EjguanaFixed

Many of our contributors at Loop Community have been with us from the very beggining.  We cannot thank you enough for all your efforts in building this community.  One of these contributors who has been with us practically from the beginning is EJ Gauna.  EJ creates some great resources for the church and most of all he has a great passion for seeing other worship leaders grow together.  EJ was our first ever contest winner at loop community and here is just a funny clip to prove it.

Tell us a little about yourself?

Growing up, my dad was in the Air Force so we moved around quite a bit until we settled here in San Antonio when I was 10.  I grew up in the church I’m serving at now and met my wife of 8 years there.  She sang in the choir.  I played guitar.  Game over.  We have 2 kids now. Favorite color- red unless I’m eating a banana in which case yellow is my color of choice.

Where do you currently lead worship?

 I am the Worship Director for Boulevard, which is the Next-Gen Ministry (6th grade- 28yrs old) for Westover Hills Assembly of God (whag.net) in San Antonio, TX.

How long have you been using loops in Worship?  

 I’ve been using loops for about 5 or 6 years.  I’ve gone from running tracks from an iPhone or iPod to using a laptop setup now running multiple elements and click.

What Program do you use to create your loops?

 I’ve tried several DAWs including Cubase, Ableton and Logic Pro.  I’m most comfortable tracking stems in Logic and bouncing them into Ableton but I’ve been exploring using Ableton and recording all the stems using midi instruments making it easy to transpose to a different key (which can also be done in Logic or any DAW) but also to eliminate some extra steps from creation to implementation.

How would you say loops have helped your worship experiences?

 Loops have helped every church I’ve served at!  I spent 6 years of my ministry career in smaller plant churches with very little resources and, at times, very few volunteers to play.  Loops helped to supplement if we didn’t have a bass or lead guitar on a Sunday morning and even to fill out the sound with synth pads or other ambient noise when we did.
Using loops also helped me as a worship leader develop my team.  I found that whenever I introduced the idea of using loops and clicks to a team that had never played with them before we immediately found some resistance.  With practice and consistency though our teams began to grow as musicians.  I believe that our number one priority as worship leaders isn’t the Sunday morning service experience but the everyday relationships and growth of our teams God has entrusted us to care for.  I believe this is spiritual as well as talent and skill.  The book of 1 Samuels tells us that David was selected to play for King Saul because he “played well” (1 Sam. 16:17).  Jesus tells the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 where the servant who buried his talent had it taken away and given to the ones who grew theirs.  Skill isn’t everything but having a competent team only helps spread the message of hope in our worship that much more.

 Loops help us build this competency by giving our teams something to practice with at home that is exactly what we would play with in our worship service.  The ability to take out a guitar, bass or _____ part and allow a team member to practice or even experiment is beyond helpful.  This saves time during rehearsals as well as help our team be as prepared as possible.  Loops provide endless possibilities for preparation for any and everything- strings, horns, vocals…

What does it mean to you to be a contributor at Loop Community?

  I love being a part of Loop Community!  The forums and articles have been super helpful, when I feel stuck, hearing what others are creating inspires and opens my mind and ears to new ideas.  Seeing people purchase my loops and, in a few cases, hearing them with their teams is so overwhelmingly humbling.  I love the idea of a global church sharing ideas, technology and resources beyond the four walls we might be serving in.

What music are you listening to that inspires your creativity?

I have had Bethel’s “Without Words” on repeat for a few weeks straight now.  It’s funny because it’s really just an album of loops!  I really love the idea of having a collection of songs that don’t tell the listener what to do with them.  I pray with it, work in the office to it, and blast it in the car.  I’m also digging the depth of United’s “Zion” and also BJ Putnam’s new album “More and More”.

Tell us about your music experience? 

  I’ve always had a connection with music.  I played clarinet in 6th grade.  Hated it.  Learned some music theory though so wasn’t a total loss.  I picked up the guitar at 15 or 16 and began leading worship for our student ministry at 17.  Our church had a 9 month internship program with our music ministry and after I graduated high school I attended that and grew exponentially as a musician and worship leader under our music pastor Jermaine Rodriguez (@pastor_jermaine).  I began to experiment with recording around that time with a cheap 4 track Tascam recorder and really dove into digital recording a few years later.

Why should people check out Loopcommunity?

 I’ve scoured the internet and you won’t find better quality resources made by people just like you than here at Loop Community.  In addition to the loops it really is a community where worship leaders and musicians are encouraged to ask questions and participate in the conversation.  Ive learned many things and been introduced to a lot of new technology from the articles and forums on LoopCommunity.com.  It’s not just another resource but it really is a community.

EJ Gauna is the Director of Worship for Bvd Next-Gen Ministry
Follow him on twitter @Ejgauna and please check out his loops.