Building 429 constructing lives through music

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Build­ing 429 will be in the Den­ver metro area Fri­day at Cross­roads Church of Den­ver as one of the head­lin­ers for the Promise Remains Tour. Also appear­ing are Todd Agnew, and new­com­ers Kim­ber Ris­ing. Tick­ets are free as part of K-Love’s lis­ten­er appre­ci­a­tion event. Pho­to spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

Build­ing is not a noun it’s a verb.” That’s how Jason Roy describes his band’s moniker, Build­ing 429, along with how and why the mem­bers arrived at the name.

We had 2.5 pages of names down on paper and couldn’t come up with any­thing,” Roy said. “My wife walked in and said, ‘You should do some­thing with Eph­esians 4:29.’ And it was like it hit me right between the eyes.”

Eph 4:29: Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is use­ful for build­ing oth­ers up, as there is a need, so that your words may encour­age those who hear.

Encour­age those who hear, wow,” Roy explained. “It made me real­ize that I need­ed to change my ‘trash-talk­ing on the bas­ket­ball court men­tal­i­ty.’ There is more to life … to encour­age oth­ers.”

Roy and Build­ing 429 will be encour­ag­ing oth­ers in the Den­ver metro area Fri­day at Cross­roads Church of Den­ver as one of the head­lin­ers for the Promise Remains Tour. Also appear­ing are Todd Agnew, and new­com­ers Kim­ber Ris­ing. Tick­ets are free as part of K-Love’s lis­ten­er appre­ci­a­tion event. 

But it was that trash-talk­ing sports men­tal­i­ty that ran through Roy’s veins that now gives the Chris­tian music singer/songwriter per­spec­tive. His ear­ly out­look on life gave way to “dumb deci­sions that messed up” his shot at an NCAA Divi­sion I bas­ket­ball schol­ar­ship.

Bas­ket­ball was my whole life,” Roy said. “It was No. 1 — before fam­i­ly, before friends, before God. I was not a nice per­son. I would do any­thing to win. It didn’t mat­ter if I had to hurt some­one if they were in the way. And it spilled over into my life. 

It was about that lifestyle and the cir­cle I was run­ning with. It was pop­u­lar­i­ty and arro­gance, and I would get into sit­u­a­tions that were not healthy. I was going to church on Sun­days but what was I doing Fri­day and Sat­ur­day?

God showed me that you have to lose what you love the most to find the thing that you need the most. I learned that there was more to life than bas­ket­ball, that I had to devote my life to some­thing oth­er than myself.”

That some­thing else turned out to be music. Roy grew up lis­ten­ing to clas­sic rock – Led Zep­pelin, Guns ‘N’ Ros­es, Sev­en­dust, Metal­li­ca, Boston, Kansas – with his inter­ests evolv­ing “far and wide. Right now I’m flip­ping out over some of the new hip-hop stuff that is out there.” (When we spoke Roy and his band­mates were on a bus head­ing to Atlanta for a U2 con­cert.)

But it wasn’t until Roy saw Third Day in con­cert when he real­ized he could make a go at a music career. 

I didn’t think that I had what it took to make it in this indus­try,” Roy said. “But then I saw Third Day in con­cert and Mac (Pow­ell) has a sim­i­lar voice. It was the first time I saw some­one with the same voice in a rock band. That set it off, trig­gered it. And I’ve been doing it ever since.”

That was 7.5 years ago, and when Roy start­ed his music endeav­or he did not envi­sion a life as a Chris­tian artist. 

I wrote songs about pain,” he said. “And the truth that my moth­er tried to instill in me when I was younger just crept into the songs. Before I real­ized it, I was writ­ing Chris­tian songs and play­ing 150 shows a year. Songs about — I need help, help me get some answers. I guess that’s my walk of faith, play­ing out in songs.

I grew up in the church but I ran from it. God came into my life in abun­dance not only in my faith but my abil­i­ty to write songs. God has seen me through some tough times. And now when I look back at what He has done, I can see He has had a hand on me for a long time.”

Roy, who grew up in Wil­im­ing­ton, N.C., would tempt fate as a teenager at every bend and turn of his young life. 

When­ev­er there was a hur­ri­cane I could be out there swim­ming in the ocean,” he said. “Or I would take the boat out. I did some stu­pid things when I was young. Then when I would dock the boat there would be the­se 10 to 15 sec­onds when I would real­ize that I could have died. ‘Oh my, what is wrong with me?’ How close did I come to miss­ing it all? God has had his hand on me a long time and He’s blessed with a won­der­ful wife and two chil­dren. God sent some­one into my life to pull me out of dis­as­ter, and that is my wife, Cort­ni.”

Build­ing 429’s new CD, a self-title disc on INO Records, con­tains “Always,” a look a life in its rawest form.

Life is like that song,” Roy said. “Not every­thing in life goes right; some­times it does not make sense. And as a Chris­tian artist, it’s OK to write songs that say, ‘I don’t get it, but I know who does.’ … I just try to stay truth­ful and hon­est.”

From its hum­ble begin­nings, play­ing 200-plus shows a year in small venues, life has tak­en Build­ing 429 all over the world play­ing with some of Chris­tian music industry’s stal­warts and spread­ing the good news, but it’s life in Ten­nessee that means the most to Roy. 

Peo­ple say, ‘You have the great­est job, you get to go all over the world and play music,’ but one of the great­est things is to go home and I get to be a hus­band and a dad and watch my son play soc­cer,” Roy said. “It’s that men­tal­i­ty that is our min­istry and what we want to bring to the world. It’s what we are here to do.” 

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