There’s a hiatus of twenty four years between Seven Trees’ debut album “Embracing The Unknown” (1997, Zoth Ommog) and their new opus “Dead/End” released on Progress Productions. Johan Kronberg and Henrik Karlsson both remain the single members on board. It’s not an easy thing to label their music, but it sounds to me as the offspring between The Klinik, Project Pitchfork and Front Line Assembly. You never got the feeling this band has stopped composing music for such a long time; “Dead/End” has something retro-like, but still personal and featuring multiple great songs. I talked about it all with Henrik Karlsson.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: When evoking SEVEN TREES people are always getting back to your debut album “Embracing The Unknown” released in 1997 by Zoth Ommog. What did this album and the fact it was released by Zoth Ommog mean to you and what has been its further impact on your career?
Henrik: It meant a lot to us; it was the perfect label to be on at the time, and we got a lot of exposure. People seem to really like that album, which is equally important for a career in music; it acts as a mental booster for future compositions. Also, our tour with MENTALLO & THE FIXER most likely had an impact.
As for today… I think signing with a prominent label like Progress Productions most likely strengthened the interest in the first ‘come back’ release, the “Trauma Toxicity”-EP. Finally, the expanded re-release of “Embracing The Unknown” in Infacted’s “Classixx”-series was definitely very important too.
Q: There’s a hiatus of 24 (!) years between the debut album and your new opus “Dead/End”. Do you feel it’s still the same band with a similar approach and perception about music or is this something totally different? What are the most noticeable changes & evolutions?
Henrik: We have put a lot of effort into developing our sound to a more modern soundscape, while at the same time leaning towards the more old-school Dark-Electro. We still have the same visions for SEVEN TREES, while at the same time trying to break patterns and challenge ourselves. I think this is quite evident if comparing the EP and the new album, which has a more carefully considered neater production.
Q: Over now to “Dead/End”. What kind of album is it all about and did you’d specific ideas in mind about sound and production? In which way is there a connection between “Dead/End” and the “Trauma Toxicity”-EP from 2017?
Henrik: There is quite a strong connection, despite the differences in production. They both deal a lot with for example the consequences of being subjected to extensive and prolonged trauma. With the EP we were trying out our grounds, see how we wanted the ‘new’ SEVEN TREES to sound. It’s a very dark EP. When working on the new album we felt like we wanted to do something even darker, especially when it came to the lyrics, all the while making that work with our ‘new’ sound. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. We did not plan for a specific production, it came naturally as we were working on the album.
Q: I was just asking you about the ‘sound’ of SEVEN TREES, which according to me is hard to label, being more a kind of sonic osmosis between different music genres. What does it say about your potential sources of inspiration and do you handle specific criteria and/or references when it comes to writing and production?
Henrik: We don’t have much of criteria at all, except for that we will stay in the Dark-Electro realm. Also, we don’t really like doing club tracks or similar, it’s just not our thing. Honestly as for genre, we don’t really know where to place us either, but people say Dark-Electro so I guess that’s what we do.
We’re both very broad in our taste in music; my favorite band is PLACEBO, and Johan listens quite a bit to Black-Metal. We grew up on Electronic music of various kinds, but eventually broadened our horizons. We both listen to a lot of Electronic stuff nowadays too though, but varying it with other genres.
As for lyrics I draw inspiration from for example Brian Molko and Robert Smith, while incorporating my own style of writing.
Q: “Dead/End” is an intriguing title for lyrical themes, which are clearly evoking despair, disillusion… which can be summarized with one of your songs: dystopic illusions! What did you try to express and what does it reveal about your perception of life and society?
Henrik: Funny you should ask, because this particular song is something we’ve never done before, it’s very different from the other tracks on the album (the lyrics). It is very political, something I never thought we’d do, but with everything that was going on last year over here I guess I felt like trying it out. I wanted to do it in a rather cryptic way though, so it might not be very obvious. There’s quite the pitch black worldview in that song, and I guess in most of the other tracks too.
Q: What are the further plans and especially considering we’re actually going through this ongoing pandemic? Dystopia became reality don’t you think?
Henrik: Yeah, it certainly did. It’s been a crazy year, and it’s been tough for us all, especially being isolated, and to exercise every precaution to not get Covid. May this nightmare end soon! As for further plans, we do have a release coming up, but I can’t say anything about it yet.