SL: Hi there guys from Seventh, it’s a pleasure to be hosting you at TSL.
Would you please take a moment to introduce yourselves to our readers?
TUM: Hi Rizzo and thanks to The Somber Lane Blog for having us with this interview.
Seventh formed in 2012 from me and Max. We wanted to put up a post-metal band inspired by Cult of Luna and Neurosis, with influences coming from many different genres. We are both keen on stoner and dark/neo folk, so we liked the idea of gathering our common interests in a musical project: almost two years ago we came up with the bare structures of some of the songs that we later included in “The Herald”. So we said “why don’t we just enter the studio and start recording an album?”. We had quite an unorthodox way of dealing with the writing and recording sessions, because there were two of us and we wrote the songs while we were continuing with the recording sessions, but we finally made it.
SL: Let’s talk about your debut album “The Herald”. From your communications on socials I see you’ve stressed the fact it is a concept album quite a lot. What’s the underlying theme and where does its idea originate?
Also, tell us about your approach to recording and writing since you worked by two members only.
As of today, I’m also reading that the official album release is set for January the 18th. Which are your projects for the near future?
MAX: the idea for the concept came up quite easily: we share the same background in terms of literature, as well as a common philosophy of thought. In the concept you will find quotes from major works such as “Paradise Lost” by John Milton, “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot and “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville, as well as philosophical influences from Nietzsche and Stirner, whose works we are both interested in. I am very fond of Babylonian mythology and biblical history myself, so I tried to put references to these topics in the lyrics. The seven tracks on the record draw the ideal path of a character towards freedom from dogmas and limits of moral and religion.
This character is a common man who gains self-awareness by discovering his new self-nature of human being. This leads to his rebirth as a free and conscious man, who makes choices and determines his doom only by his own free will.
As far as songwriting is concerned, we didn’t have the same approach to all the songs. I could actually say that every song was written with a sort of a different attitude to it. Some tracks came up after a jam session in the rehearsal room, developed on ideas brought in by me or Tum; others were written at home by one of us and then reworked together in the rehearsal room or directly in the studio. We sent every complete song to Cesco from ZEIT, who took care of the drum parts of “The Herald”, and whose contribution has been fundamental to the record.
The Herald will be released January 18th via Sliptrick Records (digital distribution and cd digipack) and Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records on a limited edition tape run. The same day we will also release our new video for “The Apostate”, opening track of the record.
We’re planning to book as many shows as possible in order to promote The Herald, and we’re aiming to play some shows abroad within the end of the year.
SL: The concept anticipates as interesting, I’m curios to hear its musical rendition. Good luck for your live debut.
Post-metal is a broad genre, a very sailed ocean as of nowadays, as well as contaminated by additional influences. It is equally dominated by colossal sharks such as the above mentioned Neurosis, Cult of Luna, and so on. In addition, being it a niche living upon the atmospheric rendition of music more than instrumental virtuosity, it’s easy to come off as trite if one’s musical offer isn’t particularly original.
Choices of sonic research as well as image play an important role, we all know that every single colossus in the genre built up its own “trademark” in time.
That being said, your concept is a first proposal already. But how did you “defend” yourselves with respect to the two above mentioned aspects?
For instance, in the videoclip for your first single “The Exile” we can see natural landscapes, whereas in your graphics some engravings are taking the spotlight.
As for what concerns yout sound, in between detuned guitars I heard several samples, some of them concerning ethnic instruments. Would you like to tell us about these choices?
TUM: We tried to write music in a personal way since the very beginning. We both have had band experiences in the past, and this time we started with the idea of pushing the experimentation with no boundaries of any kind, reworking all the stuff we came up with in a personal declination. As far as I am concerned, trying to manage all that revolves around the creation of a record being only two people has been something challenging and fulfilling: despite the recording sessions being divided in a large span of time, we could plan any detail of “The Herald”.
For the artwork, we wanted to create something with visual impact, something representative and with a certain level of artistic value: as you already said, we chose landscape scenes taken from the places we live in for the video of “The Exile”. We both strongly believe in the connection with the landscapes and the atmosphere of our hometown: there is nothing but countryside and thick fog, which can get quite creepy and gloomy, especially in winter. This has undoubtedly influenced the record.
Talking again about the artwork, we had eight medieval tarot cards hand drawn by Alessandro Fogo (Le Mort Joyeux), each carrying the name of one of the songs of the record plus a general tarot which could represent “The Herald” as a whole. We chose the name of the songs in order to make them fit on the tarot cards.
Concerning ethnic instruments, I already said we decided not to have compositional limits and to be open to as many influences as possible. We were lucky enough to record at Putrefashion Empire Studio (Lendinara), run by our dear friend Pablo. I think this has been crucial, because we had complete freedom, which we could hardly get anywhere else. Many of the instruments you will hear throughout the record come from
the far east tradition. I personally carry what I’ve been studying at the first year of University, back when I was studying Japanese language and I was completely crazy about everything that dealt with Japan. Max, on the other hand, was starting to look into the ethnic instrument world in order to find something peculiar which we could include on our songs; meanwhile, shortly after we first entered the studio to plan and start this journey, Pablo decided to spend some time in the south of China, so that’s where our interest in ethnic music and tradition comes from!
SL: I’d say all of this info do nothing but getting me more and more fascinated about the album!
Certainly the feeling of freedom, exemption by any “labeling” and any kind of self-imposed limitation is the best starting point.
As we’re talking about influences, let’s get back discussing about the artists which, more or less consciously, got you to the crafting of “The Herald”.
We were indeed mentioning Neurosis, Cult of Luna…anybody else?
At a personal level instead, which are your favorite artists? Both generally and in the latest times, let’s say.
Some recent albums which particularly got your attention, to advise to or readers maybe?
MAX: I would say Neurosis, Cult of Luna and Amenra, but I also like Kyuss a lot. They surely had some influence on our approach on the composition of the record, yet I would also say they weren’t fundamental. We are open in terms of music listening: in this last year I’ve been listening to a lot of ethnic music from the far east, especially Mongolian. I love these atmospheres, I find that they’re pure and spontaneous. I’ve also been listening a lot to the first record of an electro-pop Swedish singer, Fever Ray. I really enjoyed the choices regarding the sound and the vocal lines. I’ve been listening to a lot of neo-folk (King Dude, Woven Hand) too.
As you can see that’s a huge variety of genres!
Talking about records that impressed me and that I would suggest I’ll say Sun by Secrets of The moon, a band which I’ve been following since the very beginning and that have had an outstanding artistic growth; then I’ll add the last two records by The Black Heart Rebellion, and “The Threshingfloor” by Woven Hand. I could keep talking four hours, but I’ll let Tum answer.
TUM: I also say Cult of Luna and Neurosis, and Kyuss too. Among my personal direct influences I say Opeth, one of my all-time favourite groups (until Watershed). I’ve always tried to listen to a lot music, trying to go beyond the same bunch of bands and to discover new and almost unknown but peculiar artists. Among my favourite bands, in addition to all these chosen by Max, I say Tool, The Ocean, Fall of Efrafa, Queens of the Stone Age, Thrice, Isis.
2015 has been a great year music wise: I’ve listened to many impressive records which I’ve been playing for weeks in my iPod: Sistere by Izah, Money Shot by Puscifer, The Deal by Sumac and The Crash and The Draw by Minsk.
SL: Thanks for your mentions!
We already came to discover that you’re both students in everyday life. So staying within the topic of spare time: apart from music, do you have any other hobby?
TUM: I don’t have much spare time, I live between Venice and Porto Viro, but when I manage to get some free time I try to read as much as possible. I sometimes watch some TV series but I’m no big fan of such things. I listen to music while I travel by train and car, and if beer counts has a hobby than I do beers hahah.
MAX: To be honest, I do nothing interesting apart from playing, watching films, reading and smoking weed.
SL: Haha ok guys, we’re closing up our chat.
This last space is for you, is you have anything to add or something to tell your followers, feel free to do so.
Once again we thank the two of you and everyone in Seventh for your helpfulness in this interview, until next time and good luck from TSL! Cheers.
TUM: I thank you again for the opportunity to tell something about the recording sessions and the meaning of “The Herald”.
I would like to use this last answer to thank all the people who were involved in the creation of this record, in a random order but all equally important: Cesco, whose contribution to the record has been crucial and unparalleled. We’re ve been honoured of having the chance to work with him, with whom we also became good friends with time. Follow him with his project ZEIT, the guys deserve attention. Pablo @Putrefashion Empire Studio, for the advice he gave us and for the extreme patience he showed bearing us throughout all these months; Peo @Hate Studio for the extraordinary mixing and mastering work; Alessandro Cavestro, a true and good friend who has been professional and gave us unique help and support with graphics and video making; Sohui Kim, who worked with us on the record, I let you find out where; all the bands of friends who supported us since the very beginning, and all the people who bought and will buy the record and will support us by sharing our music.
Bye, and thanks for having us on the blog.