We here at Down The Line love good music. Yes, we are a “Christian” magazine (whatever that means), but we are also happy to bring you articles and reviews by bands that relate to that exploration between faith and art. Seventh Circle is one such band… they are not a “Christian” band, but we will discuss that in more detail later during the interview. Without getting into the whole “Christian/not Christian/not Christian but comprised of Christians” argument I will just say upfront that this band is worth checking out on every level. This is great music, and while not “Christian” per se, it is heavily steeped in spirituality based solely on the subject matter alone. Adam Pederson is the architect behind Seventh Circle. It is his brainchild and his band. I first came across Seventh Circle because Adam is the moderator of the Saviour Machine message board entitled the Arena, and I spoke with him there at one point. I was happy to hook up with Adam, he’s a super nice guy and his music is genuine. I immediately noticed a resemblance to Saviour Machine and that is always a welcomed plus. In addition to this interview, Adam is also helping us at Down The Line with a special surprise for the future, another special edition by a phenomenal artist. I won’t give away the surprise just yet, but it will be well worth the wait! So, enjoy this read and check out this band!
1) Can you tell me about Seventh Circle and how it came to be? Where did the name come from?
In 2000 I released a demo under the name The Crimson Sky Project but it wasn’t great quality and it was thrown together pretty quickly. I can hardly listen to it anymore. After that is when I decided to switch gears and I started writing new music. It was back in 2001 or 2002 when I decided to use the name Seventh Circle. I don’t remember if it was something I saw somewhere or something that just popped in my head one day. A lot of people think it’s in reference to Dante’s Inferno but it’s really just something I thought sounded cool and captured the sound I was going for.
2) Seventh Circle is comprised of just you and a couple of contributing artists, are there ever any plans to play shows live?
I would love to play shows one day and I am actually starting to seriously think about it. Kevin Wiler is a longtime friend and he would definitely be there to play guitar if we ever did a show. I’m working on finding a good drummer, a bass player and a piano/keyboard player. My goal is to find people that will share the same vision I have and will have the desire to work with me on a long term basis. I want Seventh Circle to be around for a long time to come.
3) The music is reminiscent of Saviour Machine, are they an influence on your work?
I have been a fan of Saviour Machine since 1993. It was some years later when Eric and I really became friends and a few years we ago starting working together on some SM projects. The music of SM is a very big influence on me and being close to Eric I have really learned a lot about his composition style which in turn has made me a better composer I believe. I don’t listen to SM nearly as much as I used to but they will always be a part of me and my music for sure.
4) Given that you are the moderator of the SM board (and friends with Eric), have you ever played with them in any capacity?
I have never played with SM before but as I said above, Eric and I have worked together on some SM projects the past few years. My role has been on more of the graphic design and merchandise operations side of things. I was most involved with the Rarities Box Set as I actually was involved in some of the editing and choosing of the material for that release.”
5) Are you involved in any projects outside of Seventh Circle?
Currently I am not involved with any other projects, at least not on a creative level. I do have future plans of doing other solo projects though as there are many different styles of music I would like to do and I can’t do it all with Seventh Circle.
6) I believe The Struggle was based on your grandfather? Can you explain that a little more?
The Struggle deals with the last couple years of my Grandfathers life and the events leading up to his death. It is taken from many different perspectives and touches on life, death, love, loss and greed. It’s a story that I wanted to tell for a few reasons. I think mainly it was probably my way of coping with the loss but also a testament to a man I loved very much and he was someone who was always there for me when others were not. It was the first time someone really close to me ever died and it was difficult for me for many months.
7) Your website says that The Struggle Remixes are coming, tell me about that project?
I have always been a big fan of remixes and alternate mixes of the music I listen to. I decided very early on that I wanted to do a couple remixes of these songs and decided to take it a step further and actually make a release out of it. I have a couple friends doing remixes as well. The ones I have completed so far turned out pretty good I think. It’s not something for the average fan really, it’s more for the bigger fans so hopefully I have a few of those out there, we’ll know soon enough. I am hoping to release it in June or July. I am also working on a couple other projects for release later this year and sometime in 2010.
8) Given the length of time to make The Struggle, why have you chosen to give it away as a download? Are there any more physical copies that are left?
Being that Seventh Circle is just starting out, I thought it would be better to just get the music out there and try to build a fan base than to try and sell the CD’s and maybe only have a couple hundred people hear it. In my opinion it has been a success since it has been downloaded something like 3 or 4 thousand times. I’ve got nothing but really good feedback across the board and that has definitely helped me in working on future projects. It kind of lets me know that I’m on the right track. I spent a long time on that album and I’m very proud of how it turned out. It’s comforting to know that people are enjoying it.
9) I know that Seventh Circle is not a Christian band, given that you work closely with professing believers, is that uncomfortable at all?
Some of my closest friends are Christians so I’ve never been uncomfortable around it. We have a mutual respect for each others beliefs and we don’t try to influence one another either way. There are people I have met over the years that assumed I was a Christian and when they found out I was not, they actually stopped talking to me or expressed that they felt deceived. I think that kind of thinking is unhealthy, I’ve never understood why some people of faith think they can only have friends who are of that same faith. If there is a mutual respect than it shouldn’t matter as far as I’m concerned.
10) What difference do you see that exists in the Christian and secular markets?
This is kind of a hard question for me because I really haven’t been too involved in the Christian market for some time. Back in the mid-late 90’s there were several bands I liked and would listen to and I even went to Cornerstone a few times. One thing I do remember is what non-believers views often were regarding Christian music. I would tell friends of mine that I really like this band or that band, I would play it for them and half the time they might like what they hear but as soon as I told them they were a Christian band, some of those people would immediately write it off… It was like, because it was Christian it automatically had to suck or something. I never understood that way of thinking. I’ve always been a person who just likes what I like, regardless of its message. I hear about that a lot though, even today. There’s a lot of great music out there and there is a lot of not-so-great music as well… I don’t think the good belongs to one market just as I don’t think the bad does either. I’m not sure I answered the question the way you wanted but that is what came to mind when I read it.
11) Who are your musical influences, and who are you listening to right now?
Some of my main musical influences are Saviour Machine, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta, Pink Floyd and The Doors. I also listen to a lot of electronic music as well as classical music and movie scores.
As far as what I am into right now, I have been listening to Fischerspooner, The Mars Volta, Tori Amos, Tool and I actually recently re-purchased the Mortal album Wake and the Argyle Park album.
12) What do you think about the digital revolution and how it affects the music industry?
There are good things and bad things in my opinion. I love that you can release an album digitally like more and more artists are doing, but my biggest problem with that is the whole MP3 thing. I’m really excited for the days when we start using wav files in our iPOD’s instead of MP3’s. The sound quality of an MP3 is just not that good. With technology going the way it is, I think in a few years time we will probably be at that point. I actually said many years ago that what I thought what would eventually happen is you would be able to get a full album on a digital music player. You would have all the artwork, lyrics and the songs in CD quality. It would be like having the CD itself right in a small player. I’m still very much into buying actual CD’s though, there is something about holding that CD in your hand and being able to flip through the booklets that I don’t think I will ever want to give up.
As far as how it affects the music industry, I think over the course of the next ten years maybe we will near the extinction of record labels all together. More and more artists are releasing albums without labels and are finding success on their own terms. This is the way it should be. Why should some record exec get filthy rich off the music you pour your heart and soul into? It’s always been something that bothered me so I say good riddance to the labels. Distribution companies are a different story though and I think they will always have a purpose in the music industry. Sorry I went on a little long there but I see what happens to some bands when their labels screw them over and it really makes me sick sometimes.
After we had already done the bulk of this interview, Adam updated his website with a couple more releases that are coming. As you read above he released The Struggle in 2008 and those remixes are coming in August (he just completed them). In addition, Adam is also releasing two other projects. The first is called Human, another full length release that will be coming out. The second project is called Horror Show. Next is the brief question and answer session we had about these upcoming releases.
1) In regards to the upcoming Human release, who are the players on this recording?
As of right now, Kevin Wiler will likely be playing all the guitars on the entire album. I would like to add some other musicians but I won’t know for sure what that will be until I get back into production on it this Fall.
2) Musically is it similar to The Struggle, or what are the differences?
Human will sound quite a bit different than The Struggle. It’s much more riff and melody orientated and will also be more up-tempo and heavier than The Struggle. There are a lot of electronic and percussive elements as well. That’s about all I can say right now until production resumes.
3) In what formats will this one be available?
It will likely be available on CD as well as a digital download.
4) Can you tell me a bit about Horror Show and who plays on that?
This one is all me…
5) Musically, what is the style here?
Basically, it’s like a score to a horror movie. A lot of orchestration and percussion as well as different sound effects and samples interlaced throughout. There will be no vocals so I really want to tell a story through the music. So far, I think it is working well.
6) Is there a back story to the imaginary film? If so, what is that?
I wrote a very rough story outline just to give me direction in writing each movement. There will be song titles but that will be all the listener will have to go by. I want the music to fill in the gaps.
7) Will there be any other media accompanying this?
At this point, it will likely just be the CD/download.
So, in conclusion, check out this band! There is so much in the works, coming out soon. Seventh Circle is a group that should be around for a long time to come. As you can tell from Adam’s influences, the genre here is broad and encompasses goth, industrial and ambient. I was honestly impressed at the quality of The Struggle when I first heard it. In this day and age where everyone has free downloads through MySpace, the problem for me is finding something that is of good solid, lasting quality. Seventh Circle is that band. You will be able to check them out on FaceBook soon, but for now here are the links to their MySpace site and their regular website. Please support this music and purchase upcoming releases if you like what you can hear. Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Adam for his generosity!