Writing songs isn’t an exact science.
John Cooper of Skillet doesn’t have a formula he follows, and the process is always different.
“Some you write not knowing what you’ll say; others are stream of consciousness,” said Cooper, a founding member of Skillet who will be part of Winter Jam Jan. 13 at the James Brown Arena.
The band will release “Dominion,” its 11th album, Jan. 14. Songs seemed to flow for “Dominion,” which has a central message of hope.
In a phone interview, Cooper said the pandemic has brought more than physical illness in its wake. Some people are dealing with a deeper sense of anxiety and depression. Suicide rates are troubling as teen suicide especially among younger teens has been on the rise.
Others have turned to substances and have developed addictions as a way of coping, he said.
“Suicide is not the answer,” he said. “There is life after addiction.”
Formed in 1995 in Memphis, Tenn., Skillet is a four-member Christian rock band based out of Kenosha, Wis. The group has sold 12 million albums worldwide and has two GRAMMY nominations.
Cooper said a few things surprise him about the band’s success. The first is the group’s longevity.
“When we started the band, I thought we may be around for five or six years,” he said. “I never expected it to last this long.”
But he loves what he does.
Another surprise in the journey has been the fan base Skillet has developed in European countries. Before the pandemic, Skillet traveled to Europe a couple of times a year.
“There’s a universal message of music,” he said. “People respond even if they don’t speak the same language.”
Cooper said band members have traveled to non-English speaking nations to hear those fans sing their songs along with them in English.
For many, “Zoom” became a household word in 2020, and band members spent a lot of time on the platform recording the upcoming album.
“We recorded the entire album together, and we were never in the same room at the same time,” Cooper said in a news release. “We’d write together and discuss the direction. Kevin (Churko, producer) and Kane (Churko, co-writer) would send us tracks; we’d send them tracks. I’d record on the bus or at home. It made the process go extremely quickly. Once everything opened up a little more, we could’ve flown to Las Vegas, but it was going so well remotely. It made us willing to try some new things that I don’t think we would’ve if it was in person.”
Joining Skillet for Winter Jam will be several performers including KB, Tauren Wells, Newsong and Colton Dixon.
General admission tickets are $10. General admission early entry begins at 6 p.m. with the concert at 7 p.m. VIP packages are available. For additional information, visit 2022.jamtour.com.