Sinners To Saints' Jon Hendershot Talks Of The Greatest Things

Sinners to Saints is a metalcore band based out of South-Eastern Pennsylvania. They are bringing a new twist to the music scene with technical, complicated parts mixed with catchy, driving melodies. The band is on a mission to spread a message of hope and love to every single person they come into contact with. They look to be a light and a friend in an otherwise dark place. With that said, they have released their debut album "The Greatest Of These" and have got even more material underway with a whole lot more in-store.

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Sinners To Saints, and how long the band has been together.

Jon: Well, I'm Jon. I play guitar and write a lot of the music and lyrics along with Andrew and we've been together as a band for about three years now - give or take.

2. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Jon: We got together when I was a freshman in college, in 2010.  James (our drummer) and I had this thrown together EP that we wanted to record just to see what we could do with it and Andrew came on at the last minute to do vocals on the EP.  Happened to be that we were a good combination for each other so, after a while, we settled in with Jake and Kyle as our bassist and guitarist and have been chugging away ever since.  We're trying to finish up school as well, so the process has been a bit slow for us but we're doing the best we can to prepare ourselves and set ourselves up with good opportunities in the future.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there?Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Jon: We're from the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.  The music scene there isn't amazing, but the musical talent is fantastic.  There's a lot of bands that have come from our general area of Pennsylvania.  The guys in I Am King are from the exact same area as us.  There's also two local bands that we're good friends with named AmeDeus and Stargazer that I would strongly recommend.  The guys in both those bands have a ton of talent and a great sound that I've admired for a long time.  

4. How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?

Jon: I don't know why, but I've always had a hard time describing what my band sounds like.  For whatever reason, I feel like I'm so lost in the subtle characteristics of everything that I write that I don't even have a realistic view of what we actually sound like anymore.  Whenever people ask me what my band sounds lie I'm reduced to saying something very generic like "I mean, we scream sometimes.. I guess." Haha! As far as inspiration goes, literally everything inspires us musically in some way.  The bands I've found a lot of inspiration in lately have been This or The Apocalypse, Memphis May Fire, and Panic! At The Disco.

5. Why did you want to call the band Sinners To Saints? Does it have a meaning behind it?

Jon: The name actually came from our friends twitter name, which was "sinnerTurnedsaint"… I don't really know why we thought it was a good idea to name the band that.  However, we have found a great deal of meaning behind a quote that relates to it, and I think our fans have too: "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."

6. How did you get signed with Red Core Records and how has the relationship with them been?

Jon: We sent out that EP we recorded to try and get some attention and, after some negotiation and expelling our educational situations, Red Cord still wanted to work with us and hooked us up with a great deal.  The relationship in working with them has been great.  There's definitely a certain level of understanding that we need to have with them being a relatively new label and all, but since we've signed with them they've done nothing but improve and grow in the business.  They're great, honest guys to work with and we really enjoy it!

7. Can you tell me about the song and video for "Peace//Keeper".

Jon: Sure.

Song - The song is about a personal struggle myself and Andrew have experienced with lust.  The song goes through explaining our experience with it in that lustful temptations, and sin in general, is extremely enticing at times and it often feels like we're just carrying through those struggles doing our best to represent Christ.  For a long time I'd always screw this up and think that I needed to do something different, trying different remedies and taking corrective action to battle the temptations and failures I'd been experiencing.  It wasn't until recently, actually, that I realized that it's not anything I can do that will correct my sinfulness, but what Jesus already did on the cross.  Believing that I can try harder and do better is just a lie that the devil slipped me to get me to think the strength required to fix my problem was my own. That I was the solution. But that's not the case at all, Jesus was and is the solution.  The end of the song talks about that realization we had - "I surrender myself to something greater. Show me peace of mind. Peacekeeper faith over fear, I hear you calling. This is my prayer. Illuminate the darkness, with this I start inside. Eyes open wide, illuminate the blind. The key is in who you believe. We bow to one God. Surrender all your pride and see the promise of eternity."

Video - The music video portrays a man who has been serving a lustful tendency on the side of his relationship with his girlfriend and just kind of shows how this tendency can really weigh and tarnish a relationship.

8. Who produced The Greatest of These and what was it like working with them?

Jon: Our producer was Chris Galvez.  Working with him on this album is honestly one of my fondest memories to date. We all just got along with him really well and had a uniform understanding of the sound we were aiming for with this album.  We were really time crunched to get it recorded and I'm not sure there's another person on earth who could've pulled this album off the way Chris did.  It was a fantastic experience working with him and it produced a great friendship!

9. Is there any story or concept behind the The Greatest of These title?

Jon: Yes! Through the whole album, our lyrical content had one theme - that love is the greatest of all things and endures through everything.  We took "The Greatest of These" from 1 Corinthians 13:13 - "three things will last forever: faith, hope and love - and the greatest of these is love."  The entire message of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 is what we aimed to put across with this album. We think that God's definition of love is extremely worth telling people about.

10. Who did the cover art for The Greatest of These and how much input did you have on it?

Jon: We actually pulled that art from our friends old band, I Am History.  A designer made the lighthouse themed arts for them and they never wound up using them so they gave us the rights to use it for the album.  I then customized the art for our album.

11. Select two songs from The Greatest of These and what inspired the lyrics.

Jon: The two songs I would pick would have to be.

Fractures -
This song is built entirely off of the phrase "stop living so safely." The phrase actually just popped into my head one day while I was working and I just ran with it.  I really started to understand that the kind of love we are trying to portray is reckless. It doesn't see inconvenience, it embraces it with open arms.  So this theme, stop living so safely, came from that.  I wanted to live and love like I didn't know what it was like to be broke - "love and forget what it's like to break".  Overall, the song is just my two cents on life.  If I could give anyone advice on how to go about life, it's to love like you don't know what it's like to break.  In this song, we also talk about chasing your dream and doing what it is that you love.  Too many people have told me what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. To that I say - why? Why do I need to get a job and a secure paycheck when I have an opportunity to play music and inspire kids across the globe - even if it means I'm constantly broke.  I would not trade the ability to inspire for a single thing, and especially not a paycheck.  So I wanted to inspire kids to stick with what they love doing, because I don't think enough people do. "Live your life, don't let the world decide for you."

The Greatest of These -
This one is about broken families, specifically father figures who haven't shown up for their family.  This is our outside looking in perspective, as none of us have experienced any of this first hand.  We went through a few different common scenarios in broken homes with the lyrics - child abuse, drug abuse, absent fathers, and divorce to name a few. But, overall, there was one thing we wanted to get across to our listeners - that no matter how broken your home is, there is still hope.  God restores.  He's restored us, and those around us.  And, from our perspective, as hopeless as some of those situations may seem, we just couldn't shake the feeling that there was still hope. That there was still opportunity for healing and restoration.  That's the message we wanted to put across to our listeners who may be suffering from a broken home - "I don't believe it - that there's no hope for those who feel defeated by a broken home". You are loved, and you are worthy of love.

12. Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?

Jon: We play live as often as we can. As I previously stated, we're working on finishing up our educations, so we're a little restricted.  But we did just have an awesome opportunity to play with The Chariot not their farewell tour in Virginia last month and it was awesome.  We've really had a great response to our live shows since the album has come out. I was actually just watching some old live videos from when we were still playing our EP and compared them to the "Life, Like Statues" live video and was just amazed in how far we've all come with our live performances.  We're really itching to get on the road and make that a daily thing.

13. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Jon: That's a great question.  For one, we are continuously looking to make progress in literally everything that we do as a band, both with and without music. What I see in this band is a bunch of guys who have a strong passion for making a difference in peoples lives and have realized they can do that with music.  As a result, we're a group that will stop at nothing to make our dream work.  We are relentless, as I think you need to be to make it in this industry.  That one aspect of our band has and will continue to allow us to endure and make progress.

14. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Jon: The Greatest of These is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify - all the major online music distributors. Hard copies can be bought at Red Cord's merch site or at any of our live shows.  We have merch designs for sale in both those locations as well.

15. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Jon: A lot.  We're working on setting up a lot of touring, as extensively as we can manage. We have a new album in the works with some tracks that we're really excited about. We're working on new merch designs to have out for everyone.  We're putting together a kickstarted campaign for our fans to support us in getting out on the road to meet them and play music for them. And yea, I think that just about covers it!

16. Would you like to add anything else?

Jon: Uhm, just that we're extremely thankful for the support we've been given over our lifetime as a band.  We are useless without the support of our fans, and as much as we try to make it known how much we truly love and care for them, I don't think enough can be said about how much our fans mean to us.  We'd truly be nothing and nowhere without their support.

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