Friday, 12 April 2013

Interview with Seven Impale

Following on from reviewing their rather fine debut recording, the EP Beginning/Relieve a few weeks ago, Stian Økland (vocals and guitars) and Fredrik Mekki Widerøe (drums) from Seven Impale, a new band from Bergen, Norway, join me for a short chat during a break from planning the recording of their first album. 

I wouldn't advise pogoing...

Roger: Your EP Beginning/Relieve, which came out on 5th April on Karisma Records has been on heavy rotate since I received it from Karisma Records. Tell us a bit about your backgrounds and how the band came to be. 

Stian: First of all we’re very happy to hear that you enjoyed our EP. Seven Impale was formed nearly three years ago in Bergen, Norway by me. I had been without a band in almost two years and was eager to start up something new and exciting. I was not to sure what I was aiming for musically, but in the winter of ‘09 I met Fredrik at The Mars Volta concert in Oslo. I knew him a little bit from before and knew that we had a lot of musical interests in common. Obviously the concert was a huge success both for what happened on stage and the relations that followed, which eventually led to Seven Impale. 

Roger: I must admit that the band name put me off a bit , as "Seven Impale" sounds like it should be a death metal band, but luckily for me, you are not at all death, or indeed any other kind of metal! Why did you choose that name? 

Stian: Hehe! The “plan”, if you could call it that, was actually to create some sort of a Hardcore’ish answer to Deep Purple, but with so many different backgrounds and interests in different music genres it just didn’t happen. Perhaps for the better we think. When it comes to the name and how to understand the brutality of it we like to compare it to religion and how it “impales” a weak mind. Seven is a symbolic number and heavily used in many of the world's different religions. We don’t mean to criticise a person's belief or religious view, but more religion as organization with hierarchies and political power. This topic is also often the things we want to communicate through our lyrics as well. 

Roger: Best of luck with that, sounds like difficult subject matter to get right. It's always great to hear new bands with interesting ideas. Tell us about the music that influences your sound. 

Stian: That is a LOT! Spanning from opera to drum’n’bass we have a lot of different music to use when we sit down and compose. 

Fredrik: There are a lot of different elements to pick up from music genres that are miles away from our own. The rythms of modern avantgarde/free jazz like Ephel Duath and TrioVD, as well as the electronic soundscapes and moods in genres like drum-n-bass and dupstep. We try to gather our differing inspirations into a “comprehenceable” piece of music.

Stian: What you hear on the EP; there is also a lot of heavier influences that gave ideas and inspiration for the songs. Especially for me bands like Alice in Chains, Enslaved and Soundgarden, which alongside with jazz informed me a lot as a musician and songwriter when the EP was written. 

Roger: So, was some of it was written quite some time ago? 

Stian: Yes, for example the title track Beginning/Relieve was written almost 4 years ago. 

Roger: I am told that you are in the middle of recording your debut album. How's that coming along? 

Stian: We haven’t quite started with the recordings yet, but hopefully we could start now in the end of April. We’re going to work with Iver Sandøy, who produced our fellow Karisma & Dark Essence colleagues Krakow's newest album; Diin, and co-produced Enslaved latest album, Riitiir. He is a man we surely look forward to work with, since he is very experienced in terms of both studio work and as a musician. The only thing that holds us a little bit back is, of course, money. But eventually we have sorted out that as well. Hopefully we’ll be ready for releasing the album early autumn. 

Roger: Good news, I look forward to it. The EP is download only, hopefully there will be a CD version of the album? 

Stian: We’re very sure that the album will be out on CD. Perhaps vinyl as well. It’s nice to have the EP out first to test the market and from there plan the formats of the album. The most important for us is that it will available for everyone, everywhere! 

Roger: In my review of the EP I made a comparison to American band The Tea Club and UK band inFictions. While all three bands are quite distinct from one another, there is definitely a post-prog common thread running through you all. Are you aware of those two bands I mentioned? If not, there must be something in the air, as the song goes, for, if you were all from the same country it would almost certainly be called a scene! 

Stian: Actually, that’s two new names for us, or at least me. In my case I tend to listen only to either opera or jazz so there’s a lot of exciting new bands I miss along the road. But since you mention them I will surely check them out. 

Fredrik: There seems to be kind of a “trend” with these post-prog bands, and there is definitely more bands for us to relate to musically when we get out of Norway. This is one of the main reasons that it is very important to us to get recognized internationally. 

Roger: Do you have any gigs planned, and have you ever played outside Norway? 

Stian: We’re trying to get some gigs, but it’s quite hard here in Norway. I think for a band of our size, being unproved and with a lot of gear makes the starting phase extra hard. But perhaps there will be more opportunities after the EP has been out a while. We hope that we could get some gigs outside of Norway quite fast. England would be perfect we guess; just give us a heads up and we’ll be on the first plane! 

Roger: Finally, the traditional food question - Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian or home cooking? 

Stian: That is a good question. We’re all very fond of good food, and variety is the key to all that is durable and perfect, so I guess I’d have to say all of them.

Well, there you have it. An interesting young band whose album I can't wait to get my hands on, so with that in mind, we'll let them get back to work.

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