Sunday 17 April 2016

Interview with Seven Hundredth Unicorn

Seven Hundredth Unicorn's debut album – Ruins Of Hope – has impressed the team greatly here at Outlaws Of The Sun. The bands blend of Sludge, Doom, Stoner and Heavy Metal riffs with blistering Hardcore vocals should see them win a loyal following within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene.

I came across these guys by the song – Our Worlds Collide – currently streaming on their BandCamp Page. Plus the fantastic artwork cover had me intrigued. I contacted the band for a promo copy of the album and if they would mind doing an interview which you can read below.

Niels Fuzz and myself recently said this about the album:

Steve and myself (Niels) were literally blown away by Seven Hundredth Unicorn's debut album 'Ruins Of Hope'. This is indeed a solid melting pot of all things heavy and metal. Full stop. Riffs aplenty here if you're a fan of all things Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal with a subtle hint of Hardcore vibes being dropped in with the full power of a Megaton Atomic Bomb.

Seven Hundredth Unicorn have created 10 perfectly written Sludge/Stoner Metal songs that the “Relapse Records” crowd will go fucking nuts over. We will even say that Seven Hundredth Unicorn would fit right at home at Relapse Records. If any labels are reading this then sign the band now as these guys have true potential.

Our final thoughts on the album can be described as 'killer', 'rad', 'dope', 'tasty', 'smokin', 'blazing' and just flat out entertaining. Brilliant stuff.”

The band have shared the stage with bands such as CONAN, Hang The Bastard, Kvelertak, The Moth and Black Rainbows.  he band have kindly agreed to talk to us here at Outlaws Of The Sun where we discuss their inception, the themes of the album and the current state of the UK Sludge/Stoner Metal scene.

Hi guys. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

Hey Steve, no problem at all. Things are going really well thanks. Currently on route to watch Converge play their Blood Moon set in London so very much looking forward to that!

Can you give a brief history of the band. How the band came together. And did you know each other before you formed the band or played in previous bands with each other.

We formed in late 2012 and originally started out as a side project. We started jamming ideas together but never really intended to start a 2 piece. After a few jams and messing around with the setup a little bit, we got offered a slot at our local venue so we accepted, got a set together and I guess the rest is history. We've released an EP and played some cool shows since but have never really pushed it. We've been in bands together for about 12 years and were both in two other bands when we first formed so always worked on Seven Hundredth Unicorn when we had the time available. One of those bands split up late last year so it gave us a bit more spare time to concentrate on the band so we decided to start taking it a bit more seriously, started working on Ruins of Hope and here we are now.

Why did you choose the name – Seven Hundredth Unicorn – for your band. Any specific reason. When I heard your name I thought you were a Power Metal/Gothic Metal Band.

We got the name from one of the lyrics in Symptom of the Universe. We're both massive fans of Black Sabbath, thought it sounded pretty cool and to be honest that's pretty much all there is to it haha.

How would you describe your own sound. As you have a ton of different sounds going on at the same time.

We're both pretty open minded when it comes to our music tastes so I guess there are all kinds of influences shining through in some way or another however, bands such as Black Sabbath, Baroness, Mastodon, ISIS and Cult of Luna are all major inspirations of ours. It predominantly falls into the Metal category but although it's heavy, groovy, sludgey and aggressive, it's also very melodic.

Why did you choose the name Ruins Of Hope for the album. Any specific meaning.

The general lyrical content on the album is about a lot of the personal frustrations that we have with the world. We're always hoping that things will change and certain things will get better but a lot the time it just doesn't and all over the world we see these ruins of hope.

What inspired you when you were writing and recording the album and what was the overall recording experience like for the album?

The overall recording experience was great, we recorded it ourselves so there was no pressure and no time restrictions, it was a very chilled out process. We were both very excited and eager to finish the album and have something to promote our name with so I would say that's what inspired us while we were writing and recording.

What does the album represent to yourselves personally?

To us it represents a massive achievement. As we've been a side project for a while, it's feel great to finally get a full length together and be ready to push it as much as we can.

We have to talk about the excellent album cover. Who designed the album cover. And how much input did you have into the final design of the album cover.

It was our good friend Amy Edwards who designed the album cover. We provided a basic description of what we wanted and some reference material but pretty much let her have free reign with it. She has designed stuff for our other band in the past so we were confident that she would be able to create what we wanted. We have a song on the album called Norman Kalashnikoff which is basically about a mythical Viking and Norman Kalashnikoff is his name. So, we pretty much said we'd like a Viking with a massive beard, riding a unicorn, fighting people with an axe and that's what she came up with!

What is the song writing dynamic in the band. Is it down to an individual or a group collective.

To be honest, it's a bit of both but there isn't really any particular song writing process that we stick to. Matt would usually record most of the ideas at home and then send them over to Dave and tell him if they're rubbish or not haha. Alternatively, we'd go into the practice room and jam a few ideas and try to build an arrangement around whatever ideas we have. Most of the time though, the music is written and then the lyrics and patterns are usually put over the top.

Will you be touring this record heavily? Can you give any details?

We certainly plan to. We currently don't have a booking agency so getting gigs isn't the easiest but we definitely have intentions of gigging as much as we possibly can. Saying that, we are currently in talks with a few other bands and are hoping to work on a few tours later in the year so fingers crossed, we will have some announced very shortly.

What is your verdict on the current state of the UK Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal scene. Some people are saying that it has it’s peak and the only way is down. Whilst others are saying it’s still thriving but loads more can be done. What’s your own verdict on the UK Hard Rock/Metal scene in general and what can be done to improve this.

I'd say the current state of the scene is very healthy, there are some great bands out there and some great UK festivals that cater for these. I wouldn't say the only way is down, there is always a way to improve. Technology is evolving very fast so how bands approach certain things is always changing. I think it's just important that people try their best to make it out to shows, support your local bands and the scene will always be there.

What is your equipment setup when playing live or recording in the studio. Do you have an advanced setup or a basic setup.

Our setup is pretty basic, the guitar just splits the signal through a guitar and bass amp with a Blackstar overdrive pedal. Saying that though, we'd love to experiment with some more effects and different set-ups in the future so maybe on the next album who knows, that could change.

Words by Steve Howe and Seven Hundredth Unicorn

Thanks to Seven Hundreth Unicorn for taking the time out to talking to me. Ruins Of Hope will be available to buy from May 06th 2016.