Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Interview Excerpt: Tim Alberts & Philip Cottrell - Martin

This is an excerpt from an interview I conducted with independent recording artists Tim Alberts & Phillip Cottrell. This portion addresses their philosophy about reaching an audience, which I believe is an important thing for all Christians who are artists to carefully consider — whether they are musicians, writers, visual artists, film producers, or any other kind of artist.

Their second CD Wide Open is to be released in December. Visit their web site for the latest on the CD release concert or to purchase a copy.

Don: “Would you say you’re more interested in targeting your music toward the Christian market or more the mainstream?”

Tim: “I like the idea of participating in the culture as opposed to the Christian sub-culture. I don’t really understand why it is that we’ve retreated from that. I listen to music by people whose opinions I don’t necessarily agree with. It’s interesting for me to be a part of that dialogue. I wouldn’t want to market — we’re not very good at marketing anyway — I wouldn’t want to try to market to the Christian industry, although I understand why it works from a marketing standpoint — identify your audience and market to it. I want to try to avoid that.” (Turning to Philip) “How do you feel?”

Philip: “I agree. It’s an interesting challenge. As Tim said, we’re not marketers, which is a problem. I don’t see us just trying to get in all the Christian bookstores we can.”

Tim: “One of the things I admire about Bruce Cockburn, is he’s managed to write songs that have beautiful Christian imagery and meaning that make sense in the larger culture. I think we need more of that.”

Philip: “I would agree. I’m more interested in rubbing shoulders with the larger culture. I find [the Christian music industry] a little confining. If you go strictly the Christian route, I find that people see things in the songs that aren’t necessarily there. They’re allowed their own interpretation, of course, but they impose a set of values that were not intended. We’re trying to present a larger view of the world. As Tim says, opening up the dialogue is where the interest is. Exploring the grey that’s much more interesting, than just saying this is the way it is.”

Don: “In order to generate this dialogue people need to hear your music. Have you tried connecting with a label or a distributor?”

Philip: “No. We’ve talked about the value of someone looking after that side of things...”

Tim: “I’m interested in doing that more with this project than with Spin” (their first CD). “Because Spin was kind of labour of love. This one we’re trying to take to the next level.”

Don: “This time you’re more intentional.”

Tim: “Yes, that’s it.”

My preview of the upcoming CD by Tim Alberts & Philip Cottrell, Wide Open, will appear in the October 15th issue of Christian Week.

D.S. Martin is Music Critic for Christian Week; his poetry chapbook So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed is available at

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