Pop-punk band 7 Minutes In Heaven was formed as a solo project by Timmy Rasmussen in early 2012. 7MIH added musicians Alex Rogers (Vocals/Bass) and Justin Mondzak (Guitar) in 2014. In 2o14 7MIH self-released The Statement EP followed by The Statement: Deluxe in 2015.
On October 1st, 2015, the band released the first single “I’m Okay” from their current EP Side Effects. Talk Nerdy With Us recently chatted with 7MIH to discuss Side Effects and their 2016 plans.
When did you each got involved in music, how old were you when you started playing instruments, and when did you realize that’s the way you wanted to go as a career?
Alex: Honestly I didn’t expect this to be my career in the future. I always sang when I was a kid. Going through grade school and middle school I dabbled in piano but it never really stuck with me. I was into sports and that kind of stuff. I was a sports kid when I was younger. Then I got into high school and I met kids who were into the same music as I was. I actually had friends in high school that were all into that scene music, it was really cool. From then on I picked up the guitar and started doing bands. As soon as I played the first couple of shows, I just saw that tour lifestyle, and I thought okay, this is what I want to do. I was 15 or 16 when I said this is what I’m doing with my life now.
Timothy: For me I was in 6th grade when I actually sat down and taught myself guitar. There was this band in middle school I wanted to join, a Green Day cover band. (laughs). They didn’t let me in it, but in 7th grade I ended up meeting a bunch of friends that I still have today. We started a band in 7th grade, at 12 or 13 and I’ve been in a band since. I’m 22 now. But for a career choice, that moment hit me when I graduated in 2011. And I never had a plan B, like I’m going to go to college, maybe I’ll take these courses. That was never for me. I wanted to do music. When I graduate, I’ll try and start a band, start this band and see where it goes. And here we are! (laughs).
Justin: I actually wanted to do it as my career immediately. When I was in 6th grade I got into guitar and I knew this is what I want to do, absolutely. It actually began from watching the Fall Out Boy Dance Dance music video. I just really like their style; I really like Pete Wentz’s style. But I went to college for a semester and then I got a touring opportunity and I started touring when I was 18. My first tour was actually with Timmy. He was the merch guy and I was the live bassist. That’s actually how we met.
How long have you been touring with different bands?
Alex: The first real tour that I did was when I was 19. That’s when I really left home. It wasn’t a super long tour but ever since then I’ve been touring, and I just turned 24 this Christmas. So I would say five years dedicated on and off to touring. I tried college but I’ve learned so much more from doing band stuff than I ever did from college. I did college for a year then dropped out and I kept going with bands. Bands were my thing. It’s just what I feel right doing and I’m stoked when I wake up in the morning. It’s worth it.
How did you all meet?
Justin: I met Alex briefly before, it just happened we were in the same place. We just kept in touch a little bit but that was I think at the end of 2012.
Alex: We didn’t start actually hanging out in 2012 though. We were on that tour with Justin, so officially in 2013.
Justin: I met him for a split second and said Hi.
Alex: It’s funny but they have no idea…Justin doesn’t remember. (laughs).
Justin: Yeah, I didn’t remember.
Alex: I showed up to a venue to watch the show in Chicago and drop Timmy off afterwards and I forgot I’d met Justin. I thought the first time I met him was 2014 in Allentown but then we finally remembered. It was “Hey, this is Alex, this is Justin, what’s up dude?” which is typical us. (laughs) I briefly remembered after, it’s just so weird how that all came together.
Timothy: With Justin and with Alex, they were like two cool friends in 2013. Then in 2014 I asked them are you free because I have this tour coming up?
Justin: I wanted to do something like that, and said if you ever need anybody to tour, I can play guitar and sing.
Timmy: A while back we talked briefly, because I was doing a tour and I wanted to take your band on the tour. So I was trying to swing that. I asked you if you wanted to come out and be in my live band, and he came out finally in 2014. I was actually trying to get Justin before I got Alex. I was trying to get Justin to play bass but he couldn’t do it because he worked at Staples.
Justin: I still have a grudge against Staples. (laughs). They’re the reason I didn’t tour for a year. I started touring when I was 18, and when I stopped touring with that band, I just stayed home for a year. Then I went out with Timmy because he asked me to do merch on one of his tours and then he asked me to join the band.
Timmy: I was trying to get Justin to do it, but he couldn’t do it at that time, so Alex ended up doing it, and I said Alex, you need to be in this band. And he decided to be in the band.
Justin: Timmy said I mind tricked him –this is Jedi mind, you will be in this band! (laughs).
Alex: I was really happening. (laughs).
Timmy: Then we booked a tour, and we asked, Justin do you want to come out on this one? We didn’t have any members at the time. We had a different drummer very briefly. So when we came out, we wanted to just test it because at that point with our drummer we knew all this was going to work and take off. It was completely different from what we expected. We weren’t vibing it. So at that point it was Justin, we want you to essentially be in the band. We wanted Justin to be in the band but we wanted to vibe it and make sure we can all get along, that it all gels and it did. By the first day we were like whoa. Then our drummer left and Justin fit… Justin doesn’t play drums but such is life and so it became the three of us.
Timmy: I think since September at the end of 2014 it’s been just the three of us.
So are you a power trio or are you still looking for a drummer?
Timmy: We have a drummer. He’s our unofficially official drummer. Right now we just put a record out; we’re in transition so we’re not going to change anything too drastically right now. We’re letting it all come naturally. Everybody that meets him seems to love him, which is great, that’s exactly what we want.
Alex: we love him so much. Yes, it’s just when the timing is right we’ll make it official.
Tell us about Side Effects?
Alex: It’s our new release, out September 11. This is the first time the three of us wrote together, just sat down and wrote an entire EP together. We worked with our friend David Newton, who lives right by me. I live in Southern Park, IL and he’s not far from here, so we’d go over to his house and just throw ideas around and songs started coming together. We started work with him in early 2015 and “I’m Okay” was written right away. It preceded this whole new direction that was what we had always wanted to do. It was a new direction, a new quality of writing, and it was just so much better. We found this new sound within ourselves, this new idea, and we had these themes, these concepts, so we recorded that song. We went out to the radio stations, and then we did a full US tour for two months. That whole time we were just sitting on demos we had written together.
All of this stuff is happening to us, and we’re writing at the same time. We had this one song, the concept song of the entire record for us in our own heads. It wasn’t called Side Effects; it was just an idea after touring nonstop for half a year and having no A/c in our van. We were on the west coast when it broke down and it was 107 degrees. I forget where we played in California, but it was 107 degrees and our A/C broke down. It was a third combat tour. It was really rough. You hear that urgency and survival and that angst inside “Side Effects.”
Timmy: We want to get across that we’ve been enjoying it, this is our lives, this is what we do and surviving a tour is kind of half the fun (laughs) when you really look at it. Getting home we thought, we just went through some shit but it was awesome! That was fucking cool! (laughs). It justifies how aggressive “Side Effects” gets with some of its songs, and some of the lyrical content. We’ve had this weird tone of hope, even when things suck. There’s going to be something better tomorrow. You don’t know what it is yet, but what is happening now is just temporary at that.
What are your musical influences? What do you listen to when you’re listening on your own and not rehearsing or writing your own songs?
Timmy: We all have different music tastes for sure but we also have common tastes which makes our friendship and everything work.
Justin: We have like the same influences but we like different beats.
Timmy: We’ll all get down to Blink 182 and Green Day and Sum 41 and that kind of stuff. Early 2000’s music we can all pretty much get along with. But with the new stuff, it kind of splits off what we’re all into. More modern music I should say. Alex, you’ve been listening to more mainstream haven’t you?
Alex: I’ve been listening to a lot more pop stuff, getting away from that angsty raw shit. Anything that’s pop! Anything with that weird pop edge with some emo tied to it, that’s what I’ve become obsessed with.
Timmy: I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Knight since we toured with them. Bringing out my inner punk influence. I have playlists full of great shit.
Justin: I listen to a lot of metal, I’m a huge metalhead. I’ve been trying to keep an open mind. Upstate Champs, that record is bumping, My influences are the same, like Fall Out Boy, Green Day. I listen to a little bit of everything, I really like R&B, a little bit of rap. We listen to almost everything but country. I appreciate country but I won’t listen to it. (laughs).
You released a Christmas song..?
Timmy: Yes we did! It’s an original, and we put out an actual studio recording version of it last year with the same person we recorded our previous EP (before Side Effects) with. And we put it out but just kind of sat on it for a year. And we saw the reaction to it, and we were like okay, this is cool, we can make it better, let’s do it. We had some off time so we went into the studio again, and it’s cool how it came together over time.
Actually parts of it I had started when I was about 17 in high school. I found it later and I said hey Alex how would you feel about putting out a Christmas song? It was the middle of the summer I’m pretty sure and, he said I have a chord for it and then it just came together. We went to the studio, and when it picks up the whole band, that was written in the studio. It came naturally. That was a cool time for us, it got heavier and darker; musically, which was really cool. That was a fun time.
Alex: I remember we were driving through Pennsylvania and you (Timmy) said I wrote this song when I was 17. A Christmas song, that sounded lame. Then he played it for us and I thought okay, this is really sick. I had a chord I’d written maybe a couple of months before, and it fit the chords he had written so well musically. We had everything pretty much done, and we just threw the chords together. We just sat on that idea forever, though we did write it down, and when we get to it, we get to it. Then we came up to Christmas that year. We were staying in Indianapolis at that point recording the deluxe version of our last EP (The Statement), we were doing all acoustic versions, making music videos. We were like there for over a month, living in a friend’s basement, just chillin’ and going to the studio, and we felt yeah, let’s do this Christmas song. And that’s when we ended up writing the bridge for it.
Justin: I remember writing the bridge, it was after our first day at the studio, and we had most of the song recorded but not all of it. We didn’t have a bridge or additional lyrics so we came back that night to the studio and just sat in my car and smoked cigarettes, chain smoked cigarettes, and thought, what should we do for a bridge? We just bounced ideas back and forth and it was cool, how it came together.
Are you planning to put it on an upcoming album, or one of these Christmas compilations?
Timmy: If anyone would want the song, on any compilations, like Pop Goes Christmas.
Alex: Yeah if Pop Goes Christmas wants to use it, be my guest. This is definitely a song we did for us, we just wanted to do it and whatever happens, happens. It’s a really sick song so if anyone wanted it that would be great.
So what satellite radio stations are you on rotation on?
Timmy: I don’t think we’re in any rotations, but we get local radio here and there. We had our music video on Train TV for “Firework” about a month ago, part of the month of December, part of January. That was really cool. But every now and then I know people who will play some of our songs.
You should start a street team!
Timmy: Yeah we’re working on it.
So what social media are you guys on?
Timmy: We’re on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube Twitter, Soundcloud, and Spotify. Use just the band name, Seven Minutes in Heaven or 7MIH band.
What are your touring plans for 2016?
It’s not announced yet but we’re doing South by Southwest and that will be the day before SoWhat!? We’re playing March 19. And we’re doing the Romantic Rock Showcase at South by Southwest. We’re excited. We just found out a few days ago. Andrew told us, and we were like what? We’re just prepping for that, which will be mid-March, and after that we have an unannounced show in Chicago and that’s it for right now. But we hope to be touring through the summer, touring in the spring, whatever is left of it, in the fall, anything we can do.
Do you have a particular band you like to tour with?
All: There’s a lot! We have actually made a list (laughing). Set it Off, Paris, Bring Me the Horizon. Go on tour with Elton John. Someday we’ll go on tour with Styx.
Do you have anything you would like to add, to tell your fans?
All: Thanks for listening or reading to us and thanks for the support you give us. It helps us do more cool things. We like writing songs. Thanks for listening.
One last question. Do you still have the van that broke down in 107 weather?
Oh yeah, we got a new filter later on and she’s kickin’ now we got the a/c working. (laughs).