Seven That Spells

Photo by: Nikola Sarnavka

Nick: Hey Niko, how are you doing, man? Make some Japanese food recently?

Niko: 
All is good! Yep a month ago me and my friend made some gyudon – turned out really good!

Nick: The most recent news about Seven That Spells is that you have a new album called “Acid Taking and Sweet Love Making”. Tell me the story behind this jam-piece?

Niko: Well, it was recorded in 2006 – 2 days after “Black Om Rising” actually! Its the last album I made with the original lineup of STS. Its a simple rock and roll album. It took some time for me to get it mixed. Sometimes I can be really lazy – that’s why it’s published now in 2011 – 5 years after it was recorded!

Nick: What’s interesting about Seven That Spells is that you actually don’t give the feeling of being a studio band on your records. At least I can tell for myself that I’ve got a feeling every time I listen to
your records that you are here in the space, your music does not only come from speakers. Do you agree?

Niko: 

Yes – we are not a studio band primarily because we cannot afford 1 month of recording per album – all STS albums were recorded in 2 day sessions with only 1 take per song – I always put stress on musicians that way – and they play the best they can, ha ha ha! The recording places always change – from studio, old cinema, theatre to old school garage recording like “Men from Dystopia” for example! With that kind of approach we get live sound from our records – and that’s the most important thing for me!

Nick: What was your goal when you formed the band back in 2003? Playing rock, having good food and drink? Am I close?

Niko: 
I was disgusted with the post rock movement back then and wanted to create a real rock band besides all the stuff you mentioned in the question.

Nick: Let’s discuss some individual albums, starting with “The Blowout”. It’s your first release and the only album that does not have any nudity on its cover, haha. Tell me more about this record.

Niko: We didn’t know what we were doing – I didn’t have a strong vision of the band’s direction then so we just played loud rock and roll, ha ha! No nudity, yes – that’s why the cover is boring! It was recorded in 1 day and remixed in 2005. But I doubt it will ever resurface as an official record. 100 DIY copies were made and were sold out in 2 months – that’s it.

Nick: Next up is “My Mommy Wants to Kiss Your Mamma”, released in 2005. What was it like to record?

Niko: 

I don’t like that record. It was recorded in club KSET inZagreb on 1 inch track. After it was recorded and mixed I came to an understanding that I have to change the band’s direction and philosophy.

Nick: “It Came from the Planet of Love” was also released in 2005. What inspired you at the time? It seems like the majority of band’s material was produced around this time.

Niko: I just wanted to make lots of music – most of it was improvised so it was possible to be quick and creative in that niche. Oh by the way – I hate the word “jam”. I absolutely hate it – for me it has a very negative meaning towards music and attitude of playing. Well, its my trauma from the psychedelic world and bunch of really bad bands I saw live that were “jamming” – ugh… 0 energy and 0 creativity but jamming on, ha ha ha ha!

Nick: For “Men from Dystopia” you had special assistance from Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple fame. How did you get in touch with him and tell me more about this lunatic session that managed to be captured in the aforementioned album?

Niko: I met with Makoto in 2002 I think – when I saw my first Acid Mothers Temple concert. The rest is history. We get along really well. He is a total rock and roll troubadour – one of the last in this world! The main part of Dystopia was recorded here in Zagreb – the overdubs were done in Japan.

Nick: With “The Men from Dystopia” you have created a true psychedelic monster. One of the most interesting elements of your records is guitar soloing, it’s absolutely mindblowing. Tell us about your guitar technique, how did it develop?

Niko: It’s all about the atmosphere for me – not technique – most of the guitar players (I come in contact with) who play conventional music claim I don’t know how to play guitar – which is perfect for me so I don’t have to participate in the fucking equipment brainwashing/ear bleeding talk, ha ha ha ha. I was practicing like crazy from when I was 12. From 16 onward I took lots of drugs. Now I’m 32 and still know shit about anything. But now I enjoy food, alcohol and women – no drugs. So my guitar playing got worse, ha ha ha!

Nick: What’s the key to creating such intense soundwalls around yourselves, but still keeping the atmosphere of mysticism?

Niko: Living your life as a free person and being able to tell a good story.

Nick: Who are the Men from Dystopia?

Niko: 

We are all men from Dystopia. We all work on creating a shitty future for ourselves and our children.

Nick: What is the initial element for making music in Seven That Spells? Is it riff or melody?

Niko: 
Totally depends on how we feel. But it’s a typical rock and roll creative process. Nothing new and avant-garde here ;)

Nick: “Black Om Rising” introduced the saxophone as a new instrument in STS and if you ask me it turned out really well. Why did you decide to do this? There are not many bands in the genre that use this instrument.

Niko: It seemed like an ok idea at that time – to fill up the sound. There are lots of rock bands that use sax but they are as unknown as STS.

Nick: Speaking of “Black Om Rising” there’s obviously a turn towards a proggier sound. Do you think the same and if so, why do you think it happened? Is it a natural sequence of circumstances or are you
intentionally trying to expand your horizons?

Niko: I don’t think too much about music but I act fast – sometimes I regret that but it keeps the band evolving and exciting. Yes the sax always makes things proggier. Thats why it began to suck so much in my opinion. I really had enough of that instrument. it made me play less guitar so it had to go out of the band naturally.

Nick: Cosmoerotic Dialogue With Lucifer” brings Kawabata back into the game, and you guys manage to show insanity through the channels, one in each ear. Have you been trying to gain the harmony in your playings or have you just let yourself play without turning to what the other one does?

Niko: I really don’t remember. Sorry ;)

Nick: Have you ever been at Stara Planina (The Old Mountain)? Is it perhaps from where you got the title for a song from “Cosmoerotic Dialogue With Lucifer”?

Niko: Nah. Its just a good title for the song along with the stupid lyrics I made out – but its a romantic song I guess!

Nick: “Cosmoerotic Dialogue With Lucifer” is probably the most intense record you’ve produced out to date. Which factors, in your opinion, influenced you to create that intensity?

Niko: 

Alcohol and 3 consecutive days of non sleeping!!

Nick: “Future Retro Spasm” is my favorite STS album and actually the one I have listened to the most. How would you describe this record?

Niko: It’s a record for modern Viking funeral rites!

Nick: On your official website it says there will be another album later this year, called “Superautobahn”, recorded in 2007. What can we expect this one to bring us?

Niko: Three 20 minute songs each comprised of 1 repetitive riff. Nice and easy stuff as usual ha ha!

Nick: You have played at the DUNAjam festival in 2010, what are your impressions about it?

Niko: 
Its the best fucking festival in the world. Period.

Nick: It has been said that you plan to record a trilogy of albums called “Death and Resurrection of Krautrock”. What can be expected from it?

Photo by Nikola Sarnavka

Niko: Everything. It will be the STS masterpiece. Music will range from psych rock, folk to complex mathematical kraut rock.

Nick: In the past, you toured Japan – how was it? Not so many bands from this part of the world have had the opportunity to tour over there.

Niko: It was amazing. We go there in 2012 again. Its easier now that I have a steady lineup of the band.

Nick: Are you satisfied with how things go in musical scene in Croatia? Do people like and accept what STS does? I guess that you already have an established fanbase over there.

Niko: I don’t care about it. People come to our concerts and we have fun together. I really don’t have time to care about other bands. Most of them suck anyway. In my opinion there in no scene.

Nick: What comes next for STS?

Niko: Practicing for the upcoming recording of the album and some euro tours in 2011.

Nick: I’m out of questions, is there anything you would love to add that I didn’t cover in my questions?

Niko: Let’s rock!!!

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.
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