Parachute Band may not be a familiar name to many, but for some, the Auckland, New Zealand-based pop rock band has played quite a big part in their lives.

The band, who are currently on its Asian tour, was in Malaysia last month for a gig in Kuala Lumpur; it was their third time visiting the capital city.

“We love it. We’ve got good friends here, there are lots of good food and nice people,” said drummer Sam de Jong during an interview at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Parachute Band is a worship band that was formed via a Christian organisation called Parachute Music, which was formed 22 years ago by Sam’s family.

Omega Levin (left) and Sam de Jong of Parachute Band.


“The organisation is about helping and training musicians in our country. We have our own record labels, artiste management groups and recording studios, too. However, our main programme is running a four-day music festival in the summer called Parachute Festival.

“It’s the biggest Christian music festival in the Southern hemisphere, with about 25,000 young people attending each time,” Sam explained.

Although Parachute Music has been around for more than two decades, the band itself only began to take form in 1996. Back then, it was headed by Wayne and Libby Huirua and Chris de Jong, who is Sam’s mother. The original line up retired in 2006, making way for Sam, Omega Levine, Jeremy Gregory, Callum Galloway and Elliot Francis to take over.

“It’s funny, the band is the same age as I am (22) – I grew up with it. I’ve seen it change from being just like my mum and dad in our house folding T-shirts and putting the CDs away, to how we are now. We have a big building in the city with a staff of 25 people. Things are definitely starting to grow,” said Sam about how the organisation has changed over the years.

He added that the youth festival has changed, too, and for the better. “The attendance in the first year was under 1,000 people but now, about 25,000 people come each year. I think because the festival has stuck to the same mission all this while, the heart of the festival has stayed the same, even when things around it have grown.”

Omega, who is the lead vocalist in the band, said that Parachute Band has a lot of musicians and artistes that they look up to, and are inspired by. One of them is British band Delirious.



“They have been a big influence for our band especially because they are so cutting edge and yet still sing worship songs. They are kind of like the quirky brother of Christian music!” Omega said in jest.
Of course, the band also listens to other groups like Passion Pit, Sigur Ros, Coldplay and Bon Iver.

Said Sam, “We listen to everything and anything. We want to make sure that we are
culturally relevant and we can appeal to everyone.”

The second generation Parachute Band has three albums in their pocket – Roadmaps And Revelations, Technicolor and Love Without Measure, which was released in February.

The band won the People’s Choice Award at the 2008 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, and was also a finalist for the Best Gospel Album award (for Roadmaps And Revelations).

Omega shared that Mercy, a song in Roadmaps And Revelations that he and Sam co-wrote, is his favourite track to perform whenever they’re on stage because he has a personal attachment to it.
“I was born with a thumb in my face, and that prevented my nose from forming properly. I had to have major operations to rebuild my face.

“Growing up wasn’t easy for me. People always think that kids who grow up in a Christian family are automatically ‘fine’, but I had deep insecurity issues and was a really depressed kid,” he revealed.

Having been constantly mocked at in school, Omega found it hard to fit in or be accepted. When he was 15, he made the decision to take his own life on Christmas. He turned to prayer one last time for solace, and this time around, something stirred in him and from that day on he re-committed his life to his religion and God.

“The chorus of the song goes, ‘Your mercy saved me, Your mercy made me whole, Your mercy found me and caught me as Your own,’ which is kind of like what happened to me. It has been amazing being able to share that with so many people in so many countries,” said Omega.

While the band is still busy touring, Parachute Band has already started working on its fourth album, which is expected to be released in January. If you missed the band’s live shows in Malaysia, you can still check out its performances at on YouTube (, or get your hands on the albums in music stores nationwide.

Parachute Band’s Roadmaps And Revelations, Technicolor and Love Without Measure are distributed by Integrity Music in Malaysia. Head to for more information.

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