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During GMA Music Week 2009 in Nashville, TN, we reunited with the BarlowGirl sisters to discuss their upcoming fifth album, which at the time was untitled and finishing being mixed as we spoke. In our talk, we discussed the new record - which eventually was titled Love & War - and about the challenges of making the record, as well as the new season the girls were venturing into...
This interview took place on: 4/22/09

  • Jesus freak Hideout (John DiBiase): Do you want to talk about the new record? Do you have a name for it?
    Alyssa Barlow: No, we're really close to a name...
    Lauren Barlow: We're tossing it around a lot.

  • JFH (John): Y'know it's GMA Week, you should be prepared...
    Rebecca Barlow: I know, right? And we're mixing this week.

  • JFH (John): So right now - come up with a name! *snaps fingers* ...I'm just kidding.
    Alyssa & Lauren: Ummm...
    Alyssa: "Buy This CD, You Really Want It!"
    Lauren: "Diversity" ... "Buy My Record!"

  • JFH (John): That would be funny if someone actually named their record Buy This CD. I mean, Five Iron Frenzy had Our Newest Album Ever, but that didn't work anymore once a new record came out...
    Rebecca: That's true. It's still a good title!
    Lauren: So our new album - I'm really really really excited about it.
    Alyssa: Really really really. That's going to be the title!
    Rebecca: Call it Five, cause it's [album] five.
    Lauren: I think, on this one, we kind of came into our own. I feel like it.
    Alyssa: I feel like we kind of matured a little bit as a band.
    Lauren: Yeah, like becoming more confident in what we play, like with our songwriting.
    Alyssa: Well, there's always a part where it's kind of intimidating - like going into the studio as girls *laughs* Y'know? Cuz you always feel like there are these great guy musicians who could totally pull it off better. But I think with this album, we were finally like, "This is where God has us, we ARE a girl band, we are who we are, why don't we just enjoy it while it lasts!" Because I don't know how long it's going to last? So I think that came across. Cuz we spent how many weeks even before we tracked?
    Lauren: In preproduction.
    Alyssa: Literally playing the songs over and over and over and practicing it for hours a day. And just seeing how we liked them played. And even when we went into the studio, [Lauren] would track some songs like five or six times, in different tempos and different rhythms. I mean, we worked the songs like we've never done before. Because we finally just went, "We're musicians and we enjoy this and we can take the time we need to take. And so I think we really finally just came into our own on this album. And we really just began to enjoy it!
    Rebecca: Well, it's even like taking the authority we have on stage and who we are live - we haven't had that in the studio yet. For some weird reason it didn't ever transfer. And just that "we know what we're doing and God has given us the authority to do this" - we've never had it until this album.
    Alyssa: Yeah! And then as far as lyrics go -
    Lauren: - and song types. It's fun. It's a poppy record!
    Alyssa: It's different! It's more pop.
    Rebecca: We branched out musically too. And it's funny cuz we each have our own part that we play in the music writing process. I'm more of the musical side of things and then the girls do lyrics and melodies. And even in the whole process, even how we'd write the songs was different. Cuz I'm always hearing music in my head and I love playing the piano and getting it out like that, and it's more like ballady soundtrack stuff. But this time, for this album, I'm like, "Hey, let's use some of these parts that normally would not make a BarlowGirl album! Let's try to make it work!" So we tried totally different aspects.
    Alyssa: "And then let's try to make it rock!"
    Rebecca: And songs that I love all made up the album. All different styles that we absolutely love.
    Alyssa: It was a cool process. It was super long! And it had a lot more spiritual warfare than we've ever been up against. It was intense on that side!

  • JFH (John): Really? How so?
    Alyssa: The studio had random things every-single-day!
    Rebecca: A little demon was following us around doing goofy things! *laughter* Things would get unplugged! Like we'd be tracking and then all of a sudden the computer plug would just come out of the wall! Multiple times!!
    Lauren: They'd bring the piano... and then it was like the wrong piano. Like, it's just hard to bring the wrong piano. And then they brought the other piano and it wasn't tuned.
    Alyssa: And then we got another piano. Finally, our third piano, and then it got sold. Every time we tried to do something! And then we'd hire someone to come in and do something and then they'd randomly get this crazy flu...
    Lauren: From Africa!
    Rebecca: And then somebody else got the same flu...!
    Alyssa: Got the same exact flu! Every person we tried to hire! Like just the MOST RANDOM... And then one day we're running crazy late... NOTHING was working out! So finally we're like, "Let's just do this one thing, we're going to MAKE this work!" We were so determined and so upset and all of a sudden Otto calls - our producer, Otto Price - he's like, "Girls, I can't make it in for awhile. Guns N Roses just called. They want their bass that we rented back." Just RANDOM! What are you talking about?!
    Lauren: Like when does Guns N Roses call and want their bass back?!
    Rebecca: But no, they wanted to borrow it...

  • JFH (John): Don't they have another bass?!?!
    Lauren & Alyssa: I KNOW!!!
    Rebecca: No, they were coming through our town and they liked that bass and wanted it for their tour...
    Alyssa: It was just totally random distractions all the time every day!

  • JFH (John): There's the name of your new album: Guns N Roses.
    Alyssa: Ugh.
    Rebecca: I think it's already been done.
    Alyssa: "Guns N Roses Stole My Bass!" *laughter* YES! Release it! Print it! ... But so, on the one hand, we never had to fight so hard for an album. Y'know, normally it's a little bit easier. Cuz finally we were going "Oh, we're enjoying this." And God's like, "Are you willing to fight for it?" Because every day it was just like this, "I could throw the towel in today and go home and I would be fine because this is just getting too crazy!" And too random and weird! And it was just hard, cuz a lot of times you go, "If I'm serving God, it should be easy!" And I think God just began to show us that "life is going to be a battle all the time. And can you enjoy the journey?" We learned a lot! I feel like I've changed a lot in my spiritual walk with God. Just from the whole experience. So, needless to say, I'm excited about this album!
    Lauren: Yeah! Very much!

  • JFH (John): It's interesting, it seems like with spiritual matters - like with things that are going to end up being really good - you get a lot of opposition. And often times in the midst of the discouragement, you get those little moments to sort of take a breather and relax and refocus so you can handle it.
    Alyssa: Yeah! I like when He does that. Like, you know when you're getting all this opposition and all of a sudden He'll put something there to say, "Hey, I'm still with you! This is purposeful."
    Rebecca: Well, even like something we've learned is that when our soundcheck is the worst experience ever, it means we're going to have the best ministry during our show! It's true. And now when we have bad soundchecks, at least I know the show is going to be great. And when we have good soundchecks, I'm kind of scared! *laughter* This is not good! This is not good! We need some kind of opposition or we're going to get it during the show.
    Alyssa: But I think the biggest thing we've learned through all of this is like, I don't know - God began to put on my heart through this whole season... Because, I was like, "C'mon, Lord, it's getting too hard." Especially even in the writing season there was a lot of opposition. I was like, "Lord, take me out! Just take me out of this." And we felt like God began to put on our hearts - we're always asking Him as His children, "take us out of these hard situations" and "save me from this, take me out of this, and take me away!" And I really felt Him beginning to put on our hearts, "You guys are always asking Me to take you out of it, I'm asking you to go through it, so that you can get to the other side. Because you'll never reach what I have for you - like these new levels that you're willing to go through."

  • JFH (John): But at that moment, it's like, "I don't WANT to go through that! I really don't care what You have for me on the other side cuz right now this STINKS and I don't want to go through it!" *laughing*
    Alyssa: Oh, I know! *laughs* It's so true! It was just an interesting season of like, "Do we want what God has for us?" And He started showing me all of these stories in the Bible of these people that had to go through -- like, Shadrach Meschach and Abednego. They had to get INTO the furnace first!
    Lauren: Daniel in the lions' den.

  • JFH (John): Those are extreme! Recently, our Bible study went through John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life" book and there was a whole chapter on "Risk Is Right." And it's a scary thing. Especially in the current state of the country. And when our study discussed that chapter, I mentioned my concerns to our leader about how I'm not sure I have the strength to get into the furnace or to go in the lions' den or to be like, "Yes, I'm a Christian, blow my head off!" Y'know? And he said, "Y'know what though? I think God gives you the dying grace at the moment you need it if that's what you're supposed to do." And I'm like, "OK, cuz I'm gonna need that!!"
    Alyssa: I agree. Corrie ten Boom always told this story, cuz during the Holocaust, she was nervous about what was going to happen. Her dad said, "Corrie, when we go to the train station, when do I give you your ticket? Do I give it to you two days before?" She said, "No, you give it to me the moment I'm about to step on the train." And he said, "That's the same way with God." When you're thinking about it, He doesn't give you the grace when you don't need it. In that moment, when you're about to step on the train, He hands you what you need to make that journey. And I just thought that was such a great example of God being like, "In the moment, I will show you what you need to get through this." I thought that was great! She's a smart woman.

  • JFH (John): So what are some other themes on the record?
    Alyssa: Well, that one's a big one. We wrote a song called "This Is Not Forever," which is actually a really fun one to play. (*NOTE: The song is called "Stay With Me" on the album)

  • JFH (John): That's actually kind of a cool album title.
    Alyssa: This Is Not Forever?
    Lauren: Ooooh.
    Rebecca: But I can see people being like, "Why? Are you breaking up?" *laughter*
    Alyssa: *laughter* The farewell album!

  • JFH (Amy DiBiase): "This LIFE Is Not Forever."
    Lauren & Rebecca: Ooooh!!
    Alyssa: Yeah, that is true. That is another big theme, because we have a song called "Running Out Of Time." And that's a big one of just saying, "We talked for so many years of 'C'mon guys, we have a destiny, we have something great that God has for us, let's go after it!" And I think we've been feeling like, "Time is short."
    Lauren: We've only got one life to live, people!
    Alyssa: Time is short. And I know we all feel young and invincible.

  • JFH (John): Not the 29-year-olds, but go ahead. *Lauren laughs*
    Rebecca: Yeah! I totally agree. 29!
    Alyssa: Yeah, I know. I'm with ya.
    Lauren: I'm invincible, guys!
    Alyssa & Rebecca: *points at Lauren* 23!
    Rebecca: She still has that mentality.

  • JFH (John): Yup! That's right. I remember feeling that way. *laughs*
    Lauren: And I know everything! *laughter*
    Alyssa: Those of us who are getting closer to 30, we're like, "OK! Time is short! Time is running out!"
    Rebecca: Yeah, I have until November and then I'm 30 and I'm terrified.
    Alyssa: OK, themes, themes!
    Lauren: There are a lot of love songs on this one. I think we came into a whole new season for us. I think with the last album, it was very...
    Alyssa: We were going through a very dark season on our last album.
    Lauren: It was a fighting album and just kind of darker. We definitely still have some fighting songs on this album, because that's always who we're gonna be: fighters! And that's always it, but there's the aspect of the war part of our life and then the love part of our life.
    Alyssa: That's really the two themes on our album. Love and war.

  • JFH (John): "Love and War." There you go. There's the other album title.
    Alyssa: There you go!
    Lauren: And so there are the love songs of just our journey with God. Like there's that beautiful side of our story with Him.
    Alyssa: There's a lot of love songs. I don't think we've ever had this many love songs on our album. But, it's where we're at right now. There are a lot of pop rock songs and pop ballad songs. I think there's only one song with just piano.

  • JFH (John): What kind of perspective are the love songs from?
    Alyssa: There are love songs to God, but it's all very poetic.
    Lauren: Very poetic.
    Alyssa: There are the love songs to God and I think God really showed us, "Yeah, it's a fight, but it's because we love people." We want to tell people that they have a calling because there's a love for that, there's a love for this world and for what God has for us. So there's a lot of just loving the journey that God has you on, even still in a dark night of the soul, we can love these times. We can love being in the lions' den, knowing that God is going to shut the mouths of the lions. We can love that part of the journey. So that's definitely a big theme.
    Lauren: Yes. I agree. There are legit to-God love songs.
    Alyssa: Yeah! It's love and it's war.

  • JFH (John): Are there any specific songs that each of you are really excited about?
    Lauren: Gosh, I like so many...
    Rebecca: I can't wait to start playing them live!
    Alyssa: There's one called "Open Heavens" that I'm really excited about! Maybe just because we were getting mixes in yesterday. It's just rock and it's different! Like we showed it to one of our friends this week and he was like, "It's pop rock but it's just different for you girls!" And he was just really excited about the melody's different for us and we end the whole song - like we change time signatures and it kind of goes into this worship moment. We've never really attempted something like that. And then we just jam it out. And it's rock n' roll!
    Rebecca: Yeah, we never jammed out a song, so that's really cool!
    Alyssa: There are a lot more moments of our instruments that really come forth on this song.

  • JFH (John): Cause you're a band!
    Rebecca: I know!!

  • JFH (John): You should start playing that song now...
    Rebecca: Omigosh! I totally remember! *the girls start singing the chorus of Audio Adrenaline's "We're A Band", followed by laughter*
    Alyssa: We should!! Wow.
    Rebecca: Wow... it's coming back!
    Lauren: There are so many songs... There's one called "Running Out Of Time" that I think is just going to be SO fun to play.
    Rebecca: That one is just an angst rock song!
    Alyssa: You arms are going to fly off!
    Lauren: My arms will fly off, yes, but it's so fun. And then there's another one that's a pop ballad. I love pop ballads and it's called "Beautiful Ending."
    Rebecca: What's the dance beat one?
    Lauren: "Come Alive"
    Rebecca: It's going to be great live! It's going to be SO fun!
    Alyssa: It's different for us, but it's one that's this dance pop kind of thing.
    Lauren: So we're pretty excited about this album, needless to say! We like 'em.

  • JFH (John): That's good. It'd be kind of weird if you totally were not excited about it. "We have a new record coming out. Don't listen to it... don't buy it."
    Alyssa: *laughs*
    Lauren: "We just had to make one."
    Alyssa: And even our photo shoot. We just did a photo shoot and our cousin did it again. She did the Christmas one. And it's different too!
    Lauren: We were kind of done with the whole "band shoot." I don't want to stand under another bridge with glass around my feet, y'know?
    Alyssa: And our instruments!
    Lauren: People know we're a band. This is our fifth album...
    Alyssa: And I think we feel like we got to be women. Like some of us were in dresses some of the time.
    Lauren: It's a total fashion shoot - BarlowGirl!
    Alyssa: It's the most fun we've had with a shoot! Once again, we were like, "We have to do photo shoots, we normally don't enjoy them, what would we do if we just had fun and do anything we wanted?
    Rebecca: And we did like "vintagy" on some of them, and it's really fun.
    Alyssa: Maybe we should call this album, "BarlowGirl Grows Up." Cuz that's how I feel! Like we finally grew up.
    Rebecca: Really? At 29, I finally grew up? *laughter*
    Alyssa: Noooo! Really! Like, loving what you're doing. Truly loving where God has you! We just kind of came into that this year.
    Lauren: Definitely.

  • JFH (John): What has God been teaching you in your life lately - individually?
    Rebecca: I think for me, y'know with the economy and everything, things are getting harder and finances aren't what they used to be, we don't have as many shows as we used to have, and there's that worry and fear that comes in. And one thing that God's really been teaching me is about thankfulness. I really feel like that I've been in a season where I've never been so thankful with everything He's given me. Even though it's less than it's ever been, y'know? And just being thankful in this hard time. It's truly opened a whole new world to me. Things that used to bother me - things that we do that just drained me so much - I'm just thankful for them. And I'm just so excited for this season and I know, ultimately, that God is faithful. So instead of me being scared of the season? Now, I'm absolutely excited to see what God's going to do.
    Lauren: I know, for me, one of the things He's been teaching me is to truly have Him as my foundation. Cuz I know I'm always like, "Oh, of course God's my foundation! Nothing else affects me, and bottom line what God thinks about me is all I care about." But really it's totally not true. *Alyssa laughs* But honestly, when you go deep, I let everything affect me personally! And God's like, "Lauren, I'm your foundation. I really need to be the only thing that matters in your life." I mean, obviously everything else DOES matter, cuz God puts people in your life and things in your life, but honestly at the end of the day, His opinion of me and that He is my foundation is the only thing that should matter. So, He's really been hammering that into me, like "Do you honestly trust me? Do you honestly believe what I'm speaking about you and over you? Do you honestly believe how I feel about you?" So that's what He's really been working on me.
    Alyssa: Yeah, I think for me, I was kind of in that vein too, God really began to reveal my heart in that, "Do I get fulfillment out of what I'm doing." Y'know, "out of a single on the radio, and out of how many people are at the show and how many people are not at the show. Do I feel better about myself or worse about myself when times are good versus when times are bad? Am I truly affected?" And He really began to reveal that. I was so disappointed with myself. I was like, "Lord, I thought I was so on guard about this." But truly when I stepped back and when I got honest with myself, there's still a lot of insecurity and A LOT of garbage inside of me that I'm just... The whole middle child thing comes out of me! "I should have known better!" or whatever. But God has been SO faithful to me as I'm kind of going on this rollercoaster ride of just different days when He really steps back and allows me to see what's inside. It's going to be a good season for me! Even the other day I was like, "OK, Lord, this Summer I want to get to a whole new level in my security in You. That no matter where You take me in my life, as long as this lasts or doesn't last, that my security wouldn't be wrapped up in this at all." It's a cool journey. It's a really cool journey. It's something I'll probably always have to deal with. It's something that I just naturally gravitate toward - getting my identity in the wrong things. That's just honestly where I'm at right now. And honestly what I'm learning is where's my identity and do I feel more significant in other things. Can He truly be everything for me?


    BarlowGirl's latest project, Love & War, is in stores September 8!





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