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5 minutes with November-7

"We're talking a language that is shared across generations"

Despite two studio EPs and having released their highly acclaimed first album, "Season 3" earlier in the year, Swiss Metallers November-7 are refusing to rest on their laurels. Currently in the middle of shooting the video for the second single off the album, "In My Mind" they are also back in the studio recording their second album! We caught up with vocalist Annamaria Cozza to have a chat about the band and find out a little about what's in store for them.

Hi Annamaria, and thank you for taking the time to talk to us! We love "Season 3" here at fit4talent.com and, as one of the first international acts to sign up on our site, we are really excited to share a little more about November-7 with our readers.


...and you cannot get a more international band than November-7... 3 nationalities for 5 band members... not bad!

Firstly, for those that haven't yet discovered November-7, can you tell us a little about the band? How would you describe your sound? How long have you been together? Who is in the band?

I'll start from the last question... November-7 is Stéphane Geiser (lead guitar), Matt Walters (second guitar), Yann Siegenthaler (drums), Stéphane Berginz (samplers) and myself (vocals). The core of the band, Stéphane Geiser and myself, first got together in 2005 and the first EP "Mesmerized" saw the light in 2006. In May 2006 we got 2 musicians and performed live for the first time.

Then in 2008 the second Stéphane Berginz joined, initially behind the scenes and just recently on stage with us. In 2009 Yann joined and in 2010 it was the turn of Matt.

We have toured a lot and released a lot of material before launching our first full-length album. This has allowed us to work on our sound, which is key if you have a lot of tracks in your songs and you want reach a consistent blend. Today I'm very proud of our sound because it's nice and powerful and you can distinguish the melodies and all the other details. You know, details always make the difference in life...

Our style? Well, we play metal, and metal today ranges from Nightwish to Cannibal Corpse so not sure if that helps... I think that our songs are the result of what we like most in different metal styles, so you'll find electro samples, some goth heaviness, melodic vocal lines and very, very strong guitars and drums.

How did you arrive at the name of the band? Is November the 7th a special date?

We first got together in November 2005 but the name is more of a suggestion than a concrete date. I like the month of November because it's a good time to think of future plans and it's also a very inspiring time to write. And 7 is my favorite number of all time... I could write a whole book about all the great things that happened to me in connection with the number 7...

As already mentioned, "Season 3" has been receiving some rave reviews all over the world; what do you think is it about the album that people like so much?

Each journalist or fan would explain this differently... Some people like the electro stuff, others the good balance of melodies and heavy elements, some are more into the heavy metal guitar riffs, others like my voice because they find it 'unexpected'... So there seems to be many reasons why people like us and I find this great! I do not like dogmas; I prefer things that have different explanations or interpretations. So if our music manages to touch different people for different reasons, well, this is extremely fulfilling for me!!

You released a single "Parasite" earlier in the year along with a video. From the behind the scenes photos I've seen it looks like the video shoot was a lot of fun but very cold! Tell us about it?

We shot it in an abandoned wine production factory. Underground you had the cellars, the ground floor was probably the delivery area and the first floor was for the offices. Actually our very first video "Angel" was shot there too, more precisely in the underground cellars. Then for "Parasite" we chose the ground floor for the group scenes and the 1st floor for the scenes with the mad man.

When we shot "Parasite" it was snowing and you can imagine how freezing it was in an abandoned building that had not been heated for years... so in the video the 'smoke' coming out of our mouths is real!! And it was because of the cold! After each shooting we would run to wear our down jackets and drink hot tea to get a bit warm...

But of course we had a lot of fun especially shooting the scene where the mad man crashes the TV set on the table and breaks everything else into pieces... I also enjoyed wandering around in the empty rooms, discovering old newspapers on the floor from 1890... and imagining the people that once worked there.

And you have just released a teaser for your second single, "In My Mind". It's very spooky and mysterious, and certainly did the job in getting me excited about the video release! Can you share anything with us about the full length clip and when it will be out?

We've just finished the shooting and viewed the first rushes. The video will be out in late September-October. We have tried to do something different with this video of "In My Mind" and we really look forward to the final result! We hope our fans will like it!

Your gothic-tinged metal sound must inevitably mean you get compared to bands like Evanescence and Lacuna Coil. What do you think makes November-7 stand out from these other bands?

You are right and that's normal! Usually people want to know who you sound like rather than what style you play. This helps them place you better... Earlier I was mentioning that people like November-7 for varied reasons and this is probably one of our strengths. Our fans range from teenagers to people in their 60s and this is also great because in a way it means that we're talking a language that is shared across generations.

And then of course we get compared to other bands! I think it all depends on what people focus on when they listen to our songs.

You have actually toured with one of the above bands, Italian based Lacuna Coil. They have a massive following so it must have been a huge opportunity for you. How did it go? Did it bring you a whole army of new fans?

Oh it was very exciting! The guys from Lacuna Coil are really nice to hang out with. They immediately asked us where we came from and how long we had been together, etc. They came across as being very curious, which is something I did not necessarily expect. I like curious people...

Their fans have also loved our show and some of them are now regularly coming to our concerts, which is great! We really hope we'll be able to tour with them soon!

Are there any other acts you would relish the opportunity to open for and showcase your music to?

Oh, many names come to my mind... In November we'll open for Within Temptation and I look forward to their fans reaction and also to meeting them! They have a lot of power in their sound and they are huge musicians.
My personal wish is to play with Soundgarden, which was my favorite band during the grungey years. Chris Cornell's voice gives me the chills.
But I think that everyone in the band would say Rammstein! We are all ultimate and unconditional fans of their music and their humor. Maybe if we ask nicely they'd let us use some of their fireworks and flames!

And how about the other way around; are there any up and coming acts that you would like to help out by giving them a support slot on the next November-7 headline tour?

Well... why not Rammstein again!! So in this case we could force them to let us use all of their fireworks and flames!!! And maybe also their other accessories like the huge pot, the moving walkway and I'm sure we'd also find a way to use the huge fake penis they had 2 years ago...!

More seriously, there are so many good bands out there... we would for sure choose a local band.

Are you finding it hard to break out of the Swiss scene at all? I guess Switzerland is not a country that readily springs to mind when you think of Heavy Metal. Is your fan-base international or more home oriented at the moment?

Oh it's a nice melting pot!! In Switzerland we have played in very popular festivals with huge international names. We've also supported Lacuna Coil and soon Within Temptation so many people have seen us on stage and in the press. Abroad our fans come especially from the UK and the USA: these are the 2 countries where people buy more our CDs and we get more press exposure. It's no surprise as this is where metal is more popular. But we also receive orders, emails and website visits Scandinavia, the Netherlands, etc... At the moment most of our fans come from outside Switzerland.

Do you have any current tour plans? I know that a lot of people over here in the UK are desperate to see you live. I understand you're off to the USA soon?

We are just as desperate as our UK fans to perform in their country!! We are in contact with some promoters to come to the UK and we hope that we'll be able to do so in 2012.

2011 looks already pretty much booked up for us!! We have different gigs in Switzerland and a showcase in Seattle, our first performance in the USA! This showcase has a special meaning to me because I lived in Seattle some years ago and it was such a great time for me!!

And you're also in the studio starting to record your follow up album. You guys really do not stop, do you! How is that going? Are you working with the same recording and mixing team as before?

We cannot stop! If we stopped we'd have to find another addition like drugs, alcohol... So we prefer to stick to music...

We have started recording the album now because one of the things we learned out of the recording of "Season 3" is that you don't want to wait for all songs to be finalised before starting. You're better off recording the new songs as they're ready. You gain in concentration and accuracy and maybe you save yourself a heart attack due to the stress... So we have recorded the drums of the first 4 new songs and the other instruments will follow by end of the year. Then before the summer of 2012 we'll record the rest. We'd like to release the album in Oct-Nov 2012. And yes, we keep the same recording and mixing team as for Season 3: Stefan Glaumann is already informed that he'll receive some work from us!

Have the experiences of the last year and the last album changed the way the band has approached writing and recording this time around?

Absolutely! First of all, this time we'll be able to save some time and energy because we already know who we'll work with for pretty much all the aspects of the album: graphics, photos, recording, and - most crucial - the mix.

With "Season 3" we made a couple of attempts that did not work out and even if I'm happy we did them, they took quite some time.

Lastly, as I said, we'll record the album in 2-3 waves and as soon as the first pack of songs is ready, we'll send it to Glaumann in Stockholm for the mix. At some point we will fly to Stockholm to visit him, because seeing him at work is fascinating and he's such a cool guy too...

Finally, have you got anything else you would like to tell the fit4talent.com readers about or any advice you can share with up and coming talents that are trying to break into the music scene?

I want to say that's it's great to be part of an on-line community of artists, musicians, comedians, etc. Fit4talent is an exciting place, a place where you meet interesting people!! So we're thrilled to be part of it!

For the readers: your support makes everything possible, so thank you so much! We hope that this time around we managed to entertain you and you'll soon want to be back for your fix!! We wait for you!

And for anyone who is trying to make their talent well known: first, be honest about what you do, second, never let go, third, showcase yourself.
And I hope I'll see you all down the road in the UK soon!!

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