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Interview: Seventh Wonder

mit Andreas Söderin vom 27. Juli 2011 via E-Mail
Andreas „Kyrt“ Söderin, Keyboarder der 2000 gegründeten schwedischen Melodic Progressive Rock-Band Seventh Wonder, sprach mit unserem Redakteur Arne Luaith in diesem Mail-Interview unter anderem über die Tourpläne der Band, ihre Zukunft, das 2010 erschienene Album The Great Escape und die derzeitige Abwesenheit von Bassist Andreas Blomqvist.
Insbesondere wird deutlich, wie schwer es ist, auf dem heutigen Musikmarkt selbst mit ausgefeilter Spiel- und Kompositionstechniken noch aus der Masse hervorzustechen und erfolgreich zu sein. So berichtet Söderin u.a. davon, wie trotz wachsendem Bekanntheitsgrad der Band alle Mitglieder darauf angewiesen sind, hauptberuflich anderen Tätigkeiten neben der Musik nachzugehen. Es wird klar, dass die unter Fans weitläufig verbreitete Vorstellung, eine Band würde hauptsächlich durch ihre Tournéen Geld verdienen, im Allgemeinen nicht zutrifft; so ist es Seventh Wonder etwa finanziell kaum möglich, größere Tournéen zu organisieren, und selbst bei kleinen Touren im Zusammenschluss mit anderen Bands fällt es den Mannen aus Schweden schwer, am Ende nicht aus eigener Tasche drauf zahlen zu müssen.
Diese und viele weitere spannende Ausführungen von Söderin findet ihr im nachfolgenden Interview.
Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

Das Interview:

Arne: Hi Andreas! Thanks for taking the time for this interview. How’s the band doing right now? What’s up in Stockholm?
Andreas: We are doing just fine. Right now we are rehearsing for the shows later this year. We have a new drummer and a temporary bass player while Andreas B is in the states, so there are many things to learn and go through, but it’s all staring to come together now.
Arne: Stylistically, you’re mainly being described as “Melodic Progressive Metal”. Where do you personally see Seventh Wonder on the genre line and what are the key elements of your music?
Andreas: The thing with our music is that all band members come from different musical backgrounds. Everything from plain 80s rock to progressive metal. The music we create becomes a mix of all of that. I guess you would put us in a couple of different genres depending on which song you listen to, but mainly, I would say it is melodic progressive rock.
Arne: You are the Keyboarder of the band. Would you say that because of the complex arrangements of this genre the keyboards gain a more important or maybe more “emphasized-on” role than they would have in other musical styles?
Andreas: Yeah, I think so. Some bands in other styles do just fine without keyboards, while we have up to 8 different keyboard tracks in just one song. There are lots of keyboards on the last two albums, but a part of it is very low in the mix and is there just to make the sound bigger.
Arne: Most metal fans mainly know Sweden for its Gothenburg Melodeath. With Seventh Wonder’s melodic progressive approach, do you sometimes feel like having to “prove” that Sweden can also do other great music?
Andreas: No, we do not think of it that way. We create the music we like to write and play and fortunately for us, people seem to like that.
Arne: Being founded in 2000, Seventh Wonder is a rather young band. Where would you see the main stations or “milestones” of the band’s past?
Andreas: Well, things really started to happen after the release of “Mercy falls”. We got great reviews, and the album got much more attention than we had thought. That made us play at big festivals like Progpower and Sweden rock. We also went on a mini tour around Europe.
We have always worked hard and slowly grown bigger. We also have wonderful fans who do everything they can to promote us to their friends and family. I think that is the most important thing which made the band what we are today. Without the fans, we would be nothing.
Arne: In your opinion, what are the possibilities and “must-do’s” for young bands to stand out from the crowd nowadays? What has been Seventh Wonder’s own way?
Andreas: I think that you have to come up with something own, and not just copy another band. It is hard, because there are lots and lots of great bands out there. Also, you have to be very good at what you do. In our case, I think it is the mix of all kinds of styles that make more people listen to us. People who are not into the progressive stuff like the more melodic songs.
Arne: What do you and the other band members do for a living besides Seventh Wonder?
Andreas: I work as an IT specialist. Johan works in the event business (setting up stages, backlines and so on). Tommy is a firefighter. Andreas is a research manager. Stefan is a teacher in music.
Arne: Do you use social networking or other “new media” a lot, or is it rather the common way of publishing CDs and then playing concerts?
Andreas: We try to keep up with all the new social media. We think it is important to respect the fans and try to keep in touch with them and answer the questions we get. Unfortunately there is always the time aspect, as we do not do this for a living (even thou we would love that)
Arne: So do you see media like the internet as a threat to good music, especially in the context of copyright violations and music piracy? Or do you rather see the involving opportunities and new possibilities?
Andreas: I think it is a bit of both! We get many mails from parts of the world where we have never been and our music is not available. In that way, the internet has helped spread our music around the world, even though we are a small band. On the other hand, we get reports that the albums are being downloaded five times for every sold record. That is bad for a small band like us, because we really need that money. It is very expensive to record an album and have it distributed. It is also, believe or not, expensive for us to come out and play. We are lucky if we break even on a concert. Many people who download music may think the artist already got loads of money, but in our case, it can be the difference if there will be a new album or not.
Arne: A lot of fans wondered whether there might be a chance of seeing you on a live concert in their own land. Are there any plans for a greater tour or something like that?
Andreas: As I said, it is very expensive to do a complete tour for a band of our size. We are not even near that kind of money ourselves. But there is always a possibility to gain a couple of other bands and do a tour together. We do have plans for that, but I have no more info at this time. The only shows that are planned for this year is in Jönköping, Sweden at the end of August, and Progpower Europe in Holland at the end of September.
Arne: Did you ever think about releasing a live record or maybe even podcasting a gig for the fans that don’t have the possibility of seeing you live?
Andreas: Yes, we have talked about that. There were plans to record the Progpower USA show last year, but unfortunately some technical and legal reasons destroyed those plans. We will try to do that in the future, but no plans at the moment.
Arne: Your 2008 album “Mercy Falls” is a complex and story-driven concept album. A lot of people tried to figure out the exact storyline. What can you tell us about “Mercy Falls”, or maybe your very own interpretation of it?
Andreas: Actually, it is pretty fun to see all those ideas the fans have. There has been a lot of discussion of that on our forum. It is way too long to write here, but check out the forum, the story is more or less complete there.
Arne: What can you tell us about your 2010 album “The Great Escape”? What’s different between it and Mercy Falls?
Andreas: The big difference is that we recorded everything by ourselves in our new studio. That way, we could take all the time we wanted, when we wanted to. There has been some activity in the studio almost every day for 6 months. Some parts were rewritten as we recorded and we changed a lot we were not completely satisfied with. Then we mixed and mastered at Erik Mårtensson instead of Tommy Hansen where we did the two previous albums. That made a more clear and modern sound.
Arne: Your single “Alley Cat” has generally been acclaimed very well by your fellow fans and critics. Still, there have been some people who called the new album something like “Pussy Rock”. How do you feel about such critics?
Andreas: I have always thought of critics as a one person with his one personal opinion. I does not bother me at all if we get bad reviews, as long as the fans love what we do. It is always like that. If you make a really progressive metal album, then you would get “they lost the melodic feeling”, or “it’s too metal” and so on …
Arne: There had been some confusion about the lyrics of “Alley Cat” where a lot of fans believed to hear the names of Elvis and Michael Jackson in the very first verse. Is this the right interpretation or is it misheard lyrics?
Andreas: Yes, both Elvis and Michael are actually mentioned in the lyrics. I think it was a kind of tribute to them from Tommy when he wrote that.
Arne: “The Great Escape”, the title track of the new album, is a 30 minute epos. Do you see any difficulties in having such a long song when it comes to concerts?
Andreas: Well, that is of course a huge challenge to pull of live. The song is written to be able to do live, but so far we have not tried to do it. I think that would have to be some kind of headline act, since we normally just have 45 – 60 minutes to play. Although, the song is written in 4 main parts, so any of those parts would work live as well.
Arne: Generally, what’s up for the future? Any new record planned?
Andreas: This year has so far been a kind of vacation for SW. The old drummer quit, Andreas B had to work in the US for a year, and Tommy went to join Kamelot on tour for a month. We are only doing two planned shows this year, but I can reveal that we are already writing on new material. Now we have a new awesome drummer and Andreas B is coming back in early 2012. From there on, there will be full speed ahead.
Arne: Anything left you would like to tell your fans?
Andreas: A big thank you all for being the best fans in the world. When you worked your ass of with a record or traveled for ten hours, you may sometimes ask yourself if its really worth it … but then again, when you meet all the kind and friendly fans after a show, you get reminded why you do it. We love you guys! See ya on the road.
Arne: Thanks for the interview, Andreas! And all the best for the band.
Moderation: Arne Luaith

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