From Devil May Care Magazine September 2008

When I said I would like to meet up with 7 to talk about his band Diable Amoreux it didn't occur to me that I would need to go half way up mount Wellington to get to him.

‘I'm going walking up the mountain,' he said. ‘If you want to speak to me I'll meet you at the Fern Tree shop at ten O'clock.'

But the really strange thing is that I actually went! And he was late of course.

So, armed with my trusty tape recorder and a sheet of questions, I came up with the following interview …


You've just put out a split album with a band from Greece – Ego Death. How did that come about?
Yes, out on Sewer Records. Manos of Ego Death just e-mailed me about doing it one day, and I said yes. I'm not normally a fan of split albums, but for Manos I made an exception. He's a real gnome.

What are your songs about?
Mainly about people who have annoyed me lately.

Are you working on any new material? Tell us about it.
At the moment I am about halfway through a new album, which has the working title Zwergen. It's shaping up to be by far the closest to the sort of material I have wanted to do for a very long time. It's the most acoustic and organic sounding album so far.

I've been working with a few people on this one. Though when I say ‘working with,' most of it has been through the post.

How's that been going?
Interesting. I've been doing some recording with a girl who has just left the state. She's of Egyptian decent and has this thing about Ra the sun god. She's convinced he dictates all aspects of her life. But the problem now is that she says he's got it in for her. So she refused to do the recording session till after the sun had gone down, when his power over her is less strong.

You've had fellow Tasmanian musician Sin Nanna (of Striborg) appear on one of your albums. Is there any chance that you will ever appear on a Striborg release?
We did have a go at a collaboration project a while ago, but it pitted out. As to me being on a Striborg album, I don't think that will ever happen. Striborg is very much a one-man affair. It wouldn't be the same if other people were involved. Though I was technically in the band for a short period.

Yes, it was during a short period where Sin Nanna was thinking of doing the band live. We learned a few Black Metal covers – Gehenna and Ildjarn, if I remember correctly. And a new Striborg song that was later recorded as Out of the Fog she Appeared Dressed in Black for the In the Heart of the Rainforest album. We were about to learn the song Cold Winter Moon , and I've always wondered how on earth we were going to be able to play such a fast song. Sin Nanna wasn't playing drums in that version of the band.

What do you think of Striborg?
I love Striborg. I first became aware of Sin Nanna's music when I first moved to Hobart. I found a copy of Cold Winter Moon in a box of dusty old local cassette releases, and I'd never heard anything like it before.
It's been interesting seeing Striborg go from being virtually unknown by anyone, to becoming so famous. Or be it only in certain circles. It's odd to read all the things people think about Sin Nanna. There is defiantly a persona that has been worked up around the project.

But is the persona true? Is Sin Nanna really like people imagine him to be - living in a cave, never speaking to anyone?
I'm not going to tell you. But he does like The Goodies. I remember reading that somewhere in the press. So do I for that matter.

Who would you say are your musical influences? Give us some odd ones.
Well, like my hero Axel Rose, I'd list Elton John and Billy Joel. Elton John's early stuff, anyway.

Axel Rose?
I like his beard.

The ‘scope' of their music is very influential on me, and I think it shows in Diable Amoreux. To some small extent, anyway.

Of course I also really like Current 93, Death in June, Sol Invictus etc. I owe a lot to them, as that is where I have always seen D.A. heading. The reason that I tend not to sound anything like those bands when the final mixes are done, is that the songs I write tend to end up getting side-tracked by… ‘something.' But I have never been able to fully work out what that something is. But as I said before, the Zwergen album is coming together as the closest to what I have wanted to do almost since the start of Diable Amoreux back in 1998.

Then there is Kate Bush. I don't know how much her music comes through in mine, but I think she's bloody fantastic. That reminds me, I really need to buy some Milo when I come down. For some reason it's women who seem to make the strangest musicians.

Why ‘7' as a pseudonym?
The number keeps cropping up for me. It's also the numerical value of my real name.

What is your real name?
Gertrude Von Schmitt. Something like that, anyway. I keep forgetting it.

‘7' is a silly name, I know, but that's partly the point with Diable. People get really passionate about the silly, they just won't admit it. Look how seriously people take things like black metal, country and western, rap… Just take a step back from these bands for a moment. I love some of this stuff – a lot of people do – but don't think for a second that it's not completely silly. There are rational people out there who are obsessed with Marilyn Manson, wanting to marry Blixa, or Thumper, or whatever his name is… [I think he's talking about Blixa Bargeld from Einsturzende Neubauten] Christians wanting to get nailed to planks of wood, and molesting snakes because the venom doesn't always kill them. A lot of people go in for this sort of thing. It's only because so many people are into something that stops the absurdity coming out. But it's the ridiculousness that makes something so cool. Where's Flavor flav without his huge clock?

Your music is quite hard to get hold of. I myself only came across it by accident.
Yes, I'm not the world's best promoter. Plus, not that many people are interested in it. Whether it's because the music is really bad or, as just about everyone has told me, it doesn't sound like anything else, I don't know. I've even stoped bothering to put he album in music shops anymore, because they just don't sell. It's not all fun and grapefruit being a tortured genius you know. People do hear about me though. I get letters and e-mails. Goodness knows how they do. I'm quite big in Buenos Aires for some reason. I've only sent a few copies over there. Perhaps it's a smaller place than you think.

Well, thankyou, 7, I hope you enjoy your walk.
I'm going to eat some snow.

Are there any parting words you'd like to leave us with?
Magnetic…tablet…aqueduct, and… marsupial…