House2house Band Interview

Just as Hillsong and Delirious redefined praise and worship in the 90s,
Australia’s house2house band is today redefining contemporary worship.
Stemming from the Christian City Church Whitehorse music team, the
house2house band’s CD Renovation presents a collection of songs that
grown out of the life of the church. But, the house2house band is no ordinary music team. The H2H band
some of the ‘legends’ of Australian Christian music including singers
Waterman, Esther Oakley (x Taylor) and Rebecca Watkins (x Taylor), and
music director/arranger/singer Andrew Naylor (Prayerworks), keyboards
player Derek Bailey, plus the experienced rhythm section featuring Rob
Powell (bass), Scott Watkins (guitar), and Duffy Dowling (drums).
If this were a mainstream act one might call them a “supergroup”.
The house2house band launched Renovation at the Housebuilders Music and
Worship conference held at the Christian City Church Whitehorse
Australia) in May 2002.
Wes Jay caught up with Andrew Naylor and Esther Oakley to discuss the
project for Christian Activities.
Wes Jay – What is the house2house band?
Andrew Naylor – The house2house band is part of the Christian City
Whitehorse music team. The players vary a little, but this is really
the music of our church under a ‘house2house band’ label.
Esther Oakley – The house2house band generally comprises three singers.
Myself (Esther Oakley), Rebecca Watkins and Roma Waterman. The
instrumentalists include Andrew Naylor who pretty much plays
Rob Powell on bass, Duffy Dowling on drums, Derek Bailey on keyboard
Scott Watkins on guitar.
WJ – For how long has the house2house band existed?
Andrew – As an identity, it has just going for just a few months.
the band has been working together in various forms for some time,
including on two of our previous albums, live.
WJ – The new album Renovation is quite different from the earlier albums.
Esther – Renovation is a studio rather than a live album. It’s still
music which really represents our church, yet it’s more cutting edge in
‘pop/rock arena’.
Andrew – For example, the girl vocal sound is predominant and ties the
together from beginning to end, but there’s a lot of variety in the
of music.
There’s some very strong almost rock/dance tracks, some ballads and
there’s some quite gentle moments. And there’s some huge worship songs
Holy and Praise Him.
The other thing that holds the album together is a dynamic we haven’t
really had before on the other albums like using loops. These give a
contemporary edge to it.
WJ – What is the purpose of this project?
Esther – First of all, we wanted to get a bunch of people together who
writing songs and love singing them in church, and make a project that
other churches can listen to and to incorporate into their worship.
Andrew – We want this album to be a resource to other churches.
A majority of the tracks have “succeeded” as good worship songs at CCC
Whitehorse. We’ve had comments about every song on the album at one
time or
another that they have touched people’s lives.
We also want people to put it on in their car, or at home, and have it
change their world. That means a lot to us.
WJ – How did the title Renovation come about?
Esther – Duffy was renovating his house and I think it sort of started
Andrew – In the life of the music team at CCC Whitehorse a number of
have moved on to other churches over the past couple of years, but not
any reason that’s bad.
An example would be Mark Cullen who’s gone to be the Music Director at
Phil Baker’s church in Perth; Carolyn Oates went to Britain; Robyn and
Payne moved on to a cafe church, and Paul Hardy also went to Perth to
Baker’s church; Rod Davies also went to the cafe church, while Grant
Norsworthy has headed to the US with PC3.
These have been people who were an integral part of our music team and
previous albums. We previously recorded two live albums and this time I
wanted to do something fresh – a studio album. Recording another live
would have been me trying to dig up what we had before.
Renovation is a new face for what we’re doing. But more than that, I
we should always be open to the fact that we’ve been renovated by God.
Worship renovates me. If I try to figure the name Renovation out from a
worshipful perspective I think I get a better view of it.
Esther – It really represents what we’ve all been going through. It’s
like we’re all ‘under new management’ or ‘under renovation’ on the
Andrew – At times, I think there’s something of a misnomer in people’s
that worship is all about what happens on a Sunday when people gather
together in church. Actually, worship is part of one’s whole life and
we should be doing all the time.
We should always be open to being renovated, to being changed, moved
For me, worship is an ongoing journey before God as I discover who He
We can pretend sometimes that we think we know who God is, but as I get
older and further on in my Christian walk, I realise that I know less
less about God that I ever thought I did. That to me is part of the
as well.
Esther – Personally, I have never been very good at change. I’m the sort
person who really enjoys comfort, feeling safe, feeling happy and
everything going nicely.
God’s amazing! He suddenly throws something in there, which sends
everything into turmoil for a while, and everything’s very scary and
strange. I think people can react very badly to change especially in
church where you’re used to things going a certain way. You know,
tradition, tradition.
When a spanner is thrown in the works, you wonder what is going on.
Everything’s crazy.
It’s been very good for me, even doing this interview or doing a video
shoot, working in the studio which I’m not as comfortable with as other
I’m more comfortable worshipping and singing in church. But to have to
the work in a studio is quite confronting for me – standing in the
and singing into the microphone when everybody is listening to me to
single note you’re singing and they pick it and they stop and they
It’s actually been quite a journey for me. A journey to do something
and different, and to not be afraid of change, to embrace change and
it’s good.
I think our team (the house2house band) has seen the benefits of
through this album. Everyone’s so excited about it, yet it’s so
from what we have done before.
It’s like when you’re renovating say a house or doing the gardening.
You’ve got to pull out the old roots, pull down the walls, or strip
the paint and get rid of the old, yet be ready to embrace something new
something fun, and to not be afraid that maybe, because it’s different,
it’s not worse. It actually can be better.
WJ – Let’s have a look at the songs on the album. How did All About You
Esther – Rebecca and I were at Roma’s house one night rehearsing, and
just said ‘hey let’s write a song’.
We were just in a really silly mood and started to write these lyrics.
just came out of a fun, happy moment. All three of us were writing
and throwing in melody ideas and playing around with it.
I think the song represents who we are as characters. It’s about
everything we do in life being about God. He wants us to have fun. He
us to enjoy church, our relationships, our friends, and our families
because that reflects God and who he is. Our church has embraced the
and we just have heaps of fun when we sing it.
WJ – Everybody Say is another fun tune.
Andrew – It’s good from a congregational point of view because it’s a
participation song. The chorus has a good strong praise chorus: ‘praise
on the mountain, praise him from the valley, every tribe and every
So it’s very simply, good fun to play, and a good groove.
WJ – Wonderful is really catchy!
Esther – Wonderful is a song which Scott Watkins the guitar player
writing. I came in, changed some of the words and added some melody. It
just basically started out as a hard rock song and turned into a dance
song. It’s just a fun, boppy song and great lyrics which go over very
in church.
WJ – The album then takes a bit of a turn with My Jesus.
Andrew – Esther had originally written My Jesus. Then Esther, Roma and I
reworked the chorus and wrote the third section of the song. I think
you should actually say what the song has meant for you. There are some
incredibly strong lyrics that are incredibly powerful.
Esther – It’s the story of my life and every Christian’s story. I’ve been
washed by the blood of Jesus and I don’t have to worry anymore.
I’ve done, no matter what it, is has gone away, because of what He did
the cross for me.
It’s a simple lullaby of my heart saying thank you God for doing this
me. I don’t have to worry about anything anymore because you’ve taken
of everything.
Andrew – There are times when we’ve done this in church and I’ve seen
singing it, and knowing Esther fairly well and some of the things she’s
actually fought to overcome and get through, I’ve had tears in my eyes
thinking what a great God He is and that this is actually the truth,
things that He’s done to turn a person’s life around, make someone an
overcomer and a conqueror through His life. There are times when we
been doing this song and I have just been so overwhelmed by the simple
truth of the lyric.
Esther – I think the line ‘He’s not ashamed of me’ always stuck out the
and I think that’s what affects a lot of people, the fact that He’s not
ashamed of me. He’s not afraid of saying how great we are and how
we are, and I just want to say I’m not ashamed of Him either.
WJ – I Will Dance is another song that Roma and you wrote.
Andrew – I can’t remember the exact kind of beginning to how we started
song, but it started in 4/4 time.
I remember at some stage during the writing thinking let’s just try it
three, and it took on a whole new kind of life. There’s some good cross
rhythms happening particularly in the recording. I love that kind of
Playing in three can be really exciting at times because you can just
shifting things over the bars.
We were really struggling for the first line of each verse. I remember
saying ‘the line is going to come, it’s got to come, somewhere along
line there’s going to be a line that really works’. You write all sorts
stupid things as you’re going along, but I like the lyric of the song.
‘To heaven’s beat, you shake the dust off my weary feet, you bring the
rain to my desert streets, bring me life again…’
It’s a hope song. We all go through things which cause us to struggle,
there’s a point where we will dance. A lot of us don’t feel free to
It’s not like you have to dance around. And the thing with it being in
three time, you can just sway to it.
There’s a freedom which comes from being able to dance and the
part of the song says I will sing and I will do it. To make the
can change the way you think and act. It’s a song of hope that leads
neatly into the next song.
WJ – We live in such a hopeless world. You don’t have to go far to run
into a
lot of trouble and people who are struggling with all sorts of issues.
was the background to Song of Hope.
Andrew – When Roma and I were writing the song, we’d been talking a
bit about social justice and about lifting the hands that hang. So
our worship can get very self motivated, and self focused that we’re
really thinking about the rest of the world, and the purpose of life is
have an impact on other people’s lives. So for us it was just the kind
thing to lift up the hands that hang. It’s a song of hope.
WJ – Voice of Freedom represents another turn on the album.
Andrew Roma and I were really upset about something which was going on
someone else’s life that was having an impact on us.
So we just decided to write this song about freedom and it was an
interesting journey because of the feelings we were having about that
A lot of the world walks under oppression. The way we express our
Christianity often has a very strong Western ring about, rather than
it means for an African person or someone in South America or in India
are suffering, but who has great faith.
We wanted to talk about things which we believe really matter to God.
used a little bit of Martin Luther King’s thing where ‘I have a
and we went from there to where every nation shall rise and every color
will acknowledge God and discover the freedom of knowing Him.
There was another song we had written which I was going to put on the
album that was just another step out, but it just didn’t fit. I feel
of Freedom fits. It’s an honoring God song, rather than a
what-God-has-done-for-me song.
WJ – I think that’s where Renovation helps redefines praise and worship.
with Your Love.
Esther – There’s a bit of a story to this.
I was having a really awful day at work. I was upset and angry with
everybody, the whole world. Initially, I was going to write an angry
but when I got home Your Love came out. I was just overwhelmed with
love and how He set me free. It’s a very freeing song as every time I
it, I’m affirming that I believe what His Word has told me and I
believe in
His promises even though I feel, at times, things are being robbed from
or from my life, or it’s just too hard.
Every time I sing those lyrics, I’m reminded of everything God has
promised for me. I claim them.
And when it gets to the chorus it says ‘Your love has set me free, to
over all my fears’, all those worries and all of those problems. And
why I can stand and I sing of how incredible you are.
I originally wrote this with Ashley Reeder but then brought it to
and Andy, and they worked the music a bit.
All my songs have that feel that they have been passed along and
worked on
with others, but I think it has developed and it’s really worshipful
like a love song I think.
WJ – Andrew, Song in my Heart is probably your key vocal song isn’t it?
Andrew – I suppose from a vocal point of view.
Music is a large part of my life and always has been, and for me I can
completely change the way I feel by what song or music I put on in the
morning. So I choose that carefully.
Sometimes I put on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #3 or Mozart’s Symphony
because they lift me completely.
Song in my Heart is for me about the life changing truth of God.
I wrote the song after we’d recorded vocal tracks with the girls for a
Prayerworks album. So the next day I went into a meeting where we heard
some really bad news and I actually felt really guilty because the
Prayerworks song I’d recorded was still going around in my head.
I was just sitting there humming and singing thinking I should be
bad about what I’m just hearing, but actually I was in another place,
worshipping God.
The bad news didn’t mean I was not compassionate towards it or have
empathy for what had gone on, it was simply not robbing the joy that I
feeling by the fact that I’d been worshipping God in the car with this
incredible piece of music.
So the song Song in my Heart is a generalisation of this incident.
When we
grab hold of the truth of the life of Christ in us and that it can’t be
taken from us – like the old song ‘though none go with me still I will
follow’ – that element where I don’t care if I’m walking against the
current or walking the exactly opposite way to everybody else, I
the truth that has revolutionised my life and I’m not going to sell out
the bad news of the world.
WJ – The critical line in there is ‘the reason I sing’.
Andrew – The song says, ‘You ask the reason why I sing, it’s to be lesser
known than You my King…’ That for me is what it’s all about.
Every musician, every writer, every singer, in fact every person hits
point somewhere along the line where you’ve actually got to surrender
gift and your ability to God. For me, I hit it over and over again
I have this great love for music and so it rises up in me again.
So God if you want me to do something completely different tomorrow,
am I
prepared to do that?
Maybe there’s a greater something you want me to do that will affect
lives and will have a greater impact on the world other than music.
are you prepared to do that?
So I try and have that point in my life every day so that it’s not
such a
big thing if I strike it in a year or two’s time and I’ve got this out
perspective again.
When I first came to Christ, I saw very little point in the songs I
hearing in church as they were really average from a musical point of
being performed badly in the church that I went to.
I was playing five nights a week in one of the best piano/bar
in the country and I walked into a church where it wasn’t anything like
that. So for me, I’ve just been on this incredible journey of
what it is to be a worshipper of God. The reason why worship is so
important to me, whether I feel like it or not, is so I’m lesser known
my king. I’m singing His story rather than singing my story so that He
honored. I want everything I do to honor Him.
For me to actually write that in one song means that it covers every
bit of music I do.
Everything I do I want to be honoring of him. Everything I do revolves
around the line I wrote in that particular song.
WJ – That position is almost a prerequisite for Holy the next song.
Andrew – Holy is that place of total abandonment. His ways are not our
The way He is, is not the way we are.
We have been made holy by the blood of Jesus, and that is one of the
phenomenal truths to get a hold of in our lives and to be able to stand
sing everything else just diminishes in the majesty and magnificence of
holy and pure God.
WJ – Praise Him is such a majestic song.
Esther – The lyrics say ‘praise him, praise him,’ and I think it’s the
that line ‘everlasting king’ rises that something rises inside of me
I’m singing that song.
It’s such a powerful lyric and we’ve seen an incredible impact in our
church and in our lives with that song. It’s a very majestic song I
you’d say.
Andrew – I should talk a little about its origin. Joseph Haydn wrote the
Emperor Quartet and while I’ve completely butchered the original melody
changed the harmony, that’s where it stems from.
One day I was just playing through a kind of prayer time in church and
just started playing it. I remember thinking this is actually a hymn
but I
couldn’t remember how it goes so I completely reworked the harmony.
I played it over a few times and then we were actually approaching the
time to record the previous Prayerworks album Breathe, I remember
at the way it was just falling off my fingers, this could be awesome.
So I remember taking it to the guys when we were doing Breathe and
this could really work. We threw some things at the front of it and
awesome on the Prayerworks album too.
Esther – It’s such a great song because it’s got that sound, that old
sound to it and it’s just so majestic but it’s also got the great feel
it’s such a powerful song.
WJ – As we’ve discussed, the album contains some complex arrangements,
finishes with a really simple song that comes down to piano and vocal.
Andrew – Roma and I wrote the song My House to Yours and I think it
symbolises who we are.
The great thing about this song is that it can actually mean something
different to a whole bunch of different people but it is essentially
talking about a sense of hospitality.
The song is from the perspective of God’s house to our house and that
looking at us and how much he enjoys us. It’s about relationship, the
and the joy that being a worshipper of God brings.

house2house band


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