The finest hour of any generation arrives when it examines the ideas it has been taught, and challenges the norm, searching for the truth – whether that be questioning the politics behind a war, a social structure, or in loftier moments, a belief system. Music has always been at the forefront of delivering these challenges. Kainos is making it their mission to use their music to challenge the young people of their own generation, daring them to step outside their comfort zone, and step into the fire. They issue this challenge with their debut CD, Alive. The music is aggressive and loud, daring complacency and calling down the in- your-face rock previous generations took as their call to arms.
The “fire” Kainos refers to is the fire of Christianity – the unquenchable thirst to learn more about Jesus Christ and God, and the willingness to step outside tradition, and really seek the truth. Founding members Ben and Hannah Stacy want to help the disenfranchised youth of their generation become “kainos.” The word “kainos” is Greek for new – as in “a new creation,” taken from 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Kainos is a fusion of raw musical energy, diverse influences, youthful exuberance and spiritual passion for a radical and authentic faith that speaks to an audience emerging into adulthood.
“Our heart is to challenge this generation not to be bound to traditions set by the church or the world,” explains Ben Stacy, the 23-year-old lead guitar player and principal writer for the group. “We want to wake them up, tell them it’s great that they are going to church, but don’t sleepwalk through it. Don’t show up just because it’s what you’ve done all your life. Dig in there. Find out what it’s all about. Be a new creation.”
Ben and his 21-year-old wife Hannah are each from musical, as well as spiritual families. While Ben traveled the world with is missionary parents, Hannah spent her youth in a small town in Tennessee. Some might view her childhood as ideal – she sang at church, spent weekends performing the National Anthem at her high school’s football games and had parents who adored here. But like so many of her generation, Hannah’s parents divorced when she was a child.
“If I hadn’t had such a strong spiritual foundation, that period could have been a lot harder on me than it was,” Hannah says. “But my parents brought me up right – helping me learn about Christ from a very early age. My faith helped me through some really trying teenage years.”
Ben spent his youth in southern Brazil, where his parents brought the Word to the locals while he found solace on the soccer field, and playing guitar. But after moving to the Ukraine with his parents as a teen, Ben rebelled and found himself in some trouble – the kind of trouble that could have been very serous had he not had the kind of parents he did. Knowing they needed a change of scenery for their son, they moved to McMinnville, Tennessee.
“I really was into experimenting with all kinds of things, including drugs,” Ben explains. “I was questioning everything, but I wasn’t coming up with the right answers. Even after my family changed their lives around to try and straighten me out, I was rebelling. Then when I was at my lowest point, I experienced Christ’s love at the moment when I expected rejection. That experience changed my life and I gave myself completely to Christ.”
“We had a good bit in common,” Hannah says, “especially our love for music, and our desire to get others to start thinking about their own beliefs – to get to the core.”
“We have crazy influences,” Ben laughs. “I was into heavier rock bands and grunge movement. The Beatles were a huge influence. The Doors, Stone Temple Pilots. Hannah grew up admiring the big voices in pop oriented music. Then, she started listening to the harder rock stuff after diving into my CD collection. On paper, you might thing it’s a strange grouping of influence, but on record, it’s a great combination.”
Kainos was “discovered” by a man Robert De La Gaiza. A music guy who cut his teeth on the old A&M Studios lot in Los Angeles, De La Garza had just started a new record company in Monterrey, Mexico called Southern Signal Records. He happened to be in McMinnville for a relative’s high school graduation – where he heard Hannah sing. When he found out she was in a band, and that Ben was a writer, he sent them into the studio to demo few songs. Soon after, the group had a record deal.
“Robert totally got what we wanted to do with our music,” Hannah says. “He just turned us loose in this gorgeous, high tech recording facility in Monterrey, Mexico and let us create the kind of music we felt was needed to get our point across.”
With Hannah’s powerhouse voice and Ben’s extraordinary gifts as a writer and guitar player, the couple began to create music that spoke the urgent needs of their generation. The result is the group’s debut – Alive – a brash mixture of both message and music. “We aren’t apologetic for who we are and what we believe,” comments Ben. “Don’t be complacent. Don’t sign up for the status quo. Ask questions and seek answers. Move forward and find grace. We tried to put all of this in our music.”