Music Q&A: Jim Wilkerson of Day 40
This week, The News-Gazette's Paul Wood chats with Jim Wilkerson, 38, of Decatur, whose Christian band is Day 40. Members are Wilkerson (vocals, rhythm guitar); Fred Saurmann (bass guitar, vocals, keys); Brandon Coventry (lead guitar); and Zech Miller (drums), who joined the band about a month ago, when the past drummer moved on to different things.
Q: What is your latest project?
A: Our upcoming EP, titled "Enemies," will be released Sept. 29 at our EP Release Show at the Mount Zion Convention Center. This EP was produced, mixed and mastered by Matt Odmark of the Jars of Clay, at Gray Matters Studio in Nashville. Over the course of eight to 10 months, Odmark agreed to work with us.
The title track, "Enemies," was recorded in January 2013, and the remaining three tracks were recorded in June. To raise money for the project, we conducted a Kickstarter campaign and were successful in getting the funds necessary for the trip.
Q: Tell me about your next performance.
A: On Sept. 29, the Day 40 EP Release Show at the Mount Zion Convention Center. Doors open at 6 p.m.; show starts at 6:30. Also performing will be Nashville artists Annie Kennedy (country) and Nathan Stiteler & Friends (folk/alternative). Tickets are $7, and each ticket gets you a copy of the EP. Children under 9 are free.
Q: How did you first grow interested in music? Does your family have a musical history?
A: I first got into music by playing the trumpet at the age of 11. It wasn't until I was 21 (1996) when I first dabbled with singing karaoke at home with a small machine my parents had purchased just for fun.
After singing "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton, they were a bit shocked and said I had a great voice, so I decided to keep practicing. My future wife, Stephanie, introduced me to Christian music, specifically, the band Jars of Clay.
Q: Which bands did you like when you were a teenager? Which bands now? Who has influenced you the most?
A: The group as a whole is interested in a wide variety of music, which does have an impact on the songwriting. Some of the artists include Jars of Clay, Leeland, Matt Redman, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Muse and Radiohead.
Although I do the majority of the songwriting, the entire band has an impact in the final result. It's neat to see how a song can progress during rehearsals. It's like getting to watch your baby be born — you're excited .... a bit nervous ... and then, voila, you know when it's born.
Many of the themes we write on are about struggle, challenges, hard times. But the hope that always remains underneath, besides, and above it all, God, the hope and faith that God is working in and through the tough times and that he has a reason for it.
That's really where our name, Day 40, came from. In the Bible there are several instances where people are tested — whether it is for 40 days or 40 years — this road can be tough, but there is an end to the struggle, and God is with us until the 40th day when we rejoice and our faith is made stronger because of it. We have a sincere heart for the lost, as well as the beginning Christian whose faith is still young and vulnerable.
Many people have told us that Day 40's music is just as good as anything on local Christian radio. In the most humble way we can put this, we agree. However, the local Christian radio stations will not play anything from a band that isn't under a record contract. So we try to remind people to look outside of the radio station from time to time. You'll find great music — sometimes better music. There's a lot of great talent out there that just doesn't get the light of day.