Ian Yates Shares How Life's Joys and Sorrows Gave Birth to His New Record

ian yates

Singer , worship leader and songwriter Ian Yates is set to release his sixth studio album Between The Joy And The Sorrow this year in 2 parts. Part 1 is due out on June 24th with part 2 to follow later in the year. The album will also be available in Apple Music's Spatial Audio format and Dolby Atmos on Amazon and Tidal.

Once again Ian has teamed up with producer Trevor Michael (Snow Patrol, Matt Redman, Delirious, Tree 63, Martin Smith) for what 7Core Music believe to be not only a stunning collection of well-crafted songs, but presented as two exceptional albums that fit together as a single work of art.

Ian is not afraid to ask the big questions many of this generation have found themselves asking over the last few years with a maturity and honesty many of us lack, proving himself to be one of the finest artists and songwriters in the present UK Christian and Gospel music scene. 

Q: Ian, thank you for doing this interview with us. You are releasing your brand new album in two parts at two different times this year, why did you choose to do that?

Thanks for the opportunity. Really appreciate your support again. I'm always writing songs and I pulled together over 100 ideas for this project. I sent Trev (7Core Music) various songs before recording and in the end I brought 25 songs to Trev in Eastbourne to record the project. I expected Trev to pick 10 songs and we ended up recording 22. We choose 18 for this project and we have another 4 that we may release at a later date. I'd been listening to some more stripped back albums that had 9 or 10 songs on them and some of them were around 30 minutes in length and It must of influenced me, so we decided to release the project in 2 parts. The first one is more of a stripped back vibe and the second has a more 'band' feel. We also realised some of the songs had similar themes so the 2 releases correlate. Especially with the themes of Track 1 and Track 9.

Q: Tell us the significance of the album title "Between the Joy and the Sorrow."

I found myself in this place over the pandemic of living between the tensions of the joys and sorrows of life. One thing my wife and I kept saying was 'highs and lows', having 3 children under 5 when the first lockdown started was full of high points and also many moments I'd like to forget. A lot of things changed, there were a lot of challenges, things got cancelled, yet we've seen God's faithfulness and provision. Over the last few years I've faced some struggles and I was really wrestling a lot with some of the things I'd seen. Life has and still does feel like I'm living between these moments of great sorrow and equally moments of pure joy. One of the interesting things for me is that these songs were recorded in November 2021 and to be honest I feel like I'm living more in the tension of this now, since making the album I lost my Uncle to cancer and one of our best friends who was like family to cancer as well. And yet we've seen God's provision like never before as a family. 

Q: I believe this album came about after a lot of soul searching during the pandemic. Tell us a little about how the album came about.

I've always tried to write songs of truth and authentic songs of hope. Most of these songs are born out of the last few years as we've navigated this pandemic. Throughout this time I had to come back to a simple trust in God. Often I found myself disappointed with the things I'd seen, I found myself getting frustrated and lost in the opinions of people, the many perceptions of God, the incorrect prophecies, the politics and politicians. I was asking a lot of questions and wrestling with a lot of what I was seeing. I was really convicted by the 'Sermon on the Mount' (Matt 5, 6 and 7) and especially in the message translation and at the end of the day I realised I'm only responsible for myself. I had to look at myself and say, am I living a life of true devotion and worship? Am I living the way of Jesus? There's a lot of strong voices out there, but am I listening to Gods voice? It's easy to criticise, it's easy to be cynical, it's not always easy to live a life of love and to follow the way of Jesus. Looking at the project I can see a lot of the songs came out of that. There's also a thread of my need for God, surrender and returning to God as at times I got a bit lost and distracted.

Q: In your press release, you mentioned that these songs were influenced by Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska." Share with us about the musical sounds and direction of the record.

Musically there were a few albums and artists that really inspired some of the sounds. I really enjoy the striped back vibe of 'Nebraska' and the lyrical content is really strong. I was also influenced by 60's folk singer Nick Drake, Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance and singer-songwriters Alexi Murdock and Bob Dylan. Like 'Nebraska' I wanted these songs to be more stripped back musically and wanted the lyrics to be at the forefront. I read that 'Nebraska' is seen as a solemn and thoughtful album with fleeting moments of grace and redemption woven through the lyrics, it's also a bit dark at times and challenging. I think part 1 alludes to that and I think it hits some of that throughout the whole project, with part 2 including some more upbeat songs and indie / alternative sounds.

Q: "40 Years," I believe, is autobiographical. Tell us more about this song and how it is reflective of your own faith journey.

This song was born out of a difficult season. I wrote it in April 2021 after I went through this really difficult time of anxiety. In the past I've gone through some big storms, but this one particular storm hit me really hard, this brought on panic attacks and anxiety. I felt like I was falling apart, I couldn't sleep, I had palpitations, I couldn't eat, I was full of anxiety. My prayer was God hold me. I was reminding myself of the times when I've gone through storms in the past and when I've seen Gods hand carry me through. I needed that again. I was turning 40 in the September and I was reminded of my deep need for God. The line 'It's took me forty years to realise, I'm not strong enough' is about me realising that as I'm getting older I know less than I've ever known and I'm not as strong as I thought I was in my 20's and 30's. 

Q: What were some of the highlights in the making of this record?

The writing process was pretty special on this album. I came across 60's folk singer Nick Drake while watching the series 'This is Us' and I found out about one of his guitar tunings (CGCFCE) and that really inspired a lot of the writing, it felt really fresh and over half the songs on the album were written on the acoustic guitar, from experimenting in that tuning. Always working with Trevor Michael (7Core Music) is a joy. He's been my biggest supporter since we met in 2009. It's always so much fun working together. We always joke that we could do that everyday.We had a great time recording drums in EchoZoo studios in Eastbourne with Paul Evans on drums, as always he takes what was programmed on the demos to the next level. And one of the other exciting things is the album is also mixed in Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos is a revolutionary spatial audio technology for the most immersive sound experience. It's a great musical experience, if people really love listening to music and enjoying all the layers and sounds it's one of the best experiences and there's so much space in the mix .

Q: How do you hope these new songs will impact your listeners especially those who are caught between the sorrow and the joy?

I hope people can relate to some of the subject matter and the honesty. I've already had people saying how '40 Years' and 'God You've Never Failed Me' have been really special for them and how the songs have really spoken to them. My prayer is that these songs bring hope to those who have been disillusioned and remind those who have been disappointed that they are never alone, there is a light in the darkness and there is a Father who loves them. 

To pre-order the album, click HERE.


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