The concept of prosperity runs like a supercharged current through Flicker Records’ newest alternative rock band, subseven. Though the term is often associated with financial gain and wellbeing, these five guys from southern Oklahoma aren’t driven by materialism, nor are they particularly infatuated with the treasures the music world can produce. Instead, the quintet is rooted in the idea of prospering to one’s full potential in faith – a concept often overlooked by what drummer and spokesman Clint McManaman refers to as the “save them and send them on their way” mentality.
“It seems like a lot of Christian bands have this goal of sharing the Gospel with a bunch of people, which is certainly a lofty goal, but then they just move on to the next group right away,” the arresting drummer asserts. “I don’t want to knock other groups, but I think it’s pretty common for Christian bands to try to get kids to accept Christ, and then that’s it. They move on and there isn’t any follow-up.”
From the band’s humble indie beginnings in 1999 through hooking up with the EMI-distributed Flicker for 2004’s subseven: the EP, the guys of subseven have been insistent upon building personal relationships with their fan base, chronicling their spiritual walks through constant communication and encouragement in person and online. Such a connection has not only given subseven an incredibly rabid following, but it’s also helped them promote the concept of prospering spiritually, beyond an “instant” altar call.
“A lot of people freak out when we call it a ‘prosperity message’ because they think we’re talking about money,” Clint defends. “Our whole basis is that we want people to know how they can prosper in every area of their lives, beginning spiritually and carrying over into mentally and physically. So many young people go through some seriously dark issues, and we want them to get everything they can out of their faith and out of the Bible, because that will ultimately help get them through those situations.”
Such a stance is unique on the whole, especially considering the intensified style of music subseven plays. Amid the aforementioned messages spread throughout subseven: the EP, the band briskly unfurls a precise web of bellowing vocals, guitar-based bedlam and ferocious rhythmic fills. Influence-wise, the group pays nods to mainstream heavyweights like Sparta and The Mars Volta (both At the Drive In spin-off bands) along with mewithoutYou, Norma Jean and Beloved.
“There’s a heavy nature to our music, but it’s a mix of several different elements depending on the song,” explains Clint. “Our style combines a lot of melodic rock, a bit of hardcore, and some emo/screamo with some punk rock influence. There’s a lot going on in there, but we’re tighter than ever now that we have a label deal.”
Much of that sonic sharpening stems from the supporting talent pool surrounding subseven: the EP, a true all-star cast under the executive production direction of Audio Adrenaline’s Will McGinniss, Bob Herdman and Mark Stuart. Primary producer Bob Burch is already known for work with East West and Number One Gun, while engineer Andy Haller is lauded for countless credits (as diverse as Ozzy Osbourne and Will Smith) and manager Jason Fowler is plugged in with the likes of Pillar and Grits. Add in a preliminary tour with East West and Sky Harbor, along with a fall outing featuring Pillar and Project 86, and subseven is destined to develop further with dexterity.
“Each of the opportunities we’ve had working with such an amazing group of people have all stretched us and refined us beyond belief,” says Clint. “God’s really blessed us in a lot of areas, and it’s almost overwhelming. We’ve stuck with this and waited it out so long that it’s really great and rewarding to see all the pieces come together.”
Several pieces of subseven: the EP’s puzzle are worth noting, starting with the lead single and music video, “Emotion,” a gut-wrenching analysis of one’s relationship with God. That radio staple is augmented with the inflammatory cut about spiritual maturity “Game of Love,” the melodic anthem of renewal “Beginning Once Again,” and the orchestral momentum of the prodigal son-styled tale “Mayday.”
“We seek to be real and touch on stuff we’ve gone through ourselves, or things that people around us have experienced,” Clint shares. “There’s no need to sugarcoat something or cover up a feeling in order to sound more generic. We just lay it all out there and let the kids see where we’re at.”
“More than any achievement musically, we want people to be able to relate to us,” Clint concludes. “We’re about more than just playing in the church and about more than just playing in clubs. We’ve tried to do something everybody can relate to. And no matter where we may be playing, we’re gonna stay bold and encourage people in every part of their lives!”