|Profile: Ben Woolhead|
Originally from the North-east, Ben is currently studying for a PHD on DH Lawrence at the University of Nottingham. He also writes a weblog called Silent Words Speak Loudest.
Dealt several potentially fatal blows over the course of their eight year existence – including the loss of two band members, the end of their major label record deal and mystifying public indifference – they had soldiered on, dogged and determined. They were survivors.
Unfortunately, my review was tempting fate. On Tuesday 7th June, a day after Artists… hit the shops, their website announced they’d decided to call it a day.
Before the announcement was made, in the week preceding the release of the new album, I interviewed the band for the BBC Nottingham site. The resulting feature was originally planned as a celebration of their longevity and resilience. It’s turned into something of an epitaph, a tribute to their maverick spirit.
Six. By Seven were never ones to take the easy path. They were never quite in sync with the latest trends, and neither did they want to be. They retained their dignity and integrity while other lesser bands vaulted shamelessly aboard the nearest bandwagon. They did everything on their own terms. “We have our moments where we've felt we've been passed by, but that has never affected the music we make”.
|"They retained their dignity and integrity while other lesser bands vaulted shamelessly aboard the nearest bandwagon. "|
Debut single ‘European Me’, released in 1997, was an extraordinary statement of intent, seven minutes of spaced-out trance-rock that came from nowhere and set the tone for the first LP, The Things We Make. Expectations were confounded when their second album appeared in 2000 – The Closer You Get was for the most part a rabid, snarling, vicious assault. Another critically acclaimed album down the line (2002’s The Way I Feel Today) and their label Mantra folded.
“Since then”, they admitted, “things have become harder. It becomes harder to get press attention as you get older as a band because the media are always chasing the next big thing. We changed as people and members, management and agents came and went, but we still believed we had better music in us which made us forge on”.
And forge on they did, releasing :04 last year on their own newly-founded label Saturday Night Sunday Morning Records (the name a doffed hat to another Nottingham legend, author Alan Sillitoe). Artists…, containing tantalising suggestions of a new harder and more electronic direction, is not the work of a past-it band bereft of ideas. Only two weeks ago they were talking animatedly about their past and enthusiastically about what the future might hold: “World domination – one day everyone will own a Six. By Seven record!”
But, as the statement on their website reads, “the end of Six. By Seven is not a sad one”. Their future may now be a thing of the past, and Chris, James and Chris might have decided to move on and pursue their own paths, but they leave a legacy of which they can be justifiably proud.
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