Christian rock band The Museum recently released their third studio album titled “What We Stand For.” On this record, the band decided to take the route of a more worship-oriented sound. The band's first album "Let Love Win” was released in 2010, followed by the 2012 release "My Only Rescue," their 2014 album “What We Stand For" follows suite.
The moniker The Museum was birthed after the band’s drummer Josh Kirk took a trip to Romania. He was opportune to be in the town square where communism had been ousted in 1989. A nearby museum holding humble testimony of that revolution left a permanent impression, and they immediately decided to be called "The Museum.”
The Museum’s strongest forte has always been making music that are rooted on the scriptures; with the themes of hope, love, redemption. The new album “What We Stand For” further highlights their theme as a band even more.
The band’s foreman Ben Richter was kind enough to chat with me about the new album, the band’s inspiration for songs like "Carry My Heart,” and their work with “Not for Sale."
Michael (Examiner): You have successful released three albums as a band - what is different about “What We Stand For” from the rest of your albums?
Ben (The Museum): Each record has seemed to be a reflection of what season we have been in as a band and individuals. “What We Stand For” is the most targeted approach we have ever taken in trying to make a statement through our music. I wanted to come out and clearly say, “this is who we are and this is what we stand for.” I am not trying to be a performer. I’m a worship leader, so I wanted to make a record to point people to God more than just put out a product to entertain. We are not a “CCM band” putting out a worship album - I am a worship leader making a record I hope to see God use to draw people to a life of worship. I think this gave us freedom to widen the stylistic approach of the album, as well. It was fun getting to incorporate banjos, mandolins, and more electronic instrumentation still with the overarching goal of crafting songs that are singable for worshippers.
Michael (Examiner): “Carry My Heart” is one of the album’s standout songs, and it is no surprise because the song is personal to the band - Can you share the story and inspiration behind this song?
Ben (The Museum): Josh Kirk (drummer) brought this song idea to me. He began writing it in the middle of a struggle he and his wife had been facing for some time. For the past three years, they have wanted to have a child and just simply have not been able to get pregnant. Josh sent me the first verse and chorus idea and shared that he had written it after reading through Psalm 139 many times. I immediately was able to relate to the message of the song as my wife and I had experienced miscarrying a pregnancy in 2012. I have seen through that journey, God is so incredibly faithful and carried us through when things felt so out of our control. We wrote this song as an honest outcry and aim of capturing the honesty in Psalm 139. It was really written from a place of frustration, helplessness, and trust all at the same time. God continues to show us the reality that His power is made perfect in our weakness, and “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” Regardless of what we come up against, I pray our lives would always be filled with hope in who God is. He is faithful.
Michael (Examiner): Sharing one’s struggle is usually hard and to make a song inspired by such, even harder - Do you think sharing and talking about challenges are helpful, and how would you encourage believers into sharing?
Ben (The Museum): I’m not naturally a person who is very open about sharing feelings (just ask my wife) …so songwriting can be a very therapeutic process when we are vulnerable to share the reality of a struggle. I have noticed in church, it can be easy for us to share about struggles AFTER we have gone through them, but not always in the middle of it. The reality is we all go through tough things, we are all facing battles, and we all struggle. Sometimes crappy things just happen. God created us for community and we are not meant to face these things alone. I encourage everyone to find a local church where you intentionally open your lives to people and create that community God desires for us all.
Michael (Examiner): Your last record “My Only Rescue” had a song “Not For Sale” which is also the name of the organization you work with. Tell us about “Not For Sale?”
Ben (The Museum): Not For Sale Campaign is an organization working in the US and across the world to fight modern day slavery. There are estimated to be 30 million people still living in slavery today through various forms including sex trafficking. Not For Sale is saying it loud to everyone that will listen “No one should be for sale!” Last year we had the chance to stand in Dodger Stadium at the LA Dodgers game and send this message to thousands of fans who will likely never step foot in a church. I love that NFS is taking that message to many platforms and being the hands and feet of Jesus to fight for those who are trapped in a life of slavery. Visit NotForSaleCampaign.org if you’d like to find out more!
Michael (Examiner): Any last words?
Ben (The Museum): I want to say a big thank you to the people for listening and responding to the stories of these songs. It’s my deepest honor to hear God use a song to impact someone’s life. Thanks for keeping me inspired to write songs!