andrew kruse ross | 7000apart | may 2019
The alleyway behind the coffee shop where I've agreed to meet Swedish/American indie musicians 7000apart is flooded with cold water. Wishful thinking has done little to melt what I, and no doubt many others, hope is the final snowfall of the season. It's midmorning and gloomy again. And as I sit down to prepare for this, my first appointment of a crowded day, I realize that my feet are wet.
What doldrums may have permeated my mindset before our meeting are quickly dissolved as my guests — Amelie Eiding and Jon Kresin — sit down to join me. There's no hiding the smiles on their faces. Today is a big day for 7000apart — and not because they're sitting down to speak with me. No, today is the day 7000apart get to pick up copies of their debut album, “We Are More,” bringing to a close months of work and marking the next chapter in the group's history.
Having already listened to the first two singles of the album, the self-reproachful “Sorry” and “Blank Check,” I'm a bit taken aback to hear that the new album, which is comprised of 10 original songs, is generally an upbeat one.
“Well, it's melancholic yet hopeful,” Eiding says to clarify.
Listening to the album in its entirety, it becomes clear that “We Are More” tackles subjects that beguile the youthful, smiling figures seated across from me.
Tracks such as “Home,” which pointedly documents the hardship of long-distance relationships (as in one that spans 7,000 kilometers) and “Dust Covered Eyes,” which expresses the weight of social anxiety experienced in even the seemingly simplest of tasks (in this case ordering a cup of coffee) are testaments to the group's maturity and growth as songwriters.
The couple is candid in discussing the mental health struggles that drive such songwriting; Eiding admits to having suffered from performance anxiety for much of her life, Kresin from depression and social anxiety. Listening as they share their stories, I briefly recall Auden's “The Age of Anxiety” and then wonder if anxiety and depression haven't become endemic in Western society. The details and faces may be different, but it's a familiar story and before long I'm sharing my own struggles with them as well.
We agree there's comfort in knowing that whatever might ail us, we aren't alone and that's where Eiding's description of the album as “melancholic yet hopeful” resounds. “We Are More” feels conversational, candid and honest. Collectively, the album — which they describe as “organic pop” for its acoustic instrumentation — resonates with encouragement and perseverance.
At times this is accomplished playfully so, as in the soulful “Get Back Up Again,” complete with funk-inspired percussion and horn parts. At other times, this message is handled more solemnly, as is the case with the title track in which Eiding declares with anthem-like resolution “We are more than these cloudy days. / More than every word of hate.” The song, no doubt references that as a couple, 7000apart is greater than the sum of its parts and are ready for whatever may come next.
“We Are More” feels like the logical next step, or maybe even leap, in the duo's evolution. Those familiar with the group's first EP will notice the new album sparkles with professionalism and cohesion that even the duo admits, was somewhat lacking in their self-recorded EP.
They credit artist coach and album co-producer, Lina Olsson of Lina Viola Artist Development, whom they began working with in April of 2018, for much of the end result.
The first lesson Olsson instilled in the duo? Slow down.
Eiding says she and Kresin were anxious to share the nearly 50 songs they'd written with listeners but Olsson had other plans.
“When we met, we told her we had all these songs that we just wanted to get out,” says Eiding. “But she was like 'Let's slow down and do things properly.'”
Although eager to share their new songs, they heeded the advice of their coach, who introduced them to producer Erik Runeson of Studio Korsnäs in Dala Järna, Sweden.
“We had met with a couple of producers before but when we met with this guy, it just really clicked,” says Eiding.
A collaborative, team effort then took shape. Their catalog of nearly 50 songs, with the guidance of Olsson, was dwindled down to their best 12 songs with 10 making the final cut.
Determined to get their album recorded, the duo booked six days of recording time with the studio despite being unsure how they'd be able to cover the expenses.
To help offset the cost of recording time, the duo turned to the online community, starting a 30-day, all-or-nothing Kickstarter campaign with a target goal to cover half of their studio costs.
To inject their campaign with immersiveness and urgency, 7000apart set up their campaign to coincide with their time in-studio. Doing so provided Eiding and Kresin with ample video content to generate interest in their project, while also proving how serious they were about recording their album. In short, they were recording with or without help.
“It was like, 'We're paying for this album but we really don't have the money,” says Kresin. “If this doesn't work, we're going to be eating Ramen for the rest of the year.”
Luckily, the campaign was a success. In just 20 days, more than 100 backers helped 7000apart meet their $5,000 goal. The album would become a reality. No Ramen necessary.
Eiding insists the mission with “We Are More” was to produce an album that was “timeless” — the kind of album that would age well and could be looked at fondly in years to come.
Local audiences can get their first listen to “We Are More” live at the Art Garage, 1400 Cedar Street, on May 15 at 7 p.m.
“We Are More” is available on CD and digitally on May 17 at 7000apart.com. More information is available at their website or via the social media platform of your choice.