Story of Hope with Darren Mulligan of We Are Messengers
Just over a month ago, World Records recording artist We Are Messengers released their debut album. After a recent whirlwind tour with WinterJam, the timing could not be better. I had the opportunity to chat with frontman, lead singer Darren Mulligan shortly after a recent show he performed in my town.
Personally, I have been listening to We Are Messengers new album since picking up a copy at WinterJam when the tour came through in January. I have been a fan of their music since being first introduced to them last August when they opened up for Chris August. That was the first time I had spoken with Darren briefly and knew if the opportunity arose I wanted to have him on my site to share his heart.
Charles (C): So Darren, tell me a little bit about the WinterJam tour, how was the experience for you guys?
Darren (D): It was fantastic, it really was, it was like family. I remember the last day was like the last day of high school or something. Grown men were hugging each other. It was wonderful being able to reach out to literally a million people over a three-month period. I definitely think we need to get back to doing our own shows. You have more time and freedom to move really where God is guiding you and challenge people when they need challenging. To stay and be with people.
C: I may be a little ahead on this as I am already looking forward to your next album, although this one just came out. I had read you had written over a hundred songs before you brought it down to fourteen, so I know you have plenty of songs. Can you share a little about them?
D: I have written over 100 songs about 130 actually, all full demos. I believe in honest hard work I wrote every day for ten months writing these songs. The fourteen are the most cohesive songs as far as message and sonically. Some of the songs have been used by others artist and movies. So they are all slowly getting used up.
C: Can you tell me about sharing your testimony, as you said you share it differently?
D: I share it differently than I used to, it is still important, just different. I used to share the full depth of it, but it is not like that is the only thing God has for me to say. But it is important we only overcome the enemy by our testimony and the blood of the lamb. The more you walk with God, the more you learn what your testimony means.
C: So tell me a little about Nashville, in comparison to Ireland? I have been to both places, many years apart mind you. Besides Ireland not having the hipsters of course.
D: We have lived in Nashville for three years, how does Nashville compare, not sure we even have hipsters in Ireland (laughs a bit). Americans are the kindest and generous people with their time with their support and giving. Literally wanting you to do well and go out of their way to help you. Something very homely about Nashville, very warm and hospitable people. Especially in the south, even the north too much different. Even if it costs them or not, they want to help you. There is something warm and hospitable about Tennessee, Alabama and states like that.
C: Many people might not know that you used to be in a hard rock band years before We Are Messengers, can you share a little about that?
D: Yeah, I was in a heavy rock with two brothers and a few other people. We came to America in 2003 on a rock label. God used me being away to minister to Heidi; I was a hindrance to Heidi back then. I caused the most pain to the most people in my life. People in America tried to reach me with the gospel. I remember the conversations where they spoke with me about the Lord. I was so fractured and twisted back then. It reminds me every day that I don’t want to go back to being that man again. That is one thing about the new album is pretty much redemption and not going back to where I was.
C: Remission Flow, that was after the rock band right?
D: Yeah, I had just come to the Lord in 2008, just before we got married. About a year later in this small little church, I started playing guitar. They were putting together a youth mission and asked if I could sing. I had never sung before, I screamed but never sang, but I tried. It was supposed only to be for five days; people were coming and getting restored and healed. For four or five years, right up until right before We Are Messengers, we travelled around Ireland in out little cars every weekend to churches and shared what God had done in our lives. Ireland is a very religious country and a hard country they don’t want to be converted. That is why we were simply going around sharing what God had done in our lives. Christ wants a relationship with you, and we believe our job is to love you into that relationship. We never asked to go to any of the places they came to us and kept calling.
In 2013 Heidi came to me one day and told me God had told her I needed to leave my job, I had been managing homes for kids with disabilities and challenging behaviours. I told her God would have to tell me himself; I am stubborn. Well, He did tell me, and I quit that winter of 2013. For nine months we set up food banks, and I went into schools and preached and had ministry time in schools. We recorded one more album with Remission Flow. Over 1000 people came to Christ, which is a big deal, unlike in America where you have huge one where you have thousands of people gathered. It is a very alien thing for the Irish people in Ireland. It was May 24 2014, I was sitting outside, and I prayed to God can I go back to work, I don’t need to play music anymore. The next day World Records a subsidiary of Warner Brothers at the time called and asked if I could come out. I did and the offered me a record deal, the record deal was for me as the songwriter for Remission Flow.
I offered it to everyone in the band anyway, they all had been preparing their hearts for other things. My brother and best friends were in the band, but it was the right time to finish, God had used us for what we had been called to do. Heidi and our three kids moved here in October 2014 to Nashville.
C: So is it hard to pick up and play music with a new band?
D: It was a natural organic ministry. Now I am the only songwriter, at least for now, it is different now. The guys that are in it I have chosen to be a part of it with the hearts for ministry. It is a vision God has given my wife and me, and these guys and buying into our ministry. It is different, but it is beautiful.
C: Is there anything you would like the public to know about you, the band or anything?
D: There is hope, you know hope is in very short supply. We live in a world we are pretty emotionally unstable, and that we think we if emotionally we feel sad, anxious or unworthy or not accepted and if we feel those things then that is the way it is. There is an alternative reality, to what we think about ourselves. That reality is we have a God, who thinks wonderful things about us, we have a God, who sent his son to die because he loves us we have a God that really craves to have a relationship with him. So where we may say we are this or where that, God says we are sons, and we are daughters of the king, that we are the royal priesthood, and he has an abundant life for us. So it doesn’t have to be the way it is we don’t have to settle for a living a very unstable and emotionally unbalanced and kind of hungry, sad life. We can live a life filled with the presence of God. This is not to say we won’t suffer, I know probably more so since I became a Christian, but there is hope and joy. That is why we do our music to start that conversation.
C: It is great to have that hope, we live in some pretty dark time right now.
D: We can choose to live in the darkness they don’t have to be dark times, we have a mighty God. We have to make the choice to believe. Our part is we have to surrender and Lord you are the light. You are good and holy, and I am not when I come to you and repent of my sin that you will forgive me. We live in a place of light and hope of peace, one thing that was so alien to me. We try to fill them up with status, cars, money, sex, holiness we try to fill them up but can only be filled in Jesus Christ.
If we come into the relationship with Christ he is not hiding if we seek him he is not hiding, never has been, we are the ones that have been hiding.
It was such an honor and enjoyable time speaking with Darren Mulligan, not only for this interview but also the few minutes he was able to spend speaking with my wife and I after the show. If you have not picked up a copy of their debut album, I highly recommend it as well as taking the opportunity to check out their live performances if they happen to be in your area.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.