Colombian-born Joani Gomez, frontman of the metal/hardcore band Sobre Todo Nombre, is a passionate evangelist who takes advantage of every opportunity to share the Gospel. It was so good to spend some time with him and hear more about the band’s history and vision, and the impact they’ve been having everywhere they go.

Katie Schaumann

Katie is a staff writer and part of Come&Live!’s Artist Relations and Development team.​

Tell me a little bit about Sobre Todo Nombre and how you guys got started as a band.

The band started in Bogotá, Colombia back in 2006. We were a bunch of dudes wanting to do something different in the local music scene. We got into the metalcore/hardcore scene and released a couple of demos in 2007. People really liked and accepted us, so we started playing a bunch of concerts in Colombia from 2007 to 2009. We always proclaimed the Gospel at every show, and the cool thing was that the non-Christian scene really accepted us as we were. We became very well-known in Colombia as a Christian band.

Then, in 2009, we met For Today, and we had our first tour in Costa Rica with them. The next year, we recorded our first album, and then we were blessed to come to Europe in 2011 for our first long tour. It was so cool to experience this different culture and see how people receive the message of the Cross. It’s a really tough place to proclaim the Gospel! But we did it, and we had some good and powerful experiences with people here, so we were grateful to God for that. In 2014, I decided to move to the States, and I went to live with Chad Johnson, working with him in Come&Live! and the band basically stopped.

Some time after, I decided to get married. I moved to Spain, and I started to talk with one of the co-founders of Sobre Todo Nombre, who now lives in Norway. Because we were both in Europe, we decided to start the band back up again. We talked with the other members in Colombia, and they were OK with us finding new musicians for the band in Europe. So we got some guys from Norway to play with us, and the band was reunited.

You’ve been around for quite a long time as a band, though with different members. Whether it’s from previous years or recently, what would be some stories of how God has used you guys?

As you mentioned, we’ve had quite a few members coming and going. I remember a time when one of the bassists who played with us wasn’t a Christian. We needed a bass player for some shows that were coming up the next month, because our first bassist had left. So one of the guys from the band knew this dude and we said, “OK, let’s have him play even though he’s not a Christian.” And the good thing was that during that first concert with him, the Spirit moved powerfully and this guy felt the presence of God. After that show, he gave his life to Jesus. A month later, we went to Costa Rica to play with For Today, and he was baptized on the beach by the guys from For Today. So that was really cool.

I’ve seen a lot of miracles, I’ve seen people healed at hardcore shows, when they got hurt running in the mosh pit -  and that’s really funny - but the greatest miracle that I have ever seen was this guy giving his life to Jesus and getting baptized.

I think it’s something we really need to seek God about - whether we should do this or not. A lot of people ask us in Come&Live!, “Is it OK if I have a non-Christian in my Christian band?” So, it’s so cool to see how God used you guys in that very situation, to bring this guy to the Lord.

Yeah, there’s this sort of taboo about Christian bands having non-Christian members, and generally I agree with that. But you have no idea of the testimony that you can be, the example that you can be for another person. This band has been like a platform for non-Christian musicians, where they could meet God through playing with us.   

That’s cool because you’re not only reaching out to the crowd that you’re playing to, but internally, within your group, you’re seeing people come to know the Lord. You definitely want to make sure that everyone in the band that is a believer is mature enough, because I’m assuming that it can be a challenge to have a band member who’s not a Christian.

What have been the challenges, if any, that you have faced while preaching the Gospel at the shows you play? I know you said that in Colombia, people were really receptive, but have you also faced challenges or experienced difficulties?

In Colombia, we never had any situations where we were rejected by the crowd, but in Europe it’s really different. Here, we have experienced bands playing before our show, talking against God, Christianity and faith; encouraging people to believe that God is a lie, a myth or just a story. So when we walk on stage, we have to knock down that wall that the band before us has built. 

I remember one time in Switzerland, there was a German band playing before us. The frontman knew we were Christians, and he wanted to fight me because I was about to preach. But while this guy was performing and jumping on stage, he broke his ankle. The promoter of the show brought him back to their merch table, which was next to ours, and I came up to him, and he said, “Don’t you dare preach or pray for me!” He knew I was going to pray for him, and I said, “Man, just let me do it! You want to be healed?” And he was just cursing in German. But I was able to pray for him anyway, and God healed him, and now he is a believer. So, it’s crazy!

That’s so cool. Is that something you’ve seen happen a lot? Not only being able to have an impact on the crowd, but also being able to witness to the bands that you’re playing with?

I remember playing with a huge metal band from the States called Black Dahlia Murder. Their drummer was warming up, and just struggling and complaining, rubbing his wrists as if they were in pain. So I walked over to him and asked if he was OK, and he said that his wrist was injured and really hurting. He told me that he had been playing with a wrist injury for six or seven shows, and the pain was really bad, and he didn’t think he was going to be able to play that night. I asked if I could pray for him, and he said he didn’t believe in God but I could pray anyway. It was a very short prayer and God instantly healed him. So, the drummer from Black Dahlia Murder got healed in a metal show! That was so encouraging and such a confirmation that God has brought us to this scene to bring His light. Even if the people in the crowd aren’t getting the message, the bands around us are!

It’s really cool to see that you guys are ministering to everyone you can. You aren’t just going on stage and preaching to the crowd, but you’re also ministering to the bands around you and the people in your own band. It’s amazing how, if we’re open, God gives us so many opportunities beyond just the one we have when we’re on stage.

What’s something that God has been showing you lately that you’d like to challenge or encourage the Come&Live! Community with?

Something that I have noticed is that in the hardcore/metal genre, there are not a lot of bands with the devotion or conviction to proclaim the Gospel in a bold way. My goal is to recruit more bands that are carrying the flag of the Gospel - bands that really have the heart to give all that they have for the cause of God. For me, one of my mentors is For Today. They’ve just finished their season as a band. They were mentors for bands like us, because they taught us not to be afraid to share Jesus, to pray for people, to proclaim the truth from stage. If the world is allowed to proclaim their truth, why aren’t we allowed to proclaim ours? My message to Come&Live! and to all artists is, “Let’s build a fearless community that proclaims the Gospel! No matter what we are - a reggae band, a jazz band, whatever - there will always be people waiting for the Gospel everywhere.”

So whatever scene we’re in, we can always proclaim the Gospel there!

Yeah, that’s right!

What is your vision for Sobre Todo Nombre, or how would you like to see God continue to use you guys?

Our vision now that we’re here in Europe is to empower and encourage Christian bands on this continent, even though they’re really hard to find. Europe is huge and there are so many bands, but I only know of three Christian hardcore/metal bands: one in Germany, one in Norway and another in Sweden. So, my vision is to bring these bands to Jesus, and to develop their faith, so they can impact this scene.

What prayer requests do you have individually or as a band?

Well, I think that the main prayer request that we have now is for doors to open here in Europe. Because we are willing to go anywhere to proclaim Jesus, but we need open doors to go.

Alright, man. We’ll be praying for you! It will be exciting to see what God is going to do!

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