An Exclusive Interview with British Heavy Metal Band Seven Sisters!

Born in the depths of West London, Seven Sisters are a four-piece band forged from the same steel as the NWOBHM acts of yesteryear. Over the past three years, they‘ve gathered a reputation as a stellar act in the heavy metal scene, earning their stripes playing shows all over the UK and Europe off the back of two independent releases The Warden Demo (2014) and the Lost In Time 7” (2015).

Their self-titled debut album (2016) was met with rave reviews and sold out of the first pressing of physical copies in just three weeks. With the all-important second album – released on 13th April 2018, Seven Sisters promise not to just copy the template laid down by the fathers of heavy metal but to mold their own and usher in a new era.

We’d like to bring to your attention this interview with lead vocalist/guitarist Kyle McNeill! Thanks to our reporter Edward Garcia. The following interview is taken exclusively for Rock Arena. Enjoy it!

♦INTERVIEW♦

– Hello, Kyle and welcome to Rock Arena! We catch you before the band’s gig at The Unicorn in Camden Town, which other bands are you going to be with on the same stage tonight?

♦KYLE: Hello, it’s going to be with Osmium Guillotine, The Deep and Satan’s Empire. It’s their album launch tonight! Actually, we gigged with them a couple of times before. And with The Deep – in one church in our local area, then we met Satan’s Empire through an event essentially, and we made a gig with them as well…and just started a friendship through that. It’s nice to share the stage with them.

– Seven Sisters was formed in 2013, can you tell us a bit about the band, how did you all meet, and how everything started? Have you had any previous projects and what was their style?

♦KYLE: Initially (late 2013) it was just a songwriting project by me and Graeme Farmer (guitar). We used to meet up at my flat in west London…and just write some songs and see what happens! We never really planned on forming a band, but soon we had 3 or 4 songs that became our first self-produced demo.

We released a cassette and a song on YouTube (No Guts, No Glory – first song ever released) and then it just spread… you know people started sharing it and the cassette went sold out! It was kind of weird because we weren’t really a “band” at the time. So later in September 2014 we actually got our first line-up together which was me, Graeme, Steve, and Adam (bass) which was my flatmate at the time, Ravi is now our bass player, he joined us after the first album was released.

We were going to be a 5-piece band; and we wanted to find a singer, but when we were practicing we found ourselves comfortable with the format and all of a sudden, I was the singer! I learned how to look after my voice and I feel like my voice is getting better.

– Your sound is probably rooted in the classic NWOBHM sound but actually, which bands have inspired the direction of your musical career?

♦KYLE: Well, obviously the classic NWOBHM stuff (Iron Maiden, Priest, Angel Witch…etc.), but a lot of my inspiration for guitar harmonies comes from Thin Lizzy. That sound is just fantastic! Some European bands as well, specifically Halloween, King Diamond or some American stuff like Queensrÿche. A lot of different things, we all come from a sort of Thrash metal bands backgrounds. There is a lot of that too; I am a massive Prog fan.

 

 

 

 

 

– Let’s talk about your new album, ‘The Cauldron And The Cross’… What’s the story behind the title and what are subjects that you write about? What do you say in this particular album?

♦KYLE: The new album is a “concept album”, the main source of inspiration was a book written by Marion Zimmer Bradley called “The Mists of Avalon” which tells the story from the female character’s point of view. The album title reflects the two religions that were involved (Paganism and Christianity). However, as a band there is no political agenda, we are not trying to get across with a specific message. We just like to sing about things that we think are cool.

– Tell us about the artwork and how essential has it been to record the album from the hands of Dissonance Productions?

♦KYLE: The artwork, done by Simon Parr, was beyond our expectations, we loved it from the first version and the final work was unreal! Marek (Steven) from amulet told us that Steve (dissonance productions) was looking to get in one label as many British HM bands doing classic styles on one label…because there wasn’t a British one yet (before Dissonance Productions). Steve actually came watching us here (The Unicorn – Camden) and we got signed.

– Who wrote the songs in “The cauldron and the cross” and what’s the story behind the album?

♦KYLE: For the new album we didn’t have much time to finish the songs after booking studio time. We literally went into the studio with 3 songs done and a lot of bits here and there then eventually became “The Cauldron and The Cross”. Most of the writing (music) is done by me essentially; generally, I will demo something by myself and send the material to the guys. Graeme contributes a lot with lyrics…it’s a joined work between all of us at the end.

– How do you feel about merging Heavy Metal with other styles?

♦KYLE: Because Metal is such a broad genre it quietly blends with other styles as well. All the guys from the classic BHM were influenced by Punk, Prog, Blues…it’s not hard to find bands with prog influences for example. In terms of what we do, there are bits of Trash and Power metal, Prog as well. There is nothing wrong with experimentation…I am all for it!

– Your first guitar? And which was the first metal (CD, cassette, vinyl) album you bought?

♦KYLE: The first guitar I ever played was an old Jackson Soloist of my uncle that he left at my grandparents. The first guitar I bought myself is my Gibson Explorer, is my main guitar…is battered but I love it! Is my guitar. The first album I remember I was excited buying was American Idiot by Green Day, I still love it today. From stuff like Green Day, Franz Ferdinand, eventually developed into Heavy Metal, you know Metallica, Iron Maiden from that it was years of heavy metal.

– Is everything already invented in Metal? What are the challenges in a band these days and if you were not a musician what else would you want to be?

♦KYLE: In terms of Heavy Metal, specifically what we do. I mean, most has been done, I just think is not been done enough! It’s got songs, it’s catchy and there is an element of fun, which is important for me, you never take yourself to serious…you know you can get full grown-up men with face paint on, wearing leather on stage!

It’s a bit tough to get people to show up at gigs, but we are kind of fortunate… we’ve been welcomed by the London Heavy Metal scene. We’ve got really good fan base so far.

What’s difficult today is that there is so much online about music that is difficult to cut above the noise. I am a firm believer that the way to do that is just to be good on stage. If you can’t do it there, just don’t bother! We religiously practice weekly. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

– Seven Sisters will be hitting the road this summer…the band have announced UK tour dates in June, some featuring labelmates Toledo Steel (29th June – Edinburgh, 30th June – Aberdeen, 1st July – Glasgow), tell us more about it. Where can everyone get your music?

♦KYLE: We played with them a sold-out show last night in Newcastle, and it was great! The crowd was great, really into it. Our music is on Spotify, I Tunes, and all the other digital platforms. You can get physical copies directly from us at sevensistersuk.bigcartel.com and from our label Dissonance Productions or of course at gigs! I personally love to meet fans! \m/

– Can you recommend me 3 albums to listen to have a glimpse of your music reality? Something similar to Seven Sisters…

♦KYLE: …that’s a tough one!
1. Iron Maiden – “Seventh Son of Seventh Son”. My favorite album!
2. Angel Witch’s self-titled debut album, that’s a good one as well. My voice gets often compared to the guy from Angel Witch and I don’t see why but if everyone keeps comparing me it’s probably true!
3. “Jailbreak” by Thin Lizzy, it’s just an absolutely essential album! Everybody should listen to that at least once in a life! \m/

AUDIO INTERVIEW HERE:

”Turning Of The Tide” – Seven Sisters – live at The Unicorn, London (24th June 2018):

More information at:
www.facebook.com/sevensistersheavymetal/

Editor: Toni Rock
Reporter: Edward Garcia