‘no one was forced to watch’ Rolling Stone

After Christian performance at a rock party, Ben Pierce, from NLM, says that the organization of the event was in line with the content of the show, but recognizes sensitive content of the presentation: “prior notice is necessary”

Ben Piercelead singer of NLMspoke to Rolling Stone Brazilabout the controversy surrounding his recent show at the Carioca Club in Sao Paulo. Last Friday (17), the band played in a free rock event accompanied by scalene and Sebastianisms. However, part of the audience was surprised when the American group took to the stage Christian messages and performances involving a graphic interpretation of death with an LED coffin on stage.

+++ READ MORE: Emo show deceives fans by turning into gospel preaching; band responds

“No one was forced to watch the show,” Pierce said. According to the vocalist, “most of the bands, producers and organizers knew in advance who we were and were receptive after our show”.

Ben Pierce (right), lead singer in NLM;  on the left, the Brazilian Moah (Press Release)
Ben Pierce (right), lead singer in NLM; on the left, the Brazilian Moah (Press Release)

The statement contradicts other versions, such as the one published by scalene on social media, which says: “It’s outrageous how no one was aware of what would happen at the shows”. For Pierce, “only after the negative comments online did people start to change their perspective.”

Asked about the show’s graphic content – which involved performing a battle for a girl’s life and staging the narrator’s death in an LED coffin, Pierce says that “it’s true that there are some complex elements to our shows, but this It’s real life.” He also reinforces that the use of sensitive content “is much lower compared to what people watch on digital platforms daily”, but acknowledges that “advance notice is necessary” in his show.

Users still accused the NLM to generate discomfort in the audience by using the phrase “set us free from slavery” in the performance. Asked about the matter, Ben says that the sentence “was completely misinterpreted” and that it would deal with “spiritual slavery”, further reinforcing: “it was not meant to be a commentary on the history of slavery in Brazil. We condemn racism in all forms “.

Finally, Ben Pierce confirms that the NLM is part of Steiger, a religious community created in the 1980s that, according to the official website, aims to evangelize young people who would not “step foot in a church”: “We are part of Steiger. Our shows are funded through donations from people around the world.” Ben Pierce is the son of David Piercefounder of Steiger International.

See below the interview with Ben Piercelead singer of NLM:

Rolling Stone Brazil: Reports from the public who attended the show account for an ‘attempt to evangelize’ the audience – even without their knowledge or consent. Do you agree with this statement?
Ben Pierce: We believe that all good art has a message. All the bands we played on this tour had a message, but none of them needed to warn about what they were going to say. They simply shared what they believed without hesitation. We did the same. No one was forced to attend the show and most events were free. Good movies, good music, good paintings surprise people. They challenge the way we look at the world. We believe that this is the purpose of art.

What matters to us is that we love people, that we are respectful and that we simply offer an option for people to consider. That’s what we tried to do on this tour.

Rolling Stone Brasil: Who signs the direction of the show? How many people are involved and what is the message of the performance presented?
Ben Pierce: A number of different artists and creatives contributed to making this show possible. We want to use all media for our show and that requires the coming together of talented people.

Rolling Stone Brasil: The show features a graphic reenactment of death, complete with a gallows and an LED coffin. Was there ever a concern to alert the audience to sensitive content?
Ben Pierce: It’s true that there are some complex elements in our shows, but this is real life. It’s also much smaller compared to what people watch on digital platforms on a daily basis. We try to be sensitive and caring, but the most important thing is that we not only present the darkness but also the light and hope that we believe in. We see now that advance notice is required and we apologize to anyone who felt hurt by our performance.

It’s true that there are some complex elements in our shows, but this is real life.

Rolling Stone Brasil: Colleagues and organizers of the show at Carioca Club accuse the band of lack of clarity on the part of the group about the content of the performance. How do you respond to these accusations?
Ben Pierce: Again, no other band has previously warned about the content of their shows. We heard political messages from almost every band we played together and nobody warned us what would happen, but that’s okay, this is rock’n’roll, this is art.

+++ READ MORE: NLM pronounces on emo show with gospel preaching

The truth about most bands, producers and organizers knew in advance who we were and were receptive after our show. They hugged us, congratulated us, took pictures with us and told us that they respected our performance. We’ve had an amazing relationship with a lot of bands that we tour with. Only after the negative comments online did people start to change their perspective. It’s sad because most people were pretty positive, but that’s the reality of the internet today.

We’ve had an amazing relationship with a lot of bands that we tour with. Only after the negative comments online did people start to change their perspective

Rolling Stone Brazil: Speaking of the most sensitive parts of the presentation, there were those who were offended by the phrase ‘set us free from slavery’. Brazil, like the United States, is a country deeply marked by issues involving slavery. Is that a message you carry in all your presentations? How would you like people to welcome you here?
Ben Pierce: That was a sentence that was completely misinterpreted. It was not meant to be a commentary on the history of slavery in Brazil. We condemn racism in all its forms. We are a band made up of people from all over the world. Many countries, ethnicities and cultures. We believe that all people are important and created by God. This sentence is about spiritual bondage. About people who are slaves to lies. Lies that tell them they’re not important. Which are worthless. That their lives don’t matter. We believe that God can free people from these lies. That’s what we wanted to say.

Ben Pierce (right), lead singer of NLM;  on the left, the Brazilian Moah (Press Release)
Ben Pierce (right), lead singer of NLM; on the left, the Brazilian Moah (Press Release)

Rolling Stone Brasil: Was the reaction of the audience on Friday to the band’s performance caught your attention? Have you ever been through similar situations?
Ben Pierce: From our perspective, the audience, producers and bands were very receptive on Sunday. We had great conversations after the show and the vibe with the other bands was amazing! This is not uncommon. In 99% of situations people are positive and respectful. Of course, not everyone accepts what we say, but that’s okay! Everyone is free to believe what they want, but this message has transformed our lives and we want other people to experience the joy and freedom we have. That’s why we share this message. Not because we are better than anyone else, but because we want everyone to know they are loved and created for a purpose.

Rolling Stone Brasil: How do you rate the Brazilian tour?
Ben Pierce: Of course the criticism was strong, but we love Brazil and we love Brazilians. We apologize to anyone who felt hurt, we are always trying to grow and be better.

Rolling Stone Brasil: What is your relationship with the Steiger group and how did you make the Brazilian tour economically viable with free concerts?
Ben Pierce: We are part of Steiger. Our shows are funded through donations from people around the world.

The controversy surrounding the presentation of the NLM in Brazil gained momentum on Tuesday (21), after online criticism went viral. According to users, the audience at an emo party in São Paulo would have been surprised by the religious – and sometimes graphic – content of the group’s presentation last Friday (17), during their visit to São Paulo.

Through social networks, representatives of the scalene It’s from Sebastianisms stated that they were unaware of the content of the show – which involved an onstage death play and a phrase involving ‘liberation from slavery’.

On his Instagram profile, the NLM posted a statement on Wednesday (22), calling the situation a “controversy” and saying he understands “that many people felt betrayed and misled by the message” of the show. The group has repeatedly apologized, saying they are ‘always looking for ways to grow’ and are ‘available to anyone who wants to have a respectful conversation’.

the tour of NLM in Brazil he has already passed through Guarulhos, São Paulo, São José dos Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Araucária and Blumenau. The band still has shows scheduled in Criciúma, Porto Alegre, Florianópolis and Curitiba.

About Hrishikesh Bhardwaj

Tv specialist. Falls down a lot. Typical troublemaker. Hipster-friendly advocate. Food fan.

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