The next few weeks will be busy ones for local rock act 7th Sun. On Saturday, they will be taking the Olde Towne Tavern Designated Music Space at 10 p.m. And then, on May 13, they will be performing at Barley & Hops to commemorate the release of their recently recorded five-song, self-titled EP. We recently caught up with the band’s guitarist/vocalist, Eric Partyka, to talk about what went into the recording, why they decided to get into the studio in the first place, and what he thinks is the most perfect song ever written. Enjoy!
So, you guys are releasing the EP at Barley & Hops. Can you talk about what led you guys to record in the first place? At what point did you say, “We should get into a studio” and why?
This has been a life-long aspiration for all of us. Ultimately, we want to be creative, express ourselves and connect with people. As a cover local band, you spend a lot of time learning other people’s songs so you can get the privilege of playing out. But secretly, you want to be an original band and have people enjoy your own artistic efforts.
What were some of the struggles you guys dealt with the most while in the studio? What was the hardest song to get down on record?
It was mostly a joy for us. We worked with Todd Stotler at Echoes studio and he kept us laughing most of the time. We chose to record on an old-fashioned analog reel tape system. This requires a ton of patience, compared to digital recording. The upside is that the sound quality is more human and less processed. But you really need to have your songs tight or you can waste a lot of time. When you are used to being in one room together, the studio can create some physical separation for sound control purposes. That, combined with listening through headphones, can be a bit of a challenge to your overall performance.
Conversely, what’s your favorite song on the album and why?
That’s a tough one. I think it varies for each of us. “Metal Bars” covers the most ground in terms of lyrical content and musical innovation for us. “Find Me” is the most upbeat in terms of tempo and it really highlights our rhythm section’s ability to articulate emotion and drive our songs.
What’s your perception of the local music scene in Frederick currently?
We are still trying to figure it out. There are a lot of good bands and groups in the area. Getting a decent venue can be a challenge. Our perception is that things are always evolving. There is a mix between your standard classic rock, ’80s rock, blues, R&B, and dance music out there. And on the outskirts, there seems to be a thriving bluegrass scene. There is also an independent scene. But there is an untapped demand for jam bands. Maybe it is a mistake to categorize music in the first place. However, when you go to national shows in Baltimore and D.C., as well as the numerous summer festivals, you realize that the Grateful Dead vibe is alive and well with many amazing bands. And people are paying good money to hear these kinds of bands, too.
Who are some of your major influences and why?
Major influences include The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, Ben Harper, Van Morrison, The Beatles, Live, Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones and Steely Dan. To say why, there is a consistent melodic soulful base to all of these bands. Some rock hard and some have a strong jazz or R&B component. In all cases, the humanity and soulfulness connects with us.
Can you give us names of some bands we need to check out that we maybe haven’t seen yet? Who are you listening to the most these days?
Moe., The Revivalists, Rival Sons, Galactic, Umphree’s McGee, Lettuce and My Morning Jacket.
Where are some of your favorite places to play and why?
Outside at Barley & Hops is our favorite. We seem to resonate with the patrons there.Also, they make their own beer, which is quite enjoyable. The staff and owners treat us very well. Lastly, Olde Towne Tavern has recently been a nice venue for us.
What does 2016 look like for you guys?
Major highlights include our first time on the canal at the Festival of the Arts on June. We are excited to have our CD release party at Barley & Hops on Friday, May 13. We are still putting together the rest of our summer gigs.
What do you think is the most perfect song ever written and why?
That’s a tough one and a bit of a subjective question. It may be “Whipping Post” by the Allman Brothers. The musicianship on each instrument is phenomenal and it translates better in a live setting. The lyrics and singing are crystal clear. There is no question about the sentiment being expressed. The passion is very strong and undeniable.
And, of course, what can we expect from your record release show at Barley & Hops?
You can expect a lot of good energy and a responsive crowd. Barley & Hops has created a very comfortable environment. Obviously, we will be featuring our original music. Instead of sneaking the originals into a bunch of covers, we would like to give each original a chance to shine and be heard. But we have added a handful of new covers since the last time we played at Barley & Hops. We hope that combination gets the crowd amped up for a memorable show.