The critically-acclaimed and highly anticipated new recording from iconic Christian rockers Seventh Day Slumber, Closer To Chaos, debuted on multiple Christian and mainstream sales charts following its May 31 release. The project garnered the biggest release week sales for a RockFest Records artist since the label's formation.
Closer To Chaos debuted in the Top 20 on Nielsen SoundScan's Current Hard Music Albums chart, ahead of recordings by Whitesnake and Five Finger Death Punch, and the album landed in the Top 40 on Nielsen SoundScan's Current Rock Albums chart. In addition to mainstream charts, the project debuts at #10 on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart for the week of June 22, making Closer To Chaos a multi-genre hit recording.
The 10-song set marks a return to Seventh Day Slumber's melodic rock roots. Produced by the band's Jeremy Holderfield, with three selections co-produced and co-written by Disciple's Josiah Prince, Closer To Chaos tackles a range of issues, including emotional trauma, self-worth and sobriety, among other topics.
We are honored to catch up with Seventh Day Slumber's lead singer Joseph Rojas for this exclusive interview.
Q: Congratulations on founding your own label. What's your vision for RockFest Records? And who is currently signed to the label?
A: The vision for RockFest Records is simple: We want to bring Hope to those who are often forgotten. We want to bring Jesus to those who don't fit the standard mold of what society-and sometimes even the Church- deems as "normal" or "lovable." Music speaks to people in ways nothing else can. We want listeners to be encouraged and uplifted after hearing our artists, and ultimately, want everything we do to point to Jesus as the answer for all of life's pain and hurt.
Q: Does releasing your new album on your own label mean there's less pressure and more freedom? And if so, how is this freedom manifest on the record?
A: We've always written what we've wanted to, but in the past we tried to give our labels marketable songs, and sometimes I felt we weren't being as authentic as we could. With our own label, I'm the only one to impress! We are thankful to be in a place where we can release music without feeling like it has to meet a certain definition of marketability.
Q: Why did you name the album Closer To Chaos? If there is a message this record speaks of, what would it be?
A. The title Closer To Chaos is actually a message of comfort, but it does have a double meaning. On one hand, it speaks to the things in our lives that stand in the way of our relationship with Jesus and ultimately bring more chaos. It starts with small compromises and before you know it you are in the middle of a chaotic situation. On the other hand, you can be under attack from all sides but still have peace and comfort. The peace and comfort that surpasses all understanding only comes from God. The closer you are to God, the more you trust Him, and the more you trust Him the smaller your problems seem. It's not that your problems go away, it's just that you know God has you covered, and He won't let you sink.
Q: What I love about the new album is how the album addresses many contemporary issues. I love your boldness in speaking about what's wrong with our nation via "Burning an Empire." What do you think is wrong in our society? What then do you think is the solution?
A: It's amazing how disrespectful people are nowadays-we are literally a society without standards. The only standard many people have today is a double standard. We will kill an unborn child while screaming "save the trees." It makes no sense. How can I expect you to respect me if you don't even respect life?
Also, parents need to stop trying to be their children's best friends. It's great to be close to your kid but be their parent first and foremost. Moms and dads have to lead by example. Kids need the guidance of their parents.
Q: "The Letter" is also an important song as it deals with suicide and the harm people do to themselves. Why is it important for you to address such issues?
A: We travel all over the United States and meet so many hurting people. During our concerts, I usually ask people to close their eyes and then ask how many are dealing with thoughts of suicide. It's overwhelming to see the hands go up. Life can be extremely tough at times and I've felt that hopelessness too-I can relate to that type of pain. My son Blaise actually wrote the lyrics to "The Letter" after seeing so many hands go up one night. I knew we had to put that song on our record. It's already helped many and is raising awareness of the epidemics of depression and suicide.
Q: Another song that really hits the heart strings is "Man Down." Tell us more about this song and how it came about.
A. "Man Down" is another song Blaise penned. He has seen me minister to soldiers and veterans for years, and he's heard me talk about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He wanted to write a song that would capture the pain and anxiety that people with PTSD go through. Josiah Prince (of Disciple) and I co-wrote the song with Blaise and we are very proud of how it came out. We believe it's a very powerful song.
Q: My favorite cut on the record is "Your Eyes." What's the story behind this song?
A: One day I was in the back of the bus looking at old pictures and videos from Seventh Day Slumber's younger years. I had been dealing with a serious depression and gained 130 pounds within five years. My wife Lori is beautiful, and I felt like I wasn't giving her or my kids my best. I spent time hiding in the back of the bus when I should've been enjoying the wonderful family God blessed me with. I decided to write about it because at least maybe someone could relate or be helped by my journey.
Since then, God has healed my heavy heart and depression, and I've lost over 50 pounds. But it's not about weight, it's about being healthy both physically and spiritually. Instead of seeing ourselves through our own eyes or the eyes of others, we need to see ourselves through the eyes of God.
Q: In the process of making this album, how has your faith been challenged or grown as a result of engaging with god through these songs?
A: This record has been somewhat of a release for me. I guess I just wanted to go #NoFilter on this one. I believe it really helped me heal in a lot of areas. God did a significant work in my life through the making of this record and I hope it helps others. There is something freeing about being raw and not caring what others think sometimes. I wouldn't recommend not caring about what others think all of the time, but sometimes we need that.