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Interview - Lars Borup (Seven Thorns)

Interview with Lars Borup from Seven Thorns
by YngwieViking at 14 April 2014, 4:06 PM

SEVEN THORNS is a Danish Power Metal band formed in 1998. They released their debut album back in 2010, “Return to the Past”. Our own YngwieViking got to have a fun little sit down with the drummer, Lars Borup

 Hi Lars, First of all : congratulations !!! I think that “II” is a winning release and an overwhelming album , as a fan of Scandinavian Power Metal  , It was for me a real blast of listening pleasure…What will be your words to describe it ?

Hi Cedric and all the readers of Metal Temple.

I think the new album is a fantastic continuance of our first album, but with a more homogene feeling that is only natural as the band has been together for a longer time and has started to grow.

 Could you first tell us about you, your background as a musician, your past or recent involvements in other bands and projects ! I want to know everything, Go!

Everything? Well, I’m not sure I’ll tell you everything because I started to play music as a kid and over the years it has been many bands and projects, some of them better forgotten. I started my musical education the way most Scandinavian kids did in the 70’ies, playing the recorder. I actually became a rather proficient fluteist, but by the time I reached my teens, the recorder was just too lame and not really useful for impressing girls so I started playing the drums instead. Metal music had already gotten a hold of me by then. I began as a Saxon fan (and still am), and soon after that I found Accept and “Fast as a shark” and my soul was sold to the genre later termed Power Metal. The first band I joined was a thrash metal band called Rion, as a singer (!). Other members of Rion later joined bands like Konkhra, Furious Trauma and Detest. My singing career (luckily for listeners) only lasted for 3 months. After that I was a drummer in several different bands playing various forms of metal, in various qualities. None of these bands made it far from the garages we rehearsed in. During my solo project period in 2005-2006 I was also the drummer of the black metal band Illnath. Right now, Seven Thorns takes all my time.

 As an old die-hard fan of the genre, the new album was for me refreshing, it holds a real hope and a really inspirational spirit. It seems that 2014 could be the year of the consecration, are you in the same positive mood concerning those  expectations ?

Yes, we have high hopes for 2014. A lot of things came together in 2013. “II” was finalized and a record deal signed. Previously, Erik Blomkvist was hired as singer, but he was never part of the band. We found our singer Gustav Blide in 2012 and during 2013 he has become an integrated member in the band. We played a lot of great shows together last year and his development, together with the band’s, has been exponential. I really think we have lifted our live performance during 2013 and we hope to continue that development in 2014.

 Please can you tell us why the new album is titled "II" even if it’s obviously your third release?

Actually, it is our second release and that is the reason for the title. “Glow of Dawn” was the album from my solo project 7Thorns. In retrospect, I should have chosen a different name for that project, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

 In my MT's review for this superb album , i wrote that the album unleashed some first class Power Metal with strong Neo-Classical influences enhanced by a few enchanting but traditional Scandinavian Metal elements, more subtle and refreshing than your regular contestants: What is your feelings about this quote ?

I think you are spot on. It is great to hear that our intentions can actually be heard on the record by others. All band members have some degree of classical music education, and we are very proud of our Scandinavian metal heritage.

 I think that SEVEN THORNS’ new release is a giant step forward, epic, exultant and fascinating but also demanding for the listener, do you have a method to write those great pieces?

Not as much of a method as we would like. Inspiration works in mysterious ways. Usually someone brings an idea, which Gabriel and/or Mik then works into a first complete draft. The fine tuning and arrangement is done by the whole band. We try different things out, and usually come to an agreement on what works pretty quickly. The majority of songs on the album were made this way, and were ready in good time for recording. However, not all of them… The days before we went into the studio, Gabriel discarded one of the planned songs and instead came with Queen of Swords. The idea for that song had been lying around for a couple of years, but it hadn’t found its form. Now, in the eleventh hour, inspiration hit and the song was finished right before it was recorded.

 Do you think that the high technical level , the complexity of some song structures or the Progressive parts in your music can be a block for some listeners , do you keep this aspect in mind while composing , or did you just get the inspiration flows !

Yes, we are very conscious of that. Seven Thorns is a power metal band. We all love spicing our songs with progressive stuff, but we do not want it to be the main flavor. The high technical level, however, we believe to be a good thing and we would never abstain from blatantly bragging with our solo skills, if we can get away with it.

 Now, could you tell us why did we have to wait 3 long years to finally have a brand new album , what happened ?

Actually, the album was ready in early 2013, but it took a whole year to find a new record deal.

 Can you introduce to us the new line up? Especially the young new recruit, the new talented singer Gustav  Blide , who is sounding so great ?

I agree with you, Gustav sounds great, but the vocals on the record are done by Erik Blomkvist, who is also a great singer. The vocals were recorded before Gustav joined the band, but he did join in time to do backing vocals on several of the songs.

 Could you explain the reason for the split with the ex-vocalist Erik Ez in 2012 ?

It wasn’t a split. Erik was never a member of the band. He is a free-lance singer and it didn’t suit his plans to join Seven Thorns on a more permanent basis. To get to the next level, we wanted a permanent singer who could also join in the creative process.

 I also wrote about this incredibly courageous ABBA cover song “Mama Mia”. It’s obviously a marketing trick but it’s also I suppose a real artistic choice, could you tell us if you enjoyed recording this track ? Who went with the idea of this cover song?

Doing Mamma Mia was originally Gabriel’s idea. We tried out many versions before we found the right format. It wasn’t conceived as a marketing gimmick, but rather a tribute to a great melody. Also, it is a good way of getting the crowd energized in concerts, since almost everyone can, and do, sing along to it.

 As SYMPHONY X or RISING FORCE are some of my favorites band ever , I detected a certain similarities with these bands , with also some flavors coming from Germany’s Power Metal and a few ICED EARTH influences as well…Are you aware of those influences or are you trying to erase those tagged elements in a great dilemma , when it's time to compose your own music ! Please tell your mind about that ?

Gabriel is a big fan of both Symphony X and Rising Force. Mik and I are big German power metal fans. Thus, it is inevitable that we get influenced, but of course we try to avoid copying.

.Lars where are you coming from as far as Drums and drumming influences are concerned ? Tell us about your training and your day by day practicing routine ?
That is difficult to say, because I am autodidact on my instrument.  I have a very physical style of drumming, for good or bad. To keep up with the physical challenge of high tempo drumming I do not just practice on the drums, but also run regularly.

 Could you tell us a little more about the Guitars/Keyboards soloing interaction : I noticed that it was carefully worked and it’s clearly one of the strongest asset of the new album !

We have placed a lot of emphasis on this interaction after Asger, our keyboardist, joined the band in the middle of the recording of “Return to the Past”. He and Gabriel have a similar musical background and some of these solo-interactions have been created as good natured battles between the two.

 As you are a band from Denmark , how is the Metal scene in your country ? Did you think that is a major difficulties for you to break onto the international market ?

The metal scene in Denmark is regrettably very small and largely underground. It is a huge difference compared with the surrounding countries, Sweden, Germany, Norway and Finland that have all produced numerous great bands.

.Last Year, the Danish bands were on fire with amazing releases by: VOLBEAT / FATE / MECENARY / PRETTY MAIDS and ROYAL HUNT: Are there new bands that we have to reckon with in the next years ?

It has been our pleasure to work with the keyboardists from both Fate and Royal Hunt. Mikkel Henderson (Fate) made a guest performance on the “Return to the Past” album and André Andersen (Royal Hunt) plays a fantastic solo on the song “Eye of the Storm” on “II”. I am sure we will see more Danish metal, but my guess, based on the bands around, is that it will come in one of the more brutal metal genres. For Seven Thorns, we hope to soon join the ranks of the bands you mention J

 Maybe some new acts that you want to produce by yourself?

No, regrettably time does not allow that at present. However, who knows what the future might bring.

 Do you plan on touring in Europe? If yes, did you think to bring with you some Friends band from Denmark in support ?

There are plans for touring Europe this year, but I cannot give you any details at present. However, it will be as support for a bigger band.

 What do you think of the state of the market in 2013! What is your opinion concerning digital downloading legal and illegal?

It seems as though the record companies have begun to find a solution. I think it is important that fans support the bands they listen to by legal down-loading. The money means a lot to a band working its way up.

 Tell us what we have to expect from your side in the future to come?

We are working on the songs for a new album. This will be the first album with Gustav whose voice is different from Erik’s, both in pitch and character. This influences the songs, and we would like to make the most of his capacities. Also, we look forward to playing a lot more gigs, some bigger festivals than previously, and playing some new countries we haven’t gigged in before.

 Please let us know your favorite SEVEN THORNS song ?

All of them! If I have to pick some it would be Eye of the Storm, Liberty and Queen of Swords.

 Please let us know your Scandinavian Underground Metal TOP 5 ?

Zero Illusions, Barfly, Lily and the Wicked Strings, Black Succubi and Forcentury

 What is the last CD you have purchased?

Last time I was in the record store I bought both Avantasia’s “The Mystery of Time” and Gamma Ray’s “Master of Confusion”.

 Please let us know your All-time TOP 10?

1. Eagle Fly Free, Helloween
2. The Cage, Sonata Arctica
3. Angel of Death, Slayer
4. Painkiller, Judas Priest
5. Fast as a Shark, Accept
6. Metal Church, Metal Church
7. Sign of the Southern Cross, Black Sabbath
8. Revelation, Gamma Ray
9. Flying high, Freedom Call
10. D.N.R., Testament

 Now it's time for the Chinese portrait aka Le questionnaire de Bernard Pivot , which is inspired by Marcel Proust but This questionnaire is probably more familiar to English audiences as the one that journalist James Lipton asks at the end of  the TV show "Inside the Actors Studio."

What is your favorite word? Eternity

What is your least favorite word? Oppression

What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? Life, friends, opportunities

What turns you off? Intolerance

What is your favorite curse word? All of them

What sound or noise do you love? Running water

What sound or noise do you hate? Hip hop!

If not yourself , who would like to be ? Darwin

What profession would you not like to do? Accountant

Who would like to see on a new bank note ? Rob Halford

If you reincarnated as some other plant or animal , what would it be ? An eagle

If God exists, what you like to hear him say at the gates of Heaven ? Good! My replacement is here.

 I wish to thank you for this Epic interview and wish you guys the best of luck with the new album and on the path ahead. Anything else you want to share with the fans and our readers out there ?

See you soon! Metal Is Your Destiny!


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