An Interview with the Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven is a Steampunk band heralding from Sweden and creates unique music that is hard to pin down by a particular audio genre. Their sound blends the timeless sounds of European fold music with cabaret in a manner that is sure to appeal to Steampunks across the board. Last year, they released their first album, The Broken Hearted Show, and are hard at work on their second.

Can everyone in the band please introduce themselves? Please tell me a bit about yourselves and your musical backgrounds.
Fredrik Anjou – Vocals, guitar and songwriter: Started playing guitar and writing songs at the age of 14 inspired by Nirvana. Over the years I have had several bands and played grunge, punk, metal, pop and other various genres. My main focus in all of those bands were always to try and write good songs and to find a suiting sound for those songs. After a few years without a band and concentrating on literature and philosophy studies at the university The Magnificent Seven started to develop as a band and have since then been my main priority. I love writing songs for all the skilled musicians in The Magnificent Seven to perform. I’m truly blessed to have such a great band.
Fredrik Andersson – Viola and mandolin: Hi, I’m the viola-player Fredrik of The Magnificent Seven! I’ve been playing the violin since early age, raised in the Swedish folk music tradition of my hometown Leksand in the heart of folk-Sweden. I am now a classically trained violin/viola teacher with pupils from age 6-20. I’ve always enjoyed playing different styles of music witch has led to me continuously playing everything from symphony orchestras to reggae, from singer-songwriter to metal. No matter what I’m playing I always bring my heart in to it and give it 100%. There’s nothing better than standing on stage playing your heart out!
Stefan Stenberg – Double bass: I am a freelance musician who lives in Stockholm and I play everything from jazz to rock and different kinds of folk-music. During the past decade there has been considerable focus on playing jazz, but I’ve mostly listened to different kinds of rock. I’m new as a member of TM7 and It’s a band with wonderful musicians and we play a kind of music I’ve been wanting to play for years.
Nils Marcus Persson – Piano and organ: The following can be said about Nils Marcus Persson. I grew up in family that listened to a lot to music. I remember Sundays when I sat and turned my dads vinyl records and dreamed myself into the world where “I was Jim Morrison”. Started playing the piano to later play the guitar just to once again play the piano and discovered it’s the best. Then I studied music at high school and university. Played in a lot of different bands and genres through the years. Have a special liking for odd music.
Ulrika Mohlin – Accordion, musical saw and backing vocals: I became a member of the Magnificent Seven three years ago when Fredrik Anjou found me on myspace and asked me to compose a duet with him. At that time I had just moved to Örebro and was also new on my own musical project “Mohlavyr”. Fredriks invitation was therefore a good challenge and start for me to get to know other musicians in the town. Neither could I say no to the experience of collaborating with an artist like Fredrik. So I brought my accordion and after a couple of meetings we finished the song “The Rope”. Since then I’ve been joining the band on accordion, backing vocals and musical saw.
Krister Persson – Drums and percussion: Drummer from the woods who had to start playing the drums when he moved to the city where there were no logs he could beat up with his bare hands. Headbanger – turned jazz-freak – turned folk musician… Which has led him to the point when he’s now happily beating up logs again… Albeit in a more civilized fashion.
Marcus Måttgård – Guitars: Started playing guitar at the age of 13 inspired by Slash. Have played everything from heavy metal to jazz music during the years, and nowadays I play mostly country music. Started playing with TM7 about a year ago. Currently working on my own material a lot inspired by country guitar giants such as Brent Mason, Brad Paisley and Albert Lee. When I´m not working as a music teacher or play with TM7 I do freelance jobs wherever people need twang!

How was the Magnificent Seven created? How did you choose your name?
The Magnificent Seven was created and named at the same time and it was when I started to collect some songs that I had written on my old acoustic guitar, nicknamed ”Seven” because it wears the number seven on its body and I always have had a thing for the number seven. After a while I felt the urge to play these songs with a band and that’s when The Magnificent Seven was created. The first demo was released under the name Seven though. So, the real reason behind the name is just my fascination for the number seven but it also rings a bell with some things we like, like the movie, the song by The Clash and also the cemeteries in London.
And even though one can say that The Magnificent Seven was created back then I like to think that we’re recreating ourselves everyday and with every member that has come on board.

Tell me more about your debut album, The Broken Hearted Show.
The material on “The Broken Hearted Show” consists of both old and new songs. The old ones in new versions and some brand new songs that we wrote just before we recorded the album. “The Last Waltz” is the oldest one on the album and “The Killer” and “The Stand-Up Tragedian” the most recent ones. We recorded the album with producer Christian Gabel at Studio Cobra in Stockholm and I think he really added a lot to our sound so we’re really satisfied with his work on the album. Then Martin Irigoyen from Vernian Process mastered the album. I also think the material on the album says a lot about the variety of songs and styles that we have, we always let the songs themselves decide how they sound the best and never try and put a definite sound upon our songs. We like to try and bring out the essence of the song in the sound.

How do you describe your music to people who have never experienced it before?
As I said about our album, there’s a big variety in our sound and the style of our songs so it’s always hard to describe our music in words but I like to think that we have a ”timeless” sound. If I would try to put words to it I would say; Swedish melancholia inspired by cabaret and european folk music. All with a touch of gothic and horror elements.

What is the Steampunk scene like in Sweden?
Well, it’s a quite small scene. There’s some activities, there’s a couple of artists, writers and some LARP events but when it comes to music there’s not so many bands around, at least not that I know of. I know that there’s a lot of people that think Steampunk is very interesting but a scene has yet to be born in Sweden and hopefully we can be a part of creating an interest and a scene for Steampunk in Sweden.

Steampunk art is often expressed through a maker ethic. How DIY is the Magnificent Seven?
The Magnificent Seven is very DIY and we do almost everything ourselves although we like to collaborate with people we like and people who share the same ideas as us, but we always like to have control over what we do. We like what we do and if there’s people out there that also like what we do and can help us out, that’s a good thing.

What is your favorite tale of Magnificent Seven misadventure?
I don’t know if I would call it a misadventure but a very strange gig was when we performed with The Burning Hell in Gothenburg in front of a crowd existing of seven people and seven dogs. It was the first time our crowd was equally divided, 50% humans, 50% animals. It was a great gig though, with two great live bands doing what they love the most. Performing live!

Are there any upcoming events in the near future you’d like to mention?
We’re planning for the rest of 2011 right now and there’s one event that we’re really looking forward, but I have to keep quiet about exactly what it is for now. All I can say is that our fans in Sweden will get the chance to see us perform live at venue that suits us perfect and at an event that is perfect for our music. Now that I’ve mentioned it I hope everyone will stay tuned for more news about this event.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Nothing more except that we feel honored to be interviewed by Trial By Steam and we really like the support we get from North America. I hope we can make it over the pond someday and do a tour in North America, hopefully very soon especially since the Steampunk scene seems to be so alive and exciting at your end of the world.

To learn more about the Magnificent Seven, check out their website, Facebook, and MySpace pages.