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Debut Worship Album from Kings Cross Church (KXC), London

Debut Worship Album from Kings Cross Church (KXC), London

Sam Hailes met worship leader and songwriter Tom Eccleshall to hear the stories behind the songs of their new album All Things New.

Tell me about KXC church.

It was planted in 2010 and is led by Pete and Bee Hughes. We started with 40 people and there’s now about 500 on a Sunday.

That impressive growth was reported recently by BBC News. They said you are bucking the national trend of decline in churches. Why do you think that is?

There’s a lot of factors but there’s a huge emphasis on community, getting to know people well and investing in relationships. We run weekly hubs including Bible studies, a running hub and even a boxing one called Fight hub!

There’s a huge emphasis on worship, teaching, evangelism and outreach to the local community.

You’ve released EPs before but All Things New is the church’s first full length album – and it’s live. How did you go about recording it?

We wanted the whole church to feel a part of it, so we did this event in Scarla [a live music venue] right in the middle of Kings Cross. We tried to make the night feel first and foremost a worship and prayer night. We hoped people would forget the recording was even happening so we didn’t do any repeat songs. Maybe we were far too confident but we thought we could do this – one take wonders! There was a little bit of auto tune afterwards, mainly on my vocals!

What were the practical challenges of recording in a building which wasn’t your own?

Scarla has an incredible sound system but they’re not very used to doing recordings. It’s also directly above a trainline so I was nervous about that! Each train caused the lyrics on the screen to shake! It was a large undertaking – we had to set up an entire studio that day. There were no lifts so we were lugging all this really heavy equipment up the stairs.

There’s also a large cost in hiring a big central London venue like that. Are you planning on selling enough albums to recoup the money?

We hope so! There’s a fund by PRS and Spotify – you can apply to them for a grant if you’re doing a project. They like to help musicians and artists and accepted my application for a grant. It’s the first time I’m aware they’ve given a grant to worship music, which was very exciting.

On the back of the album it says the project is dedicated to “Andrew Jackson 1988-2018, a true worshipper whose legacy will live on”. What’s the story behind that?

We had a producer called Jeremy Edwardson from the US who brought his colleague Andrew over. They were flying out 5 days before Scarla and Andrew had a heart attack on the plane. He was 29. He was going into cardiac arrest so they got the plane to the front of the queue in the air and said it had to land quickly at Heathrow – an hour early. They had the best heart surgeon working on him at a nearby hospital but unfortunately he died.

We obviously wanted to do what was best for Andrew’s family. But Jeremy sensed Andrew would have wanted to finish the project and do it really well. So we went ahead. There’s a song on the album called “With Me” written by Rich and Lydia Dicas. They wrote the song about Lydia’s brother who died in a car accident in Europe about a 18 months prior to this and we were working on it in preproduction with Andrew. He was sending us song ideas because we had to get the arrangements locked in before they flew out. The song is about acknowledging the pain and choosing to worship God. The bridge is “I will dance in the land of the living / I will shout and I’ll never stop singing / You are good and your love endures forever”. Andrew sent that song to us on the day he flew over. So it turned out to be the last song he ever worked on.

On the evening Rich went into a spontaneous song; “I will choose you when I don’t understand”, which was actually one of the first songs that Andrew and Jeremy worked on together a decade before, but Rich didn’t know that. So we decided to put it on the album. It felt right and summed up the whole evening – despite this we’re choosing to worship God and not shy away from what’s happened, but God is still good – even in the midst of that.

Sam Hailes, Editor, Premier Christianity Magazine

Hear the full interview on the Premier Christianity podcast 


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