Amidst the swell of music millennials are inundated with on a daily basis, musical collective Gungor aims to add more to the world than just "noise."
"There's plenty of noise in the world," said band founder Michael Gungor in a phone interview with The Daily Beacon. "(We want to make) something that can allow people to experience their heart opening towards their lives, towards the world.
"It's a little ambiguous, but that's something that drives us as we're creating albums."
These albums include the Grammy-nominated "Beautiful Things" and the group's most recent effort "I Am Mountain," released on Sept. 24. "Mountain" came after a long "fallow" season, Gungor said.
"For the new album, we re-approached writing," Gungor said. "We took some time in the last year and just stopped doing anything really. We did a lot of snowboarding and hanging out with friends and playing video games and just living some normal life. We tried to not force anything out.
"Then the songs just started by trying to forget how to write a song. Music is just sound, so how can we create sound?"
Gungor said "Mountain" was recorded close to the Mexico border outside of El Paso, a setting that contributed to the feel of the album.
The feeling was magnified by a run-in with a drug cartel.
"(Our friend) was like the only white guy in the place," Gungor said. "One of the cartel guys bought him a drink and he was like, 'Yes, sir.' He kind of appeased the guy, and then he was on his way out and got stopped by these guys who wanted to take him out to the back alley and in that area, you don't do that.
"The guys started gathering around Craig, but the cartel guy came up and was like, 'No guys, he's with me tonight.' And they dispersed. He said, 'I can see you have a good heart. As long as you're with me, you're safe.'
"I was like, 'Holy crap, Craig almost got killed or kidnapped.' Our run in with the cartel was a pretty interesting part. That kind of Wild West feeling was kind of pervasive. There's a little Wild West on this album."
Before the collective made "Beautiful Things" in 2010, the group changed its name from The Michael Gungor Band to the more ambiguous Gungor. It is a change that, for Michael Gungor, reflected a shift in the group's priorities.
"Gungor is how we really started kind of moving towards creating our own aesthetic and art," Gungor said. "Michael Gungor Band was part of a slow evolution, where it just kind of happened without much thought or intention. We'd play different places and then called us Michael Gungor and then added band. There wasn't much thought or form to it. We were about to make 'Beautiful Things.'
"It felt like something had shifted and we wanted to pay more attention to what was going on inside of us and make us more intentional. We wanted to make a break from what had been and start fresh with more intentional aesthetic."
Another transformation reflected in the name change is the growing influence of Gungor's wife, Lisa Gungor, who has since taken a more active role with each proceeding album.
The two were originally drawn to each other by their mutual interest in music.
"It was part of the initial attraction and fun of the relationship that we both loved music, and it was a shared thing that we had but we never actually thought much about trying to do music together," Gungor said. "She wrote songs, but they were very different kinds of songs so for a while we didn't write together.
"Until we changed to Gungor."
While Gungor's Grammy nominations were in Gospel music-related categories, Gungor said he tries to distance himself from the moniker, and genre in general.
"A lot of our early stuff it was written to God as prayers and people just classified it as Christian music," Gungor said. "I don't believe in genre period. Music is music and people write about what's important to them, ideally. Religious themes are in most music. To me religion and spirituality should be all-pervasive in your life. Anything about life is sacred and spiritual to me.
"I don't get the distinction. You don't call other things by whatever the religion of the person that wrote it is."
Gungor's perspective on music and the value it has in people's lives adds to the uniqueness of the group and the work they have produced.
"We're not just trying to cater or pander to an audience," Gungor said. "It's important to me that people would have their hearts opened. I find my heart softened with music.
"There's something about art and music that we long for it to be more than just entertainment."
Gungor will be performing at The Square Room Saturday, Nov. 9. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $25.