SEVEN THORNS (Eng.)
– Hello and thanks for your time. First off, could you introduce the band to all those that don’t know you yet?
No problem – thank you for the interest and support!
Seven Thorns plays melodic, catchy powermetal, inspired by old school bands such as Helloween, Gamma Ray and Stratovarius, and we take pride in being Denmark’s only real power metal band. Surely Denmark can present a few decent power metal acts, but we’re the only band true to its original form in terms of style and sound.
– If I’m not wrong, it took you almost 10 years to record your first full-length album. Whay did that happen?
The band started back in 1998, yes. When the first full functioning line-up was ready, a single entitled “Artificial Night” was then recorded and released in 2005 which got quite a lot of attention internationally and some great reviews as well. It was nominated for a Danish Metal Award as the only song not being death metal or some equally heavy genre – pretty unusual. Material for an intended debut album was recorded, finished and ready for release a few years later when the band split up. This album was never released. Lars, our drummer and the founder of Seven Thorns then initiated an intense search for musicians including myself and after 4 years and several replacements, here we are! The latest addition to the band, our very talented keyboardist, joined in about a year ago. The band has been reborn – we’re still Seven Thorns but this is the new era of Seven Thorns.
– Now getting into your latest «Return to the Past», why such title? Does it describe your music style or what’s that «past»?
Return to the Past can be understood on two levels. We felt that today’s power metal had moved too far away from the original style – either it’s progressive, it’s 80’s-style true-power metal or just mainstream pop-power like I feel Avantasia has become lately. We’re returning to the past, the beginning of power metal and the record is very 90’s power metal-sounding, pure and true to the genre. Actually this has been the only point of critique in some of the reviews – the fact that we’re not original enough. But that’s just something we’re gonna have to live with cause by now you can’t be original without sacrificing some of the core elements of the genre, in my opinion. And then it’s not really power metal any longer- is it?
When Lars split from the former members of Seven Thorns, he felt that the band had taken a wrong turn. In other words, Seven Thorns has returned to what was what originally intended for the band to be musically.
– If I’m not wrong, the recording for this new album was long too. What can you tell us about the whole process?
Return to the Past came to be over quite a long period of time. We initially started recording back in January 2009, making a single with two songs for a then upcoming album. At the time that was pretty much all the material we had ready, but we figured it would be best just to get something out and get ourselves promoted. We then began writing material and playing a few gigs once in a while and recording when new material was ready. The unusual thing about the album is that we didn’t have a bunch of songs to choose from – we sat out to write a killer album and wrote these 9 tracks and that was it. We got us a distribution deal with the American label Nightmare Records who released it in the US on November 23rd 2010 and in Europe on January 14th 2011.
– There have been several line-up changes in the band anyway, this doesn’t seem to have affected to your sound, so I guess not all the members are equal involved with the song writing. So, how do you usually work in this process? There haven’t been any line-up changes since we started writing for this album, only an addition of members, so the overall sound is very homogenous.
At the moment we have two main songwriters in the band – Mik and I. We often meet to write new material, not finished songs but more like sketches for new songs, and then bring it to the rehearsals and present it for the rest of the gang. From that point everyone contribute to the writing process and we try out different ideas and arrangements. So it’s pretty much a joint venture when it comes to songwriting.
– And do you see this one as a steady line-up?
That I do! All though we’re sort of a mixed bunch – one half of the band members are 22 years old, and the half are (at least…) 10-15 years older – there’s a great chemistry in the band, both socially and musically, and we all seem to have a common vision, musically speaking, –and equally crappy humor….
– The newest member is Asger, what has he brought to the band?
I was the one who brought Asger into the band. I met him at university where we study together, and found out that he was also very fond of power metal and classical music, so I brought him in for audition and he was admitted. All though he is inexperienced as a band musician and power metal keyboardist, he is the greatest addition to the band in quite some time, but since he arrived at a point where we had already written and arranged all the songs, there wasn’t much for him to contribute with besides bringing some new layers onto the songs. But Asger has the meanest chops and with some experience, he will probably become the new Johansson (Stratovarius)! On the next album we will certainly take advantage of his skills and musical background and incorporate more lead keyboard.
– In the album we can also find some guest artists such as Olaf Lenk and Mikkel Henderson. Tell us about about it: how did you come up with the idea, why did you choose them, what have they brought to the tracks…
When we initially started recording the album we didn’t have a keyboardist. Lars had recently met Mikkel Henderson and he just happened to be a super keyboard player and was kind enough to help us with the recordings. He did about half of the album before Asger joined the band to finish the rest. As I said Mikkel is an awesome keyboardist and also very experienced, so he had a different approach to the whole keyboard part of the album than we had.
Actually I was the one to contact Olaf Lenk at first. Being a huge fan of At Vance I thought it would be cool to have him do a guest solo, and might I say that his performance on Liberty just goes to show how awesome he is!
– «Return to the Past» was mixed by Peter Brander, who has worked with bands as ROYAL HUNT, CORNERSTONE, etc. How was like working with him?
Working with Brander is excellent! He has his opinions and can be very stubborn at times, but he is experienced and extremely talented and had some great inputs for the recording and mixing, so he will most likely do the next album.
– And was mastered by Tommy Hansen, quite known for his work with HELLOWEEN. Did he provide the sound you wanted?
Tommy Hansen is the godfather of metal! Well at least the godfather of recording metal. To me – to the band – it’s a quality stamp, so it was very important to have him do the mastering. At first I thought, “in the end, how much does mastering really matter?”, but let me tell you, it means everything! Tommy Hansen made this album sound as awesome as it does and gave it that extra touch we wanted.
– I think «Liberty» is one of the c
atchiest songs in the album, and you recently did a video for it. Why this concrete song? And explain us something about the video, where was it filmed, etc.
We chose Liberty because – as you mention yourself – it is one of the catchiest songs on the album and because this track has been highlighted in many reviews. So we just wanted to promote the album in the best possible way.
We’d had some request from Canada regarding a video and we really wanted to put some stuff out on Youtube knowing how important that site is for promotion and publicity (at that point we didn’t have anything out there). We shot the video in a cellar below an incinerator-plant on a REALLY cold day in November. Our singer Erik who was of course scheduled for the video had unfortunately been hospitalized during the night due to his diabetes, so we made a quick decision to have Mik (the band’s other songwriter besides me) fulfill the role of a singer in the video as the production company was already on set and ready. We filmed the whole thing in one day, with a girl on a podium in the background and everything (can’t have a music video without at least one babe!) and the result was great I think!
– And do you have plans for any other video? Or any other «tutorial video»?Not quite sure.. We might do another music video if we find it necessary for promoting the band. Or maybe just a new album! But we haven’t got any plans for it right now, though.
I did a few „tutorials“ for some solos, and yes, there will be more of this! Probably not with me in them, but a few vids with Christian and Asger doing their thing will be coming up.
– You have recently got back home from an European tour, how did it go?
Actually our booking agency has postponed the tour until spring 2012, so unfortunately Seven Thorns has not been destroying the roads of Europe as it was planned. But we’re looking forward to the tour next year, so if you get back to us by March/Aprill ’12, we’ll tell you all about it.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
We have some gigs abroad planned for us this year. We’re about to sign a concert deal at a festival in Czech Republic, and we’re headlining Bremer Metal Festival this November. We are also getting started on writing new material for an upcoming album and hopefully getting some more gigs at home in Denmark.
– That’s all, thanks for your answers. Now feel free to add any last words.
If you dig catchy, melodic power metal you should definitely check out Return to the Past – it’s for sale on iTunes, Amazon and probably everywhere you can possibly think of (see the list on our homepage www.seventhorns.com). And remember: Metal is your destiny!