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Seventh Sin

In February of this year the Limburg based female fronted band Seventh Sin released their first full-length album entitled ‘When Reality Ends’. It was quite obvious that the long break that the band had taken did account for the fact that the batteries were fully recharged again, because in all aspects ‘When Reality Ends’ proved to be a highlight in the genre. A few months after the release a moment was found to go through all the developments around Seventh Sin with female singer Monique Joosten…

By: Sjak | Archive under prog / sympho metal

The last time I spoke to the band was in 2008 and after that it became kind of quiet around Seventh Sin. What have you been up to during all those years?
Our last contact was when we did the show with Asrai in 013 and after that we still did several shows as a support act but that more or less faded out. Personal problems, burnouts, children, building houses were all reasons why we didn’t have enough time to devote to Seventh Sin and therefore the band was kind of laid to rest. Last year we picked things up again and we definitely committed ourselves to making the band a success.

You also had several line-up changes during the years. What happened in that area?
Roel (van Heel – keyboard player) became the father of a child that had quite some start-up problems that he had to devote his attention to. Furthermore he lived and still does live in Oosterhout, so it was also quite a travel for him to get to the rehearsal every week. It got to a point that he wasn’t able to combine things anymore and therefore we started to look for another keyboard player. That person (Vincent Reuling) was in the audience when we supported Kamelot and because he was looking to join a band we did a couple of auditions and he was in. Sjors (Hendriks – guitar player) quit the band because he moved in with his girlfriend which took a lot of his time, but he also was drifting away from the musical direction that the band was heading into and therefore he decided to leave. We auditioned several other guitar players and both on the personal as well as the musical front Ruben (Smeets) proved to be the perfect fit.

What was the trigger that made you decide to pick things up again last year?
We had already done quite some preparations in the song writing department to create a new CD, but the addition of two new members really refreshed our mindset and re-energized us again.

When did you actually start with the song writing for the full-length album and how does this process look like in Seventh Sin?
We always write new material and don’t do this only with the intention of recording an album. We immediately play our new material live as well and don’t hold it back. When we had enough quality material, which also meant that we dropped some songs, we decided to go for the CD recording process. The songwriting itself is mostly done in a small team to create the basis of a song, next Roy (Geelen – guitar player) and I add the vocal lines and lyrics, after which some minor changes can still be made by the whole band if necessary.

What were the selection criteria that made you pick these particular eleven tracks that are to be found on ‘When Reality Ends’?
Seventh Sin is truly acting as a democracy in this selection process. If the majority of the band thinks a specific song should be on the album, then we’ll go for that democratic decision.

Are you still going to do something with the songs that didn’t make it to this album or are you throwing them in the garbage bin?
That’s a little too early to tell. Maybe that some of the songs of parts of it resurrect during a writing session, but it could also be that they will never be used again.

What was the intention that you had with the release of this ‘When Reality Ends’ album?
For me it was a case of now or never. When we had taken the decision to revive Seventh Sin, we decided to do the utmost to make it a success. This also meant that we wanted to deliver a high-quality product on the market to get our name out again, to get reacquainted with the audience again. To release a quality product costs a lot of money, but that was the conscious choice that we made as a band. We really wanted to go for quality and that why we among others also decided to master the album in Sweden. We all have the belief that we’re able to make the next step and ‘When Reality Ends’ in a very important factor in achieving that.

Compared to your first EP ‘Darkest Of All Dreams’ the band has made giants steps. How do you look at this yourself and what have been the most important components that enable you to make these steps?
A very important factor in this has been the introduction of Vincent in the band. Our previous keyboard player was quite good in laying a solid foundation, but Vincent adds much more variety to our overall sound and his arrangements make the new material a very coherent affair. Furthermore we’re much more of a band nowadays that we were a couple of years ago and that’s also reflected in the songs.

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Everything you do radiates professionalism like for instance the great artwork. Is there a certain meaning behind this and how relates this to the lyrics of the songs?
The lyrics are all about the less happy things in life and are quite dark. The music sounds very happy and that contradicts with the lyrical contents of the album. This is also reflected in the artwork with the bright and dark side of the cover.

Also sound-wise drastic improvements have been made. You used the Pit studio here in Weert and for the production job Hans Reijnders was chosen. Why this combination?
We’ve been to several other places and those didn’t quite fulfill our requirements. We had already spoken to Hans several times and we immediately had a click with him and I must say that he certainly lived up to the expectations that we had. And of course Weert is close to our home location which also helps….

The reactions are on average very positive, but what do you think yourself about the end product?
We’re very happy with the end result ourselves, but what pleases us most is of course that we get a lot of positive reactions both from the press as well as the fans. The only way to judge your own work is by the reactions of others, because you’re just too close to your own material and therefore it’s great that we get a lot of positive response.

Why did you decide to do the mastering process in Sweden?
From a lot of people we got the feedback that Fascination Street Studios in Sweden were the absolute best. They have done Hammerfall, Edguy and lots of other metal acts. When we looked at the prices that they handled, it was expensive but affordable and that’s why we decided to also do this last step in the process in a very professional and high-quality way.

What of course also helps to get back in business as a band is the fact that you had the opportunity to tour in England as support of Edenbridge. How did this happen and what have you been able to accomplish there?
We just approached Edenbridge via e-mail with the request to check the possibilities if we could perform with them when they would have a gig in the Netherlands. We didn’t hear anything for a long time, but finally we got a reply with the question if we would like to accompany them on their British tour. The tour itself was totally above our wildest expectations: we got great reactions from the crowds, we sold a lot of merchandise and a lot of people already requested us to come back.

What are your plans for both the short-term as well as the more long-term future?
I am not thinking small anymore. Since our new CD has been received this well, and the audiences are going crazy over our live shows…. for me the sky is the limit. In the near future we want to do as many gigs as possible. It’s just great to be on stage. We’ve got some nice gigs coming up in the near future. There might be a label giving us an extra promotional boost. We’re working on our stage performance with new stage outfits for all band members designed by Ingeborg Steenhorst @ I style Stars. She has designed outfits for a lot of bands and front women (Epica, After Forever, Lacuna Coil, Simone Simons, Floor Janssen among others). For the long term we are aiming for some more gigs next year, some festivals maybe, we’ve also started writing new material for a new CD. We have to get back to Germany and the UK to do some more shows over there, and we’ll see what else happens.

Recently you started a collaboration with Metal Empire, a management and promotion company that is specialized in managing female fronted bands. What are your expectations concerning this collaboration and why did you feel the need to get additional support in from another organization?
We are not able to make a living out of our music yet, so we’ve all got our daytime jobs. Most of us work fulltime. But managing a band (especially a band with ambitions like we have) is also a full time job. It takes a lot of time and effort to get everything right. There has been a point quite recently, where we didn’t have any time to rehearse or work on new music, because we had to do a lot of other stuff like getting our CD ready for release, planning the UK tour, planning our CD release party, filling our gig calendar and so on. At that point we said to each other that we needed help is that department. We are musicians, we want to dedicate ourselves to making and performing our music in the best possible way. Metal Empire is taking care of a lot of the tour planning, promotion, bookings, which is saving us a lot of time. Time we can use to focus on our music, our stage performance and all the other aspects that have to do with the musical side of things. We are working in close collaboration which is going very smoothly. They are keeping us motivated to put in our best effort and vice versa. We are expecting Metal Empire to take care of business for us and they are.

Okay Monique, thanks for your willingness to answer my questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you would still like to mention to our readers?
I just want to mention again that we’re fully committed to making Seventh Sin a success this time and hopefully the Lords Of Metal readers will give the album a try. I’m pretty sure that they will like what they hear!

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