Fans of Seether and Three Days Grace rejoice; 7 Days Away are on the cusp of releasing a new album! If you are a fan of melodic, grunge-like, and riff-driven releases keep this band on your radar. Originally hailing from Indiana 7 Days Away got their start in 2008 and then moved to the music mecha of Los Angeles soon after. The band quickly developed a dedicated following with their previous releases Death Cannot Separate, Stigmata, and The Risk but their story is far from finished. Find out what’s next for 7 Days Away and how they are tackling the digital era in By the Barricade’s latest interview.
Jay Bales: Vocals
Brandon Powell: Guitar
Danny Attack: Bass
Kody Maples: Drums
Art Diharce: Guitar
I looked all over for the story behind your band name but I couldn’t find it anywhere. How did you guys settle on the name 7 Days Away?
Jay Bales: When the band first started our name was Faultless. I was booking our first show and we found out the name was already taken by a Christian band. We were seven days away from our first show so we settled on 7 Days Away. It’s been like that for the past 12 years.
I hear that a lot actually. Bands settle on an awesome name and then discover it is already taken.
Jay Bales: There was a band in the UK named 7 Days Away but they didn’t last very long.
Jay Bales: We’ve got four songs finished for the new album and are working on the other four for an eight song album. The album will be released right before our tour this October. September is the date we are looking at, but it’s not set in stone.
Brandon Powell: Right now we have been doing a lot of preproduction and hashing everything out. There was a progression from The Risk to “Elevate” and if you listen to “Back to Life”, the track we released right after “Elevate”, we hope you hear that same progression. We want to keep the momentum going and create better music.
By the Barricade: I can’t wait to hear it live. Are you playing it today at Hold It Down For The Underground Fest?
Danny Attack: Actually we are playing 5 new songs today.
Brandon Powll: We are opening with “Tonight”.
Danny Attack: That one hasn’t been recorded yet.
Brandon Powll: Then, if you’ve poked around YouTube at all you found a demo of “The Escape”. It’s changed a lot so we will be playing the final cut of that tonight. You’ll see “Take Me Away” off Stigmata before we jump to “Back to Life”. We’ll hop back to The Risk for Only You before we close out with two new tracks “Let it Ride” and “Elevate”
What’s pre-production look like for 7 Days Away?
Danny Attack: We have our own small pre-production studio so we go in and record the song before nailing everything down. Once we get in the studio we put it under a microscope, but before that we have something created for when we approach an engineer.
Brandon Powell: So it’s months of preparation before we start experimenting. If you want to put out something that everyone can be happy with we are going to make the changes that we think need to be done.
Danny Attack: And it’s ever-changing. You can go in the studio and knock out a track in an hour or spend several days on it.
How do you find a balance between establishing a core sound and giving each song its own originality?
Brandon Powell: We want to have a fresh take on every track. With The Risk we wanted to make sure there were distinct tracks with sonic qualities to make people say “I like this about this track and that about another track”. We want them to like everything but for different reasons. We are also very conscious about what key we write in and what effects we use to make what we put out next sound fresh.
How do you avoid segmenting your fans when each track put an emphasis on different things in your songs?
Brandon Powell: The core fans who have been with us for a long time love that heavy rock sound but we like to experiment. We’ve matured over the year in the way we write. Making some songs a worthy ballad that still retains our core sound but can attract a new ear becomes a challenge to present to new fans.
7 Days Away was originally from Indiana. What brought you down to California when the east has a strong hard rock following.
Brandon Powell: In Indiana you hear “You guys are going to be huge!” a lot before you realize you are not making the momentum you want to be because of the scene you are in. Jay made the decision to take 7 Days Away to the west coast. He’s got some family down this way and the industry is strong in southern California. There are great bands in southern California if you can find them. That’s why Hold It Down Fest is so cool to us. It brings so many cool bands together.
Jay Bales: Right now we are focusing on a US tour but we are looking into places like Dubai and Italy, Japan, and Sweden.
Danny Attack: YouTube and iTunes does wonders for a band that can’t travel that far yet.
Now that iTunes and streaming on YouTube are becoming so popular do you think physical CDs have lost significance?
Danny Attack: MP3s don’t skip!
Jay Bales: Ya; and if you look at a lot of new cars CD players aren’t even available anymore. A lot of them just have a USB port so it might be interesting to sell flash drives with our music instead.
Brandon Powell: Also the industry has moved to emphasize the single now. In terms of putting out a physical CD, most of your biggest music fans will still want to get their hands on it but physical CDs have lost some significance.
Brandon Powell: Everyone has to start somewhere but when the market is oversaturated it pushed the industry to who you know and how many of your friends will buy your album instead of listening to the music as a fan.
You mentioned the significance of singles and I’ve noticed shortly after an album is released there is a big engagement drop off. What is 7 Days Away doing to combat that?
Brandon Powell: What seems to be working for us is releasing singles a month or a month and a half apart. You end up dropping half your album in singles before putting the full album out. We try and develop momentum with YouTube and social media. We’ll drop a single and let everyone stream it for free to develop a taste before making it available for purchase.
If you are releasing half your album in singles do you think releasing a split with another artist is more beneficial?
Brandon Powell: It is beneficially financially, but what are you leaving you listeners with? We would rather have fans spread it by word of mouth and stream what they like. That way when we release and album with artwork, everything, and the way we meant it to be hopefully they buy that.
Danny Attack: We like to compile everything on CD before the tour as well since there will be people there that were not fans before. That way they’ll remember it.
7 Days Away has played Wasteland Weekend for two years in a row. What keeps you coming back?
Brandon Powell: It’s been the time of our lives since it’s post-apocalyptic. There’s no money, you barter with people… It’s a niche thing but it doubles its size every year so it just keeps getting better and better.
Danny Attack: They have two bands starting Thursday all weekend and it’s one of my favorite shows I’ve played out here. Every year is awesome!
7 Days Away is sponsored by Cold Cock Whiskey. What’s the best part about that?
Jay Bales: Try it for yourself. You’ll know!
Danny Attack: It’s almost as good as coffee! That stuff is smoother than Jack and got the taste of herbal cinnamon and they are really good to their bands.
Is there anything else you want to say to the readers of By the Barricade?
Brandon Powell: Thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for your album that should drop this fall. We’ll be headed toward a city near you soon as well.
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