7 Minutes in Heaven: Doing it Their Way

7 Minutes in Heaven has taken a few unique turns to get where they are today. And while the band's profile is still on the rise, the one thing that remains constant is their confidence in doing things their own way.

“Being a DIY band is very interesting,” said bassist Alex Rogers. “I think all of us have been in only DIY bands. We have a manager and a booking agent now, and that's more than we've ever had.”

“We set up the tours.” he continued. “We book our friends or bands we know we like to play with us. We have final say on the music. It can be harder sometimes, because you don't have a label paying for that stuff, but it's giving up some of that freedom, money-wise, for more freedom creatively.”

That freedom has always been at the core of what 7 Minutes in Heaven does. It is that ability to have complete control over their own destiny that has lead to the iteration of the band that we have now.

7 Minutes in Heaven started as a solo act, with singer/songwriter Tommy Rasmussen performing acoustically. Eventually, he started incorporating other musicians into his act, but it was not until Rasmussen and Rogers met at a show that something approaching a band started to form.

“I actually met him at one of the first 7 Minutes in Heaven shows, in 2012,” Rogers recalled. “I joined up with him as a live bassist in 2014, and kind of stuck with him from there.”

“(Rasmussen) was doing great as a solo act,” Rogers added. “He killed it on Instagram, he always came out with limited edition merch, he was great on that end. Me, I was the guy who was hitting the pavement, handing out fliers. So we came together well.”

This past year, the band added Justin Mondzak, and the current edition of 7 Minutes in Heaven was born. Home-based in Chicago, the act cut their teeth in that city's bustling music world. And though they've toured the country, coming back to the Midwest always has a special hold on them.

“Whenever we go to the west or east coast, whenever people ask where our favorite places to play are,” Rogers said. “It's always Chicago, Ohio, Iowa. There's something special about these Midwest places. There's something unique about the way that they respond to a band. It's really great to be able to get down and interact directly with people, and the way Midwest crowds respond to us is unique.”

Now, crowds from all over have something new to respond to, as the band dropped their newest EP, “Side Effects,” this past December.

“'Side Effects' is definitely the best music that any of us have put out before,” Rogers said. “We approached it very differently. It came out, really, over the course of six months of writing and finding a way to be as honest as possible with the music. We really got to mess around with it. We recorded it with a guy named Seth Henderson, who's done a lot of very raw, pop punk stuff.”

“The EP was meant to capture the past two years of our lives,” he continued. “It's really about trying not to grow up in a world that wants you to. We're just these four kids, out here trying to have fun with our fans. It's worked out well so far.”

Originally appeared in Cityview January 13, 2016