childhood faith, is the band’s most personal album in their nearly 20-year history together. When writing for the album, Jason Roy, the band’s compelling front man and primary songwriter, found himself looking inward in an unexpected way.
“These songs are real moments and real lessons learned from a guy wrestling with a very real God,” shares Roy. “My attitude was always to sacrifice today to work toward a better tomorrow. But I’m learning that the moment you have right now is the most precious thing. Don’t squander it. I’ve lived thinking God is a thousand miles away, but He’s so much closer than you know.”
It’s this vulnerability that shows up in songs like “The Journey,” “Shame Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” and “The Same God.” Roy has unzipped his confident veneer and stepped into the secret places buried inside, showing us a new side of confidence – quiet assurance. While the band’s past anthems rang the bell of surety and stand-your-ground faith, these new songs allow room for doubt and failure while still recognizing God’s presence through it all. It’s recognition that even with all the tools and knowledge and experience a person can acquire, life still boils down to stepping out in faith.
“It’s disarming when you realize so many of the Christian catchphrases we grew up with don’t do much.” Roy says, “As a father, I’ve wanted to do everything right for my kids, to help them avoid all the pitfalls I fell into. I found out that, despite my best efforts, I can’t coach them out of real life. Instead, I’m called to show extreme amounts of compassion and mercy.”
It was in the midst of this self-discovery when Roy’s own faith was shaken by the unexpected health crisis of a close friend.
“At the end of the writing process and the beginning of the recording process, I found out a close friend was diagnosed with cancer. That reality changed the entire record. It changed the way we made music, which songs went on the record, brought into scope which songs mattered.” Wrestling with the life or death diagnosis, Roy found himself digging deeper. “I think maybe I wrote songs from a selfish perspective before. I’m a fighter, the kind of guy that’s up for a battle, up to win. Those are the kind of songs I wrote before. Anthems. Fight songs. Rally cries. But lately, it’s been difficult to get up.”
Roy’s inner battle pours out across the album, giving the listener words and promises for when life’s inevitable storms breach the horizon, while maintaining the band’s signature, vibrant energy. Live the Journey is about taking a big faith, a lifelong belief, and boiling it down to the right now, the everyday moments with family and friends that can be missed in pursuit of the next thing.
“You can’t get back those moments you sacrifice in pursuit of the next thing,” Roy says. “As a father, husband, friend, I’ve sacrificed a lot of moments thinking, ‘someday I’ll be able to do more.’ But someday doesn’t exist. I’ve found that the people I respect the most are the people who always have time for me. They’re the people I most wish to be like.”
In an effort to connect with fans on a more personal level, the band is releasing devotional content for every song on the album, all written by Jason Roy. Each heartfelt message from Roy is about struggles and questions he’s dealing with and how he’s facing them in his own life. It’s behind-the-curtain content that matches the openness of the music and Roy’s desire to tell the full story of his faith, ushering in a new season for Building 429. It’s a refreshing turn and one that will surely inspire and encourage others to rethink what it means to live the journey.