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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Walleater – Self Titled

walleater

The debut self-titled EP from UK band Walleater may not stop you in your tracks and demand immediate attention but there is an inescapable captivation to its presence which puts the shoegaze/alternative rock band firmly on the radar. Consisting of four reserved yet vibrantly enveloping melodic flights through immersive ambiences, the release potently presents a band rich in striking promise and worthy of anticipation for their near horizons.

Hailing from Leeds, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Rob Dell, guitarist Alex Finney, bassist Liam Hemingway, and drummer Lyndarn Harrison, Walleater take the raw potential and sound of their previous two track demo, A Masking Aura, to stronger accomplished and atmospherically pungent heights. Recorded with producer Bob Cooper, their first EP provides a proposition which combines the essences of bands like Pavement and My Bloody Valentine with the lighter embraces of House Of Love and the darker metallic incitement of Static Plan. It results in a brooding encounter which can swing from lively enticement to imposing shadows with ease.

The release opens with Give In To Me, a track already unveiled last month to eager reactions. It is not hard to see why as the song coaxes Artworkinstant attention and appetite with its spicy electro resonance and guitar sculpted sonic lures from the very first second. It is a thick and consuming, senses frisking sound which sparks the imagination just as swiftly. Relaxing into a more temperate melody driven climate for the joining of the vocals from Dell, the song enchants before expelling further intensely passionate bursts of energy and guitar led rapaciousness with more than a sense of the Jesus and Mary Chain to it. It is an absorbing and unpredictable immersion with an open infectiousness which cannot be resisted by ears and passions.

The following Just A Boy strokes the ears in a more restrained coaxing from the start; the guitars a gentle sway and temptation skirted by equally toned down beats and the dark throaty tone of the bass. The stance is completed by the vocal shimmer of Dell, his tones magnetic in a delivery which harmoniously drones at times whilst seemingly holding angst coated disinterest. It is a riveting delivery which never loses its appeal and potency even within the squalling ambience which tempestuously chills the narrative and song. It is hard not to offer a suggestion of Deftones to the flavoursome sound of the track but as with all thoughts it is a mere spice to the evocative recipe.

Glow comes next, the track an enterprising instrumental exploration which smoulders and flares up with controlled but intensive emotion across its simultaneously harsh and mesmeric landscape. With flames of noise and progressive rock to its demanding and commanding maelstrom, the piece provides further evidence to the invention and expression of Walleater’s songwriting and sound.

The release is completed by What Do You Know?, a melodic breeze of a caress which almost glances over the senses until the stronger sinews within the rhythms of Harrison take hold of the reins ensuring the song imposes just that little bit more. It is a whisper compared to the louder calls of other songs on the release though none roar with full lungs it is fair to say, and impressively adds another colour to the band’s creativity and presence. At times the track also sparks thoughts of China Crisis with its slightly celestial elegance as it finishes off a fine debut enjoyably.

It is probably fair to say that Walleater is yet to discover their unique voice, which is not surprising this being their first invitation to the world, but already there is a potency and breath to their music which pushes them out into an attention asking spotlight which only brings expectations for impressive things ahead from and for the four piece.

The Walleater EP will be released digitally on April 21st through Bandcamp for £1.99 while physically the EP will be spread across two 7” with ‘Part One: Give In To Me / Just A Boy’ being released also on April 21st via Close To Home Records with ‘Part Two: Glow / What Do You Know?’ scheduled for later this year.

http://walleater.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/walleaterbanduk?ref=ts&fref=ts

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/04/2014

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7stbaby – Control

 

7 st baby

    Providing an encounter which not only sparks the imagination but takes it on a rapacious ride through a maze of sounds and metal bred styles alongside the passions, UK band 7stbaby is a provocation we are going to hear much more of and be persistently impressed by. The reason for that bold declaration is debut album Control, a compelling and scintillating landscape of invention and adventure. The Guildford trio has created a juggernaut of riffs and grooves aligned to a sonic mastery which just infects thoughts and emotions. Equally though it is an adventure unafraid to leave expectations and assumptions a barren wasteland with nine tracks which explore and stretch everything from stoner and progressive metal to ambient textures and heavy rock enterprise. Released January 31st via Got Wrong Records, it is one of the first important introductions of the year and already a heavyweight contender to rival the established regime within rock and metal.

     Founded a few years ago but held on the back burner until last year by Kyle MacKenzie (vocals, guitar) and Ben Martin (vocals, bass), both members of the also impressive Surrey band Static Plan, the duo enlisted the presence of drummer Greg Webber also of their other band to complete the active line-up. August last year saw the band record and self-produce their debut album, a release which seizes ears and thoughts from its opening moment and never relinquishes its imaginative feisty hold until its parting breath. Now with its impending release also ready drawing impressed responses alongside ours, the album is poised to thrust 7stbaby into the heart of the heavy riffing intensive fire of British stoner and progressive metal.

     An atmospheric electronic breeze opens up Behind The Looking Glass, an ambient coaxing infused with distant vocals Screenshot-2014-01-07-at-16.15.30taking over the first few seconds before the song slowly stretches out a melodic arm. Again this is a mere moment in the evolving fire of the track, soon bulging riffs and crisply cracking rhythms assault the ears as a sonic weave of guitar class veins their urgency. Into its sirenesque stride the vocals from MacKenzie and Martin punch through air and sounds, their tones laid with effects but expressively forceful in their own right. A Queens of the Stone Age flavouring emerges at this point though similarly the track offers essences of bands such as Orange Goblin and fellow Brits Ten Foot Wizard to the mix. Three minutes of blood rousing, emotion inciting endeavour the tracks makes the perfect contagious start which the album only grips tightly and continues across subsequent offerings.

    The following Somebody’s Bitch opens with a grouchy bassline gnawing at the ear before sonic winds erupt from within the equally rapacious riffery. An acidic groove only adds to the instant lure and as it settles into a more relaxed but still intensive stroll with outbreaks of intimidating and weighty aggression, the song sparks another wave of hunger in the awoken appetite. As magnetic as the first but bolder in its merging of varied styles and sonic spicing, more than happy to slip into voice and ambient progressive breaths within the sturdy enticement , the song continues the strong and riveting start with an ease soon matched by the next up Psycho and its successor, the title track. The first of this pair stalks the senses with an initial predatory snarl and combativeness, a Devildriver feel wrapping the vocal delivery and antagonistic menace. It is an immense opening soon taken to another plateau when the band steps into a gentle melodic embrace, warm vocals and dark rhythms combining for a Korn like temptation which persists throughout. It is a seamless transition repeated as the voracious and virulently addictive chorus erupts. The track is metal alchemy, a voracious invention soaked hunt and enslaving of the passions. Its successor delves into a blend of striding melodically caustic sounds and smouldering vocals, a Palms like venture that seduces and riles the imagination and senses with another mouthwatering fusion of songwriting ideas and musical craft.

      Leave Me To Bleed is another song with a ravenous snarl and heart to its creative abrasiveness yet skilled in immersing melodic and sonic persuasion which leaves the track unpredictable and impossibly compelling. From an Alice In Chains like start the track through an electronic whiff of ambience unleashes a blaze of rhythms and riffs which devoid of vocal direction simply consumes and invigorates with anthemic potency. Its robust and torrential energy is very different to the atmospheric climate of Lucid. The next song on the album carries strong elements of the band’s sister venture, a Static Plan rock elegance merging with a Deftones like immersion for the imagination to seduce and enthral. It is a glorious wash of emotive and bordering on melancholic beauty with shadows as company.

      The outstanding Horses puts the listener back under intensive and heavy incitement next, its vocal drama and tightly gripping grooves sparking thoughts of Life Of Agony whilst the mesmeric Bastille and the closing Pale Horse only reinforce and intensify the impact of the album. The first of the final pair is a riveting interfusion of light and dark, hope and pain through again a Deftones cast ambient transfixing within a threatening and skilful frame of rhythms, bass menacing, and shards of guitar invention. The final song is a drifting melodic caress matched by a similarly sculpted vocal embrace. A progressive flight through reflective beauty lyrically and musically it is a bewitching end to a simply impressive debut.

     From a rigorous and towering first half through to the emotionally driven beauty of its second with maybe just the production a minor niggle with its slightly suffocating touch on the songs, Control is a fluid evolution which takes the listener on an exceptional flight of brave adventure and skilfully sculpted emotional provocation; it gives the passions and neck muscles a damn good time too. 7stbaby is destined to major things…you heard it here!

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

9.5/10

RingMaster 17/01/2014

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Static Plan: Self Titled EP

So far 2012 has delivered some little unexpected gems and to that growing list you can firmly add the forthcoming release from UK rock band Static Plan. A promo copy of their forthcoming self titled EP, to be released April 14th, came our way and to be honest we cannot remember how, where, or from whom (so forgive us if it was you and remind us please), but the important thing is that it did and that it gives us the pleasure of reporting how impressive it is.

Static Plan is a Guildford based quartet consisting of vocalist Kyle Mackenzie, guitarist Jonno Lloyd, bassist Ben Martin, and Greg Webber on drums. They create a sound that rifles and entrances the senses with a fusion of alternative rock, industrial, and grunge. That is a simplistic description as the songs within the EP offer a sound that has much more and merges those spices into something strikingly unique yet wholly familiar. It is a skilled craft they possess and they seem to know how to use it to the full. Influenced openly by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Deftones and Queens Of The Stone Age, they enforce these flavours with a metallic edge and determined intensity that is constantly intriguing and never predictable.

Opening song Will has a little of everything within its bulky mass, a rippling beast that flexes muscles and melodic charm to equal effect. With an AIC vein running through it and vocalist Mackenzie finding an expressive Chino Moreno delivery the song has a perfect rock base. Add the grumbling riffs of Martin and the belligerent guitars of Lloyd who backs up vocally too and you have a more than formidable creature ravaging the ear. Once the excellent drum skills and imagination of Webber pushes everything through further and deeper you are talking something special. At times the song is unsure which way it wants to go, to full rock or something much heavier and intense and this works perfectly, the shuffling between the two a continually surprising teasing of the ear.

Your Type kills Me begins on an electro/industrial questioning  before erupting into a full blooded atmospheric groove, all the while the electronic sounds are either niggling behind the guitars or openly dazzling with spotlight like radiance. A heady flavour of QOTSA pulsates throughout the song with a Stone Temple Pilot like thunderous energy and contempt wrapping itself around the core. Again unexpected in every aspect the song excites and ignites the need for more.

The starker Blockhead takes on the task with similar satisfying results, its NIN dark electronic growling preying on the senses as the band flow into more melodic and emotional areas than on the first two. With Martin added his darkened riffs to the harsher shadowed keys the song combines and restrains its more aggressive tendencies with an engaging melodic rock ease and confidence. Not quite on the par with the previous two the song still hits the spot and shows the diversity the band has in their invention and songwriting.

   Coil closes up the release by swaggering in on another electronic beckoning. The song takes a more subdued path to the senses, its pulsating melodies and consuming flow preferring to manipulate rather than go straight for the neck, though there is always the darkened heart of the band lurking behind just waiting for an opportunity to size hold.

Being a promo the production on the tracks we received is not the best and it is proof of how great the songs are that they deliver all they do so impressively and effectively. The fully mastered release for sure will stop you dead in your tracks with excitement and awe; the sounds that good and Static Plan a band that has a very promising future ahead of them.

https://www.facebook.com/staticplan

RingMaster 29/03/2012

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Static Plan – Will

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