|Sevenfall - A Mind Awakened|
Though the band is newly formed, its members are no strangers to music. Matthew Balch, who played guitar, bass, and keys on the album, has been playing music for over 15 years. While playing guitar with Tinman Jones from 2002 to 2003, the band released the Christian rock album, Poetic, on CrossDriven Records. He independently released an instrumental rock album, Balancing Insanity, in 2007. In addition to playing all the instruments on that album, he also engineered, mixed, and mastered the project. In 2008, Matthew teamed up with Alfons Kettner (co-writer of What You Won't Do for Love by Bobby Caldwell), Ed Greene, and Bob Marinelli on the instrumental jazz album, Stripped, which he engineered, mixed, and mastered for the trio.
Ryan O’Hern, who sings lead vocals and plays additional keys on the album, has been singing for as long as he can remember. Ryan leads worship and composes music for an ongoing film series at HopePark Church. He also has composed music for several short films, including Legacy of the East and The Ruse. Ryan recently released a worship album, Light Up, featuring nine original songs designed for children’s ministry. Matthew and Ryan collaborated on that album, with Matthew mastering this project and providing additional mixing and engineering.
How do you describe your music to people, Matthew?
Musically I would describe the album as hard rock with some elements of progressive rock/metal as well as some classical influences packaged in a fairly standard, accesible musical sound. Lyrically, it is an exploration of all the questions I've had had about life, religion, the past and the future. The overall message of the album is to keep questioning and growing as a person and not get discouraged by life's problems and failures.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old. I played mostly in churches, youth groups and church camps in high school. Early in college I played in a band called Triune and released the album "The Kingdom Torn." After that ended in 2002, I joined a band called Tinman Jones and played with them for a year. During that time we recorded the album "Poetic" on CrossDriven Records, had some radio success, and toured to support the album. From 2004 - 2006, I worked on learning audio engineering and production. In 2007, I self-released an Instrumental CD called "Balancing Insanity." From there I did studio work for other people and started putting together songs that ended up being the songs for the "A Mind Awakened" album by my current band, Sevenfall.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
My favorite thing to do in the world may be to play hockey. I absolutely love it! I don't think I'd ever choose that over music, but hockey games are some of my favorite parts of my week.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
I am not a good self-promoter. I'm not one of those people that likes to go around saying "check out my band, we're awesome!" I just can't ever bring myself to do that, so I think that I will have to find someone to take on that role at some point or it will be hard to keep growing.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
The very standard policeman, fireman, etc... when I was very little. From 8-11 I really wanted to be a professional hockey player, but it just wasn't possible. When I couldn't continue down that path, I took up music, and I have been playing ever since.
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Not sure exactly... People that I've been close to have been the biggest influences on me as a musician. The music that they have introduced me to has inevitably changed the way I think about music and the way I play.
What other artists out there do you love?
My favorite artist is Dream Theater. Their creativity and musicianship is unparralleled. I'm also a big fan of Skillet, Tool, Blindside, Rush, A Perfect Circle, Liquid Tension Experiment, Evanescence and many others.
What does your future hold?
I hope to really start playing out more around Nashville and the surrounding area (as far as we can) in support of this new record (A Mind Awakened). I would like to be able to tour full time and have a great team of people helping and sharing in our future success. For now, I'm trying to take it one day at a time and make a little progress every day.
If you're in the Nashville area be sure to catch Sevenfall at one of their upcoming shows:
February 5th @ Rock Bar
March 27th @
April 24th @ The Rutledge
May 22nd (21st night) @ 2am @ Nashville Shores - Acoustic Set