Guns, knives and gangs are just some of the issues being tackled by a Manchester-based dance-pop-rap group with a difference.
LZ7 are a band with Christianity at their heart – yet rather than ‘hitting you over the head with a bible’, the group proclaim to just want to spread a moral message and awareness of current affairs.
The group were in Manchester’s Northern Quarter this week to record promotional content for the band.
Lindz West, who formed the group in 2005, spoke exclusively to MM: “There are lots of things out there that young people go for. To stand for something, rather than fall for everything, is the sort of thing that we do.
“We go to a lot of high schools, so we talk about choices – gun crime, knife crime and gangs,” he said.
“If the messages get across a little deeper to a younger person, they start to wonder if there is more to this, rather than making bad decisions for myself.
“We also go to quite socially deprived areas all across the world and talk about it. Then we say ‘well, for us, having a faith in something is something that works for us. But what works for you? How do you make your decisions?’”
Lindz believes that music is a great medium to engage youngsters with, especially for moral and ethical messages.
“It really works with having the music as a way of chatting to them. It is all about the music, but it’s also hold a message and what we stand for,” he added.
“But maybe a young person doesn’t and maybe they’ve had a bad experience with faith or with politics or anyone that believes in something.
“We all like dance music, so we do DJing, live bands and fusing the music together. It’s kind of like the new way of breaking down a stereotype.
“We just wanted to break it and go ‘Do you know what? Actually, it’s pretty cool to not be hypothetic about the future – to stand up and do something about it.”
The group’s music focuses on problems that are happening all over the world – something which has seen them travel the globe with their tracks – and Lindz believes that this has benefits for everyone involved.
“We do lots of stuff on human trafficking. We had a single go into the charts last year. It got to number 12 in the UK official top 40, but it went to number 1 in the (United) States,” he continued.
“That was all about modern day slavery, which is a big bill for politicians at the moment; they’re working it through, so we talk about that and about what that means.
“Like if that was your sister, what would you be doing?”
In keeping with their international presence, which is central to their goal, the group have acquired the help of DJs from all over the world.
“There’s a guy from Los Angeles, so it’s a sort of UK-US feel. The dance stuff is great. We’ve had DJs from Germany, Holland and the US as well,” Lindz claimed.
“They’ve produced the beats with us and we’ve written the song over the top. It’s very up-tempo party music, so that’s the dance element to it.”
With the band classified as a ‘Christian rap and dance group’, Lindz insisted that LZ7 are not attempting to hammer home a religious perspective. Instead, they are trying to showcase beliefs and opinions about topical issues.
“The Christian stuff comes off the back of it. That’s something that’s a foundation to us.
“We’re not going to get our big Bibles out and start smacking you over the head and say that ‘you have to believe in anything’. We’re just there to break a stereotype,” he joked.
“Everybody that’s in the band is a Christian, but I don’t think we’re particularly a Christian band. As in, we don’t do worship music or hymns.”
The group enjoy producing the music, which has received plaudits for its sound.
Lindz added: “The Christian side of it is – well we believe in God. God gives us life and to enjoy it, to get the best out of it and our way of doing that is to turn up some loud music and have fun.
“We do proper thumping dance music with massive drops and big bass lines. It’s like we’re having a party.”
LZ7 appreciate the tough economic times and that young people cannot afford to spend lots of money, so instead they produce free content for students at local schools.
“We’re filming a video for a high school resource for young people.
“We’ve been in Trinity High School in the centre of Manchester a few times. Rather than just go in there leaving with nothing, we take a lesson during assembly and put a ‘gig’ on.
“We’ve developed this little resource called a ‘triple-A’ pass – like access all areas. So we give the kids an access all areas pass and it’s a little bit more about what we’ve been talking about.
“They can access it online and go through stuff. There’s free downloads on there and there’s free music videos.
“Kids can’t afford to buy an album, so we give them a lanyard with a ‘triple-A’ pass on it. They can scratch the code off and they get loads more free stuff that they can look through and read and listen to and watch the videos and download a few remixes.
“We were filming all of the intros for the videos and the narration of the ‘triple-A’ pass up in the Northern Quarter. There’s some amazing graffiti up there so we chose the Manchester area. It’s wicked!”
And having enjoyed recent success with their album ‘#Aftershow’, Lindz revealed that the band is currently producing a new single.
“We’ve got another single dropping in May that’s with some top guys from Radio 1. It should be good, so keep an eye out!” he said.
For more information on the band, or to book an event, visit their official website at www.lz7.co.uk.