Servanthood is not always an easy path, yet there’s an infectious energy that comes from fulfilling a calling and it courses through every powerful track on 7eventh Time Down’s BEC Recordings debut. Anthemic choruses collide with crunchy guitars as Mikey Howard’s powerful lead vocal takes command. Music meets message in a gripping sea of unforgettable songs.
7eventh Time Down’s compelling lead single, “Alive in You,” introduces fans to the band’s signature sound and previews their September 2011 debut album. The collection includes “World Changer,” a well-crafted challenge to make a difference; the thought-provoking ballad “Worship Jesus” and “Rusty Nails,” a poignant worship song.
“A lot of bands, especially rock bands, sing about brokenness and tough trials and that’s great,” says Howard. “There’s definitely a place for it, but with our record, it’s a little different because we turn our focus more towards proclaiming who we are in Christ. It’s a declaration.”
The Kentucky-based foursome has already garnered an enthusiastic army of fans who’ve seen them share the stage with Skillet, Fireflight, Family Force 5, Group 1 Crew, Jars of Clay, Pillar and Kutless. 7eventh Time Down has earned a reputation for shredding stages across the country with their high-powered live show and for their incredible work ethic. “We pretty much played every state east of Texas,” says drummer Austin Miller. “We’ve played a lot of different festivals. We’ve played 100-150 shows a year for the last six or seven years or so. This year we’re branching out. We just got back from California and Colorado.”
Listening to 7eventh Time Down relive their adventures on the road, including Howard, Miller, Eric Van Zant on guitar and Cliff Williams on bass, it’s obvious this is more than a band, it’s a brotherhood bound together by a shared commitment to God, to each other and to making great music. “It goes back a long time. We started our first group when Austin was 11, I was 12 and Eric was 15,” says Howard. “We’ve been playing music together for years. We all grew up in the same hometown in the same schools. We played t-ball, baseball, the whole bit. We’re best friends, same ministry minds, same goals.”
Williams recalls their shared enthusiasm for God and music being a magnet that drew them together and helped them grow together. “There was a point when we said, ‘Let’s be in a band and play music because it’s fun and let’s sing about God because it’s what we know,’” he says, “but there was definitely a point about three or four years back where the focus turned from playing music to ministering in the best way we know how. As musicians, the best way we know how to minister is through music.”
Like all young musicians, there came a time when the members of 7eventh Time Down began wrestling with the future and whether music was a career, a calling or a carefree pastime. “There was a moment where I said, ‘okay God, do I need to stop doing this? Or do I need to keep doing this? I thought this was the plan you had for me, but if that’s something different, I’ll follow you down that road.’ I felt a huge confirmation in the spirit. For me that’s when everything in my life started to shift focus and change.”
The journey really kicked into high gear when the band met musician/writer/producer Scotty Wilbanks (DecembeRadio, Unhindered, Echoing Angels) backstage at a show. “He really helped us with songwriting and taught me as a writer to be real hook-minded and real melody-minded,” says Howard. “If you are playing rock songs or worship, people want to know the words and they want to sing along.”
7eventh Time Down recorded their BEC debut with Wilbanks at the Rockporium in Atlanta. “Sonically it’s got Van Zant a lot of heavy guitars because that’s the music we love,” says Van Zant. “Everything has to be big. At the same time I think all of us like to listen to music that we can hear what is going on vocally and lyrically, so the melodies to us have to be something that we’d want to sing along to.”
7eventh Time Down’s big, bold in-your-face brand of rock is inescapable, but it’s the message that’s most important. “Lyrically I hope we make a statement that’s inspiring for people to live like Jesus,” says Howard. “For us, the biggest goal is for them to not only believe in Jesus but to start following him and start to ask themselves some tough questions--What is it going to mean for me to look like Jesus where I’m at in my job? At school? Or for parents in that relationship with their husband or wife or kids? And for non-believers, I hope it’s inspiring for them to want to know who Jesus is. We want to present the gospel in a way that is intriguing and makes it a train that you want to jump on board.”
7eventh Time Down has experienced God’s grace and goodness and are compelled to share the good news. “We’re excited about being Christians and we want that to be the message of our record,” says Williams. “We want people to know that being saved and believing in God is exciting to us. I call it warfare, but it’s the most beautiful type of warfare because it’s warfare with no casualties. We’re warriors in a spiritual warfare. This is our craft and lyrics, guitars, bass, drums, melodies are our weapons and our tools. It’s a beautiful type of warfare. It’s love and excitement.”