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Richard Rees: Writer and Musician Extraordinaire

Creativity is found in many people, but not as many are interested in taking their gift and turning it into a career. Richard Rees, a junior English Major with a Creative Writing concentration here at Georgia College, is doing just that. “My two biggest passions are stories and music,” he says. Everything that he does now, from his degree to his future job, is with the intent to fund both of his passions.

Richard has been writing stories for over ten years, a hobby that began after the divorce of his parents when he was young. He would spend hours outside on the playground, writing stories in his head and then acting them out. His father, who developed an interest in Lord of the Rings after the separation, shared his newfound love with Richard, and encouraged him to write down the stories he created. This connection between his father and his imagination later became one of Richard’s strongest passions. Richard writes mostly fantasy fiction today, and is in the process of writing a fantasy epic story. “Fantasy stems from an understanding of spiritual elements,” he says. “You can say something about reality by contrasting it with non-reality.” While the settings and characters of his story are all put in a fictitious world, Richard stresses the human qualities of his work.  He believes that “the purpose of all fiction is to show the condition of the human heart.” The humanity and realness of his stories is captured in his characters and themes, which often tie in elements of the supernatural mixed with natural world.

While writing plays a large part in his life, Richard also dedicates a lot of time to his metal band, Archean in which he is the screamer and occasional singer. The name, which suggests something that is very old or “archaic,” was suggested by the band’s guitarist, Kirk. “For me, it’s like getting back to basics,” Richard feels. He and the other band members are not interested in trying to be anything in particular or to be appreciated. They want to make music for the sake of making music and because it’s part of who they are. He says that their music is different and stands out, but if people don’t see it that way, then it’s not their problem. The band members each bring a variety of ideas and tastes to the table, incorporating other genres of music into their writing and gaining inspiration from dozens of other artists.

After several years of mixing around band members, distances creating strain on practices and capabilities, and the slow process of writing worthwhile songs, the band is releasing their first full-length album by the end of the year. Their decision to focus on writing strong songs rather than prattle out a few to play at shows has kept them out of the public eye, but they’ve been working to garner support on social media sites like Facebook to get the word out about their album, which currently consists of eleven demoed songs out of a total of fifteen tracks.

Even though his music and writing plays a big part in his life, Richard’s faith is also strung throughout everything he does. Archean is often asked if they are a “Christian band” because of the professed Christian beliefs of each band member. Richard’s response is that “we’re Christians in a band that write about stuff that actually happens.” He and the other band members write from who they are as people, which often includes their faith, but don’t sugar-coat the realities of life. Richard argues that putting such a label on their band results in an expectation from the Christian community that your music will include references to Jesus and other Christian themes on a regular basis, and “if you have to work faith into your work, than how much of a faith is it?” They do not label themselves “Christian metal” but use their medium as a way of expressing themselves. Their music is both a creative outlet and a tool to minister to others.

After graduating, Richard hopes to find a job that he doesn’t hate, such as working for a newspaper, and funding his passions on the side. His intent isn’t to make a living off of his work, but to produce it for the sake of expressing who he is. While some people may view pursuing artistic careers as fruitless, Richard proves that dedication and passion are often times the driving force of human beings. His love for his work and the desire to see it transform the lives of others is inspiring.

You can read more about Archean on the band’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/archeanbandofficial

The ramblings of a young undergrad writer who also has an obsession with Disney and the color purple. If I'm not writing papers or stories I'm coloring, playing piano, or scrounging about the Internet for new music.
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