“Bad Christian” sounds like a vague (and potentially loaded) phrase but it’s the name of one of my favorite podcasts. If you grew up knowing anything about Tooth & Nail records you may remember the band Emery. They were signed to T&N circa 2003 - 2011 and released several albums during that time. Matt, Toby, and Joey, Matt and Toby are still in the band, started the Bad Christian podcast. The BC podcast describes themselves as this:
“BadChristian is a thriving community focused on interacting with culture from a post-Christian point of view through transparency, entertainment, honesty, and creativity. Our community is growing rapidly because of partnerships with independent musicians, podcasters, and writers, who by fueling the BadChristian movement, are able to build and sustain their careers and vocations.”
On a weekly basis, Matt, Toby, Joey, and Reva, get together to talk about life, God, religion, politics, social issues, the church, etc. Nothing is taboo. They challenge each others beliefs and assumptions. They ask questions, even questions that tend to “rock the boat” in most churches. They don’t shy away from questions that we all know is on others’ minds but asking it may get you ostracized from your church or community. It’s apparent that the BC community has become a home without walls for many disenfranchised Christians.
I reached out to them a while ago to inquire about advertising but what ended up happening was coordinating a photoshoot with their podcast/tour manager, Reva. The BC team does a lot of traveling as they’re spread out across the country and it turned out that Toby lives in Nashville. So, plans were made that the next time they meet up in Nashville to record the podcast, they’d let me know the location and we could do a photoshoot while they record!
When the team was back in Nashville, Reva got in touch with me and told me that they’d be in the tour bus, parked in a Walmart parking lot. Mentally, I made a joke to myself wondering “What did I get myself into? This won’t look sketchy at all!”
Meeting the guys after listening to them for some time was so weird. When you've heard someone talk once a week and then meet them it's a bit surreal. But they were exactly as they are on the podcast which was unexpected at first. You think, as with most podcast, that they are putting on a show. They are and aren't. This is just three friends hanging out talking about everything like friends do. There are topics for each episode that Reva write on a white board with touch points for the episode. Reva hits record and the guys start talking away with Matt usually leading the conversation till Toby gets fired up and runs with it. Joey chimes in with his very calm comments and round and round it goes. The guys get off topic and Reva steps in with a tap on the white board to bring them back on topic. All the while I’m snapping photos of their interactions. I felt like I more so captured their friendship in this setting than anything.
Their deep friendship shines through in their conversation and discussions on the podcast. They are down to earth wonderful guys that really have a passion for building a community where people and freely ask questions about their faith.
When I shot the guys at Exit/In they were doing a show with Vocal Few, He is Legend, and Emery. Before the show was a Panel, Meet and Greet, and quick acoustic show.
Currently Bad Christian has a music label, books, a store with Bad Christian merch and a new documentary coming out called “What Would Jesus Sell?” showing the underbelly of the christian music community in the early 2000’s. Continuing to push the boundaries of what being a freelancer looks like
These three are forging their own path and having fun with it. They have found a way to make a career out of just recording conversations with friends over and over. This doesn’t work with just anyone but they have made it work with them and their unique dynamic.