Greetings and thanks for taking part in our end of year festivities! First up, please tell us who you are and what role you fulfil in Seven Thorns!
Mads (Mølbæk): “I play bass. Most of the time my musical goal is to NOT get in the way of the equilibristic shredding and other stuff that goes on everywhere around me, and at the same time, if at all possible, to look good on stage. Whether I succeed is up to you to judge. Also, I handle HR-duties in the band, making sure everyone is happy, everyone has coffee, that sort of stuff. I assist Lars in making the machine run behind the scenes, I handle merch, do some public relations, and a million other things on a day-to-day basis. Did I mention coffee? If you want to know more, you can look up the ‘Mads Seven Thorns Introduction’ on youtube. More stuff about coffee there…”
Gabriel (Tuxen): “I’m the guitarist and main songwriter of the band. I joined the ranks of Seven Thorns back in 2008 at the ripe age of nineteen and I haven’t looked back!”
Bjorn (Asking): “I’m the lead singer in the band and the natural front man on stage. Since I joined the band, I think we have made a great step forward working with the bands total output which is a thing I really care about”.
Lars (Borup): “Founder, drummer and much more. I handle all external communication with venues, festivals, magazines and more. I have had the great pleasure of recruiting the best bunch of musicians to be part of Seven Thorns”.
Asger (Nielsen): I’m on keyboards and backing vocals. If you have heard us, you probably can imagine I work closely with Gabriel on arrangements and solo parts as well. And like Gabriel I have been in the band since the early days”.
Good to meet all of you! On with the show! The band released a new album, Symphony of Shadows, earlier this year – it finally gets a Worldwide release tomorrow – tell us a bit about the process and how you feel the album turned out…
Gabriel: “These last few years I’ve developed a new approach to song writing as I’ve been trying to create music that underlines certain scenic moods – like a movie score would support what happens on screen. In fact, many of the songs on Symphony of Shadows are inspired by movies. The first track I wrote for the album was Black Fortress, which was conceived back in late 2013, way before Björn and Mads joined the band. Sci-fi connoisseurs will immediately recognize the reference to the 1983 movie Krull. There’s a lot more orchestral elements, synths, and even sound effects than we’ve had on our previous releases, and the album as a whole is much more diverse than anything we’ve ever done. I’m really happy with the result and proud of this album.
Mads: “It’s my first album with the band, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It is better than I had dared dream about! And it’s everything, the production, the melodies, the little details in the arrangements, it’s the layout, the lyrics are great, and most importantly everybody’s performance is stellar! Now, the process… It took us a long time. And I’m not a patient guy, so it was extremely frustrating at times, but a lot of details had to be tweaked, ideas tried out, adjustments made, and every time something clicked and fell into place the frustrations disappeared and excitement took its place. It was a learning experience for me, and to an extent for the band as a whole, so hopefully everything will run smoother when we start to record the next album”.
Bjorn: “I’m the only Swede in the band so I have a little bit longer distance to meet up the band in Copenhagen. This means that I probably do ninety per cent of the rehearsals in my studio at home. For the Symphony of Shadows album, I have recorded all my tracks in that studio. For me it´s a good way to work so I can make a lot of singing hours but not be away from home too much”.
Lars: After our two first albums it was clear for us that we needed to find a new producer as we were not satisfied with the recording process and the outcome. Back in 2012 I met famous producer Tue Madsen backstage at Wacken festival. He said that he had never done a power metal album before, so we agreed to give it a shot with him. First we recorded the drums for the Black Fortress single at his studio (Antfarm) and he mixed and mastered it. The result was awesome, and we decided to record the whole album with him. Recording drums with him is a really great experience. He is super quick to edit and understands what it is we want to achieve. As he has a lot of experience with the “harder” metal genres it was easy for him to give the album the darker and heavier touch we wanted. Looking back, we should have used him from the start”.
Were you pleased with the response the album received from critics and fans?
Mads: “So far, the response has been very positive from everyone. Even the critics who point out things they aren’t particularly fond of give us ratings of eighty per cent or more, and though I strongly disagree with their criticism I can hardly complain, can I? Obviously, I could try to tell you that I live in constant fear of a bad review. But I don’t. I am convinced that the album is great, and if somebody disagrees, well, they are allowed to have a different taste than mine. So far, all that is purely hypothetical, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive all around”.
Gabriel: “Absolutely! The response we’ve gotten so far has been only positive. However, if I were to be completely honest and not very humble – it was as I had expected. When we finished the album I knew we had something special, a really great album that appeals to not only power metal fans. There are elements of both progressive and symphonic metal, some trashy elements to be heard, and even a few growls here and there. All in all, there’s something for everyone and I think the response reflects this diversity”.
Bjorn: “I have a good feeling for the album and I think the responses have been great”.
Moving away from Seven Thorns for a moment, what other metal or hard rock albums impressed you this year?
Gabriel: “I’ve been very excited about Finnish power metallers Arion’s debut album. It’s got some real solid tracks with lots of synth and good melodies, both well-played and well-produced”.
Mads: The sad truth is I don’t hear a lot of new albums, so I’m sure I have missed a lot. I try to keep my ears to the ground in various metal communities on the www, but there is so much coming out every week, it’s almost impossible to keep up. Anyway, a few that comes to mind that made an impact are Judas Priest‘s Firepower – they really delivered this time. Marduk‘s Viktoria – my favourite black metal band, so much chaos, noise and aggression. Pure catharsis. Dimmu Borgir surprised me with Eonian, it’s a different beast but well made. Let me stress that in spite of the list I don’t listen to a lot of Black Metal, it’s purely coincidental. Ask me again in 2019 and it will be a completely different list”.
Bjorn: “I think I’ll take the chance to give a shout out to my friends in Manimal who have made a great record!
Some nice picks – including the ever-present vote for Firepower! Do you think 2018 was a good year overall for metal?
Mads: “I cannot be the judge of that. What I can say is that there seems to be an incredibly strong community all over the world. Many metal fans are very aware of the changes in the industry, and actively try to support their favourites, buying cd’s, vinyls and merch, and sharing stuff on the www. Crowdfundings actually get attention, people are willing to pay the bands they love to make music. I cannot stress how important that is. Still, it’s an uphill struggle for bands, promoters and all the people who organise shows for little or no money, just for the love of metal. Everyone is constantly struggling to avoid losing money on their activities, living off music is something only a very few can actually do. So, was it a good year? Well, the metal scene is still alive and breathing, that counts for something. And new bands come along and try to renew the genre, some of them succeed, bands like Zeal & Ardor. Others revive eighties thrash or whatever, even seventies prog seems to have a bit of a revival, so in that regard yeah, 2018 was fine”.
Bjorn: “Yes indeed. Seven Thorns is releasing Symphony of Shadows!”
Away from music, how do you think 2018 has gone, for you personally, the band, and the world in general?
Mads: “For me personally, 2018 has been a lot of ups and downs, just like life should be, never boring. For the band it has been a lot of ups, finishing the album, playing great shows and sharing stages with bands like Primal Fear and Freedom Call, signing with a Japanese label, making music videos, signing with a Danish label for the Worldwide release, and somewhere along the way some Swedish girls started a Seven Thorns Fanclub. And that is only the highlights. The thing about being in this band is that we have so much fun hanging out together, and we have done that a lot in 2018, so in that regard also it has been a GREAT year to be in Seven Thorns. The world in general, well… We are not a political band. But let me put it this way: If we played thrash metal, punk or something like that, it would be piece of cake to find stuff to write angry, desperate lyrics about. But anger and desperation are more or less the opposites of what Seven Thorns is about. It’s not that we don’t care, we just don’t want that to be part of our music”.
Bjorn: “A lot of things are happening and it’s a great time to be in the band. I get the feeling about that 2018 has been a year that prepares for a intensive 2019 both for me personally and the band”.
Ah yes, 2019… And what does next year hold in store for Seven Thorns? More touring, more recording? More of everything?
Mads: “Yes, yes and yes. I like more of everything! We have a few things planned, some shows booked, including some with some really great bands, and a lot of things in the pipeline that we are not allowed to discuss publicly just yet, because the details are not yet in place. But yes, we have some really cool shows to look forward to, both as headliners, as support, and some festivals. We hope to see parts of the world we haven’t visited yet, we’re working on that. And we will do some recording sessions for sure, but whether they will be for the next album, or something else remains to be seen. New songs are taking shape, and we have a few cover songs that we fool around with, if they turn out good in the studio we might release them at some point. Oh, and we still haven’t pressed a vinyl edition of Symphony of Shadows. That has top priority. Did I mention a re-release of the first two albums? That might happen too”.
Bjorn: “I hope and think things will grow one size for the next year”.
Anything else you’d like the readers of Sentinel Daily to know?
Mads: “We’re nice guys, and easy to get in touch with through Facebook, so drop us a line. Support music wherever and whenever you can. Use Spotify or whatever to discover music, but if you like what you hear, buy the stuff from the band, go to their shows, share their music everywhere. Streaming alone won’t do it. Your support is what keeps the scene alive! Oh yeah, the obvious thing:
Metal Is Your Destiny!”
Thanks for taking part!