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Christian rock group debuts new album July 9 [UPDATED]

Published 9:21am Thursday, June 6, 2013 Updated 11:23am Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Fargo-based pop-punk band These Hearts started five years ago as a collaboration of college students from other local bands. Though they use their experiences to glorify God through music, this isn’t the typical Christian music group.

“Not all of our songs are straight-forward Christian songs,” vocalist Ryan Saunders said. “We’re quite different. A lot of parents aren’t big into the screaming.”

Saunders calls the band’s music of original songs “hard rock,” with pop and hard-core mixed together. The sophomore album of These Hearts, “Yours to Take,” will be out July 9. Bands that These Hearts members grew up listening to, like Blink 182, helped to musically inspire its original music.

“But lyrically, I kind of write about whatever inspires me at the moment,” said Saunders, which includes faith and relationships. The five-member group, of Saunders, Tyler Rice (bass), Kyle Colby (guitar), Isaiah Folk (backup vocals and drums) and Daryl Van Beek (lead guitar), are all in their 20s and believers in God.

With its Christian name, “It gives the band a common goal,” Saunders said. “They’re not out partying and drinking every night or doing stupid stuff,” he said, but it’s about “just making sure we do it for God.” “The thing that separates us a lot from other bands, is the fact that we know why we’re doing this,” Saunders said.

“Another thing that sets us apart is our performance. We’re jumping around and bringing a lot of energy to our live show.” The performance is “pretty wild,” and they get the crowd involved quite a bit, Saunders said. They like to talk to the fans and be there for them, not just at the shows either.

These Hearts has embraced the social media and online community to interact with fans. It’s Twitter account (@TheseHeartsBand) has more than 23,000 followers, and it’s following more than 23,000 accounts as well. Band members also have their own Twitter handles. The band’s Facebook page, which it updates frequently, surpassed 28,000 likes.

“To be a successful band, you really have to use those tools to reach whoever you can,” Saunders said, “Especially our target market.” That includes young people between the ages of 15 and 25, which isn’t to say there aren’t outliers of fans out there.

The best part for Saunders is the fan connection, where a kid pulls him aside and says “your music changed my life.”

“Just knowing that your music has made a difference in people’s lives, it’s a pretty cool feeling,” Saunders said.

“We’ve had people say your music helped me from killing myself. It’s really cool, but it’s really sad to know that kids are going through that.”

He encourages people to come check out a show from These Hearts, or venture over to the Facebook or Twitter pages to get in touch. “Apart from doing it for God, we’re definitely doing it for our fans,” Saunders said.

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