It might be a cliché the “they go from strength to strength” but sometimes even a cliché can be true. Like wit the new SEVEN SISTERS album. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
What pressure is there in releasing an album compared to a demo? Do you feel that there is a sort of pressure to succeed when you release and album, that it sorta is for real now?
-I don’t think we’ve ever really felt pressure when releasing anything. We wouldn’t put anything out that we weren’t totally happy with, and we’re really pleased with this new album. You can’t really control whether other people are going to like it or not, and I don’t think it’s something we’ve ever worried about too much. All you can do is make the kind of music that you’d like to listen to yourself. If anyone else likes it too, that’s obviously a really great bonus, but you shouldn’t lose sleep over it. Making an album is obviously a lot harder work than a shorter release, but I don’t really think we’ve ever felt under pressure to do anything at any point in our career so far.
When you release a record of any sort what kind of expectations do you have on it? Do you set up goals for it?
-Not really, we just wanted to make a great album, which we think we’ve managed to do. It would obviously be awesome if people liked it and it sold well. It’s always great picking up new fans and reaching people who maybe haven’t heard you before, but it’s not really something you can plan for. We think this album is a huge step forward from the first one, but I guess we’ll find out if others agree with us soon!
When you release an album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that? That people know what you have written on your own?
-Yeah that’s a pretty crazy feeling! It really makes all the rehearsing and driving up and down the country in vans worth it. We had to work pretty hard to get to the stage where that happened, so it makes it all feel worthwhile. It’s really great seeing people enjoying your live shows and singing along to songs you wrote, and it’s hopefully not something that we’ll ever take for granted.
Do you feel that you have to follow in the footsteps of the last album for a new when it comes to lyrics and art work for everything so that those that bought the previous record will recognize your sound?
-I don’t think so necessarily. We saw the second album as a clean slate really. I don’t think our sound will ever change so much that people wouldn’t recognise it – we’re always going to be a Heavy Metal band. I think you’re just always trying to make sure that your new release is better than previous, and I think The Cauldron and the Cross is a huge step forwards in terms of performance, songwriting, production, artwork and all the other things you mentioned. Hopefully if anybody liked the first album they’ll like this one even more!
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community because you play in a band?
-Yeah definitely. There’s not a huge number of bands playing the kind of music we play, so you tend to gig with the same bands relatively often, and then end up making friends with the people in those bands. We all go and watch each other play when we’re not on the bill ourselves and stuff like that. Also, as the scene is still relatively underground at the moment, you tend to meet a lot of the same fans at shows all the time. So there’s a real connection between the bands and the audience, which is nice.
How hard/easy is it to come up with new songs that that still are you but doesn’t sound like anything you’ve already written?
-It can be a challenge at times, but it’s definitely worth persevering with it as we don’t want to repeat something that we’ve already done before. We’ve always been relatively progressive within the “NWOBHM” template, so we like challenging ourselves and trying to push the boundaries of what you can do within this style. The title track on The Cauldron and the Cross is basically a 16 minute song in two parts, for example, which isn’t something I think too many bands within this genre would so. But I think the songs on the new album have a lot of variety within them, and are still catchy and still sound like us at the end of the day. As you mentioned earlier, whilst we like to challenge ourselves and try new things, we don’t want to get too experimental and alienate the people that enjoyed our earlier work. It’s still a fun, catchy Heavy Metal record at the end of the day.
What influences/inspires you today? Where do you draw inspiration from? Is it important to have some sort of message?
-Musically, we obviously listen to the NWOBHM a hell of a lot. Then of course there’s old school Heavy Metal from Europe and North America, as well as things like thrash and power metal to an extent. Even a bit of prog and AOR when we’re in the mood. Lyrically, the new album is a concept album once again. This time it’s telling the story of the rise and fall of King Arthur’s Britain, and was originally inspired by a novel called The Mists of Avalon. We seem to like telling a story on our albums with recurring themes running through the whole thing, rather than just writing a collection of songs about different topics. Maybe we’ll go for a sci-fi setting on the third album just for a change of scenery!
We hear about what state the record industry is in. Then we hear that cd sales are increasing. As a band that releases records do you notice the state the industry is in?
-To be honest we’re probably not best-placed to answer that. The Cauldron and the Cross is our first release to be properly distributed and available in shops and things like that. Up until this point we’ve been doing most of our sales over the merch counter at gigs or through our own web store, where you’re basically selling to the converted, and people that have specifically come to see you. I guess we’ll have a better idea of the state of the record industry when this album has been out for a little while. If you’re saying that CD sales are on the increase, that’s definitely encouraging news to a band in our position!
What is your opinion on digital verses physical?
-We’re definitely fans of physical releases ourselves. There’s something magical about getting an album on vinyl with the artwork and the photos, and being able to read the lyrics as you listen to it. Digital releases definitely serve a purpose though. Nobody would have heard Seven Sisters if we hadn’t been able to put our music on platforms like Youtube and Bandcamp when we were first starting out, and we know that a lot of people prefer to listen to an album on Spotify or iTunes before deciding whether to buy the physical version too, so we don’t have a problem with digital releases either.
What lies in the future?
-Hopefully lots of exciting things! We’re currently planning shows all over the UK and Ireland for after the album drops, and hopefully some stuff in Europe too. With any luck the new album will expose us to people that haven’t heard us before and we’ll be able to play in places that we haven’t been to before. We’ll see, but it’s definitely an exciting time for Seven Sisters!