Interview: Aaron Gillespie Discovers Grace Through Wandering

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Aaron Gillespie is friendly, serious and uninhibited in the sharing of his faith. His new record Grace Through Wandering is his best work to date and with writing and recording the album while on the road with Paramore, Gillespie’s urgency is more apparent than ever. 

Substream Magazine: Worship albums can be a different animal. What do you feel really sparked your drive to do this record?

Aaron Gillespie: I guess since 2010 I’ve just been on the road doing it. I guess for me it just felt like it was time to make another record. I just feel confident about this one. It’s in a whole other thing than the first one was so I’m pretty proud of that.

SM: Do you feel that spark or inspiration is easily accessible for you?

AG: Yeah for me I just hate contrived music. I always try to make the right thing for the right time for me. I don’t buy into “this has to be for this or that type of fan”. People who were really into They’re Only Chasing Safety when they were 18 probably won’t really like this record and that’s okay. Unless they grew up and they like it now but its just where I’m at in my life and I feel good about it.

SM: You did three tracks with Aaron Sprinkle, what brings you back to him time and time again and what did he bring to the table on this record?

AG: I think that guy is one of the most underrated producers in the world and he just makes great music. He’s a different melodic sense than anyone I’ve ever worked with. I love that guy like a brother. I did a few albums with him and I wanted to go a different direction with this record and I wanted him to have a hand in it. This record was made over the course of four or five months while I was playing drums for Paramore. We made most of this record on a laptop in 15 different countries. We rented a room to do drums in, it was really a hodgepodge, back and forth kind of vibe and I think it worked.

SM: Do you think having to be so run and gun about the recording process contributed to the feel of the songs?

AG: Absolutely. All the vocals for this record were done sitting in chairs in hotel room.s that was the only we could get the sound. It was just very different than any record I’ve made, it wasn’t a studio setting. It was literally me and John at 1am in hotel rooms. The only real thing was complaints from people in the hotel.

SM: You were about ready to settle down in Utah with your family and work a “normal” job. What brought you back out on the road?

AG: I hadn’t played drums full time in like four years. It’s been almost two years that I’ve been playing with them. It’s been amazing. I’m always on the road doing the worship thing but that’s weekends and stuff like that. They’re amazing people, they’re the best people in the business. They love my family and its just good and very healthy.

SM: Does your family get to come out much?

AG: Quite a bit actually. My son Joel is three now so you have to have a routine with him. They get out a fair bit. Jamie came with me to England on the first Paramore tour I did. She’s been out to a lot of different stuff and Joel came out to Ca on the self-titled run.

SM: The record feels more like praise than struggle. Personally, what are some topics in your life that have been challenging or prevalent lately?

AG: Just grace, the massive grace of God. We have the privilege and opportunity to live under His grace. I’ve done a  lot of crazy garbage in my life, made a lot of mistakes and offended a lot of people and I’ve fallen short a lot. The Bible says that God knows the number of hairs on our head and I read that the average person has 150,000 hairs on their head. I love that if God knows that. It’s just beautiful that regardless of what we do that grace covers that. To me that’s just been a big statement in my life the last couple of years and what this whole record is about.

Check out Gillespie’s new single “We Praise Him” HERE

Interview by William James