Interview with guitarist Camden Cruz
Interview by JP
Tell us a bit about how the band started.
I started Seven Kingdoms with (former vocalist) Bryan Edwards. Kevin and Keith Byrd joined soon afterward on guitar and drums, followed by Cory Stene on bass and John Zambrotto on keyboards. After we recorded "Brothers of the Night" then Bryan, Cory and John left. They had other things they wanted to pursue at this time and we wanted to actually give this a real shot after we heard the feed back from the debut. "Brothers of the Night" was lyrically inspired from the literary works of George R. R. Martin series, A Song of Ice and Fire, some of Bryan‘s Favorite books at the time. A few more member changes, new material, and Sabrina now singing on the newest record; We’re here!
How did you choose the name of the band?
Seven Kingdoms comes from the George R. R. Martin series. I think it’s the world that the stories take place in. I will be catching up on my literature for the new record later this year. ha!
Florida is traditionally known for Death Metal but does have strong Power Metal scene dating back to Savatage and Crimson Glory. Because you have a strong European influence in your sound, do you find that being located in Florida is a help or hindrance to your career?
Florida Sucks to a certain extent. Sadly all that classic death metal has turned into these kids in these high school hardcore bands that have over saturated the scene down here. A lot of the clubs also have really terrible people working for/at them. So its actually really bad here. You have to personally throw all your own shows or like sell a crazy amount of tickets just to jump on anything descent around here. Until a venue sees 150+ people to come see your band around here you have to continually bust your ass. Then again Florida is nice for other things. It’s a big state so there are many territories to play, and there are lots of other good up and coming bands…finally!
Are people shocked to learn you are from Florida?
HAHA 9 times out of 10, yes.
What is the musical climate like in Florida these days? Is the region and/or scene (clubs, promoters) supportive of new, local talent?
The big places like Club Firestone or Hard Rock don’t really give a rats tail whos playing as long as they bring them people to drink at their bar. That’s the battle down here. To get a good following. Hell, House of Blues Orlando dosent even let Metal play there anymore because it “attracts undesirable people”. Some other places like State Theater in St. Petersburg though have good people running them. If you don’t bullshit them they wont bullshit you.
What was it like recording your debut album at the legendary Morrisound Studios?
That’s the only place that we….well at least I will ever record. We have worked with Jim on both records so he has a good feel for the bands and hes totally awesome to work with. We are hoping to go into Morrisound again for this new record with a nice budget and make that thing sound killer!
What precipitated the change in vocalists and did that decision to have a female vocalist help attract attention?
Well at the time, Bryan was wanting to finish school and stuff and we wanted to get really serious and give it a shot. So he left and we got Sabrina. She’s been my significant other for almost four years and it turns out she can sing! Haha! So naturally since Florida has NO singers available we went with what we had. Seems to have worked ever since! haha! We honestly didn’t really bank much on the whole “oh we have a female singer so now were popular” bandwagon, but rather that her voice was totally different and wanted to put that into power metal rather than say stuff like Nightwish play…. The Operatic stuff. So I hope that we make a “new sound” because of that.
How did you get signed to Nightmare Records?
Our Management hooked that up. Claus just sent out some stuff and I guess Lance took notice. Took a little while but now its finally released.
How did you land the opening slot on Blind Guardian’s recent (late 2010) North American tour?
We were selected by Blind Guardian. They had already chosen Holy Grail for that by the time we came along. It was a dream come true that’s for sure!
What were some of the highlights from that tour?
You will have to wait to see the Tour footage on our you tube channel! Haha but it was really fun. We got to talk to the guys in Holy G and Guardian quite often. It was awesome. And we learned a lot.
What are your plans for the near future?
Well right now, we are fixing to start the writing process for the next record. So hopefully sometime this fall we will be done recording and saving money for it. After that we hope to jump on another tour here in the states and then finally debut ourselves overseas as well on that record.
Any last words?
Thank you for taking the time to do the interview! Thanks to all our new fans we met on tour and also thanks to the ones that have been there since day 1! See ya at the show!