For the second year I was blessed to play guitar for my church's annual high school ministry summer camp. This is easily one of the best weeks of the year. 300 students and 60+ leaders come together for a week where we grow together in God's word, worship together, and destroy one another during our crazy rec games. This year we had a very different worship team, with only 3 of us returning from last years band. So I wanted to take a quick moment and share with you some of my highlights from camp, because it was awesome and I want you all to see what a great week we had in Murietta Springs.
Tales of Apollo is my latest music project. My goal is to release an EP later this year/early next year starting this month with the single “You Don’t Feel the Same”. Before its release, I wanted to take a moment to explain the idea behind Tales of Apollo. I’ve been asked if the name/project is inspired by the Greek god Apollo, the god of the sun, light, music and prophecy. The answer is ... well ...no. The name has a very complex and profound beginning. I thought it sounded cool. See …. I told you it was profound. However, even though the name was random, I have a special bond with it. I’ve always been fascinated by space. I love watching movies like Apollo 13, Interstellar, the Martian. We as a society are fascinated by the seemingly endless possibilities space can offer. We look at the stars and wonder what could be out there. It brings up questions about life beyond this earth, whether a higher being is out there, etc. However for me, when I look at the stars, I think of people. I like to think each star, planet, etc is a reflection of an individual here. I think we spend too much time looking up at space, wishing our lives were as unique and fascinating as the stars in the sky. In my opinion, our lives absolutely are as unique and fascinating. I think we have just lost sight of life’s true value. We are truly blessed just to wake up each and every day. We are blessed just to take our next breath. Too many times, we get lost in our daily routines that we miss out on experiencing the beauty of life. Yes we have ups and downs, and sometimes our lives can feel like an all out rollercoaster. Personally, I think that’s the beauty of it. We all have a different story to tell. We’ve all experienced different twists and turns that I think need to be shared. The goal of Tales of Apollo is to tell those stories. I have partnered with different artists, producers, musicians and songwriters to be featured on this EP. Some are friends that I’ve met in my time here in LA, and others will be strangers that I’m meeting for the first time. Either way, my goal is that each individual will help bring these stories to life. We all have stories to share, and I think it is powerful to hear them. The highs, lows, and everywhere in between. I hope you will join us for the ride.
- Travis Boothman
Make a new best friend …. with the sound guy
One thing I have observed at churches is there is a lot of division between the stage and the booth. Let’s face it. Sometimes musicians and sound guys can be tough to work with. However the reality is that we all are trying to serve in the church, and create the best possible worship experience. A simple way to improve worship in the church is to improve these relationships. Over the last couple of years I have noticed that some of my closest friends have been sound guys. These relationships have given me a much greater understanding of the ups & downs of audio in that church. It has also opened up a consistent line of communication for improving guitar tone in the mix. I try to ask the sound guys every week how my guitar sounds and if there is anything I can do on my end to help. When they see something can be improved it allows me to adjust to the overall sound rather than just my own personal preference. A very important part of this is to actually MAKE THOSE CHANGES! Don’t just listen to their opinion and then completely ignore it. Sometimes its as simple as messing with the EQ on my amps/pedals or even playing certain parts an octave higher or lower. Either way these simple questions have shown the sound guys that I care about how my tone affects the overall mix, and that goes a long way
Listen …. a lot
One of the best classes I took in college was Critical Listening. This class was designed primarily to listen and identify frequencies. Listening to white noise over and over again was very redundant but it is one of the most beneficial classes I ever took. The goal of the class was by the end to be able to identify frequencies and how they affect different sounds. This class allowed me to understand where my guitar needs to lie in the mix and how to quickly improve my tone. I have seen on too many occasions people who know what sounds good but don’t know how to get there. Today I have a much better understanding of what I am listening to and if I need to adjust on the fly I can make educated decisions rather than going by trial and error. This also helps me in communicating with the sound guy. Instead of just telling the sound guy mixing monitors my guitar sounds muddy and hoping he can read my mind and guess what I want, I can ask him to pull down 400hz 2 db in my monitor. Quick educated decisions are always better than trial and error.
Be a team player
I wish I didn’t have to write this one since it is so blatantly obvious but be a team player. Understand that we want to bring the best possible worship experience and sometimes that means laying down your pride, tone, style, or parts that you worked hard on. I had many times that I was playing at church and the other guitarist was completely stepping on my parts. I played with a blues player once who is very used to playing at all times and riffing throughout the song. If I played the lead parts I normally do it would mean 2 lead parts happening at times and no rhythm. So instead, I switched up playing all the parts I practiced, and I switched over to rhythm when the song needed it. Too many times we think the best sound is the most complicated sound. Worship music is very very simple, and that means the best thing for the song could be not playing at all or just strumming a simple chord every bar. Be humble and play what is best for the song not what is best for you and your style. I can tell you that I am not a “shredder”. I am not gonna go up there and blow your mind by my licks like Mateus Asato but I can tell you that I will play something that enhances the song. Maybe it’s doing swells, playing a basic arpeggio, or cranking my distortion pedal to 11. Be a team player. It goes a long way not only musically but also relationally when others see your desire to work as a group rather than just playing what you think sounds coolest.
This summer has truly been a blessing, and here are a couple reasons why!
Calvary Young Adults
For those of you that don't know I began attending Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village in March. It is a large church that honestly I never really considered because I thought it would be tough to get involved. Well .... I guess I was wrong since I got plugged in pretty quickly. Throughout my time there, the most exciting part for me has been the young adults ministry. When I began attending in March the young adults averaged around 100-125 people, and going back to September they were averaging around 20 people. The last couple weeks we had over 220 people! It's been crazy to see how God is using that ministry and to see people from so many different churches attending. Over these last couple of months I have consistently been playing guitar for young adults and I am loving it. The musicians in the worship band are killer! It has been an eye opening experience, being in LA, to see and play with so many talented musicians. It has definitely challenged me in my guitar playing and in my understanding of music/worship. Looking forward to seeing what's next for CYA!
High School Ministry Camp
My church hosted our yearly high school ministry camp this past week. I was asked to play guitar for the worship team at camp and due to my work schedule it didn't look like I would be able to participate. However lucky for me I was able to drive 2 hours directly from work to Murrieta Springs each day and get there in time for rehearsal/chapel, and man it was worth it. That week was one of my favorite worship experiences I have ever had. It was incredible to see the high school kids so excited and passionate in worship, and to see the impact God made in their lives during the week. At the end of the week the kids shared the victories they personally had in Christ, and it was amazing to see the kids give up their struggles to God. For me one of the best parts of the week was the fellowship I had with my bandmates. Not only were my bandmates killer musicians but they are also strong believers and awesome friends. We had some incredible worship sets including midnight worship, where we spent 1.5 hours going all out in worship. Everyone on and off the stage were having a blast, and I found myself breathing mighty heavily after several songs. Kids continued talking about midnight worship later in the week and just how much they enjoyed that night. So all in all it was a pretty incredible week at camp, and I was truly blessed to be a part of that team witnessing God do incredible things in lives including my own. Gear wise for any wondering I ran my Kemper AC15HW MK2 profile mono in/stereo out for camp. Sounded killer!
Vacation Bible School "VBS"
Vacation Bible School. Always one of the most exhausting and rewarding weeks of any church. I got the privilege of playing guitar and for the first time experiencing VBS in a very large church. Our theme was space entitled Enterprize, and we had over 600 kids attend each day! The kids were always bringing the energy and it was great for us as a band to be a lot more outgoing than we would normally be on a Sunday morning service. During the week we made it work that I could go wireless for the 2nd half of the week! So during "Endless Praise" I got to go out to the front of the stage with the kids and "shred". I know when I was a kid I loved when the musicians came down from the stage, so I tried to get down to the kids' level, gave some high fives and even took a selfie during one of the sets lol. I was also very excited because I got to run stereo for the first time at the church using my Vox AC15 Handwired and my Kemper Profiler using a Fender 62' Deluxe Reverb profile. It sounded great! Now I am running stereo consistently at the church and might even be trying out a Wet/Dry/Wet rig soon. But anyways, VBS was a fun week of worship and gave me time to develop some great relationships throughout the week! If you haven't been a part of a VBS, you need to do it.