Q&A with Rob Moles

Singer, songwriter and producer Rob Moles answers our artists Q&A and shares ‘Everything You Are’ from his EP ‘Good Men‘.

If you had to describe your music in three or four words, what would you call it?

People have described it as a mash-up between Ellie Goulding, Keane, and Coldplay. I try to not worry too much about what it sounds like and just make something I like. – sorry that’s more than four words!

What is your number one tip for song writing?

One thing I always try to do for myself is to listen to a wide variety of music – not just have it on in the background but to give it my full attention and listen critically. Things like: ‘oh I liked how the chorus has this hook in an unexpected place’, and ‘that was an interesting lyric because it made me think of this’ etc.

It’s always said that you can’t expect creativity to flow out of you if you’re not putting things into you – but in addition to that, I think you have to be deliberate and not passive about how you consume media.

Another thing that is important, particularly when you are starting out, is to not worry too much about what you think other people will think about your song. Just focus on writing something that excites or moves you. It might be that the first few songs you write are too precious to be heard by anyone else but you – but that’s ok!

What is your earliest musical memory?

Sitting in the car on long journeys with my Dad listening to classic FM – how very rock and roll! Probably that and playing in church from pretty much as soon as I could hold an instrument. Seriously though, I think the fact that I’ve been exposed to so many different musical traditions is great and that’s probably why I like so many different things.

What is the last song you listened to?

Pink – ‘Just Give Me A Reason’. Just shows how uncool I am I missed this one the first time round. It’s a really great duet between Pink and Nate Ruess. I’m not a huge Pink fan but I really like this song and the fact that the production is quite minimal for a pop song is cool too.

Which of your songs do you love to perform the most?

Probably ‘Everything You Are’ – it’s just quite a simple fun song that you can rock out a bit too.

This song was funny because it came together very fast in about two days – that never happens! I wish it did more often!

To me the song is really talking about legacy and what kind of things we invest in are going to create a lasting legacy that is worth something. When I talk about love in this song I’m talking more about companionship and investing in others as part of a community, rather than about boy/girl relationships to be honest – although I suppose it could be about that too!

What’s next for you? Up-coming events/plans?

I’m currently putting a band together with a view to doing a few gigs over the summer and afterwards – up till now it’s just been me on a guitar which is fine but a full band is more fun for sure!

I also work as a producer/engineer and have a few projects lined up for that. I enjoy helping other people to sound as good as they can be and achieve their musical vision.


Everything You Are is included in Rob’s EP: ‘Good Men‘ and is available to download on itunes.

Q&A with Simon Amadeus Pillario

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Hello my name is Simon. I’m 31, live in Bristol in the UK with my beautiful wife and two little boys. I became a committed Christian through a powerful encounter with God at a local Alpha course in 2005. I am currently training to be a small group leader in my local Newfrontiers church. For the last six years I’ve been researching and working on the first part of the “Word for Word Bible Comic” in my own time. Now I am hoping to make it my full time calling with the help of my Kickstarter Campaign.

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What lead you to create the Word for Word Bible Comic?
When I became a committed Christian at the age of 22, I read the Bible properly for the first time and was amazed at the provocative tales of corrupted man and an uncompromising God. These adult stories of a powerful messiah were not what I remembered from Sunday school. Reading through the Book of Samuel was like reading a Game of Thrones novel and so I became very excited about reading the Bible. There is a big gap between Bible based comics and storybooks for kids and the real harsh texts of the book we read as adults. I became aware of this gap, but only later realised God was calling me to fill the need.

One of the needs this comic will meet is to reach the rapidly increasing comic fan base with God’s word as I believe non-Christians will be happy to read the Bible if it is in a dramatic comic style.

Another objective is to improve biblical understanding and engage young and new Christians (and old ones too hopefully). I had a good quote about this in a review of the comic by Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith (Author of “Understanding the Books of the Bible” Study Guides) who said “One might argue that W4W is actually a more authentic presentation of the Bible than our bare printed texts, which invite us to fill a visual vacuum by supplying pictures in our own imagination of people and events. We tend to do this as if they happened in our own time and place, or else in a generic “Bible world” where nothing really changes culturally from Abraham to Paul. W4W instead brings the reader very authentically back into the specific cultural world in which each story originated, through careful archaeological research.”

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What is unique about your project?
The real unique selling point is the unabridged element: unlike other comic renditions of the Bible this one will be completely unabridged. All the words (even “he said” and descriptive elements) are still included into the comic but subtly in the ‘gutters’. These generally appear as dark grey on medium grey. The intention is that if you are reading it as a comic, you could ignore these phrases. However if you want to see what the Bible text includes they are present and legible.

Unabridged also means no parts of the stories are overlooked or avoided. For example, the Levite’s concubine (Judges 19), Jepthah’s sacrifice (Judges 12), or brides for the Danites (Judges 21). All parts of the story are important (1 Tim 3:16) and, in my experience, it’s the details that help you understand the full story and characters.

This graphic novel will not shy away from any issue the Bible addresses. Unfortunately, due to the corruption of mankind, these issues include violence, kidnapping, cold-blooded murder and even rape and infanticide. This work will not glamorize evil of any kind, nor will it be explicit or dwell on these things, but it will cover all the lessons that the Bible teaches. As a result I recommending an age restriction of fifteen.

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Who influenced you as an artist?
As a little kid I loved reading Asterix and Tintin, then I don’t think I read anything else until I was a young teen when I used to read manga and buy 2000AD every week, with Judge Dredd, Sinister Dexter and my favourite at the time, Slaine.

Funnily enough, I didn’t read much Marvel or DC until a few years ago when I started planning this project. Marvel is obviously “the best in the business” in a lot of ways but my favourite comic artist is now Mike Mignola with Hellboy and BPRD. I didn’t read Hellboy for a long time assuming it would be anti-Christian but it’s not, there is a sort of vague Judeo/Christian mythos that runs through it and it is not dishonouring to God.

These comics that I have read have, of course, informed my own work, even Asterix as I am using different typefaces for when the characters speak in other languages. Hellboy is the biggest influence on this project it has a great atmosphere and pace, and I’m sure you will see it’s influence all through my work.

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What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you?
I draw on Bristol Board with pencil, then I ink it with a fine brush. I add the colour and most of the shadow in Photoshop. It’s the right tools because I have better control of the brush than a Graphics Tablet but I can render the pictures quicker and more smoothly with the computer.

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
I guess I partake in our people’s creativity, by reading comics, watching TV and films like Game of Throne, Walking Dead, Marvel Agents of Shield. I also do re-enactment and other hobbies and games set in history. In those contexts getting the costumes and accessories exactly right for the era is important and this has given me a sensitivity for this that is applied to the comic so even the bowls and jugs used are linked to the nationality and time period specifically.

What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
When people read the comic and enjoy it, especially people who are not Christians and then say they’d like to read more of the Bible.

Once this project is completed, what’s next for you?
This project is unlikely to be completed in my life time, so heaven I guess. Before that though I need support to help me get the “Word for Word Bible Comic” started properly. If you could please check out my Kickstarter page and help me kickstart the project by either financially backing or sharing it with your friends through Facebook and Twitter.

About the Kickstarter project:
Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website where you present your concept and people pledge to give you money if you hit your full funding goal. Backers get rewards based on their level of contribution. If the goal is not hit within the time scale the project gets nothing. My goal is £15,000 which is the amount of money (after deductions) that I will use to draw the comic full time for the next twelve months. As I write this the project is 40% funded and has less than sixteen days to go (ending on Sunday May 25th at 21:00 GMT).
If you would like to see this comic become a reality, pledge and partner with me in serving the Lord in this way.

 

Q&A with Pinstrosity

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When it comes to creative work most of us want to show the world the best of the best of our output. We only want our perfections on display. Yet one blog has found the joy and inspiration in enthusiastically displaying creative projects that have gone terribly wrong.

Pinstrosity is a fun and friendly corner of the internet and, for a site that documents good ideas that have ended in disaster, it is strangely inspiring.

Meet Marquette, Emilee and Rachel for a behind the scenes look into the wonderful world of Pinstrosity!

How would you describe Pinstrosity to someone who has never heard of it before?

Pinstrosity is a place in cyber space to show the real side of Pinterest. It is a place for people to come to showcase projects that didn’t turn out as seen on Pinterest, a place to come and giggle at yourself, and a place to come to learn new tips and tricks. Pinstrosity is a community of real life Pinterest users, showcasing their humorous project results.

Why did you start the blog?

We started Pinstrosity as a fun personal blog after a few of our own Pinterest projects turned out as flops. It was a blog to make fun of ourselves and to document our Pinterest projects. We wanted something that we could do together as friends and the blog seemed like the perfect idea, as well as a great reason to keep trying out things from Pinterest.

What have been some of your favourite ‘pinstrosities’?

We know that this is corny, but picking a favorite truly is a hard! As we were putting this together, Rachel said “I love that people take the time to write to us and share their stories. I love being able to share my fails with people who understand.”

Of course, GCT 4s and 5s always warrant a gasp and then laughter ensues (if no one was seriously hurt). I will say that one of the things that makes for an especially good Pinstrosity post are lots of details and pictures. I always appreciate witty writing, and some of the submissions received are downright hysterical.” But, with that said, we decided to at least show you some of our favorites. Are these our all-time favorites? No clue, but they definitely are favorites!

Melted Minions:

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The Leaning Tower of Kids:

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Yarn Balloons:

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The Russian Honeycomb Cake:

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To say that ‘Pinstrosity’ highlights a lot of hilarious failures, the site is never mean-spirited or mocking. You laugh with people not at them, and then you research and offer advice on to how to avoid the problem next time. How important is the ‘how to fix this’ aspect of the blog to you?

We feel like the “how to fix this” portion of the blog sets us apart from other Pinterest and social media humor sites. Many of the sites are there simply to make fun of posts and projects through pictures. We knew that if we wanted our site to be different, and if we wanted the site to not be seen as snarky or mean-spirited, that we needed to have an aspect to the blog that most of the others didn’t have. We feel like having the “how to fix this” aspect turns our blog into more of a community, or support group, than just a humor site. Readers send in such awesome emails and comments with additional tips and suggestions on how to fix a project, or saying “Hey, that happened to me too! Now I know what I did wrong!”. It makes the site a place where we can all laugh at ourselves and help each other out.

The blog covers a whole range of crafts and creativity from baking and cooking, to art work, design, fashion and hair and beauty… What are your personal favourite forms of creativity? What do you like doing the most?

Emilee: Redecorating my house!! I love re-purposing thrift or second hand goods for decorative purposes. Finding an old cast off thrift item and turning it into something beautiful and usable for my house is so much fun. This allows me to bring my style into my home, and to make my home uniquely ‘us’ without draining our bank account in the process. And it’s always fun to say, “Thanks! I made that!”.

Marquette: I really love event planning as it allows me to try out so many different forms of creativity. Creating decorations, food, taking photographs, costumes/clothing, games, invitations, and seeing others enjoying the event are all so much fun for me. Music and writing are also major parts of me and my creative core. Some of the times in my life I have received the most inspiration from God is when I have been singing, playing the piano, or writing.

Rachel: I love fashion, but since I can’t sew, I compensate with cosmetics and nail polish. I love food, but am still learning how not to burn water. I have gotten much better at baking, so that is consistently fun. I also enjoy a wide range of art: painting, drawing, 3D design, yadda yadda. A little bit of everything, I suppose.

The fact that you are close friends comes across very clearly and now Rachel has joined the team. What advantages are there to working as a team in this way? Does it ever cause trouble?

Three heads are way better than one! Rather than there being just one of us to come up with ideas, write posts, answer emails, design the blog, and research, there are three of us! We are able to split the work, take the submissions that fit our areas of “expertise” (not that we’re experts on anything though!), and help to fill in when one of the three of us needs help. Coordinating the posting schedule between three busy ladies into something that flowed well and worked well for us took a while to figure out, that has been one of our main challenges with working as a team.

How has ‘Pinstrosity’ made a difference in your lives?

Pinstrosity has become so much more than we imagined it would be, and has affected our lives more than we first thought it would. It gives us motivation to keep exercising our creativity and to try out projects that we might otherwise let slip by. We have learned greatly from all the comments, from the research we’ve done for various posts, and from our own trial and error (heavy on the error part!). We have also made some friends that we wouldn’t have without the blog. Pinstrosity has opened up doors for us with writing, meeting new people, and trying new projects.

What is the most rewarding part of running ‘Pinstrosity’?

Some of the most rewarding moments have been the emails we’ve received from readers saying they needed that day’s post, or that it inspired them to try again. Knowing that we’ve helped to put a smile on someone’s face, heal a bruised ego, or given someone the motivation they needed to push on through the day makes the work we put into Pinstrosity worth every single second.

Rachel adds in, “I’m certainly not one of the wonderful women who “run” this blog…but contributing has been a blast. The exchange of warm fuzzy feelings with readers and the other writers makes you feel great. Everyone loves to learn something new. Laughing until your stomach hurts is an added bonus!”

Since the blog began two years ago what have been the milestones or most memorable moments?

We were beyond excited with how fast the blog picked up. We started the blog in February of 2012 and by the end of July that same year we hit our first million page views. That was astounding!

One highlight for us was also when Studio 5, a segment on Utah’s KSL News Program, did a featured clip about Pinstrosity. This was our first television mention!

Here in the US the New York Times is a pretty big deal, so we were floored when we discovered that we had been linked to in an article in their style section.

And our most recent excitement was when we hit our 500th post on the same day that we hit 18 million pageviews.

If you had to give one piece of advice to the crafters out there what would you say?

Don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to try again. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to read the directions (there really seems to be a fear of reading the directions out there). Don’t be afraid of yourself.

You will have projects large and small that flop. You will have projects that come out absolutely amazing. You will have projects that won’t look like your neighbor’s projects. Life isn’t about putting on the perfect party, having the perfectly decorated DIY living room, having the perfectly dressed children, or presenting the perfectly iced cake. Life is about finding joy. Don’t be afraid to find joy in your life and to find joy in your successes AND your failures.

What’s next for Pinstosity?

We have garnered quite the list of ideas for this year for Pinstrosity: video tutorials of troubleshooting hairstyles, more guest posts, a post from our awesome menfolk, crafting challenges, theme weeks (I’m quite looking forward to chocolate week!), and more. This year we also plan on a blog and logo redesign!

Our pie-in-the-sky/we’d-wet-our-pants-if they-happened dreams for Pinstrosity? Writing a book, and being invited to be on the Ellen Show.

Q&A with Lynsey Berry

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Lynsey is a singer, songwriter and worship leader based in London. Originally from the North of England, Lynsey has a big heart and a wicked sense of humour! Her debut EP released last year reached number 29 in the iTunes pop charts.
In this Q&A Lynsey shares her experiences of song writing, the differences between live performances and studio work; and overcoming obstacles in the music industry.

If you had to describe your music in three or four words, what would you call it?

Honest, Real & Melodic.

What is your earliest musical memory?

My mum teaching me a song on the piano and then showing my dad with delight at how good I was when he came home from work! I must have only been 3 years old. I also used to have a rocking horse that my Dad would sit me on and put on music and there I’d rock back and forth on it singing away for hours!

What was the last song you listened to?

A song called ‘Chocolate’ by a band called The 1975. It has an awesome guitar rif intro and a really great vocal.

How do you like to approach song writing?

It depends! Sometimes if I am asked to write for someone for an occasion or a particular theme, I have to start with lyrics. Then I will sit at the piano and work out a rif or a few chord sequences. If I am co-writing with someone else, one of us will usually have a musical idea or chord structure to start with then we work together in building the song. Then we work out what we want the song to be about and write lyrics afterwards.

On occasion, I’ve had a rif or melody line pop into my head at random times and had to sing it into my iPhone – these moments you have to record, no matter where you are at the time! Sometimes they come to nothing but usually they are gems that make their way onto an album.

How important is collaboration to you?

Very. I love working with people and I love to get feedback whether it be positive or negative. We always need to remain humble and teachable in everything we do, especially in our creativity.

How does performing live compare to working in a studio? Which environment do you prefer?

They are completely different environments. Let me try to illustrate the difference. Being in the studio is like baking a cake or painting a picture at your leisure, knowing you can erase, start again, throw it away and sometimes take your time at perfecting it. Performing live is like being on Master Chef with one shot to get it right with the chef watching and critiquing you and within a time frame. Or like painting a portrait of a person on the street, with again just one shot to get it right, knowing they want to see true likeness of themselves and get what they paid for! Even though you have put the work in beforehand you are under a certain amount of pressure to do well.

I actually love both environments. I learn a lot when I am in the studio on how to use my voice to get the best sound possible by listening back and doing it over and over until I am happy. After all, the vocal is there forever on a CD! Singing live however is a lot of fun and you can let your personality shine out more when you are present in front of people. So for me, both environments have major advantages. In a live environment you just need to love your songs and be very well rehearsed.

Which of your songs do you love to perform the most?

This is a really difficult one! I love doing the worship songs because I love to see people worshipping! However, my song ‘Crossfire’ seems to be a favourite with everyone, young and old and I love seeing kids dancing to it! Then there’s “I’ll Go” which makes me feel incredibly vulnerable every time I sing it. The lyrics are very personal and it’s just me and the piano so I feel very exposed, but the response is always really positive.

What have been some of the obstacles you have faced with your music? How have you overcome them? Any advice you can pass on?

My age has always been a factor. When I first started singing I was too young and my voice wasn’t developed enough. Now my voice is probably the strongest it’s ever been but I don’t necessarily have age on my side anymore! However, I don’t believe that age can get in the way of talent, hard work and determination. It can close some doors but not all of them.

Location can be difficult as well. That was the reason I moved to London. I grew up in a very small town where I couldn’t even take performing arts at school or in further education and I felt I needed to be stretched more than what I was already doing and involved in at the time. I became a very little fish in a very big pond over night, but it’s what I needed to grow and learn and where opportunities in music were more likely to arise. If you feel it’s the right thing to do, considering and definitely praying over a move is something that I would advise. It can feel like a big deal, but if it’s right, it works out.

Not everyone is going to love what you do or even like you! Especially if you are not willing to conform to the music industry ‘ideals’ or compromise on who you are. Never compromise who you are. You shouldn’t need to. However, you have to really want to be in this field of work, and not see yourself as doing anything else other than music, for it to become a passion and stay that way.

You have to be really focussed even when you feel like giving up. If it’s deep within you and the excitement of doing and making music never dies, you will make it a part of your life and it will work. You don’t have become rich or famous, you just need to do what drives you and what you love, that’s what makes you successful. It’s about not giving up too soon and believing in yourself even when on one else seems to!

What’s next for you?

I’m leading worship at Spring Harvest in April again this year which is always a privilege and a challenge. It’s hard work but really amazing to see people entering into God’s presence by offering the little you have and serving Him. I’m currently writing songs for Spring Harvest and I.m also writing with TV, film and other artists in mind. It’s very diverse but it keeps me on my creative toes! Another recording project for myself as an artist may also be in the pipeline towards the end of the year.


If you have not come across Lynsey’s music before I really cannot recommend her EP enough, especially ‘I’ll Go’, that one will stay with you for a long time.

You can check out Lynsey’s Soundcloud and find out more about her music via her website at www.lynseyberry.com