(Center Right: Joseph Rojas)
Creative Christian Moments
“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”
Blog Article 16: Email interview with Seventh Day Slumber band member Joseph Rojas and manager Sacha Guzy
I am excited to present and honored to have talked with the Christian rock band Seventh Day Slumber. Seventh Day Slumber has sent shockwaves through the Christian music industry with such popular albums as Once Upon a Shattered Life (2005), Finally Awake (2007), Rescatame (2008), and two Christian rock worship albums accentuating the reformation occurring in worship with Take Everything (2009) and Love & Worship (2013). I had the privileged of acquiring and listening to Love & Worship (2013) and it has become one of my family’s Sunday morning traditions to listen to on the way to church with my daughter constantly demanding to play “my song-my song” (which is toddler speech for let’s listen to that CD).
Current band members leading this Christian rock dynasty of the divine are Joseph Rojas on vocals/guitar, Jeremy Holderfield on guitar, Blaise Rojas on drums, and Ken Reed on bass. Former band members that have marched through the musical trenches with Seventh Day Slumber include Talia Haughn-Comer, Joshua Schwartz, Ray Fryoux, Elliot Lopes, Rusty Clutts, Adam White, Tim Parady, Evan Weatherford, Michael Johns, Juan Alvarez, Phillip King, and Jamie Davis.
Words cannot honestly communicate the authentic integrity Seventh Day Slumber has towards its fans in demonstration of their Christian faith. Where naysayers arise and say Christian rock bands are just in it for the money and do not represent the Gospel message, Seventh Day Slumber proves again and again the importance of reaching ALL demographics with the Gospel message and the fruit that can come from ministry through music. I have watched videos, read countless stories, and heard from the band members themselves about the massive move of the Holy Spirit upon the youth around the world into places of believing and accepting the Gospel message. Such testimonies bare equal weight with the stories of salvation of the past centuries unifying in one common element: Jesus Christ was presented in a way to the nonbeliever that allowed the Holy Spirit to make Himself known to the specific individual.
Unlike my previous blog posts, this article will feature the very words for the artists I am interviewing themselves. Below is my email interview with Seventh Day Slumber band member Joseph Rojas and his manager Sacha Guzy.
Barry Irwin Brophy: For those who may not know about you or your band, could you tell us a bit about yourself and the band?
Sacha Guzy: From its indie beginnings at the tip of the 2000s to debuting on BEC Recordings in 2005, Seventh Day Slumber has continuously raised the bar of alternative rock excellence coupled with an unabashed gospel message. It’s a tightly wound dynamic that’s not only seen the band’s last four albums land on the Billboard Heatseekers charts, selling hundreds of thousands of units, plus a string of chart topping singles, but it’s also quite literally saved lives. The story of front man Joseph Rojas’ delivery from depression and a $400 per day cocaine addiction has already been well circulated. But many might not be aware of the fact that his previously estranged father came to Christ as a result of a Seventh Day Slumber concert.
Barry Irwin Brophy: How did you come to faith in Jesus Christ?
Joseph Rojas: After struggling with a $400.00 per day cocaine addiction for years I decided to commit suicide. In the back of an ambulance I gave my life to Jesus. See 700 club story:
Barry Irwin Brophy: Tell us a bit about your current project. From following your band on Facebook you guys are working on a new CD? I noticed your last two CDs have focused on worship albums? Do you think you will transition to a rock style of worship or continue to incorporate these special albums with your original works?
Sacha Guzy: Dove award-winning artist, Seventh Day Slumber is no newcomer to the industry. With a career that has produced five #1 singles, 14 Top-10 singles and sales of almost half a million copies worldwide Seventh Day Slumber is certainly not “the new band on the block” anymore, but you might not know that from the energy and excitement they create on their new album, We Are the Broken. Seventh Day Slumber is back to what makes them a favorite of radio and concert goers everywhere, and singer Joseph Rojas has a great deal more to say on this latest album. Coming from a background of poverty and abuse and rising to the top of the Christian music charts, Rojas has seen the best and the worst that life has to offer. This special perspective coincides perfectly with the message of this record.
Joseph Rojas: We are the Broken is about people who have been considered broken or have felt like they have no hope left. This is my own personal story as well. With Christ, you see these same people that have been “broken” by this world move to being broken for Jesus. He takes each person and builds them up stronger and in the ways He sees fit. Songs for the record were inspired by true stories from fans posting to the band’s Facebook page. This is a very unique record in the fact that it is a compilation of the pain and struggles of our fans and our response to those struggles in song. We’ve never done a record like this before, and we are very excited about how this will touch our fans.
Barry Irwin Brophy: How has God been using the band to spread His Gospel message? Any stories?
Joseph Rojas: We have seen over 100,000 people come to Christ over the years at our concerts. There are many stories of redemption. Recently I received a message on Facebook from a girl who was going through a lot at home. She said she was going to end it all. I was able to minister to her though messaging and talk her out of it. I believe the way we help people should go beyond our music. We have a real connection with our fans.
Barry Irwin Brophy: I hear a lot of negative talk about how Christian rock is not an effective means of sharing the Gospel but the stories you shared before say otherwise. What do you think are the biggest obstacles with the Christian Church institution in America and how can we change to be more effective in preaching the Gospel?
Joseph Rojas: I believe it is very important for us to open our eyes to all of the hurting people around us. We are so caught up in our own problems that we miss opportunities to minister to others.
Barry Irwin Brophy: What advice would you like to give to Christian musicians just getting started?
Joseph Rojas: Don’t sell out. Keep Christ first no matter what! He will open the doors that need to be opened and He will close the doors that need to be closed. Play as many shows as you can!!! Don’t be rude! Sound men and promoters usually get bad attitudes from bands and they don’t deserve it. Don’t act like a rock star. Write from your heart and record as much music as you can. Make sure you take advantage of your social media sites.
Barry Irwin Brophy: I’ve also encounter many struggling Christian musicians who have given up on pursuing their calling because of chaotic hardships in every form imaginable. These guys and girls are really in the fire right now and have been severely burned. If you were speaking with them one on one what would you say to them?
Joseph Rojas: Quit listening to negative people! Quit letting other people determine your value or worth! God doesn’t need their permission to bless you or use you in any way He sees fit. If God called you to it He will provide for you through it. No one can stop you except for you!
Barry Irwin Brophy’s Closing thoughts on the interview: Having gotten to know both Rojas and Guzy through this interview, I can see why God is moving through their ministry. Rojas, Holderfield, Rojas, and Reed have hand picked a group of Christians to surround them that share their vision of the ministry of music. Though many of these people may never receive recognition for their services to the Lord, may we praise God for theirs individuals selfless commitment to the message of the Gospel. They will be honored by God in His heavenly kingdom.
I will generalize here but as I speak to artists around the community and my own personal experiences, fighting the doubt of others and our own self-doubt, feels like a titanic war of continuing the mission of the Gospel through impossible situations. I take comfort in Rojas’ statement “God doesn’t need their permission to bless you or use you in any way He sees fit.” It is a grand reminder for myself and others that we must continue to pursue our artistic callings with Christ even when it seems as though the opposition comes from every angle of life and every personal relationship. Because in the end, as Christian artists know, it’s not about us. It’s not about our glory! Nor is it about fame and money! It is about sharing the redemptive message of Christ through an artistic medium that will only touch the hearts of certain individuals because they understand Christ through this medium! So when people ask about the worth of all the hours, effort, money, and sacrifice invested in your artistic talent, reply with the story of Jesus Christ leaving the 99 sheep to seek after that one lost soul from Matthew 18:10-12 as your reason. Every person is valuable to Christ whether they know Him as Savior and Lord or are nonbelievers.
Seventh Day Slumber pages
Band Website: http://seventhdayslumber.com/
Guzy, Sacha, e-mail message to author, February 12, 2014.
Seventh Day Slumber, Seventh Day Slumber Band Portrait, 2014. https://www.facebook.com/seventhdayslumber/photos/pb.13651640386.-2207520000.1393018545./10153222439905387/?type=3&theater (accessed February 19, 2014)
Suicidal Drug Addict, YouTube, 5:59, posted by Niki de Vera, December 9, 2008, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBsgZlRlVyE (accessed February 12, 2014)