I’ve mixed front of house sound for some incredible worship leaders and talented bands over the past decade. Working at Holy Trinity Brompton has also given me a front row seat for when those inevitable hiccups, blunders and miscommunications happen - as they do in any church (some might remember the time Martin Smith accidentally set off the drum machine on his keyboard).
Watching some of these mishaps, gave me the idea for 'Shred Ministries'.
I love to make others laugh and encourage people not to take themselves too seriously; I saw an opportunity to use my ear for music and my production skills to emulate wonderful worship songs, but poke a bit of fun at them.
A ‘shred’ is a parody of a song; where you take the video, mute all the audio and then reproduce all the sound. I usually copy it very closely at the beginning, playing all the instruments myself, and adding in the vocals. Then I gradually introduce a few ‘mistakes’, which occur more frequently as the song progresses until, ultimately, the whole thing is ridiculously out of tune or off time.
The first song I thought I’d have a go at, was 'Set Apart' by Worship Central.
Given that I know all the guys involved, I considered that because they're a lot of fun, they'd appreciate the humour and effort involved! That said, I still kept my identity a secret at that time (just in case!). Fortunately, they loved it and even shared it on their page. After a couple more shreds I plucked up the courage to put myself in a video. You might be able to spot me below in my version of 'Lion and The Lamb'
Generally the response has been fantastic. I’ve had a few “overzealous” reactions and one or two videos were blocked, but released on appeal. On the whole it’s been great fun!
Most people understand that I really admire the songs I shred. I have a strong faith and always emphasise my respect for the song, the band and the message of the original. I’m glad people can see the amusing side – it is just about giving joy and making people smile when they stumble across my videos.
Hillsong United actually shared a video of them all watching my shred of 'Touch The Sky' in Bali while in production for their recent album Wonder. They were all laughing and having a great time, which was nice to see.
Ultimately I just want people to laugh more. Some won't approve of what I do, but the songs I shred are songs I love, and my shreds are ultimately a tribute to the writing of the original song.