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donderdag 17 maart 2011
SEVEN THORNS: This is not a hobby; it is a part of who we are as persons

Interview with drummer/founding member Lars “Laske” Borup of Seven Thorns by Vera in March 2011

Every power metal fan will enjoy the opulence of powerful drum attacks, acrobatic guitar- and keyboard skills and glorious choruses to sing along on the sophomore album of Danish Seven Thorns ‘Return To The Past’. Obviously inspired by bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray and HammerFall, they released a very fetching album. We contacted founder member and drummer Lars “Laske” Borup who tells us about all the things they had to conquer before they could finally release ‘Return To The Past’. Get ready for a catchy stunner in power metal!

First of all, congratulations with ‘Return To The Past’, I guess it must be a relief to finally have an album out, isn’t it?
You bet. After all the hard work it feels great to have the album available all over the world.

The band foundation was an idea from you, drummer Lars in 1998, but I see that only six years later you were joined by a proper buddy Mik Holm. You can say that was a slow start… What happened with the band in those early days?
Like with many other bands it took a long time to find the right people. Since a band spends so much time together, and have to agree on the style, getting the right dynamics is vital. During the first years we were always missing one or two instruments in the intended set up. Later we were a complete band but the dynamics were all wrong, so we had to start all over again.

In 2005 a first single was recorded: ‘Artificial Night’. Why starting with a single and what did this release achieve for you?
‘Artificial Night’ actually won the Eurovision Metal Award for best song, so that was highly motivating. Even though the instability of the band made it hard to profit on that flying start, it gave us confidence that our music was likeable by others than just ourselves.

In 2008 you finally gathered a more or less stable line-up around you. Can you tell a bit more about the recruitment of the contemporary musicians?
Mik and I put up an ad and contacted a few old friends. One of them is a guitar teacher and he encouraged one of his pupils, Gabriel, to try for the band. Gabriel was only nineteen and Mik and I were well into our thirties (don’t tell Mik I said that)... but it felt right from day one. Gabriel recruited fellow guitarist and friend Christian. Our bass player, Nikolaj, answered one of our ads, and fell right in with the rest of us. We were missing a keyboardist for quite a while until Gabriel recommended Asger (they attend the same university music classes). Erik, our singer, is a story of its own. We had many singers auditioning for the band, from rather good ones to outright disasters. Mik, being a singer himself, was highly critical and didn’t feel any of the candidates were right, so he searched the net and found a voice sample from Eric that he really liked. Mik wrote Eric, and he agreed to come into the studio with us for the recording of ‘Forest Majesty’ and ‘Spread Your Wings’. Both his voice and his personality worked perfectly with the rest of the band, even though he is a Swede...

Does it mean that you started to play live as well around that time? What are your memories on the live shows of Seven Thorns until now? What was the best memory? Any worst or spinal tap moment you remember?
One distinct memory is when we supported Jorn at The Rock in Copenhagen. Eric fell ill so Mik had to step in and sing. He was really nervous before the concert, but went on stage and did a great job, only the sound was so bad that you probably wouldn’t have heard the difference between opera and growling, so he needn’t have worried at all.
Our gig in Roskilde had a great audience, they were really in a party mode. One girl jumped on stage and started dancing, which was fine in the beginning, but when she got even more enthusiastic and started to undress our Roadie (yep, that is not just his function but also his nickname) had to, kindly, lift her down, once... twice... and three times before some of her friends led her away so she could sober up.

Let us focus on the album now. Who can be seen as main composers of the band and what is the function of other band members (only playing or composing contribution as well)?
Mik and Gabriel are certainly the main drivers in composing. All of us add to the arrangements and have suggestions, but Mik and I usually have the final say once everyone has been heard.

Who wrote the lyrics? Which topics did inspire you to write them and can you go a bit deeper into some of them (the most important ones in your opinion)?
Mik has written the majority of the lyrics, and Gabriel some as well. There is a distinct theme on the record of daring to be yourself, trust yourself, follow your own instincts and make your own decisions based on what is right for you instead of on other people’s expectations. I think the text to ‘Liberty’ sums up the theme pretty well, but from an emotional perspective ‘Forest Majesty’ and ‘Through The Mirror’ are probably the most personally significant texts on the record.

How did you come in contact with the guests on the album – like Mikkel and Olaf ?
I’ve known Mikkel for some time, he is a great guy and we have emptied a pint, or two, together. When it comes to Olaf, actually none of us have met him. It was Gabriel’s idea to send him a sample of our music and ask if he would consider doing a solo for us. He wrote back that he liked what he heard and would be happy to provide a solo for ‘Liberty’, which he promptly recorded and sent us. That he liked the music enough to want to be part of our album really gave us new energy at a time when we struggled to get the record finished.

The album was recorded at Media Sound Studio; but please tell me about the finishing touch done by famous Tommy Hansen. Was it the first time you worked with him? Was it a positive experience?
It was a very positive experience. His final touches really make a difference. I have met him before, and he is a truly nice person, and a pro through and through. I must also say that Peter Brander at Media Sound Studios has been a real pleasure to work with as well. He has a wicked sense of humour and an ear for detail.

I found out that the Joker’s Ball tour was delayed to 2012. Why? And that’s a long time…
Well, we were informed by our booking partner Redlionmusic that some things, that had nothing to do with Seven Thorns, had gone wrong and the tour would have to be postponed until next year. That was quite a set back because we were really looking forward to playing these places, but hopefully Redlion will be able to get us on some other European tour before the Joker’s Ball of 2012.

Do you have any other tour plans or gigs? Would you like to hit the road for a longer tour?
We have a few gigs coming up and we are discussing with a couple of festivals for summer and autumn, so hopefully we will get to travel a bit. A longer tour would be great, but would require some logistics as none of us live from the music we make, yet. Gabriel & Asger are at university and the rest of us have day jobs. However, so far our respective employers have been very understanding when it comes to finding solutions for concerts.

I think there must have been some times that you felt very frustrated: troubles with the band name, many musicians who leave, a first album that was never released… how did you manage to overcome all these problems in the end?
I think it was Nietzsche who said that if you have a why to live, you put up with the how’s. I’ve wanted to play metal music ever since I was at my first real concert at 14 years of age. Mik wants people to hear the music he makes. It has been frustrating, and at one point I stopped playing, saying I was done with being in a band, done with music, but... you cannot deny who you are and music is not something any of us in Seven Thorns just do for a hobby, it is a part of who we are as persons.

What happened to that first album ‘Glow Of Dawn’ (2007) Will it ever be released?
No, I don’t think so. It is actually available in Japan, and some people have managed to get a copy, but it is history now and we are looking forward.

How did you meet Mik Holm, who became your important buddy in the band?
Mik and I met in 2003, when the Seven Thorns of that time was looking for a singer. Mik answered the ad and got the job, and we became friends in the process.

How did you ever get in touch with music? When did your interest in metal start? Which bands can be seen as influential on your music?
My grandfather was a professional musician. He used to play at the circus back in the 1930’ies and 40’ies and there has always been music in my home. My parents insisted on me playing an instrument and though I swore at times over it as a child, I think I owe them for that. My interest in rock started with ELO in the late 70ies and metal caught me in the early 80ies. As for influences, they are several but most pronounces is probably Accept and Helloween. The younger boys have listened to a lot of more symphonic bands like Stratovarius and At Vance and, of course, Yngwie Malmsteen.

Do you play other instruments besides drums?
Actually, as a child I played the recorder, and (if I may say so myself) quite well, too. However, it was a long time ago now.

You shot a video for the song ‘Liberty’. Can you tell about the making of and are there plans for more videos in future?
We filmed ‘Liberty’ in November last year on a cold, rainy day in a garage with a door you couldn’t close. It was freezing and after twelve hours we were all blue behind the make-up. That aside, it was a great day and we are pleased with the result. We would love to make more videos but they take a fair amount of time and money, so right now we don’t have another scheduled.

What are the plans for the near future?
We are playing a couple of gigs in Denmark and if everything goes according to plan a few festivals in Europe this summer. And, we have started working on some material for the next album as well.

If I forgot to cover anything important, feel free to add it here and otherwise, last words are for you!
I think you covered a lot, so I will just add the words of wisdom... “Metal is your Destiny!”

Geplaatst door Vera op donderdag 17 maart 2011 - 22:30:37
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