Seven Thorns interview with Mik, Garbriel and Lars, Nov 2011

Seven Thorns LarsThank you to Mik, Garbriel and Lars from Seven Thorns for taking the time out to fill in this email interview.

Mik Holm – Vocal/composer

Gabriel Tuxen – Lead Guitar

Lars Borup – Drums


What does Seven Thorns stand for?

Mik: We stand for pure power metal!

Gabriel: Yup! Seven Thorns play melodic power metal much in the old school 80’s/90’s style.

Lars: The band name is the result of a compromise. I wanted the band to be called ‘Seven’ and Dr. No, whom I started the band with back in 1998, wanted to call it ‘Thorn’. Both names were taken, so we ended with the compromise :)


How would you describe the band?

Lars: Seven Thorns is a way for me to make my dreams come true. Recording songs, playing concerts, touring, interviews… it’s everything I want to be part of. And the people involved in the band are simply the best I can imagine.

Mik: Seven Thorns is a perfect Power Metal machine…

Gabriel: Ambitious, professional, energetic… and a lot more of these adjectives.


You guys formed back in 1998 how did it all come about?

Lars: Very short… I started the band with another guy in 1998; I’ve had a dream of having my own band in the veins of Helloween and Accept/UDO since I first heard the Keeper part 1 album in 1987. But it would take 7 years to have a functional line-up. This line-up released the single ‘Artificial Night’.

With the departure of Mik in 2005 Seven Thorns was put on hold and the project called 7thorns continued until I closed it in 2007. At that point it was clear to me that I had put my money on the wrong horse – both musically and with regards to the people in the project.

Mik and I restarted Seven Thorns and in 2009/2010 we released the first single ‘Forest Majesty’ and the debut album ‘Return to the Past’.


Seven Thorns liveWhat has changed since you first started out?

Lars: I have finally found the right people to play with! I have gained a lot more experience since I started out in 1998, both in the studio and live.


What are your musical influences?

Mik: We have many different influences in the band. Lars and I have been part of the power metal crowd from when it started back with Helloween in the 80’s, so we have the whole history as influence. The younger members have bands/artists like Dolly Parton, Justin Timberlake, Spice Girls and Elton John… haha ;-)

Gabriel: Mik is very funny as you can hear…….haha. The younger part of the band is more into neoclassical power metal and prog. metal – stuff like Symphony X, Time Requiem and the likes.
I myself also draw a lot of inspiration from the 80’s into my guitar playing – especially Paul Gilbert is a favourite. But I try to keep it “up to date” by giving it something new to it.


What equipment do you do us? – Any endorsements?

Gabriel: Christian and I have sort of an endorsement deal with ENGL amplifiers, so we play through some ENGL Powerball tops we got. We both play Ibanez as well. Asger plays Korg and a Yamaha DX7, like the one Jens Johansson (Stratovarius/Yngwie Malmsteen) has.
Nicolaj has a very nice John Moyer signature bass and Gallien-Krueger amplification.


How do you feel now looking back at how far you have come since you first started out?

Gabriel: When I joined the band I was very inexperienced. I was still to play my first concert and had a lot to learn. My father has had a recording studio for 30 years, so I had some recording experience. From the touring we did this summer I have improved a lot in terms of live playing and performing, so besides the great times we had, I grew a lot musically.

I’ve also learned a lot in terms of composing and song writing, so I think the next Seven Thorns album will be even better!!


If you could go back and change anything about it, what would it be?

Gabriel: Can’t really think of anything… Looking back, of course I see some things that could have been done better or differently, but I think it’s healthy to learn from your experiences – both good and bad. So I wouldn’t change anything.


Where do you see yourself/band in 5 years time?

Gabriel: In 5 years? Mmm….having a few more albums on the résumé and hopefully a full record-deal with a major label! :D I want to go to Japan and play, so that’s sort of a personal goal of mine.

Lars: Since Gabriel is in my custody I’ll have to go with him to Japan :)


How did the tour with Circle II Circle go?

Gabriel: Excellent! As I said earlier, it was a great experience for all of us in Seven Thorns. And the guys from CIIC are some cool dudes and we really enjoyed touring with them. And I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual!! Both Rollie and Ozzy wanted us to join them on their USA tour, but we didn’t have any space in our schedules, so that’ll have to wait for a bit.


Are you looking forward to playing Bremer Metal Festival in November this year and Winestock Festival next year?

Gabriel: Yeah Bremer Metal Festival is gonna be awesome! The German audience is so much more open-minded and receptive than what we’re used to in Denmark so I can’t wait to go!

You know Winestock 2011 was the first of its kind and a great success, so I think year is gonna be even better! The location was superb and the people were nice.
For a small town 3 day festival to have 1000+ attendees, that’s pretty good in my opinion. And if the rumours about Uriah Heep playing there are true, I think it’s gonna be huge.


Is there any other tour dates planned?

Gabriel: No, not at the moment. We’re working on a bigger tour for next summer and Winestock of course being a part of this tour.


Do you have a particular favourite gig that you have done?

Gabriel: I think the last concert we played, in Copenhagen a few weeks ago, was incredible. 150 people showed up and were singing along and going crazy! That one and the concert in Holland this summer were super. The venue there was the best we’ve ever played at in my opinion, and we had a good crowd too.

What kind of responses do you usually get from the crowd at your gigs?


Gabriel: first-time-listeners are usually quiet at first, but it doesn’t take too long before they realize they love it! xD our fans always go nuts of course.


Any particular gig story or memorable experience you would like to share?

Gabriel: We were offered an extra gig two days in advance, while on the tour with CIIC, and were really excited to hear that the concert was in Frankfurt and that it included dinner at a restaurant and hotel sleepover. We arrived at an indoor football court in some small random village 70 km outside Frankfurt, and were taken to a restaurant that was 10 minutes from closing time, so we had to literally just shovel in some food in a hurry. We then waited for a local support band for what seemed like two hours. They had to borrow some of our equipment, so due to their delay we had no time for the sound check.

The problem was that this town had a curfew at 10PM (!!), so delayed time couldn’t be replaced in the other end. So we thought we we’re going on stage without any sound check, which of course pissed off everyone even more… The mood was really crappy and I myself did not want to play. But luckily, after Mik had scolded the concert organizers something fierce, we got that half hour extra and we played a super gig! Then afterwards we went to the hotel and had great night’s sleep. So what could’ve been a terrible experience turned out to be one of the greatest on the tour!


Can you give us a quick track by track overview of the album Returnto the Past’?

1. Liberty

Gabriel: We chose Liberty as the opening track, because of the catchy chorus. It has Olaf Lenk (At Vance) doing a guitar solo in it. I wrote this track – the lyrics are pure cheese, but I think it has some pretty strong melodies and a memorable chorus. Also it has some cool rhythms in the solo sections.

2. End of the road

Gabriel: this was probably the first Seven Thorns song I ever played, when I first joined the band some 4 years ago. A lot has happened to it since Mik introduced to it back then, but it’s always been my favorite.
It has a pretty cool neoclassical intermezzo in the middle, right before the solo (which was completely improvised at the studio) and I always love playing this one. It has a great ooh ooh-sing-along part that always catches the audience, so we tend to start with this track when playing live.

3. Through the Mirror

Gabriel: This was sort of an experiment of mine. I wanted to write something slower and darker than all the other songs. This one is also a favorite of mine, as it has a lot of classical elements in it. One of them being a part of Invention no. 13 by J.S. Bach. For some reason it’s always been the most difficult songs to play live…despite the fact that it’s the slowest of all. But it turned out really cool, so we might have to do something similar on the next record.

4. Freedom Call

Gabriel: with the risk of sounding really cocky, I’ve always thought the chorus part was somewhat a stroke of genius. It’s extremely catchy despite the really weird movie score-like chords, and when we play it live, people start singing along instantly – even if they’ve never heard the song before. We tend to close our gigs with that song, so people can go home with a positive experience in their minds. I came up with the chorus melody, and then the whole song just evolved around that. The lyrics are terrible, but that doesn’t matter, ’cause I think this song has so much sing-along potential.

5. Countdown

Mik: It’s not every day you get the opportunity to travel into space. It takes incredible courage to start again from scratch. It was important to me, that you could feel the intensity, there must be before a space mission, in the music. That the chorus comes before the verse was not planned from the beginning; it just seemed more intense that way.

6. Forest Majesty

Mik: I love to walk, not just when I write music, but generally when I have something on my mind. The forest is located within walking distance from my home so many of my walks take me there. The inspiration for Forest Majesty comes from one of these walks.

I finished the song in about 20 minutes and I recorded it on my hard disc recorder the same night. Normally, I don´t work that fast, but I knew exactly what I wanted.

7. Spread your Wings

Mik: The chorus to ‘Spread Your Wings’ was lying on my desk for several years. I kept returning to it and I made several attempts without being satisfied. One day, shortly after Gabriel had joined the band, we sat in the rehearsal room with only two songs to work on, so I played the chorus and explained my ideas. With help from Gabriel, I finally finished the song

8. Fires and Storms

Mik: You cannot be a true Power Metal band without a song about how cool metal is and that everyone can sing along to. Fires and Storms are in every way the song I wanted to be. METAL IS YOUR DESTINY!

9. Return to the Past

Mik: To write a song, that is about getting homesick and longing out when you’re at home, might sound a little trivial, but I was 35 years old the first time I got acquainted with the feeling and it is now a recurring feeling that I fight every day. Definitely a song worthy. And the feeling is also related to our annual trip to Wacken Festival… coming home to where we belong \m/

What/who were the main influences for it?

Mik: Everyday experiences/emotions inspires me to write the lyrics, in terms of music we all have Power Metal in the blood


Do you have a particular writing process for songs or is it different for each song that you come up with?

Mik: The ideas for the songs always come at different times and in different situations. Often they come inconvenient and rarely when I want it. That’s why I always have a recorder on me.


What is your favourite song from the album and why?

Mik: I have picked my favourite song several times, and it’s never the same song.

Gabriel: My favourite song has to be End of the Road. It has some really inspiring lyrics, great melodies and a super chorus/ooh ooh-section. I get tired of hearing my own songs, and this – despite it being the oldest – never gets boring for me.

Lars: I am very proud of all the songs on the album. As Mik I change favourite song all the time.


What plans do you have for 2012?

Lars: We want to release our next album. This time we’ll have assistance from our German promotion/management Rock’n’Growl to find the right label.

And we want to play some more concerts and festivals… take the music to the hungry hordes of Power Metal Warriors :)


Are there any messages that you would like to pass on to the readers?

Metal Is Your Destiny!

Thanks for the support!! Seven Thorns.


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About Sheila

Former Editor, Team Co-ordinator as well as PR, news poster, pass requester, Ex-Scottish Team Leader for PM since 2011 \m/ \m/ Also owner of the infamous Garfield L'arpie, who is a official mascot of RACPA UK. Check out RACPA UK (Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse UK)