Louisiana Hard Rock/Nu Metal band SevVven has established themselves in a short period of time as a Gulf Coast powerhouse. Founded by Ant Jones & Josh Valdivieso as a means to explore sounds reminiscent of acts from the late 90's and 2000's, the duo released their self-titled album in 2020. When singles "Otherside"
and "Tidal Waves" began to garner attention, Ant and Josh knew they needed to begin work on the follow up album Signals and establish a formal lineup for their live show.
SevVven's passion to create memorable melodies, catchy hooks, and compelling lyrics earned the band national attention with the bands 2021 single "Falling" landing at its peak of 18 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Indicator charts and the follow up "All I Need Is You" climbing to 23rd in early 2022 on the same chart.
The band's current lineup is rounded out by SevVen's founders Josh Valdivieso on vocals, Ant Jones , along with Jessie Hoda on guitar, Tanner Istre on bass, & Katt Lee behind the kit. All ready to deliver to the SevVven Nation their music and memorable experiences.
SevVven's latest single "Woe Is Me" features Myles Clayborne of SAUL and landed them a spot at the Louder Than Life Festival 2022 from Blackcraft's Unsigned Band charts. "Woe is Me '' and the band's previous catalog can be found on all major streaming platforms. The band is ready to make more of an impact in the South and abroad in the near future by releasing more new music and delivering their raw energy on stage to their fans, the SevVven Nation.
By Kreig Marks, September 2023
Kreig: Hi Josh, welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. Let’s get this moving! You and Ant [Ant Jones, Guitarist] were the two founding members of the band and got to work pretty quickly on the first album, SevVven, in 2020. So, you guys are writing and recording, my guess is, in 2019 and then in 2020, you’ve got the finished album, and BAM…..Pandemic. What were you both thinking when that happened?
Josh: Funny thing about that is when we first started SevVven I lived in Kansas City, Missouri, and Ant in Lafayette, Louisiana. We met on BandLab which is an online social media platform that allows you to connect and make music with people all over the world. So, the whole pandemic thing didn't really mess with us since we weren't playing live at that moment. It did ruin our first show that was supposed to be at the Kansas State Fair, due to Ant and his family coming down with COVID-19.
Kreig: What did you do to keep the momentum during that chaos? How challenging was it for you both, personally, and as a band, to get past this?
Josh: Ant and I both work in industries that actually did well - even better during the pandemic. Ant works remotely in the healthcare industry and I work in the Information Technology industry which is also remote. Given that, we were both able to continue making music in a normal fashion. It helps that we both have our own in-home studio to record in. The hardest part for me was the fact that I was going through a divorce after 13 years, but I used music as my outlet.
Kreig: That had to be tough. So, here’s the world in the pandemic and you guys release the first 2 singles, “Otherside” and “Tidal Waves.” I’m sure you had a lot of plans to get out and gig and tour to really promote the album. When did things settle down enough for the band to get moving full -steam again?
Josh: We had a very unique beginning given that we were making music remotely and at that point not thinking about playing live. We were without a label at this point and didn't really have intentions of playing live yet, given the distance restraints. It was at the point when I decided to move to Louisiana when things really moved forward.
Kreig: Moving ahead a year to 2021, things seemed to be picking up with “Falling” and then “All I Need,” both getting a ton of recognition (Great songs, by the way) Do you think the pandemic may have actually had some benefits for the band, causing you guys to stop, reorganize and create a new plan of action?
Josh: I believe it started to dawn on us that we actually wanted to take this band from an online project to an in-person and touring act. I can't say for certain if the pandemic helped or didn't help, but it was when "Falling feat. Krizz Kaliko" was pushed to the rock charts that things started changing, even moreso after my divorce finalized, and I felt like I could chase my dream of being a musician.
Kreig: Let’s take a step back. Before forming SevVven, what were you doing musically? Other bands?
Josh: I started out on bass at the age of 12 or so my childhood best friend said that we should start a band. After some years I moved to guitar and fell in love with playing lead. I was in a Metalcore band during my high school years playing lead guitar. After high school, I ended up joining a Metal band in the KC area initially as their guitarist and then moved to vocals. We played a lot and got to open for bands such as Testament, Soilwork, Otep, and more. Sometime during that period of my life, I was able to play guitar on a track with Tech N9ne called "Party and Bullshit". Once I hit my early twenties I shifted gears and decided to go to college for Information Technology and live with my wife at the time. During that period I didn't really play or record music much. It wasn't until the end of my marriage that I navigated back to music as a means to escape all of the conflicts we were going through.
Kreig: How did you and Ant complete the band? The lineup now is Jesse [Jesse Hoda, guitar], Tanner [Tanner Istre, bass], and Katt [Katt Lee, drums]. Were they original members after the 2 of you?
Josh: It took a long while to get solid members that had the same goals and inspiration as Ant and I. We've gone through a couple other guitarists, bassists, and drummers to find the lineup we're at today. Ant and I are the only original members but Jessie, Seth, and Katt are just as much of SevVven as Ant and I.
Kreig: Who’s the primary writer for the band or is it something you all share?
Josh: Ant is the primary songwriter in terms of creating the instrumentals. I write many of the lyrics and melodies but also love when Jessie, Seth, or Ant help me with it. We have a very good collaborative process that seems to be working for us.
Kreig: The new single, “Woe is Me”, features Myles Clayborne on drums. Myles is a fantastic drummer. Why Myles and not Katt?
Josh: Actually the feature is of Myles singing the second verse and Katt on drums.
Kreig: I stand corrected. As a kid, were you always listening to music and did you feel it pulling you in? When did you first pick up the guitar?
Josh: I remember first playing bass at the age of 12 and then moving to guitar a couple of years after. I spent so many hours listening to CDs and learning the tabs by ear. I would listen to Slipknot, Korn, Deftones, Cold, System of a Down, Nirvana and more. I'm still a learn-by-ear kind of musician. It sounds crazy, but I felt like I was destined to do music for a career at a young age. Straying away for out 10 years and then coming back with SevVven and the success we're having seems to help reinforce that idea for me.
Kreig: How’s the rock music scene in Louisiana? We’re now headquartered in Asheville, NC. There’s a huge music scene here but not a huge rock scene. That’s what we’re trying to change, to introduce more rock to Asheville. We’re now planning some mini-festivals and are planning a big 2-day festival for next year. Let’s get SevVven to Asheville.
Josh: The Rock and Metal scene is so fantastic. There are so many amazing bands and musicians down here. We've become good friends with many of the bands around here and in Mississippi and I couldn't be happier. We would love to play in Asheville!
Kreig: Then, let's work on that. There are some great venues that would love to have you guys here. What do you find to be the most challenging thing for you with respect to the music industry? What do you prefer to focus on and what do you prefer to delegate?
Josh: The most challenging thing for not only me but everyone in the band is avoiding all of the snakes and people trying to take your money. We've been burned a couple of times before and it's just a learning process. We try to focus on writing good meaningful music, being strong in the local music scene by helping promote and play with other bands, and just being genuine in who we are as people.
Kreig: That is key. What’s on tap for the rest of the year?
Josh: We're finishing up our 11-track album under Wake Up! Music Rocks. That's our main focus for the rest of the year. We have a couple shows but we're trying to put all of our energy into this album. We're also planning a Midwest tour for the spring of 2024.
Kreig: Is there anyone specific you’d like to thank for being there and supporting you along the way?
Josh: Every person who has listened to our music on streaming platforms. Anyone who has taken the time out to request one of our songs at their local radio station. Space Zebra has been very helpful and such an amazing community for bands like us who are just getting out there. They are the reason we were able to play at Louder Than Life in 2022. Of course, all of our family and loved ones have supported us through this crazy journey. We love and respect every single one of you.