Melodic fire and raw passion: an interview with Kyle MacKenzie of 7stbaby

7stbaby - Promo Image

The turn of 2014 saw the unleashing of the debut album from UK rock band 7stbaby. Control swiftly announced a band to keep close attention on with their gripping blend of varied styles into a riveting stoner and grunge veined blast of heavy melodic rock. Garnering strong support and acclaim, the band’s album was a potent statement for 7stbaby and their emerging presence in the UK rock scene. Ahead of the band’s new single Horses, we grabbed the chance to talk with one of the band’s founders and vocalist/guitarist Kyle MacKenzie. Looking at the origins of the band, Control and the new single as well as his and his band members other project, Kyle led us to the heart of 7stbaby.

Hey Kyle welcome to the site and thanks for taking time to talk with us.

Thanks for having us

For those yet to discover the delights of your sound, introduce 7stbBaby to the readers for us.

7stbaby is a project Ben and I (Kyle) had decided we wanted to do several years ago while writing for the first Static Plan EP. There were lots of riffs and song ideas which were not fitting with SP’s style, but that we still really liked and wanted to use. In August 2013 we finally got round to doing something about it, Ben basically moved into my place for a couple of weeks and we wrote and recorded Control. We then asked Greg to join us on drums for the album, and he was happy to be involved. Although we didn’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves genre-wise, we are a project that is definitely coming from a stoner rock viewpoint, just with anything we like thrown in!

Can you give further background to the band too, exploits before and alongside the band for its members.

Hilariously, line up wise 7stbaby is basically Static Plan, so 7stbaby’s background for the members is pretty much exactly the same. Ben and I met years ago while we were studying at university, when I answered an advert for a rock band looking for a vocalist. That then became Static Plan with Jonno on guitar duties, and after several drummer changes we finally ended up with Greg, who changed the dynamic of the band for the better. We gigged our balls off for a couple of years while writing and recording as many demos as possible.

7stbaby then came to the forefront as Static Plan began to wane a bit. Member changes, money issues and health and personal problems stopped us from carrying on the great momentum we had built, but we still wanted to make music and get it out there. So Control was about creating without the pressures we had experienced over the last couple of years.

Your music as evidenced by debut album Control earlier this year, is unafraid to employ a wealth of styles and flavours in its roaring recipe. How would you describe your musical canvas?

7stbaby is about doing whatever we want to do musically. If people love it that’s great, but if people hate it, then so be it. We created a concept album in a very short space of time with the tools that were available to us at the time, and because there was an ‘anything goes’ attitude, we approached it with no fear. 7stbaby’s musical canvas is anything that we want it to be.

It suggests you guys have a wide range of inspirations personally too, what are some of the more potent influences on your sound and ideas?c

Yeah we have quite a diverse range between us I think. I love artists and bands such as Martin Grech, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, Karnivool, QOTSA, Alice In Chains etc. Honestly there are just too many to list! I am inspired by great songwriting and great musicianship. Ben has a slightly more ‘alternative’ influence list than I have, loving bands like Gorgoroth, Mortiis, Mayhem, Mondo Generator, Sonic Youth etc. By no means are we limited to these bands or genres, I think we both have a healthy appreciation of music and its influence over us.

I read that Control was written in just three weeks, was that the reality or were some songs already around in some form or idea before that?

There were some riffs and parts floating about from writing the SP EP a while before, but the vast majority of the album was written in three weeks

Control deservedly garnered eager praise and acclaim upon release, did that surprise you in some way the vocal support and enthusiasm it received?7stbaby - Horses Single Cover

Ha-ha it did a bit! I think I was expecting it to either get distinctly average reviews or none at all, I didn’t think anyone would understand what we were trying to do! But the reviews were great to read and made me realise that people did understand what the album was about. Some of the reviews were just emphatic, and really brought some joy to me after a difficult couple of years making music.

Give us some insight to its creation and how you fitted it in with your other projects like Static Plan.

Static Plan at the time had ground to a complete halt after a couple of line-up changes. Ben and I had some free time during the school holidays and we just decided to get it done. It was incredibly fun and made us really want to start work on the Static Plan album.

September 26th sees the release of your new single, Horses. Taken from Control, it is one of the album’s biggest highlights for us. Was it an obvious choice for a single?

I think it’s a heavy song on the album, and probably the kind of song that most people can respond to without hating it ha-ha! We debated for a while which song was going to be released actually, and Horses at first didn’t seem like the obvious choice to me, I thought Leave Me To Bleed would be the better single after releasing Somebody’s Bitch. After a while of debating I realised that Ben was absolutely right, Horses is just the right single; it’s much more immediate!

Have you tinkered with it for the single release?

We have not; it’s as pure as it was

Horses, as the album, is out on Got Wrong Records; your own label?

Yes it will be a pay what you want digital only release on my label Got Wrong Records on September 26th. Available at https://gotwrongrecords.bandcamp.com

Can you give us some insight to the inspiration and theme of the song?

Horses is about conquering the power someone can have over you, and breaking out of the cage you confine yourself to when you let them control you. It’s the climax of the album for me

Horses sparked thoughts of Life of Agony for us, its provocative nature and intimate energy reminding of the great US band. Is that something you can feel?

Yeah I can see that. They’re aggressive and melodic, and that’s what Horses is in its simplest form. We really wanted to get the emotion across in the vocals, so hopefully we have done that if you’re comparing Horses to Life of Agony 🙂

The song is accompanied by a great video, who was that filmed by?

The video was filmed with a lovely chap called Sam Sheridan. Ben and I wrote some music for a short film he made several years ago, and we lost contact afterwards. As we were hunting for a director to make the video for Somebody’s Bitch we got chatting and got him involved. He has done an amazing job with incredibly little budget and filming was an absolute riot. Our lead man Alex Netting absolutely smashed it as well, bringing some intensity and humour to the whole thing.

It looked like a fun day out ha-ha; I am imagining that the central character (Alex) drew plenty of attention from the passing throng during filming?

It was a hilarious day for sure! Amazingly every person that interacted with us on the day was very positive; they loved the idea, loved the make-up and loved the character. We definitely got a lot of attention that day.

You guys are in two bands to my knowledge 😉 It is hard for any band to make an impression in the current state of music, so how have you found it juggling and driving forward with your projects?

Yep it’s hard, that’s just the way it is. I think it’s always been hard though. The key is to keep going and enjoy the small victories I think. It’s definitely possible to juggle everything and find the time if you are committed enough; you just have to want it bad enough.

How do you see the current state of music especially the catch 22 effect of the internet with its usefulness and detriment for bands.

I think that even though there are always things we can complain about, bands and artists are in a much better position nowadays for people to hear their music than say 20 years ago. It’s incredibly difficult to earn a living from it, but there’s no change there really. Hopefully in the years to come, with organisations like the Musicians Union working on behalf of musicians, fairer deals can be made on behalf of musicians on the likes of streaming royalties.

10505283_311135829045859_3576936077197922227_nIs it hard to hold your enthusiasm at times, or does the music always hold sway over the emotions?

Personally I go through high and lows on a daily basis. Sometime I can struggle to bring myself to pick up a guitar and other times I can’t tear myself away to go to bed.

What is ahead for 7stbaby?

Not a clue! We’ll have to have to have a chat about that at some point ha-ha

…And from your other projects?

I’m currently working on albums for Static Plan and Outpost Zeta, and Ben is working with Ventenner and Exquisite Ending.

Thanks again for sharing time with us. Any last words you wish to share?

Thanks very much Pete, we really appreciate the support! My last word shall be check out www.gotwrong.com for a free EP/Album from Static Plan, Outpost Zeta and 7stbaby, and spread the word 😉

https://www.facebook.com/7stbaby/

Read our review of Control @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/7stbaby-control/  and of Horses @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/7stbaby-horses/

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 23/09/2014

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