Two years ago a shiny “City of the Sun” appeared out of nowhere and sat among the best prog albums of 2014. Now, Seven Impale are back with “Contrapasso” and talk to JustIn Case Prog Radio (again!) about their hopes and dreams, expectations and the realistic counterpart…Drummer Fredrik Mekki Widerøe was happily questioned by Thanos Patsos; we will hopefully cover private jets and world domination in the next interview!
You pleasantly surpised the prog world in 2014 with City of the Sun; what shall we be expecting on the 16th of September?
Hopefully, to be pleasantly surprised once again.Contrapasso pretty much picks up where CotS ended, and that’s been a major factor in writing new material. We’ve expanded our horizon, trying to create new landscapes while still sounding like Seven Impale. In the two years since the last album was released, we’ve become more experienced musicians as well as we find new and different influences all the time.
As in a job interview (ok this isn't a real one!) I ask you to "sell" me Contrapasso in a few words... Go!
Weird, brutal, beautiful and complex.
What (if any) has changed in Seven Impale since your debut in how you e.g. compose, record, get inspiration? Are there any new influences in your music?
We’re all constantly on the lookout for new music. New material from the bands/artists we follow, and bands that we’ve never heard before. A lot has changed, but it’s something that is happening constantly. We’ve never made any big decisions to change something about the way we work; but as we ourselves changes and get more experience, the band changes as well. The formula is more or less the same, but it’s getting more refined as we keep doing it.
City of the Sun had a "bright", "optimistic" artwork; here things tend to get much gloomier - why is that?
The whole album has kind of a “darker” feel to it, both musically and lyrically. CotS is kind of an abstract utopia, based on idealism and “what things could have been”. Contrapasso is the dark, realistic counterpart where youthful optimism has no place. For me (Fredrik), it’s been a lot about wanting to shift the focus towards reality, where every little thing is far too complex to reduce to simple ideologies.
Is there a concept (lyrical or musical or both) behind Contrapasso?
It is not a very concrete concept, but there is kind of a “red thread”. Based on the things that we’ve had in mind while writing the album, it revolves around the dark side of things. When the “city of the sun” has collapsed (presumably under it’s own weight, as ideals tend to do), you’re left with the things that are very real and not necessarily pleasant. But like on CotS, it’s kind of an abstract theme that plays out in the same “virtual” universe. And while writing(especially the lyrics) we’ve left quite a lot of room for subjectivity as to what this universe is and what it’s all about.
The new album approaches nearly 70mins of music; did you fear you are taking a risk, daring a lengthy album?
I don’t think we ever considered it a risk; because it kind of happened on its own and it made sense. The material that we started working with turned out to be more than just a regular single album. At the time that we realized this, it had already started to come together as a whole. Also we’ve thought from the start that we have the kind of audiencethat can appreciate and enjoy an album this long!
What are your plans to promote Contrapasso? I have seen a few people around the world calling for you to appear live on stage!
Our plan is to play as much as we get the opportunity to, as long as we have the time and money. We really enjoy traveling and playing together and would love to do more of it, so we really hope we get the opportunity in the near future!
What are your real, inner-mounting expectations for the new album? I expect total honesty.
I (Fredrik) expect a lot of different reactions based on people’s expectations, mainly because the album is very different from CotS. A lot of people have been really excited about the new album, and I think we can reach a lot of potential audience with that kind of support. In turn, this will further our reach internationally and we’ll be able to keep doing the things we do, and more of it! I have to say, I try to be realistic about most things so that may be as far as my actual expectations go. The rest is in the “hopes and dreams” department, together with private jets and world domination.
The closing notes are all yours..
We love doing what we do, and a lot of the review and general feedback we’ve gotten since even before CotS is heart-warming. We love playing, making, listening to and talking about music, and Seven Impale is pretty much our base for getting to do just that. The people we meet after our shows and communicate with through social media are dedicated music lovers. The interviews we do make us have to reflect on our music from another point of view, and the reviews we get are mostly from people that have heard our album(s) more than we have. It’s just an incredibly rewarding scene to be a part of.
And finally, to everyone that has followed us, listened to our music and that keep expressing their enthusiasm for what we do, Seven Impale loves you!