Out of the dark heart of Los Angeles, a new band entitled Diminished 7 has risen rapidly in popularity within the gothic metal scene over the past couple of years. With the recent release of their latest single “Velvet Caress” Diminished 7 seems on the verge of greatness as they work to produce soulful, original songs that resonate with their growing audience, while challenging their own musical inclinations. I had the pleasure of speaking with lead singer Alex Crescioni in order to gain a more in-depth perspective on the history of his band.
Take us back to the beginning. How was the band Diminished 7 born?
It all started with an AOL screen name. It was “diminishedvll”. My favorite musical chord was a diminished seven chord since I began studying music theory at a young age. I liked the evil and unresolved combination of notes. It has stuck with me ever since. It wasn’t until 2007 when I decided to start writing music under the name “DIMINISHED 7.” I was in a technical death metal band at the time and was seeking a different musical outlet, so I started writing more melodic rock, gothic metal-type songs with lots of catchy melodies and dark overtones. The first song I started writing became “Your Warmth From A Candle”, the first track off our debut album. The beginning stages of the tune were quite different from the final version. I think I have the old demos of it somewhere on my computer. I wrote the rest of the album Dim World in 2009 and released it in November of the same year. Shortly after, I began searching for live musicians but didn’t find a successful lineup until 2011. Our first show was with the dark rock band Dommin at The Slidebar in Fullerton, CA. I was excited to perform with them since Kristofer himself asked us to open the show.
Your music has a distinctive gothic metal influence, but how would you describe your sound and where does the inspiration come from?
I would describe it as gothic rock/metal, or dark rock/metal. I really don’t like being categorized as one type of genre, since we have bits and pieces of different styles going on including rock, metal, and gothic. Inspiration comes from pretty much anything that moves me enough to create a soundscape—nature, love, desire, sex, lust, pain, struggle, music, film, photography… Anything that stimulates the senses.
Diminished 7 has been described as a “vampire band.” What do you feel moves people to apply this term to your band and has it influenced the direction of your musical developments?
The first album Dim World has a few songs that speak of vampiric phantasies. “Her Bloodlust At Sunset”, “Taste A Vampire”, and “Midnight Divine.” It’s quite apparent in these tracks, and I’m assuming they would move people to believe we are a “vampire band” although I can’t say that we are. It’s a part of the mood of the first album, but it isn’t something that will carry out through the rest of our music.
Diminished 7 is about to embark on a cross-country tour to promote the latest release of “Velvet Caress” and your forthcoming full album. Tell us about this tour.
The tour is still being scheduled and everything is still very much up in the air. We are still without a manager and booking agent. I’m not very good at the business side of things so it’s been difficult for me to be motivated to try and make it happen. Although I’m sure things will end up working out. We plan on playing a few shows on the way to Austin and a few on the way back. As of now the only confirmed date is October 19th 2013 for the Austin Vampire Ball.
What do you feel are the greatest challenges for musicians today?
Everything is a challenge. You can’t just be a great live band anymore. You have to be amazing at everything to get any recognition. By everything I mean you pretty much have to be your own record label—book your own shows, print and pay for your own merch, finance your own albums, market yourself online, design your own show flyers, schedule your own tours, distribute your own music online, manage royalties, the list goes on and on. I find myself spending more time in front of a computer than actually performing and working on music. The biggest challenge is time management, I’d say. Focusing on what matters is most important, but not always easy with the way things are in the music industry today.
When approaching the creation of a new song, what is your process?
I don’t really have a specific process. Anything goes. Sometimes I’ll sit down with an acoustic guitar and strum and few chords and sing melodies. Other times I’ll write a heavy guitar riff and program drums over it and come up with the rest of the instruments and melodies from there. It’s always different.
Your last album Hollow Haven was a fully acoustic set of songs. What was the motivation behind a return to acoustic music?
One of my favorite albums of all time is Opeth’s Damnation. I love how they could go from having such heavy/brutal records, then stripping their sound down to soft acoustic songs. Another inspiration was Ville Valo’s “Baudelaire in Braille.” He recorded every song off of Screamworks as an acoustic version, and I was completely blown away with how vulnerable he allowed himself to be. Perfect imperfections make us human and feel real, and that was my motivation for a full acoustic album. Also it’s sexy as hell.
You recently worked with producer Tim Palmer at ’62 Studios in Austin, Texas. How did you meet Palmer and what was the experience like working with him?
I had messaged Tim years ago on Myspace asking for engineering/mixing advice. He responded to a few of my emails but I’m not sure if he remembers. I decided to email him in 2012 through his official website to see if he would be interested in working with me on a track. I figured, why the hell not, I’ve got nothing to lose. The worst thing he could say is no, and rejection wasn’t something foreign to me at the time. He responded asking for samples of my music so I sent him a few tracks. Shortly after he agreed to work with me and I sent him the first rough mix of “Velvet Caress” in early 2013. He was very kind and open minded to my ideas. I’m very pleased with his mix. It has been our most popular song yet!
Speaking of Austin, Texas, you will be headlining the Austin Vampire Ball in October. How did you become involved in this event and what can attendees expect?
It all started with Alex Savage (a.k.a. Lady A of Lady A’s Vampire Social Club). She contacted me through Facebook a while back and asked if DIM7 would be interested in performing at one of the Vampire Balls. We started talking more and more and became friends. This eventually led to plans of the Austin Vampire Ball. For all who are planning to attend, you can expect the best show from DIM7 yet! Since this is our first headlining show out of state, we are definitely planning to go all out for this one. We will also be playing our longest set to date.
What are you currently working on and where can people expect to see your work next?
I’m currently working on pre-production tracks for the third album. The goal is to have it released before the end of the year. Expect a hard-hitting rock/metal album with dark atmospheres and soundscapes, expanded vocal melodies, pounding drums, ethereal synths, and driving 7 string guitar riffs! As always, we will release the album on all digital stores including iTunes & Amazon, and hard copies will be for sale from our official website. www.diminished-7.com