Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 65 - Interview with November 7

NOVEMBER 7: An interview with ANNAMARIA COZZA & STEPHANE GEISER


November 7 is a Modern Metal band that is based in Switzerland but is made up of multi-national members. They formed back in 2005 and spent their early years perfecting their sound through EP’s and a live album. Their debut, ‘Season 3’ came out in 2011 and now N7 is back with their follow up ‘Awaraxid 7mg’. Dave Scott caught up with vocalist Annamaria Cozza and guitarist Stephane Geiser to talk about their latest release.


November-7-Interview 


Given you have never featured in Fireworks before I guess the best place to start would be to introduce the band. Firstly how did you come to use the name November 7?

A – There is not really one exact reason for it; the band…well Stephane Geiser and myself got together for the first time in the month of November (2005) so that’s part of the reason why we chose that name. Basically what we really wanted was to have as a name that was a date because we just thought that would sound cool. After we picked the month because that’s when we got together and we also always liked November, 7 is one of my favorite numbers so I had to put a 7 in there and that’s why we are called N7. 

Now you have had lots of good luck and things happen on the 7th haven’t you?

Yeah a lot of minor or major things connected to you know…good results in exams or just stumbling upon people that end up being friends for life and all sorts of stuff. I just thought let’s keep this thing alive ha-ha.

You have a very unique sound, as a member of the actual band, how do you describe your style to someone?

A – Well, we are not very good at describing our own style. We leave this task to the people that are listening to a diverse variety of styles and can maybe choose labels better than we can. Personally I do like the label Industrial Metal because I think that there is a good balance in our music of heavy guitars and electronic samples but then again some people can also hear a lot of Gothic influences and melody in there as well. If I had to pick one I think Industrial Metal would fit us.

Can you give our readers a quick insight into the N7 history and how you reached where you are today as well as introducing the other members of the band?

A – We got together for the first time in 2005 and originally we didn’t really have a specific plan on what to do and how to do it. So we just got together and started to compose and that’s how, in 2006 and 2007, we recorded two EP’s where we started to try out some of the elements that would be particular to our sound later. We had our first line-up with one drummer (Gil Reber), two guitar players (Geiser and Yann Berger) and myself. Then we changed this in 2011 and we stuck to the idea of having two guitarists (Geiser and Matt Walters) and one drummer (Yann Siegenthaler). We also brought in a new element, somebody responsible for the whole sampling side and the machines on stage; he (Stephane Berginz) is kind of like our DJ in a way ha-ha. So that’s how we brought in a fifth element and now today we have five people in N7 and this is the same line-up that we used for the first album and for the second album that has just been released.

I often ask about the meaning and reason for an album title but I think that’s self explanatory when you discuss the concept. Firstly why did you decide to make this a concept album as opposed to a standard album of songs?

A – It interesting because we didn’t decide it in an artificial way. The whole idea came up when we started to think what are we going to do with the CD cover? We started discussing the possibilities and at that time, most of the songs were already written if not recorded. When we were discussing possibilities and actually looking at the texts of the album, I realized most of them were about “I would like to change my life” and “I see that my life isn’t going in the right direction but I still cannot find the strength to do it and why is that”; the “me” being a very empathetic person or any human being. So I realized most of the songs were about this topic. Looking back when I wrote the songs, I realized that I talked or met a lot of people in their forties or something like that and they were not really happy about their lives; they were complaining but they were sort of stuck. So they were, for me, an inspiration to write these songs and that’s how the whole thing started. That’s how we said, “it would be great if we could help these people with some kind of drug” and as we are from Switzerland we thought we have chocolate, we have drugs and we have banks ha-ha. We were thinking what business can we put to good use so we decided why don’t we do something fun with the pharmaceutical business and that’s how the whole idea formed. It was very important for me that this drug wouldn’t be some sort of miraculous treatment that you wake up in the morning, you take and then your life changes. That’s too easy, I don’t like easy things and I don’t believe they are really possible so for me it was really important then to develop the whole concept; what this drug does is that it opens your eyes and then you have to do the rest. That’s how the whole idea was developed.

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I think the next question is really for Stephane but I’ll let you add your input first. How does the new album compare to your debut?

A – I think that compared to the previous album, this one is more heavy; while you might have had some Symphonic elements in the first album, you have a more Industrial side to this one. I find the guitars are heavier, the whole sampling is much more worked and more complex and the whole result is punchier in my opinion.

S – I think ‘Awaraxid…’ is more complete because we have improved our technical abilities a lot, it’s therefore, maybe, more technical than the previous one; not all the songs but certainly on some. But I think the latest album still has a good continuity with ‘Season…’. 

How does the album compare to what you had in mind when you started to compose?

S – My mind changed over the course because it’s a long process ha-ha so it’s not always the same. When I compose it’s tough to explain, sometimes in one day I can virtually finish a song whereas other times in a week, nothing comes to mind. When I start to compose a song it can start from a guitar riff or from the sound of a sample that I like; afterwards I try to find other parts. Sometimes I have a riff in my head and I then decide to add samples, I have to cut the riff in several parts so in effect you change the riff in the end so it’s not always the same as you had before or to start.

With N7 does the music generally come first? When you guys write songs, is it generally your guitar work and your compositions that come first?

S – Yes, afterwards I send all the stuff to Cozza with the first demo, then she adds the vocals then we change the arrangements if we need to after we have the vocal line.

Do you have much involvement on the technical side, as in the mixing and mastering? Did you work with Stefan Glaumann to actually complete the album or was it all his work with some input from you guys?

S – Yes, I recorded all the guitars and the samples. The drums we recorded in another studio with a bigger room because we are not well equipped at home for drums. Then I put all the files together to send to Glaumann. For example, for one song we could sometimes have sixty tracks which is a lot. Then after that, I speak with him about finishing the song; when he has a first version he calls me. Then we can finish it together because he can stream from his studio in Stockholm and I can listen in real time to what he is doing and we can finish the song like that. It’s really nice to work like this but to be honest it’s almost finished by that point because there is very few things to change when the mix is finished by him because he is really great.

Obviously one important thing to mention is that you are going back on the road again.

Yay…we can’t wait ha-ha.

And of course you are coming back to the U.K.?

Of course we are yes. We are touring the U.K. from August 12th to August 17th finishing in London although it’s worth me mentioning that we have changed the venue for London and it is now at The Dublin Castle.  

Are you looking forward to returning?

Oh yes…oh yes. Actually you know when we came for the first time in 2012 it was really our very first time out of Switzerland so for us the U.K. is a special place because we associate it with our first gigs abroad. I have to say even if when we came last time and some of the gigs went very well and others didn’t go as we hoped, we really managed to establish quality links with some great people. It’s incredible that it was two years ago.

What can fans look forward to and expect on the upcoming tour?

Well, we are actually touring right now. We have done a couple of gigs in France and some in Switzerland. We are still working on getting some gigs at the end of the year but the U.K. for us is going to be the only tour this year where we leave home for ten days and we sleep in crappy hotels and we play. It’s going to be the real the touring experience for us and that is and I think that’s why I have this special relationship with the U.K. and I am so looking forward to coming back.

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