7000apart: Better Together

Andrew Kruse-Ross

andrew kruse-ross | 7000apart | june 2018

Having met at Green Bay's Preble High School, indie pop duo 7000apart was created as a means for Amelie Eiding and Jon Kresin to keep in touch and maintain their long-distance relationship. When Kresin went on to college in Kentucky and Eiding back to her native Sweden, the two began recording music together from afar – roughly 7,000 kilometers apart – and sharing their music with the Youtube community.

The now-married couple continues to make music together and has generated some international attention.

Recently, the duo was shortlisted as one of 21 finalists in the “Off the Beaten Track” music video competition presented by Shure microphones, beating out more than 850 other entries in the process.

Recording a second video for the competition, which ends in early June, 7000apart are one step closer to a grand prize that includes a recording session overseen with 22-time Grammy Award-winner Al Schmitt at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. In order to do so, their video will have to resonate with the contest's final judge, singer/songwriter Tori Kelly.

Taking some time away from their busy schedule, the duo agreed to discuss the contest, their future ambitions and no longer collaborating from a distance with Frankly Green Bay.

So, how did you two first hear of the Off the Beaten Track competition?

A friend of ours, Gabriele Fuggetta, is a big fan of Tori Kelly, so he forwarded a video to us where she was talking about the contest. It sounded like a really cool competition that showcases talent and not production value or fancy equipment.

We've had great experiences in the past with competitions, and they've helped us to grow as musicians. We won the WIXX Big Break 2017 and won a radio award for our song 'Someone to Be' in an international songwriting contest in Italy in 2015.

Your initial video was shot at an Iowa airport and you performed 'Lovers for Life.' What was your approach with the initial entry and, as you only get to do one song, was it difficult making a selection for the contest?

We wanted to perform in a space where you can get a lot of reverb/echo, and the places we thought of were garages, caves and … hangars! It so happened that we had a show in Iowa before the submission deadline and the guy we stayed with had access to a hangar. We got up super early the next day (because we had to drive back to Green Bay to perform at the CP Telethon) and recorded the video in one take.

We picked 'Lovers for Life' because it 's one of our new favorite songs and we were excited to have people hear it. It also worked well with the airplane theme, due to us being in a long-distance relationship for three years.

As a group you're no strangers to recording music and utilizing platforms like Youtube to share your music. Did your history of making videos for Youtube help you in creating your entries for this contest?

Yes, we're very comfortable filming videos now from doing it for so long. We also have a videographer (Cyclops Girl Photo & Video) that we've been working with here in Green Bay, so she helped us with the second entry.

This is an international contest with 873 bands that entered and you two end up shortlisted in the top 21 acts and go on to the next round of the competition, that's a pretty impressive accomplishment. How did you receive the news you'd made the shortlist and what was your reaction?

Thank you! We found out through Shure's Facebook page. We couldn't believe it! We're so happy to be one of the finalists for the contest. Even if we don't place, it's a super cool accomplishment. We also got two free microphones, which was great!

The final leg of the competition is judged by Grammy-nominated singer Tori Kelly and requires the making of a second video. What can you tell us about your new video and how does it compare to your first entry? I hear we went sailing and were given specific equipment for this video?

For the second video we had to use the microphones Shure sent us and play another original song in an original place. We really wanted to involve our city, Green Bay, this time and thought this song fit really well. Originally we wanted to record at Lambeau Field, but that didn't work out (they said no), so we thought of the next best thing: a boat in the bay! We talked to everyone we know and posted a video asking for help and got in contact with Christopher and Michael Laing. We couldn't have been luckier. Their boat Audacity was a gorgeous, big sailboat! Jon had never been on a sailboat before, so that was fun for him! We went out to this “pelican island” and we couldn't believe how many birds there were (look at our reaction at the end of the video!). It was harder to record this one because we had to deal with wind and a moving boat. We're super happy with the result though and we like how the planes from the first video and the boat from this one tie in with our story of traveling to and from each other a lot.

There's an interesting mix of styles represented alongside you on the shortlist. At the expense of playing the part of a label maker, there's post-rock from China, alternative rock from Mexico, acid jazz from Spain. Have you checked out the other bands and what is that you feel spoke to the voter about 7000apart?

We looked at the other bands' first video entries and they're all really cool. We think our advantage was how real our video was and how it showcased our talents. We also think that the connection between the location, the song and our story helped, and there weren't many other couple duos.

Should you win the grand prize, you'll be shipped off to Los Angeles and sit down for a professional recording session at Capitol Studios, that session will be overseen by legendary producer Al Schmitt who's worked with Sinatra and Bob Dylan. I know you two cut an EP last year and have a few singles out as well, what would this recording session mean to you?

We would be super nervous and excited to be working with such a legend. Honestly, we'd love to work in any professional studio with a great producer at this point, but obviously, it would be amazing to have a chance to go to Los Angeles. We've been thinking about going out there for a while, so this would be a great excuse!

A bit of an aside here, but you two spent several years physically apart and writing music together from a distance. Now that you're married and sharing the same space, has that affected the way you write music at all? If so, how?

Since we're finally together and can work with what we love, we have more time to put into our music. This means that we're writing a lot more songs and they're not all sad long-distance love ballads.

Win or lose, what's around the corner for you two?

Currently we're working on songs to release as singles and eventually make a full-length album. Once we have that put together, we would really like to tour the U.S. and Europe. Our goal is to live completely off of our music and make a positive impact on the music industry and our audience.

Connect with 7000apart at 7000apart.com or on multiple social media platforms by searching 7000apart. Emails are welcome at info@7000apart.com.

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