Introducing the new All Above Me; A Chat with Guiller Contreras
All Above Me returned today with a new face, new voice, and a new song & video entitled Wrecking Ball. We had the chance to connect with founding band member Guiller Contreras to get to know him, the band and be introduced to their new face…
Hey Guiller, if you had to introduce yourself using only 5 words, what would they be?
I’m Guiller, Christian, Colombian-Canadian
Tell us a little bit about your testimony and how you became a Christian.
I was born and raised in a Christian home. After graduating high school I walked away from the church and didn’t have much to do with Jesus. One day I went to see a band play in concert called For Today. That night at the concert I heard the gospel preached in a way that I had never heard before through For Today. That was the day when I re-committed my life to serving Jesus through my gifts and talents and just a few years later I started All Above Me. We had amazing opportunities to do ministry but I really didn’t know what I was doing. Throughout the years my relationship with Jesus grew more and more until 2019 when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Since that day my life and the ministry changed forever for the better.
When did you know you were called to be a musician?
I started playing drums at the age of four. Music is the one passion I’ve had since that age and all I’ve ever wanted to do with my life. Now that I am in my 30s God has put a passion and desire in my life to preach the gospel and if I can combine both passions, I am in my happy place.
How did All Above Me start? And what is the band’s mission?
Like every band, we started in my basement with a few friends. I am the only original member. The original lineup just did one show for fun at a bar in 2015. Our drummer Tim joined in late 2015 along with our 5 year vocalist and God took us all over the world for the next few years. 2020 was the last year with the last vocalist and we are beyond excited to have Kar join us as our new vocalist. No matter what the band lineup has been, the mission has always remained the same. We use our edgy music and show to bring unsaved people to Jesus. Our goal is to get people who would not normally step foot inside a church to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How did Covid affect you as a band? And has the short break away from music reinvigorated you all?
We are a band who comes from heavy touring therefore Covid stopped everything we were doing by 100%. While we did continue doing a few things online, the good of our band comes through our live experience as we use our show to share our testimonies and preach the gospel. Personally I think it was a nice break that we all needed to spend time at home with our families and grow as musicians, entrepreneurs, and preachers of the gospel. But yes, we are itching to get back out and play shows. We cancelled 68 shows due to Covid, that we are hoping to get back out and make up for.
You’ve been teasing your return over recent weeks by saying “New voice. New Face. New music. Same mission.” So, drumroll…..who does the new voice & face belong to?
Yes the reveal has been a fun journey with our fans. The new face and voice of All Above Me belongs to Karalee, we call her Kar. We are not releasing her last name publicly just yet.
How did you meet Karalee and how did you know she was the right person to become the new face and voice of the band?
We are very grateful for the opportunity to have had so many talented girls audition as well as share interest in joining our band. While we were satisfied with our options, deep in my spirit I knew that God was telling me that we hadn’t found the one yet. Shortly after, the Holy Spirit gave me a dream where he revealed to me multiple important details of who our new singer was gonna be. I believe that he did that because if he hadn’t, I would have just walked right past her when I did have the opportunity to meet her. At first she was not at all what we expected God to bring us. But we trusted Him and it was the best decision we could have ever made. The more I get to know Kar, the more I realize that she was created to be in All Above Me.
What does Karalee bring to All Above Me? Has she changed how you approach creating your music?
Kar brings a whole new edge to everything we do. First of all, she has a very aggressive and powerful voice. This has inspired me to write songs that are vocally and lyrically more intense. She also has a drive to succeed in everything that she does that I’ve never seen in anyone else before. She is pushing us hard in marketing, songwriting, business and even fitness.
You said in a recent post on your Facebook page that the lyrical content of these new songs “is coming out of depths of my heart with open wounds from past sin and generational brokenness.” What was that process like? And was it difficult to write about those wounds or was it cathartic?
Throughout the last year my life was pretty slow which actually gave me a lot of time to grow spiritually and learn to live in true intimacy with Jesus. In doing this, I learned how broken I really was and how legalistic I was. Every All Above Me song that we have ever released has been either a worship song lyrically, or a song about warfare against Satan. Most of the new songs that I have been writing are based on my personal discovery of the unhealthy lifestyle I was living and the damage that all my sin was causing me and others. I feel that putting my real life experiences in my songs is the same as repentance. To anyone who has come to a place of true repentance, you know that there is no better feeling.
Your return single is called Wrecking Ball and releases everywhere today. What’s the story behind this song?
I am very proud of the lyrics of wrecking ball. In the last year I allowed God to come into my life and tear me down, so that he could build me up again the right way on a strong foundation. My favourite lyrics in wrecking ball are “I’ll take the blame for building my house on the sand”.
What made Wrecking Ball the perfect song for Karalee’s debut and to introduce the new All Above Me to the world?
Some of the new songs that we have written sound quite a bit different than anything we’ve done before. Wrecking ball is a song that has the signature All Above Me sound. Since we were giving our fans a new voice and a new face, we thought we should give them a song with a sound that they are familiar with so that the change is not too drastic. Kar’s voice is so aggressive that it actually made this song a lot heavier than what we thought it was gonna be.
The Wrecking Ball music video sees you destroying a shed. I bet that was fun! Whose shed is that and was it as fun as it looks?
The shed that we destroyed in the music video represents our life, and we were tearing it down so that God could build it up again. That shed belongs to Kar as she lives on a farm. We did her a favour because she needed that shed gone. In just a few weeks we will be releasing a documentary of The Making of Wrecking Ball. We will go into lots of details on that. So much fun.
Wrecking Ball is definitely a strong debut for the new look All Above Me. Would you say it’s an accurate representation of what fans can expect from the band going forward?
Yes and no. Wrecking ball is our best written and sounding song. On that sense yes. We have never put as much effort into making a song sound this good, and so we set the bar high for ourselves and we will only go up from there. However we have also established ourselves as an international independent band. We don’t feel like we are a new band anymore and we make our own decisions, Therefore we are going to take more risks in the sound and songwriting going forward.
Speaking of which, what’s next for the band? Music and touring wise…
To be honest, I’m not too sure. We have a lot of work to do and a lot of options of what to do next. In Canada the Covid restrictions are still very bad. But for us to come and tour in the US and internationally it requires a lot of planning and visas to apply for. For that reason to get up and go tour is not as easy as it has been in the past. We definitely want to get out and tour but we are going to be patient and wise with God’s timing. In the meantime we have plenty of music to record and release.
And a couple of quick fire questions to get to know you better.
What’s your favorite pizza topping? And does pineapple belong on pizza?
Any topping with white garlic sauce will taste amazing. Pineapple belongs on pizza as long as it has white garlic sauce.
What’s your favorite Bible verse?
1 Corinthians 15:58 It says my dear friends, stand firm and don’t be shaken. Always keep busy working for the Lord. You know that everything you do for him is worthwhile.
This is my favourite verse because I’ve been doing ministry full-time for the last six years and sometimes it can be exhausting and feels like I’m not seeing results.
If you could select any song as a personal theme song that played every time you walked into a room, which song would you choose and why?
Fat Lip by Sum 41. Anybody who knows me, knows that that is my song. Mostly because that’s the song that got me into pop/punk/rock/skateboarding/bands/spiky hair etc.
What’s your favorite dad joke?
What genre of music do birthday balloons find scary?
Lastly, how can the JesusWired readers be praying for you and All Above Me over the coming months?
Against warfare. Anytime that we as a ministry are about to do something big for the Kingdom, we get hit with major spiritual warfare. We would appreciate prayers against anything that the enemy wants to harm us with.
We thank Guiller for taking the time to connect with us and we will certainly be praying for All ABove Me and hopefully you will too as you read this. Enjoy All Above Me’s new song via the music video below and read our review of it here. It releases digitally October 8th.