"Since, then, we know what it is to fear the LORD, we try to persuade men... If we are out of our minds, it is for the sake of God... For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."
- 2 Corinthians 5
The motivation and message in Paul's words to the Corinthians are a call to humility; he encourages us to acknowledge, worship, and proclaim the glory and unthinkable sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and it's this conviction that Compelled demonstrates through their music.
"It's who we are; it's what we are: compelled. Sounds simple, I know, but it's extravagant if you stop and think about it," says lead singer Matt Russell.
Hailing from the land of roadside diners and high property taxes, Compelled as a band has evolved over the years in sound and membership, but at the groups' core is Matt and lead guitarist Rob Baumeister, whose collaborative efforts first culminated in the independently released 2009 EP, Taken Over.
"We've evolved since the beginning," says Rob. "It was friends and family at first but we've seen a lot of changes in instrumentation and style. The only thing that hasn't changed is our focus: just to be about worshiping God."
The current line-up rounds out a quartet that includes bass player Nate Sara (formerly of Avenue) and drummer Mike Bruckler, who joined the band with a little help from Craigslist.
"I've known Nate since middle-school," says Matt, "and was glad to have him join a few years back. Once we heard Bruckler play and got to know him, we knew he'd be a great fit."
Compelled's music blends indie-rock musical sensibilities with earnest storytelling that challenges and entertains.
"We're just trying to reach out to people who are struggling with their relationship with God," says Matt. "People who are between pursuing God and fighting against the very idea of Him. We call people to self-evaluate."
Their most recent project, The Fight (2010), blends infectious rhythms, sweeping, layered guitar work, and earnest lyrics into an inspiring musical narrative that takes an honest look at frustration and the continuous search for identity and hope amidst the seemingly inescapable realities that come along with real life. Produced and engineered by Grammy award-winner Mitch Dane (Jars of Clay, Caedomn's Call, FFH, JJ Heller), the band's second EP is a mature reflection of their purpose and musicality.
"It's familiar," says Nate. "The songs and lyrics ask questions that we've all asked at one point or another. 'Why this? Where should I go now? What should I do?' The album is about the journey that these questions make up and about the Answer that's waiting, with open arms, when it's all said and done."
The band looks forward to 2011 with unwavering conviction. In July of 2010, the quartet won RevGen Battle of the Bands in Flemington, NJ, going on to play the festival itself in September. They have also shared a stage with nationally recognized acts that share their passion and commitment to glorifying God through music, including The Afters, Robbie Seay Band, Paul Coleman, and Tal & Acacia.
And whether in or out of their minds, Compelled's focus continues to be the purpose to which they're called.
"We're open to the doors God opens," agrees the band. "For us, all this just comes out of a passionate commitment to Christ and the burden we have for worship."