At the beginning of 2020 Rend Collective lead singer Chris Llewellyn was on the road with his band’s first official world tour. They’d played in Australia and NZ, and were in the first week of the US leg, when the pandemic hit—and all the remaining dates were cancelled.
“We found out the tour was going to end, two hours before what turned out to be our last show,” Chris said. “We’d paid for all this stuff that was supposed to be our confetti cannons for the year, and our buses for the year, and so on, and we got to use them for a week – and then had to head back home.
“I remember us just picking up the pieces on the bus, talking through what we were going to do financially and everything, and I remember us just saying, ‘Well, we haven’t got any answers to those questions – but we can definitely still keep worshipping’.”
Soon after they got home, Chris and the band gathered in their bassist Steve Mitchell’s living room, pulled out an acoustic guitar and had a “sweet time of worship” that became their ‘Socially Distant Worship Club’ – a now regular online gathering, where fans join them for a stripped-back time of worship and prayer.
The sessions have amassed almost half a million views on YouTube as well as being turned into an EP, and they reflect what Chris and the band sing about on their new album Choose to Worship.
“The whole [project] is about the idea of being able to say, in the middle of difficult times, that God is good, even when life isn’t good,” Chris said.
And, now they’ve declared burnt put this great statement of faith onto a new CD – and a global pandemic has hit – “That being the theme of the record has almost forced our hand,” laughs Chris. “Now we have to live it out.”