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Interview

Seven Nines And Tens Returns With New Album "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Slums"

Photo of Seven Nines and Tens

Band Photo: Seven Nines and Tens (?)

Tomorrow (May 13th) will mark a new official single release from Vancouver outfit Seven Nines And Tens as the band gears up to drop impending album "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Slums."

Before we exclusively premiere that new track, we checked in with the Canadian band to find out what has transpired in the intervening years since the release of previous full-length album "Consants & Axioms" and the intervening single "I Come From Downtown."

Check out the full interview below and prepare yourself for the new album to drop later this coming summer.

xFiruath: “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Slums” is a really interesting title (and a bit of a mouthful!). What inspired STCFTHOTS as the title?

Living in a slum for the past 10 years (Vancouver, Downtown Eastside) inspired the title. It's also play on the title of a classic song by a classic, classic band. I can't disclose all my secrets here!

xFiruath: More broadly, what sort of overall lyrical themes and ideas are you dealing with on the album?

It’s one man’s perception of daily life in a densely populated ghetto. I didn’t grow up here but I’ve been here 10 years. This part of town is definitely my muse. The album isn’t a concept record but the environment in which it was written I feel permeates the sound.

xFiruath: Is this going to be an independent release or do you have a label/distro lined up or in the works for this album?

Dullest Records from Lansdale PA, USA is releasing it on CD. Their owner Danny Katz is a rad guy and we have a ton of mutual musical interests. I sent him the first single "I Come From Downtown" and his response was "this is how the last Alcest record should've sounded!" I took that as a huge compliment as Alcest is a huge influence.

xFiruath: It's been three years since the last album. What's changed within the band and with the band's sound since then?

We’ve gotten better, I think at least. We played with a ton of touring bands and that helped expose me to a lot of different ideas and approaches. I wrote between 200 and 300 ideas for the record and that really expanded the scope of my songwriting.

xFiruath: Tell me about how this album came together. How long did it gestate in the writing period and how did the recording process go down?

After playing with Intronaut, The Ocean, and Behold The Arctopus in the summer of 2012, I had a decent idea of what I wanted to aim for as far as the next record was concerned. I think I’m inclined towards the arrangement side of music so I definitely absorb the approach of those that are really, really good at it. I just went from there and recorded ideas every day for a year and a half/two years. That recorded material became the bulk of the record.

xFiruath: I saw a post on FB some time back mentioned a single on this album is past the 13 minute mark! Are most of the tracks on here longer, and what sort of challenges do you face when putting together behemoth tracks like that?

The 13 minute track “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” was at one time two separate songs which we eventually married together with a nice cacophonic segue of guitar sounds. Every artist says this, but it’s our best work.

xFiruath: Have you guys been active in your local live scene while writing/recording this album?

I’ve noticed that we are really active in the spring and summer every year when it’s nice outside. The rest of the time is spent in a wet rehearsal space. Vancouver is amazing, there are so many bands (good ones at that) it's insane. Because we play off so many different music genres in our sound we can play nearly any venue. That’s really cool.

xFiruath: Do you have any specifics lined up yet for live activity to support the release?

We're playing the annual "psych rock" fest Levitation on a bill with Russian Circles, and Sumac. We're also playing Taco Fest which is put on by our buddy Johnny Matter. That should be a good one - an outdoor festival in a stadium with all the beer and food you can handle. We're actually playing with American bands Bosse-De-Nage and So Hideous this Friday at Funky Winkerbeans. Aside from that we are going to play any show we're offered as well as do some small tours on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and Alberta.

xFiru ath: What's the drink of choice for the Seven Nines and Ten lads at writing or rehearsal sessions?

I love this question! The drink of choice for me would be tea for writing, water for rehearsing, and beer for show times. Our bassist Riley really likes beer, our guitarist Ross sometimes drinks red wine or whiskey but usually beer, and our drummer Drew prefers water.

xFiruath: Outside your own music, what have you been listening to lately that really blows you away and should be heard by more people?

The Swan King from Chicago. Other than Junius, they were the best contemporary American band in my opinion. They just disbanded unfortunately. Their guitarist/vocalist Dallas has been in the band Pelican for a while as well. They wrote really anthemic, yet brainy, technical, and memorable music. I’ve been listening to defunct British band Catherine Wheel a ton as well. Their album Chrome has got to be in my top 10 albums of all time. The melodic choices they made have few peers.

xFiruath: Are any of you guys active with other musical projects right now and what's happening with those bands?

Our guitarist Ross plays in a band called the Nautilus and they are finishing their awesome 2nd record. They are sort of like a blend of The Red Chord meets Gojira meets Mastodon. They're great. Our drummer Drew plays in a ton of bands too as well as teaches drums. He's a real musician's musician. Thanks for the interview Ty, and Metal Underground.


Band photo courtesy of Asia Fairbanks

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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