Barry Blaze is the creative force behind the Christian electronic-fused band Code of Ethics. After releasing numerous CDs with Code of Ethics in the ‘90's, and being nominated for a couple Gospel Music Awards, Barry decided to take a break from the music business and lead praise and worship for a church in Florida.
Now, after a six year hiatus, Barry is back to making music. He's already released a praise and worship album entitled "Patiently Waiting" and promises that there will be a new Code of Ethics album coming out in 2008. For more information on Barry, his music, and his walk with God please visit BarryBlaze.com.
Q: What bands or musicians have influenced you throughout your career?
BB: I would definitely say Depeche Mode though I listen to everything from classical to alternative rock. I just love DM's sound. Everything in a minor key makes for a great mood.
Q: Your band, Code of Ethics, released a ton of great songs including Soulbait, Hurricane, and Nothing Really Changes, among others. Is there a specific song that you connect with more than any other?
BB: They all seem to time stamp for me in a way. Like if I go back and listen to the first CD, Visual Paradox, songs like Breaking Down, Hold Me and Greater Love really stand out and remind me of what I was doing and listening to at the time. The same goes for each CD after that. I can totally forget songs I wrote and put in an old CD and it takes me right back to the place I was when it was all happening. I love that power that music has in our memories.
Q: A few years back you suffered a life-threatening motorcycle accident; how would you describe your recovery from that harrowing experience?
BB: Wow, this is a tough question to answer with a few sentences. I really want to write a short book about it this year if God is willing. It's completely changed my life in so many ways, but on the physical side because of the head trauma I lost most of my hearing and over the past few years and several ear surgeries I regained about 50%. I'm still left with permanent ringing from nerve damage and wear a hearing aid as well. I lost eyesight also... I could go on, but the great thing is that God brought me through it all and I'm still making music and playing live. I try to appreciate every day that I wake and can spend with my wife and friends. I think God has a story to tell through me and I want it to be heard. Trust me, I could go on for days with this.
Q: What was the best and worst part about being in the band, and touring as, Code of Ethics?
BB: Well, when I started COE and made my first CD I had to put a band together to tour. I think it was always confusing to the fans when they didn't see band members back after a tour or two. COE was really just me and a producer making a CD except for "Soulbait." The record company wanted me to go more rock band driven with that CD, so I found some great guys to help write and record that one. The problem was it really wasn't me and I didn't stand up to the record company and say "hey, I'm not going to do that, I'm going to stick with my own sound." That's why I like where I am now, back in full control of the sound etc.
Q: A lot of popular 90's Christian bands are no longer together including Audio Adrenaline, DC Talk (although they're not officially broken up), DeGarmo and Key, among others. How would you describe the current state of Christian music?
BB: Well, way back in the early 90s it seemed like an open and new canvas to paint on musically. I toured for a full year with the Newsboys and had so much fun breaking new ground and trying real hard to bring the church up to speed with it all. I think that Worship music is doing the exact same thing today with even more integrity! I do think that there is a formula that I hear in secular and Christian music that makes the record company's pump out the same sounding (and looking) thing. Not enough unique sounding bands get to be heard except through myspace and that's disappointing.
Q: You released a solo album earlier this year and have a new Code of Ethics album slated for 2008. How will these two efforts compare and contrast from each other?
BB: This first Barry Blaze CD "Patiently Waiting" is a very personal milestone. I wrote 100% of the music and lyrics after I had my motorcycle accident. I wasn't sure with my hearing loss if I would ever be able to write or record music again but through God's grace and power this CD was created. I want to keep the Barry Blaze music in the future as worship music for the church. I lead worship every week and have a real passion for it. COE is back to the original electronic roots with up to date sounds. I'll keep it very synth-based and probably more of a dance club feel on this one.
Q: Over the years Code of Ethics has gone through a few lineup changes, what is the current lineup of Code of Ethics?
BB: Just me today!
Q: You mention that there was a lot of pressure in the past by record executives to change your sound to something more popular, how has this affected your previous album releases?
BB: I produced the first two "Visual Paradox" and "COE" myself, the third and fourth "Arms Around the World" and "Soulbait" with Tedd T (Mute Math). By the mid 90's "Arms Around the World" did very well in sales and had the most #1 singles. My A&R guy told me over dinner (and in the middle of a tour with Petra), that if the next CD (Soulbait) didn't sell over a certain amount they were going to drop me. Then he went on to tell me how bands that are synth-based are "out" and guitar is in and I have to hire a rock band and change my sound. He was nice enough to give me a few "band" sounds to choose from and pay for dinner. The next CD didn't sell well because it wasn't what COE fans wanted and so they dropped me. I did one more CD on Word in 2000 "BLAZE," did a tour for a year and quit! Went to work leading worship for churches and now I'm back making another CD the way I want to.... You gotta love the internet!
Q: What have you enjoyed the most and least about the music industry?
BB: Love the creative side, lasting friendships etc. Hate the schmoozing "check me out I'm all that" anti-Jesus act!
Q: We end all of our interviews with word association, so I say "wombat" and you say...
BB: Cat! For some dumb reason my high school friend Chuck and I would always say "big as a wombat cat." Does that even make sense?