The name Arnold de Wet wouldn’t necessarily cut it in the English Rock market, so Bluehouse happened. Why? Blue is his favourite colour (if he had a house it would be blue), and then there is that spiritual thing about a house…
1 Peter 2:5 (Living Bible): “And now you have become living building stones for God’s use in building His house. What’s more, you are his holy priests – so come to Him [you who are acceptable to Him because of Jesus Christ] – and offer to God those things that please Him.”
Just to put the man in context; yes, he is the brother of Petri D, as well as the son of pioneer Christian artist, Jan de Wet. But that’s that. He does not look or sound like any of them at all… EVER.
As a matter of fact, even though he seems to be the one who waited the longest to get going (22 years!), he seems to be the more artistic of the siblings. He started playing guitar in St. 6 and knew since high school that music was what God wanted him to do (which explained that nasty business economics score). Arnold started writing songs in matric. He was in love – so he wrote her a song… and found out that he actually could! He preferred writing in English (Afrikaans just didn’t suite his high school skateboard junkie image at all)!
Then school came to an end and life as an adult (the surf and the sea…) winked. Knowing his destiny, Arnold decided to go and study at Rhema for the next two years. His Creative Ministry Major helped a lot when afterwards he joined his brother (Petri) touring. Those must have been his preparation years. He was the one who carried the speakers and then did the opening act for Innervision. He also worked in his bother’s studio – Squeeky Clean Productions, mixing and recording CD’s (including Petri’s solo albums – for which he wrote most of the songs).
But his day was fast approaching. Petri was performing at the Godly Revolution festival, so they approached Arnold to hear if he wanted to do something too. Never one to say no to a gig, Arnold decided that this was a great opportunity to get his career going. He got together some of his friends and Bluehouse was formed right then and there. Gerrie Pansegrouw (music pastor and his guitar teacher at Rhema) was on lead guitar, Stass (producer and session musician) handled bass and Andries Visser did the honours on drums. These are some of the best musos this country has on offer. They did the gig, decided that they liked the “band” feeling and kept at it.
Arnold has a lot of respect for “the guys”. He describes them as fellows with hearts for the Lord and for ministry. Even though they have many original songs to use when they perform, they really have a heart for worship. They would do only worship if that was what the Lord leaded them to do. They describe their music style as contemporary rock and modern worship – very unique. Arnold: “We like to include the crowd in the music. We are there to create a platform for people to participate in worship. We also feel that somehow we bridge the ever-growing gap between generations.” The older generation feels that the young people are disrespectful and loud. The younger generation feels misunderstood and left out. When the two do not relate in any way, the church hits a dead end. But for some reason Bluehouse reaches both generations. At a concert they teach everyone the chorus lines, and young and old connect and sing along when they perform the song. It is actually quite supernatural how they all enjoy the music.
The band members still play a very active role in their local churches. Arnold himself is employed at his church (Cardia – previously known as AFM JHB South) as a worship leader. He runs the arts department in the church as well, which keeps him quite busy. Besides that he is running his own studio called Bluehouse Studios where he records his and Petri’s albums, demos and voice-overs.
Arnold listens to any kind of music and to just about nothing at all. He doesn’t want to hear too much, as he wants to develop his own style when he writes – without too much influence from the bands already in the loop. But when he does listen, people that impress him are people like Morning Star, Tree 63 and Switchfoot. He even listens to secular bands like Coldplay and the Goo Goo Dolls. He says he does not want to be controversial, but sometimes these secular bands have a single sentence in one of their songs, and it just fits in… it means something in his life… God uses it to speak to him. But when he listens to worship music, he doesn’t only listen to it for the sake of listening, or just for entertainment, he uses it to get into the presence of God.
His role models…
Arnold wanted to be just like Steven Curtis Chapman during high school (it could be the guitar thing…), and then there is also Keith Green – a guy who gave the word “radical” new meaning. He proclaimed the message God gave him and he never cared what people thought of him.
When you try and pry out of him his plans for the future, he is not certain. He is getting married soon. Besides that it’s Bluehouse for now… Arnold: “it would be cool if I could someday become a pastor at a church” (he is already qualified). He wants to have a lasting impact on people’s lives. He wants to be a producer as well. And then he would also like to do something big in business. He has enough plans to last him a lifetime, and beyond, but God will have to show him. In the meantime he will be faithful with what he has now… and wait and see.