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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Seven Against Thebes

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Cyrus Rhodes of Seven Against Thebes from 2013
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music - both individually and as a band?

I play guitar and formed a band (2011) based out of Seattle called Seven Against Thebes (7AT). I’m not a fan of pigeonholing - but our music is a cross between Tool, Filter, Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots - definitely progressive metal and alternative rock/metal. We released our debut self-titled album back in 2011, and are currently working on our next full length album entitled “Art of Deception (AOD)” to be released in summer 2013. That’s pretty much it.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Being a professional Triathalete – without question. I’ve done over 20 races so far as an amateur and I love doing tris. However to compete at the Ironman/Pro Level requires at least 20-40 hours of training a week.
MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
Seven Against Thebes is a classic Greek mythological play, but the title really means good versus evil to me. All four members are really good friends of mine who share the same musical interests and are committed to 7AT long term. It’s nice to release an album every few years and throw it out there strictly as a hobby. I am happy with my day job. Sure I’d love to be a rock star - but I’m not an idiot. There’s just not any legitimate money in that business any more and I’m not playing dive bars for a bunch of day-walkers for free beer either. Band members include myself: Cyrus Rhodes (guitar), Luke Hoyle (Vocals) Mr. Black (Bass) and Bruce Burgess (Drums)  
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Rush, REM, Tool, Cocteau Twins and Filter are the top five. 
MSJ: The lyrics seem to be a big part of your first album. Is there a story being told throughout or a theme or is it all disparate in terms of message?
The primary theme of our debut album is “Self Destruction” as depicted on the cover art via the classic Arborous symbol (Serpent eating itself) against a cross. This represents the self destructive nature of mankind against a “good” backdrop. This music takes a look at that nature and goes as deep as possible without being to dark or over the top about it. 7AT is my only dark outlet – so I let it all hang out. The CD ends very much like it begins bringing the self destruction process full circle. The serpent’s mouth to the serpent’s tail.
MSJ: What prompted the cover of the Emerson Lake and Palmer song, with different title, and such?
“Feed the Furnace” was adapted from “Knife’s Edge.” I’ve always wanted to rock that song out a bit and I think we accomplished that without losing the continuity of the song from ELP - one of the first real progressive rock bands out there.
MSJ: You are working on a new album. What can you tell the readers about that?
Art of Deception (AOD)is not as dark as our first record, but it’s shaping up to be the best 7AT to date. The Killing Time EP will be released in the spring followed by the full length released in summer 2013.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Writing and releasing music for 7AT, but also producing music and working with artists on my Katavi Arts label. I’m also an A&R Representative for several record labels around the country and I’m also a syndicated music critic. Another musical project I’m deeply involved with is my drummer’s solo project called “Drum Dynasty.” Drum Dynasty takes progressive drumming and incorporates it with worldly ambient music. 
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Thought provoking – honest – not predictable – dark, but not over the top dark – a thinking man’s music – great stuff to work out to – amazing musicianship - the best music I can possibly write for our cult fan base.
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
It’s stealing plain and simple. Sure it feels good to get something for nothing – but the truth is someone put a lot of time, effort and money into that making that. The end result will be a severe decline in the quality of music released to the public - oh wait we’re already there. At the end of the day when you rip off an artist you are ripping off yourself as a listener after the ripple effects take their toll. I don’t encourage artists to give away their music unless you’re Radiohead. It sets a bad precedent for your art.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
A combination of Mormon Joe Young (Orgasmo) and Mr. Incredible.
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
7AT is that band.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Don’t have the time mainly because I review 10-20 CDs a week as a music critic.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
”The Hobbit” to my son
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Tool / George (2006)
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Because I’m a traiathalete I’m pretty health conscious – but it’s amazing what mass quantities of red wine will do for your songwriting perspective. I also get inspired by things – like a movie of the art work by H.R Giger.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Crissie Wellington - Pro Triathalete

Michael Stipe – REM

Maynard Keenan – Tool 


MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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