SEVEN SPIRES: Purging Demons

Interview with Seven Spires

Self-proclaimed theatrical metal four-piece from Boston, Seven Spires, have returned with the release of their sophomore full-length album ‘Emerald Seas‘, out now via Frontiers Records, a follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2017′s debut ‘Solveig.’ The new, 13-track album continues the concept depicted on the previous release, in a way that ‘Emerald Seas‘  is the prequel to the debut.

Singer and keyboardist Adrienne Cowan speaks for Prog Sphere about the new record.

Define the mission of Seven Spires.

The mission of Seven Spires is twofold — it’s a place for all of us as musicians to grow and create without limits, and it’s hopefully a way for us and listeners alike to get away for a bit and purge our demons.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent album Emerald Seas and the themes it captures.

I did an incredible amount of research on certain mythological creatures — especially Näcken and the kraken, of course — and brainstormed for days, maybe even weeks about the characters, their backstories and childhoods, values, everything you can imagine when creating a world and characters. In my life at the time, I was overwhelmed with a maniacal desire to move forward and to fight for everything I dreamed of, but I was also bound by a deep-set burnout and lack of joy in things I liked. I think this bled quite a bit into the songs. The story follows the lone captain, Solveig, on their quest for eternal life. They sail east on their ship, The Great Divide, and fight an ancient beast that hunts sailors who have lost all hope. Emerald Seas is the prequel to our debut album, Solveig, and is mostly the backstory of the demon character by the same name, though there is a glimpse of the lost soul protagonist from that story too.

What is the message you are trying to give with Emerald Seas?

I don’t know if there is a message behind Emerald Seas beyond the story! But, I think between the emotionally charged lyrics and disregard for genre boundaries, I would hope that we lead by example in embracing ourselves wholeheartedly, and I hope also that people would listen to our music and feel less alone.

Seven Spires - Emerald Seas

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

We basically write in a DAW, once the initial seed of the song is written. This can be lyrics, a top line and chords, etc. From there, we expand on the arrangement with guitar, drum, and bass parts. Often, important parts of the orchestrations are written at this time, too.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

As a concept album, the order of songs is absolutely carefully architected to tell a story. We like to think the songs can stand as individuals as well, though.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Like most other albums, we start recording from the ground up: Start with the drums, rhythm guitars and bass, orchestration, then vocals and solos. Jack [Kosto - guitars] produced most of the sessions, and Chris [Dovas - drums] was the only one to actually go into a studio to record. Everything else was done in our home studios, and then sent to Sascha Paeth for mixing and Miro for mastering.

How long Emerald Seas was in the making?

The writing for Emerald Seas began as soon as Solveig was complete, sometime in 2015. Writing concept albums for us is like making a stew — there are a lot of flavour components that need time to mature and mingle together before they become the cohesive, complete meal. The songs themselves often go through several drafts and reincarnations before the album is ready to actually record. Three of the four of us were still at Berklee finishing our degrees while this was being written, so that was part of why it took so long, and anyway, we had to release Solveig before we put this one out!

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I was listening to a lot of Ghost Brigade, Amaranthe, Insomnium, and Omnium Gatherum in addition to some Romantic era composers while drafting Emerald Seas, but I think Kamelot, Nightwish, Dimmu Borgir, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Hans Zimmer are always present in varying degrees while writing music.

What is your view on technology in music?

Well, if we didn’t have any technology, I suppose we would be sitting around a campfire with an acoustic guitar, an upright bass, and maybe a cajon or some pots and pans or something. So I am quite glad to have the technology to write symphonic metal out of my bedroom. :)

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

I think our music exists to help purge demons, and to provide somewhere to be one’s true self. Even though our music can be quite emotionally low and raw at times, I’m an idealist and escapist at the end of the day, and I’m glad to have a way to connect with people and hopefully help them through dark times.

What are your plans for the future?

We are scheduled to tour North America with Amaranthe and Battle Beast this fall! We were supposed to be out with Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum right now, but of course now we are all in varying levels of quarantine. Hopefully those dates will be rescheduled. In the mean time, the four of us are making tonnes of videos and occasionally live streaming acoustic versions of our songs, and of course putting the finishing touches on demos for album III… and yes, gathering ideas for album IV!

Emerald Seas is out now via Frontiers Records; order it from here. Like Seven Spires on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram.

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