Seventh Calling is:
Steve Handel – Lead Vocals/Lead/Rhythm Guitars
Mike ‘BassWalker‘ Walters – Bass Guitars/Backing Vocals
Chad Pliska – Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals
Hailing from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Seventh Calling is a Hard Rock/Metal outfit that has been dishing out their signature brand of music since their debut album, Monuments in 2007 on Melissa Records. Tinged with the old-school influences of Thrash and Traditional Metal, they are equally noted as having one of the best stage shows around which has continued their success with Prelude of Madness (2009 – Heaven and Hell Records), Epidemic (2010 – Heaven and Hell Records) and last years killer independent release of Battle Call. Thanks to Online Metal Promo, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to interview vocalist and guitarist Steve Handel! Please sit back and enjoy what this long standing Metaller has to say!
Interview with Seventh Calling guitarist/vocalist Steve Handel:
Odyssey: There is not a whole lot of information about Seventh Calling. Please take our readers through a brief history of your band for some first hand perspective on what makes your band tick.
Steve: Sure. The group came out officially on the scene with our debut album MONUMENTS in 2007, EPIDEMIC in 2010, and now BATTLE CALL is our 3rd full length album with some demos in between the years floating around on the net. Writing our idea of heavy metal music is what we enjoy very much and is what we are all about all the time.
Odyssey: Everyone in the band is a very adept and versatile musician. You list Judas Priest, Wolf, Dream Evil, Primal Fear, Grim Reaper (Right on! Recently had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview Steve Grimmett!), Metal Church (my favorite band!) and quite a few others as general influences. Who has specifically influenced your playing and sits among your favorite players?
Steve: Good question! Wow there are quite a few that are my favorite players. However let’s break it down to several duos. The eternal Tipton/Downing(Priest), Murray/Smith(Maiden), Denner/Sherman(Mercyful Fate), Hoffman/Fischer(Accept) just to name a few tandem teams! Now of course a couple of these are no longer the same however, these are the originators that influenced me very heavily.
Odyssey: Who of these would you most like to play with that you have not already played with?
Steve: All of them! That would be my choice!
Odyssey: What other types of music light your candle?
Steve: Quite an array of different stuff actually. Alot of 80’s radio stuff, blues, atmospheric, but the foremost will always be heavy metal.
Odyssey: Any desire to try anything that you have not tried before?
Steve: As far as writing music? No, heavy metal style is basically my main style that I prefer to write and perform.
Odyssey: Looks like you have an open drummer spot. Any hopefuls?
Steve: Yes actually. We have decided on a drummer that I have known for many years now and is also a good friend. Chad Pliska is now in the driver’s seat for Seventh Calling. We are very happy to have his involvement moving forward on our next album.
Odyssey: This time last year you switched up your line up too. How do you go about choosing replacements as life and priorities inevitably change?
Steve: I basically try to find like minded musicians that are into this style of heavy metal and have similar taste in artists and influences. It may take some time to do this, however I have been lucky in finding great musicians for every album so far.
Odyssey: How goes your label negotiations that is listed as “pending” on your social media outlets?
Steve: Well over the past years we have been involved with a couple of labels. Spreading the name has been the main help that we had received from them for our albums. Now with the latest album the word ‘pending’ simply means that we are looking potentially for another label to perhaps expand our areas.
Odyssey: What do you find most difficult in dealing with a record company?
Steve: Lack of contact.
Odyssey: How do you overcome these pitfalls without becoming overly frustrated?
Steve: Well it takes patience and continued belief is basically what it takes. A lot of patience!
Odyssey: The sound quality on your album is excellent! Currently, who records, mixes and produces your material?
Steve: On the Battle Call album we went to Halo Horn studios in Michigan. The guys in charge there are Andy Van Guilder and Joey Callahan. We had a great and smooth time recording with them. We shall see who we have on the next record with us. That part has not been decided just yet.
Odyssey: With overwhelmingly positive critic reviews (I couldn’t find one that was even mediocre), how has your recent release of “Battle Call” been received by your fans?
Steve: Fans seem to enjoy listening to it. We are very happy with the way that the record has been received after it has been such a time since the last record was released.
Odyssey: After listening to the album, my favorite track is probably “Battle Call”. Killer hooks and great, old-school anthemic vibe that is reminiscent of the stuff I grew up listening to. Are there any tracks that you have a special affinity for and why?
Steve: Oh not really. I like the record as a whole. Each song has it’s own attitude and drive so I like to listen from beginning to end!
Odyssey: You recently won the Battle of the Bands at The Legion. This included, what would you consider your greatest accomplishment so far and why?
Steve: To myself, the greatest accomplishment so far to this point after all the different things we have been a part of, would be the fact that the band has continued to forge on with determination even after having many unforseen delays. This is simply the way of things. So we push on past it.
Odyssey: Seventh Calling plays an almost constant live schedule and heavily supports other contemporary bands. What are some other bands you have come across that have really impressed you and think we should watch out for in the future?
Steve: Some of the groups that I would think are Hellevate, Dragons Claw, Widow, Vanlade. Just to name a few of the groups that I have seen or listen too.
Odyssey: How do you set your music and live shows apart from “the norm”?
Steve: Depends on what most view as the ‘norm’. Our music we strive to be in the more classic idea of heavy metal instead of what is considered metal today. And when it comes to the show we try to look the part of our music and not just like we are dressed for every day life.
Odyssey: You guys play a number of benefits and throw support behind a number of causes. Are there any in particular that you are particularly passionate about?
Steve: Not really one over another. The causes for benefits are usually for a good reason and are needed very much to help. We like to try to help out and be involved.
Odyssey: What can we expect from Seventh Calling in the near future?
Steve: More shows and a next album.
Odyssey: Any new music, videos and/or tours on the horizon we should know about?
Steve: There is new music floating around right now in our rehearsals so that is a plus! We will be making an announcement of more Battle Call dates soon here. A few items are on the table now.
Odyssey: Please give us your perspective on the current state of music in general. What do you find most encouraging/discouraging?
Steve: I am encouraged because bands keep trying. That is very encouraging to see. Plus the recent surge of great bands coming back again like Metal Church, Grim Reaper and so on. Very exiting to see!
Odyssey: What would you suggest to improve things for bands and fans?
Steve: I would simply suggest that real fans should actually purchase the physical merchandise instead of just a digital download. For convenience sure the digital thing is more fast, however nothing is as good has the real deal. This in my opinion would help both fans and bands.
Odyssey: We never assume to cover everything that bands want to get out there, so, as always, the floor is open to you for any parting shots, comments, etc…
I sincerely appreciate you answering our questions and cannot wait to see what you guys have in store for us in the future! All the best, gentlemen!
Steve: I would just like to add that for official news or merchandise please visit Seventh Calling And also find us on Facebook for current listing of live appearances, current pictures and everything else.
Thank you very much for having us participate! Best to you also.