Graduate Duncan Appeals For Band Members.. Do You Want To Join Him?
Mechanical Engineering graduate and worship team member, Duncan Coulson is putting a band together. This former Bath University student and passionate singer songwriter, tells us how music is instrumental in his Christian faith, what the key issues are in Bath for young Christians and appeals for a bassist, keyboard or synthist and another guitarist to come and join his ensemble.
(PICTURES: DUNCAN COULSON)
You are putting a band together.. please tell us about that?
All right, fantastic, well the mission statement for me, as I said before, is to be a voice to the voiceless. Whether that be the captive slave in a brothel, or someone trying to navigate a season of change. The idea being to give them anthems to cling on to, and open up people's hearts to their silence. It's not worship music as such, but I pray that it would lead many people back to Jesus - that would be the sweetest thing. Maybe they might see that there's hope, reason to keep searching, or even just find God in the celebrations.
What will the finished band look like?
I'm flexible with that. I'm currently teamed up with a drummer, Matt, and we've been trying to jam for ages. But without at least a bass player, we are more than just a little limited I feel.
I'd love to have a bassist, keyboard/synthist, and maybe another guitarist join us to make a 4 or 5 piece. I'm looking for people who would be happy making contemporary styles of music, and who have an open mind to different genres. Me and Matt together love everything from dub-step, through to pop, metal, hip-hop, indie, and even a little bit of reggae. So if anyone reading is of their 20s, and you feel you have a similar passion, please please please get in touch. We'd love to jam with you and see if you'd fit-the-bill.
Duncan please tell us a bit about yourself?
I am actually from Watford originally. Well, technically Bushey, but people know Watford. I studied A' levels there (Maths, Physics, Chemistry, and AS Biology), and moved to Bath for University. I was initially planning to go to ICL, but as soon as I got the acceptance letter from Bath Uni in the post, I just felt called to Bath. It's been AMAZING! Definitely think it was a God-thing.
I found home in a Church here called Freedom Bath and Bristol. LOVE IT! And that's the whole reason I stayed on here after university - its a beautiful church, with beautiful leaders.Just turned 26 as it happens. I graduated a few years ago, with a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, and now work in that sector.
Please tell us about your passion and enjoyment of being a musician?
Yeah sure, I picked up the electric guitar when I was 15, in an effort to look cool. It didn't work. BUT it turns out I quite enjoyed it. Inspired by rock, metal, and indie at the time, I grew to love playing it for myself. That was really my first instrument.
I began singing when I found God, so to speak, at the age of 16. I then started to worship God in my bedroom using my guitar, and my voice slowly grew from there.
What I love about music is the way a song can give you a voice. Can help you express something that you didn't think you could find the words to express. I remember at my Church back home in Watford, they were playing a new song, and I stopped dead in my tracks amazed at how it expressed what happened at the cross. I believe that song, See His Love, was a huge influence on me becoming a songwriter.
What do you play and how do you feel when you are making music?
So my first instrument was the guitar, then singing, and songwriting. I dabble in bass. Love love love singing. Must bug my housemates so bad. I'm always doing these strange warm ups, and being loud, but they are quite gracious about it.
How does it make me feel? It's huge! I'm creating. I'm telling stories. I'm getting into the heads of different characters, and trying to find their voice, as well as my own, and express that. That's my ultimate passion I feel right now - to be a voice to the voiceless. I really hope to bring something of faith, hope, and love to all of my songs, even if some of them cover very dark aspects of life sometimes.
Do you perform anywhere currently?
Not 'perform' as such. I am a part of the worship team at Freedom, and have been for years. The attitude is very different there. Have done a couple of acoustic nights before. But I cant wait to get out there and start performing, and gigging.
What are your hopes for the band and your music career - in developing it?
I really want to make fresh sounding, but accessible music, that carries the presence of God. I want to aim high (record deals, touring, etc) but above that I want to cling to this:
Our concern must not be the breadth of our ministry, but the depth.
If God wants to take it to this world-wide thing, then I must trust Him with that. But what good is it if it's wide, but has no depth? Nothing of God in it? So we could be playing in comparably small venues for the rest of the life of the band. But our measuring line of success is that we love Jesus, His Church, and we love our neighbors as ourselves.
Why are you a Christian?
Interesting question. I'll answer with how I became a Christian. I wasn't raised in a Christian family, and didn't really think of God as being anything of relevance till I was in my teens. To cut a long story short, He found me 'Upon a broken road' via my friend Richie at school. He flip-turned my life around, especially when I found out that through His death and resurrection I am forgiven, restored back to Him, and given the promise of eternal life. Pretty major really! Changes everything.
In every season He is there with wisdom, comfort, assurance, discipline, laughter, and kindness. Though I often forget, and search for my needs in other things. Still, though, His mercy remains.
What are the key issues for young Christians in Bath right now do you think?
I think it's the mindset of our society. We go along with the idea that all that is real, is only what you know from your senses. That sort of mentality is pivotal in the world of science, where everything must be provable and repeatable. But God is invisible, except through Jesus, so people don't accept that. Additionally He is very mysterious. His ways aren't like ours. So we don't always, and aren't always, meant to understand why some things happen. This also doesn't sit very comfortably with people in general.
Bath is a strange place to live. You have two universities with very different areas of excellence. Bath Uni is very much immersed in the world of Science, whereas Bath Spa has a main focus on the arts. That certainly adds to the dynamic of a city that is over 10% populated by students! The sciences and the arts are two of the most influential worlds in our society. A society where faith has been pushed aside in favour of intellectualism and an overall do-what-you-like attitude. These are very huge, but no insurmountable, challenges
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