I have been delighted to know Greg and Kate House for about 6 years – and they are not only wonderful humans but talented singer-songwriters.  When they perform, they are known as The Asking.  They just released their 3rd career album Even in Deserts (available now on Spotify), which gives us an album that sounds very true to what you would hear live in concert.  The songs are strongly rooted in scripture, the themes will encourage those who are enduring dark days, and the harmonies are lovely.  Here’s a new interview with The Asking.

UTR: How have you both been holding up this last year?

Kate & Greg: Pretty much like everyone else – bouts of feeling anxious followed by bouts of daring to hope for the future. In the midst of what is a very dark and difficult season God is good to send us manna in the form of our small group from church. We have been meeting virtually almost every week since the beginning of the pandemic which has offered us a rare and beautiful gift in this time of isolation. We’ve also been blessed with the luxury of time to read and write and not feel pressure to do all the things.

UTR:  Do you find that listening to really good music, or even writing and recording new songs, can be very therapeutic during dark days?

Kate: Absolutely! We went through a season where a lot of our close friends were going through divorces. We had been in some of their weddings and we just felt so helpless watching them go through such pain. That’s what “To the Sun” came out of. We knew we couldn’t fix it but we also knew we could help give a voice to not only their pain but also the hope that we always have in every season.

Greg: It really helped at the beginning of the Pandemic, when I felt stuck inside for days on end, to lock myself in the newly designated studio room and just lose myself in the details of the EP. Learning how to record at home and then trying out the different techniques gave me something to focus on that wasn’t the darkness outside my door. The added benefit in this case was that the time I spent focusing on music became a tangible product that I’m really proud of.

UTR:  Your new EP Even in Deserts is here and it’s fantastic. How did you approach the making of this project differently?

Kate: Well our previous album, Call the Ships Home, was fully produced and we did a Kickstarter to release it. Our goal was to release a new album every 2 years but 2019 was difficult for us personally and then 2020 was, well, 2020 so it seemed impossible to get into the studio. In the beginning of quarantine (March 2020) Phil Wickham’s acoustic album from 2016, “Children of God Acoustic Sessions” came on my Spotify and it somehow was the first time I had heard it. It was also exactly what I needed. It was like a balm for my soul in the midst of a lonely and confusing time. We had already written some of the songs for the EP but we weren’t really sure what to do with them yet. When I heard that album it felt so honest for this season and I knew I wanted to do a raw and acoustic EP.

Greg: I really wanted to use the new EP as a way to learn more about recording. Because we were doing a stripped down acoustic recording, I could really dive into the technical side more. I learned about microphones and DAWs and interfaces in a big way. I felt like I learned from our experiences in the studio, but doing it yourself is a whole different beast. Our engineer was so patient with me and really helped me understand how to make the project work.

UTR: The phrase “Even in Deserts” comes from the title track, but also seems to reflect a bigger theme on the whole project. Can you share more about that title?

Kate: When we go through trials or hard times it’s easy to be consumed by them and forget all that God has done for us. We really are like the Israelites in the desert asking Moses if there were no graves in Egypt. And yet, time and time again we are called to remember God’s faithfulness and provision, just as they were. One of our favorite ways to remember is to sing. It’s one of the things we miss most about being able to gather together as a church. When we sing we remind one another of who God is and all he has done for us.

Greg: I took a job in 2019 that moved us to the city that we had been trying to get to for most of our married life. As it turns out, after packing up to move the employer imploded and I was left with no job in either city. I started the job search all over again and in the middle of the job search the pandemic hit. As melodramatic as it sounds, it felt like God was leading me into the desert. It felt dry and unrelenting, and yet I felt a calm and quiet assurance that God was in all of it. Even in this dark time; the pandemic, job status, bad part-time job work, politics… even in deserts, God is faithful.

UTR: Your songs are obviously rooted in Scripture. Are there other things that help influence your songwriting?

Kate & Greg: We’re inspired by the people in our lives and the things they go through. It’s important to us that our music serves people and meets them where they are.

UTR:  What do you hope the listener of Even in Deserts receives or learns as they listen?

Kate & Greg: We hope they receive hope in knowing they’re not alone. We hope they learn that no matter how big the waves, or dry the desert, that God is with them and has gone before them.

UTR: What other fun stuff are you doing besides music?

Kate: You can check out my fashion/beauty blog on instagram @thehouseblend. We both love fashion so I like to post about not just my personal fashion but also Greg’s as he wears a suit like no one else I know can!

The Asking is Greg & Kate House who reside on Earth in Glendale, CA – and on Cyberspace at www.theaskingband.com.