INDIAN TRAIL – Justin and Jeremy Oldja have always loved music.
The Indian Trail brothers grew up singing in church and playing instruments in their school band. So it was only natural to fuse their talents together to create their own unique brand of music.
The brothers formed the group Rock Solid and Oldja in 2011 and over the past three years have released a handful of music – including their most recent work, an extended play entitled “Bigtime.”
“Music runs deep in our family,” Jeremy, a senior at Porter Ridge High School, said. “… It just kind of happened naturally.”
Jeremy started learning to play the guitar and other instruments and writing his own songs in middle school, while Justin started developing his own beats and hooks. The brothers saved money to purchase studio equipment and decided to experiment with recording their own music.
“That’s when we really started having fun with it and got creative,” Jeremy said.
Jeremy sings, plays more than 10 instruments and handles most of the technical aspects of recording, while Justin writes raps, creates beats and lends his vocals to some of the musical hooks.
“Jeremy’s more technical … he knows how to tweak the EQ,” said Justin, who attends Stetson University near Daytona, Fla. “He’ll get the real minute stuff, and I’ll get the big picture stuff. It meshes perfectly.”
Jeremy’s music is heavily influenced by contemporary Christian artists, while Justin’s inspiration comes from Christian hip-hop. But the biggest influence over the brothers’ music is their Christian faith. They draw from their own life experiences and view their music as a ministry, writing song lyrics to uplift and inspire others.
“From rather young ages, we both had a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Justin said. “… If God gave us this gift, why not use it?”
Though Jeremy and Justin pull from personal experiences when crafting their songs, the brothers try to write lyrics others can relate to, as well.
“It’s not just the music you’re going to hear … it’s the lyrics you’re going to listen to and say, ‘That’s where I am,’” Jeremy said.
In addition to recording music for Rock Solid and Oldja, Jeremy is opening his studio, Oldja Studios, to other emerging artists. He’s built his collection of recording equipment over the past several years and spends a lot of time looking for ways to improve his work and produce the best sound for the recordings.
The brothers also have worked to get the word out about Oldja Studios through attending band and symphonic concerts, offering to record the concerts for free and split the profits from CD sales with the musicians.
“We’ve raised thousands of dollars for local community groups through that,” Jeremy said.
The goal for Oldja Studios, Jeremy said, is to help develop other artists and offer them an affordable outlet to produce their own recordings. And although he’d love to make an occupation out of his studio work, he wants to make sure it remains a passion and doesn’t turn into simply a way to make money.
“So many times you love something and start making money, and then it becomes work,” he said. “I hope it will go on for a long while as a passion.”
Though Justin attending college in Florida makes it difficult to work on music and perform live, the brothers dedicate much of their limited time together to writing and recording new tunes.
“We love to do it, so it’s not a problem,” Justin said. “If we’ve got some free time, we’ll sit down and start putting together a beat or something.”
And no matter where the road leads, the brothers want to remain true to the focal point of their music – the faith they cling to.
“(Rock Solid) stands for ‘Representatives Of Christ’s Kingdom Shining Our Light In Darkness,’” Jeremy said. “…We have goals, but in the end it doesn’t matter how many millions of people love you – it just matters that your music helps someone. Even if I don’t have a huge fan base, if I can help people, just individuals, that’s a success for me.”
Rock Solid and Oldja’s “Bigtime” EP is available for free at www.soundcloud.com/rock-solid-and-oldja/sets, and the duo’s full-length album, “Nameless,” is available on iTunes. Find more information at their Facebook page, “Rock Solid Muzik,” or follow @RockSolidBand on Twitter.