“We feel that the audience is part of the band when we play live,” 24-year-old vocalist Darin Keim insists. “We think our fans are great, they’re loyal, and they’re passionate—It’s just one of those things where they relate to the things we talk about as much as we do, so they feel about it the same way that we do. It’s awesome singing something, and the fans are louder than I am—I can tell they mean it, and that’s a very rewarding thing.”
Staple was founded about three years ago when Keim left home in Michigan to attend Rosedale Bible College in Ohio, where he met guitarist Brian Miller and drummer Grant Beachy.
“We all liked the area,” Keim enthuses, “and we had fun hanging out together, so we thought, if we ever get back there again, we should work together musically. I’d been in a band in high school but was very na? about what I needed to do. Because Brian and Grant and I had jammed a little while when we were at college, we moved back that fall and then the following spring, in 2000, it all got rolling.”
All in their early 20s, the four members of Staple live together in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, halfway between Columbus and Dayton. “It’s been really good for us because we’ve played both cities and built up followings in each of them,” Keim says gratefully.
“We all live in an old hotel that this friend of ours is renovating,” Keim explains, “and he gave us an apartment for really cheap. So we’re all living there, and we’ve got a practice space up on the third level. It’s really convenient, so we can all go practice whenever we feel like it, and save a lot of money that way.”
Staple’s debut intensely and eloquently delivers on their emotionally profound and community-building live shows, their songs clearly demonstrating how they daily and prayerfully turn their revolutionary rock art into life.
“Basically, every action that we take, everything that we do, is through the mindset that we are believers,” Keim admits. “The guidelines that are set up in the Bible, we just make those real in our lives, and it goes to the deepest level of your living, through those principles. When those lyrics come out, with those things talked about, they’ll realize we’re real people who believe these things.”
The album opens with the first single, “Dictatorship Vs. Democracy,” a ferocious call-to-arms for believers to realize that even while there is evil in this world, they should serve God because “we genuinely want to, because we know that He’s the best option,” Keim says.
The fourth track, “The Songwriter,” is a powerful reminder for artists with faith to continue following Christ first in their hearts.
“It’s a personal struggle, absolutely,” Keim confesses. “And it is for me, as when I wrote it, I was looking around and seeing a lot of bands that we’ve associated with, that started off with ‘God is our first love,’ and through the grind of touring and everything, they sort of lost that spark. That’s something that I don’t ever want to lose, and that song was addressing that to all of those bands but it was also addressed to myself, as accountability, like putting it in writing: ‘This is where I stand and I don’t want to lose it.’
“‘Impressionable’ is an important song to me as well,” Keim continues, “because we all deal with wanting to serve God with our whole hearts, but then we get caught up in ourselves.” The lyrics of ‘Impressionable’ show how sharp a lyricist Keim is, adroitly balancing compelling imagery with radical statement: “But the song ends, and so plays the all too familiar last note / Leading so gracefully into the song that only I wrote.”
Carried over from their independent EP release, the crushing protest song “Deathtrap Daisy,” “is something we can all be passionate about,” Keim says. “I wrote it as honestly as I feel. Impurity of thoughts and mind, the attack of pornography on society—that’s a topic that the Christian community won’t often directly address. It’s something that’s pretty much a struggle for almost everyone. I wrote that when was I in a state of feeling that myself.”
Citing influences both diverse and revealing, including a love for Living Sacrifice, Project 86, and Stavesacre, Keim is aware how original Staple actually sounds, especially in the fluid interchange between the aggressive music and the steady, dramatic strength of his vocals.
Although the words of Staple’s songs are of central importance to the band, Keim crafts them out of the organic process of writing on guitars with Miller. “I make lyrics that compliment the music,” Keim says. “The way I sing, I have to know how to put every syllable into my delivery, so my lyric writing is confined to how I want my delivery to sound.” This explains how Keim’s assured vocals work much better with the songs than many other bands of similar styles.
Fans of fellow Flicker Records bands Kids In The Way and Mortal Treason will be happy to know that Staple had their producer Nathan Dantzler co-produce the debut with Sam Shifley.
Keim assures us that Staple have no desire to change their audience-loving work ethic any time soon. “We’re going to be touring with Disciple in the spring,” he says, “and then hitting the festivals this summer, and we’re also working out a tour with Spoken for a couple of weeks then. We’ll have something cool going this fall, too.”