TMF meets SevenCaves
Formed in 2007, the Northampton-based SevenCaves has steadily risen to become one of the most talked about bands in and around Milton Keynes. Over the past couple of months alone they’ve toured around from London to Glasgow, enjoying success through supporting indie acts such as Dodgy, while this summer promises to be their busiest and hopefully most fruitful yet, with Parklife and MK Summerfest just around the corner. The Music Fix welcomes SevenCaves as it sits down with guitarist Justin “Juzza” Giddings.
How did SevenCaves come to be?
SevenCaves, with its current line-up has only been together six months, after numerous changes; only myself, John and Dave are the original members and we played together in another band before the birth of SevenCaves. I met John when I turned up for an audition to join a new indie band that was starting in Milton Keynes. I heard about the audition through a friend of a friend and turned up with my guitar in my hand. On entering the ‘audition’ I was met with John and Ben, who incidentally were mopping up sick off the floor as they’d been to the pub all afternoon and were smashed when I turned up. I thought ‘this is the band for me!’ So we began writing a few tunes on an acoustic guitar and looked for other members. We joined up with two fellas (a drummer and a keyboardist) and they asked their mate along, who happened to be Dave (Walker). We played a lot of gigs under the name of Parker, but Ben decided to move to Oz and we needed a fresh start, hence the birth of SevenCaves. New, harder, rockier songs were written and a new drummer was brought on board. Our sound has changed so much over the years, we’ve all got a lot better on our instruments and to be honest, our taste in music has matured. Whereas before we were lazy with our sound we have worked really hard over the last year to perfect the SevenCaves sound and it’s still evolving now, for the better. We have additional guitarist in JT and a superb new drummer in Fabio. We really feel that this is now our time.
And the name?
Seven Caves is a place where John used to hang out in Motherwell. We liked the way the name resonated, and no one had taken it, which helps! A band name is mega important and it should be easy to find on the internet, which our one is.
The current band line-up is quite interesting, with John hailing from Scotland and drummer Fabio, who left Brazil to come here about a year ago. How about the other guys? Do you find overall that there’s a certain uniqueness being brought forward here in developing your sound?
Fabio has an MTV award from his band in Brazil, that is the standard we are now at. We’re no longer a ‘local’ band playing songs in a shitty boozer with a postage stamp sized stage. We’re on a different level now and since Fabio joined the band we have had to step up to the plate so to speak. If we don't then he could just as well walk into any band in this country, he’s seriously that good and we are lucky to have him. The fact we are a bit of a mish-mash of different backgrounds is only a good thing for us. We all bring something different to the table with regards to personalities and the way we play. We are all really good mates too and if the band finished tomorrow we’d still meet up as we have a good relationship going on. The Scottish and Brazilian accents - when they speak at the same time it’s like a new unheard language. We tend to talk amongst ourselves if John and Fabio start talking to each other!
You’re currently unsigned, but have already recorded an EP entitled ‘The Key‘, which came out just before last summer. What was the response like to that, and how would you describe the process of getting your music heard in an industry that seems difficult to break into?
‘The Key’ was our stepping stone to where we are now. When we wrote The Key it was more upbeat and dancier than anything we had done previously and we have kind of taken that formula into writing the newer songs. We concentrate on the beat and the bass-lines now, whereas before everything worked around the guitars. We don’t even play any of the songs from that EP now, we’ve moved onto bigger and better things. The internet has revolutionized the way unsigned bands like ourselves can be heard. Websites like Myspace changed the face of music; it made bands believe again, that they could become superstars and it was great whilst it lasted. Myspace kind of died a death though, unfortunately. I think Youtube is now the way forward, people want visuals as well as audio so this is ideal to get worldwide viewings. It's a lot easier for bands to promote themselves now, which is a great, but I do think the standard of bands has dropped in recent years, and this could be because of the internet phenomena.
You're especially active on The Facebook and Twitter scene.
Yes, we are big fans of both sites and try to stay active on both daily. It is invaluable for bands, especially those who are unsigned and do not feature in magazines to connect with their fans and of course especially good for connecting with people who would never have even heard of you. Social networking is a big part of the process of spreading the word.
“Heavier than indie. Softer than rock. Dancier than Strictly…” says the blurb on your official site. So what’s your philosophy?
Yeah, that probably needs changing to be honest! Our philosophy is to make any new song we write better than the last song we wrote. if it isn’t then it’s not getting played, simple as that. If we have an idea and it’s not working after an hour or so then we bin it, we’re pretty ruthless! We just keep trying to better ourselves, as one should.
Tell us about your influences.
We all have various influences. John is influenced by different situations to me as he writes the lyrics and I am a guitar player. Personally I like music with some balls behind it, I look out for good guitar riffs with a classic sound rather than the tinny fender telecaster sound that a lot of the bands have spawned of today. Can’t stand it to be honest. The Arctic Monkeys have a lot to answer for! I love listening to bands and albums that are timeless, like The Stone Roses, The Verve, The Music, Radiohead and Kasabian; bands that are cool as fuck, not ones like The Vaccines who look like the school teacher you always hated. I understand why people like these bands but I prefer those who think outside of the box. Hopefully this transposes into our music, though I would say we have a slightly darker and heavier sound than some of those I’ve mentioned.
You’re currently in the process of recording a full-length studio album in your home at Eastwood Studios. Does it have a title and ETA yet, and what will you be doing to promote it over the course of the next six months or so?
The album is what we are itching to get on with. Eastwood Studios went under renovation as we began recording our first song, but it is back open and ready for action now so we will be going in within the next few weeks to start on it. We haven’t discussed names for it yet, though I have a few ideas. I like naming the songs and it may be named after one of those. It’ll have to be cool whatever it is! Hopefully it’ll be ready by the end of summer, but it's June already (at time of interview) and we were hoping to be half way through it by now. Best laid plans and all that. Promotion wise we will just do as many live gigs as we can and try and use 21st century mediums to get it out there, the usual Twitter and Facebook stuff. Hopefully our fans will spread the word too!
MK Summerfest (July 29th) could be potentially big for you guys, what with BBC3 Counties covering the event and other on-site press. Seems as good a moment as any to shine.
This is without a doubt the best we have ever been, but I don’t think it’s the best we can be. By the time MK Summerfest and Parklife come ’round we will be ready to go and show that we mean business - a force to be reckoned with, not locally but nationally. I know we can keep on improving as musicians and songwriters, and that in six months to a years time we'll be even stronger than we are now, providing everything goes to plan and we keep working hard.
You can catch SevenCaves perform live at London's Hoxton Bar on Sunday 10th July.
For more information on all future activity from SevenCaves, visit their official website at http://www.sevencaves.co.uk/ or check them out on Facebook and Twitter.