Take 10 – Eric Bjorklund of Boiling Point on new single Ready, Set, No (Radio Edit)
Although Boiling Point listeners might come for the passionate vocals and memorable guitar hooks, the independent rock band’s emotional depth and unflinching honesty is what keeps crowds coming back. Last summer they released what they personally thought might be their last album Hope Lives Here but, as always, it seems God had other ideas for the band. The album’s since gone on to win an award, the first two singles have spent a combined 64 weeks on the CMW Rock chart, continued new opportunities come about from their association with their new record label Broadhead Music Group and the future suddenly looks bright for Boiling Point. I had another chance to talk to my friend and frontman Eric Bjorklund about that emotional pendulum swing and the band’s upcoming third single Ready, Set, No ft. Depoian (Radio Edit). So here’s the return of Take 10, 10 minutes to get to know the heart behind new projects and listen to a new song.
[JW] Hey Eric, since we last talked around the release of your Hope Lives Here album last year a lot has happened for you and Boiling Point, some heart breaking with the news of your friend Amara’s passing, and some exciting which we’ll get to in a second, how are you brother and how’s your 2022 going so far?
[EB] Goodness, Iain…glad we could start with a really easy question. 😀
A lot HAS happened to the band since we last talked, which I believe was last summer! I am sure we will get to all the developments, but the band basically went from a state of what felt like, impending death and doom, to resurrection in just about every way possible.
Honestly, thinking about it now, I am kind of surprised we are still here because we had been grinding it out for so long and I wasn’t really sure what was coming next, if anything. The Hope Lives Here project was basically part of a 4 or 5 year plan that involved creating the Take Courage EP, filming and editing the Hope Lives Here YouTube mini-series, and creating the songs that would become much of the soundtrack for the mini-series. After it was finished, I didn’t really know what was next. It felt like a very natural thing to move into considering the possibility that God might be calling us out of the band. Basically, that started a very intentional process of listening and trying to pay attention to the ways that I felt the Spirit was moving and respond as well as I could. If God was calling us to be done, then I was ok with that and chose to be grateful for all the people we had met along the journey. If we were to continue, then that would be fine too. I will admit to asking God to help me understand the path and make it as obvious as possible for a guy who took a lot of shots to the head playing college football. 😀
The highs from last year are:
1) Signing with Broadhead Music Group, 2) Getting to play some amazing festivals while meeting a lot of really wonderful people, 3) Spending basically the entire year of 2021 on the CMW Rock Charts, 4) Having our first #1 song be a Christmas tune that beat out the likes of Chris Tomlin, Cain, for King & Country, among others, on the CMW Christmas Chart, & 5) Taking home the We Love Christian Music AwardsAmp Award given for the Best Alt/Rock Album of 2021.
As you mentioned, 2021 also had some really hard times… namely the passing of a 23 year old Sierra Leonean friend named Amara. Much of my December 2021 trip to Sierra Leone was spent in a hospital room with my friend trying to offer him comfort, company, care, reassurance, and love. It was extremely hard because I knew that my friend was likely going to die. It was a frustrating experience because if he had been born in the US, or many other countries, he would have had access to better medicine and treatment options. Instead, this once strong and beautiful kid withered away in incredible pain and there wasn’t anything anyone could do. That December was a time of professional highs and personal hell. I learned a lot about myself, love, care, and the things I would be willing to give up if things could just be different for people who seem to be living at such an unfair disadvantage. Death, and journeying through the process of dying, provides incredible and horrible perspective.
[JW] Boiling Point has always had an impact with its music, but maybe not so much on the professional side of things. However since we last talked you’ve started to really make an impact on that side of things, winning The Amp Award for Rock/Alternative Album of the Year in the latest We Love Christian Music Awards and having charting success with your last 2 singles Hope Lives Here & Monuments spending a combined 64 consecutive weeks on the CMW Rock Chart. What does it feel like to have some recognition for all your efforts over the years?
[EB] Honestly, I can’t believe it. As I sit here, it doesn’t seem real and there are times I don’t know what to do with all of that. I woke up Tuesday to the news that Monuments had gone 40 weeks on the charts. 40 WEEKS! What?!? When we recorded that song in January of 2021, I thought that might be the last song I’d ever sing in the studio. To go from that feeling, to the reality that it has been 40 weeks straight on the charts is just about as far as the emotional pendulum can swing from one end to another — I am just so grateful.
[JW] As you’ve just mentioned, you’ve previously shared with us how you wondered whether Monuments would be the last track you’d ever write for Boiling Point. Now you’ve had that professional success, new opportunities continue to come your way with Broadhead Music Group, and Monuments itself peaked at No.2 on the CMW Rock Chart, how are you feeling about the future of Boiling Point now? And what does that future look like?
[EB] I feel pretty optimistic. The band is better than it has ever been. Not only from a creative standpoint, but also a performance standpoint. Whenever we play a show, I just take a moment to look around at the guys and take a deep sigh of relief because I know they are all so good at what they do and will bring their best in every way possible.
As far as the future, I have always had inklings about what could be the “next” thing, but now those ideas are starting to be worked out and it is all a little surreal. For most bands, things like finances are a very real obstacle to plans being executed, so I am praying and just believing that if God is calling us to do something, then the Spirit will be working things out in ways that we don’t even know about. That was true about the Hope Lives Here project and I trust it will be true as we move forward.
[JW] Your new single out today is the new radio version of Ready, Set, No featuring Depoian off your Hope Lives Here album. Why have you chosen to release this song as your next single? And what have you had to do to it to get it “radio ready”?
[EB] After my experience in Sierra Leone with Amara this past December, I felt like it HAD to be the next single. I was very much moved during that time to want to ask harder questions of people. And, I guess, not just of people, but of their faith. I believe that in the face of adversity, or by asking hard questions, a person’s faith can really blossom in unexpected ways. Challenging questions can move us to do things we never thought possible, or never imagined ourselves doing. Too often, I feel we settle for easy answers in light of difficult or uncomfortable situations. It is time to ask difficult questions and expect our faith to respond with big responses.
To get the song ready for radio we basically beefed it up a little. I think the easiest way to say it is that we turned the guitars up and added some extra guitar parts and some other elements.
[JW]What was the inspiration behind the song?
[EB] That is a good question. How the song found its way onto the record is an interesting story, as well.
I had actually been planning a collaboration with another artist. Sadly, he had to back out due to some things that were happening behind the scenes with his music career. I still hope to do that collaboration, but I guess we will see how things go.
Anyway, this all happened during that time I mentioned earlier of trying to be more intentional of listening to/for the Spirit. In one of those intentional moments, a friend came to mind and I called him immediately. We had not talked in quite a while and when he picked up the phone, he told me he had just been thinking of calling me because he had a song he was working on that he thought could be a good tune for us. It was all really odd, in the most God way possible. Long story short, he and I reworked the song and finished it up together.
The song was pretty different when we started the rewrite. He had something in mind, but it wasn’t really going to work with the concept of the whole Hope Lives Here project. We shifted gears and scenarios and wrote it in a different way. In my mind, as I was writing, the song became about imagining this woman from Sierra Leone who was just never able to catch a break. Something good would be on the horizon and, due to whatever factor, that opportunity would be taken from her – snatched by a thief named life.
[JW] Ready Set No is one of the songs which sticks with me every time I listen to the album, the questions asked within it keep niggling away at me as I go about my day. It’s not a song that’s wrapped up in a tidy bow like most other radio songs in our sphere, it’s a song that asks good questions rather than offer simple answers; how do you expect the single to be received? And what kind of impact on the listener do you hope it will have?
[EB] Truthfully, this is a song that scares me a little to release to radio because I DON’T know how it will be received. As you mentioned, it isn’t wrapped up in 3.5 minutes with a cute bow. I often talk or think about this song as not being an American sit-com. It isn’t wrapped up in 30 minutes with a good hug and cry. But when has life ever been like that?
To me, this song is about access. Who has it, who doesn’t, and why? Access to education. Access to healthcare. Access to consistent meals and food resources. Access to clean water. Access to opportunity. Access to dreaming. Things many of us take for granted and will never have to think about unless challenged to do so.
To pull metaphorical punches would have sold the song short. Furthermore, to “solve the problem” would have robbed people the opportunity to ask themselves what they can do to be part of the solution.
I hope the song sows seeds that take root and grow into plants of inescapable ideas of possibility.
10 years ago, I could have never imagined doing mission work in Sierra Leone, Africa. But God put me on a collision course with this work and now I can’t possibly imagine myself not being active in this way.
[JW] How can our readers be praying for you over the coming months?
[EB] Pray for continued clarity. Pray for our families as we head into the festival season and need to travel. Pray for our vehicle! Pray for resources to do the work. Pray that we might have a chance to share our hearts with as many people as humanly possible. Pray that we always feel grateful for every single day we get to do this regardless of how hard it can be at times.
[JW] Thanks for talking to us today Eric. We’ll certainly be praying for that and we’ll be praying Ready Set No challenges listeners and stirs their faith into action.
[EB] Thank you! And thanks for having us!
Check out the lyric video for the new single Ready, Set, No feat. Depoian (Radio Edit) below, and the music videos for the first two singles Hope Lives Here and Monuments along with the Hope Lives Here mini series. Get plugged into their socials to stay wired in to their latest updates.
Keep an eye out for tons of Take 10 and Take 5 interviews coming soon too…