21st Century Freak's Hit Yard Birds - Grimsby UK.
Sweden's very own hard hitting metal act 'Fatal Smile' recently played the shores of the UK once again, this time in Grimsby at the 'Yard Birds' club, were I caught up with this amazing act to find out why I have never hard of them before now. The band are touring in support to their current album '21st Century Freaks' , which is a kick ass album. Mixing the sounds of Skidrow, Hardcore Superstars with the edge of Pantera these guys mean business. I managed to chat with front man )Thomas Blade (B), Yxan guitars (Y), and Phil on drums (P) to find out why they have kept a secret until now. Formed back in 95 by guitarist Yxan this band prove that not all bands from Sweden follow trends, these guys certainly don't. Here is what the band had to say to the following question.
Welcome to the UK, I guess you guys have played the UK before now right?
(B) "Yeah we have played this venue before 'Yard Birds' in Grimsby (UK) a year ago and we have done several tours in the UK before.
(P) "Last tie we played here we tried to burn the place down, we wil try again tonight haha!!"
I only discovered the band by mistake whilst been here at this club a few months ago and they were showing you're video 'Welcome to The freak Show', which really impressed me both video and musically and image wise. I first noticed the image, kind of across between Motley Crue meets Cradle of Filth, but musically you have the hard edge Skidrow, Pantera, Hardcore Superstars. So could you tell me when the band was formed and by whom?
(P) "Well Y formed the band back in back in 1994 so the band have been around for some time now. The band has recorded a couple of albums and then sort of broke up and Blade and Alx and a 3rd guy called Stef joined the band and we did the next album which was suppose to be under a new band name because of Y only been the original member form the old line up. We had a record contract so we had to the band 'Fatal Smile' once again and we had fan clubs in Japan and in Greece, Spain etc... Blade had joined the band in 2007 with the rest of the band and I had joined the band in 2010.
(B) We did one album with Stef which was called 'World Domination' and we toured like 360 gigs for that album in which we did 2 years and I had just joined the band with Alx and Phil so I didn't have time to tour full on but I could do a few weeks here and there in places like Japan. I didn't think we would be touring for like 2 yrs in a row and we were in hotels and buses for 2yrs straight. We had also toured with Queensrcyhe and Dio, W.A.S.P., Doro and many more... In Germany, Spain and Holland we had one song called 'S.O.B.' which was pretty popular and it was on MTV and we had a demand for it."
So what labels has the band been on since the band 1st got a record deal?
(P) "We have been in 'FS Records,', 'Locomotive Records;, & 'GMR Music', 'Spiritual Beast' in Japan. We did 2 albums with Locomotive before they folded and we started our own 'FS Records' which is in partnership with GMR and we have it licensed to other countries. We still own the recordings.
So for those who don't know about the band or you're releases, what albums came 1st?
(B) "Well the 1st album featured a singer called H.B Anderson which was called 'Beyond Reality' in 2002 and was followed by 'Neo Natural Freaks' which came out in 2006 , which had a Swedish hit single and the video for the song was really dirty with people fucking haha it was called 'Bad Karma'. They had the opportunity to play 'Sweden Rock' festival. The 2nd album had a big hit single called 'Learn Of Hate' which was a hit also in Sweden. It was on the top 3 single in Sweden for weeks., the album was called 'World Domination'. Now we have the current album '21st century Freaks' in 2012."
So how do you see each album as a progression?
(P) "Huge!! Well the 2nd album was produced by Stephan Glowman, he had worked with Rammstein. I think we have had different sounds and the 2nd album 'Neo Natural Freaks' is a lot more modern sounding. The 3rd album 'World Domination' has an old school feel to it and we recorded that very fast and I did all the vocals and dubs in 2 days with Peter Tagtgren (Hypocrisy) in his studio and then Michael Wagner mixed that album. He is very old school and he has done all the Skidrow albums, Metallica, and the 1st Accept albums, he did 'Balls To the Wall', Ozzy albums too. He gave that album a raw edge to it and it is basically the band playing live and he just mixed it for us. "
(B) "The new album is produced by Phil & our guitarist Y, and Phil engineered and mixed the album at our in house production."
So Blade what band was you in before joining Fatal Smile?
(B) "I was in no band until I joined this band. I am actually a guitar player and my 1st vocal band was with a friend of mine who had a project called 'Blacksmith' (Ed: No fucking way? That's my old friend Bobby Ho Really? Yeah he is a friend I lost contact with, please tell him to contact me cheers Blade!) I will if I ever see him. When I was in that band I sang more blues feeling to my vocals, and now I am doing more aggression vocals."
So Blade who is you're vocal influences?
(B) "I would say they are the same as everybody else to be honest. The roots are Coverdale, Dio, and in the last few years it has been Avenged Sevenfold, In Flames, Pain. "
Phil as a drummer who are you influenced by?
(P) "I think it has to be a drummer that has passion, Lars Ulrich. I am endorsed with a drum company right now called 'D.R. Customs' and I use a 28 inch bass drum and so I talked to that company about stuff and I am happy with them."
So lets talk about the current album '21st Century Freaks', who came up with the title?
(P) "I think it was Y who came up with the title for the album. I think the title fits perfectly with the bands music, so we had no other titles for this album."
Haven't you done 3 videos for this album? What songs did you do videos for?
(P) "We did videos for 'Welcome To The Freak Show', 'My Private Hell', 'For The Last In Line' which is dedicated to Dio. (Ed: The video for 'Welcome to...' is rather freaky and fetish looking, please explain?) It is a bizarre video and it is a video you can't watch when you are drunk., try it I dare you haha! Blade almost starts wanking when he watches it haha!! "
Was that video almost banned for it's contents?
(P) "We got banned on You Tube for some reason, I don't know why? There is nothing really on there to offend. (Ed: How about the meat hooks in the back of that guy?) Yeah you might be right. The video was done by the drummer from Nocturnal Rites and they have been working on a new album which has taken them 2 yrs and it's still not complete. "
So Blade what songs from the last album stand out for you and why?
(B) "Well I like the songs 'Judgment Day' as it has the Doom Metal feel (Ed: It reminds me of Candlemass a little) I also like 'Scarecrow', 'Nail To The Wall, 'Rising Hell In Heaven' & 'Broken Heart', 'My Private Hell'."
How long did it take to record this album?
(B) "It took 2yrs because we had to record it in hotels and buses and we toured for 3yrs, it was hectic. (Ed: if it was recorded on the road how did you manage to mix it in such a perfect way as a final result?) (Y) We mixed it when we got home and it was like a never ending story. In the end it went down really great ."
So who came up with the cover concept?
(Y) "Well we had a lot of people writing to us saying they like our music but we wanted a different image, so we thought fuck it!! We will do it our way. We didn't want to look good, we wanted to look scary and ugly and it works."
Has the album sold well in the time it has been released?
(Y) "Yes it has to be honest, in these days you don't actually sell an album but we have sold out so we need to print some more. We have a new album out in April of 2014. This album will contain 10 songs and the new single is already out to listen too on Spotify. The album will be called 'White Trash Heroes' and we decided to cal the album that because we are white trash heroes and after been on tour for 2 months we feel like that."
Before we finish the interview as you are about to hit the stage shortly, how has the tour been going to far with Tiger Tailz?
(B) "Well we are not playing with them on a tour it is only for tonight. We hope it will go good tonight and we have played together on a few festivals. (Ed: You guys would be a perfect opening act for 'Steel Panther', you got to make it happen in 2014). No no we don't want to be connected there, everybody talks about us playing with them on tour. "
(Y) "I hear that we would be a great support for them and we would be a great opening act, maybe we should, it depends on management and the bands really."
With the new album out in April do you think you will release a live DVD?
(B) "Well we have been talking about that. We actually recorded a show in the Chez Republic a couple of years back and we plan on doing a DVD next year as we feel that after having 5 albums the timing is right to release one."
Do you have anything to say before we finish the interview? Best of luck with the show tonight and keep on rocking!!
(B) "Yeah sod off you fuckers haha!! No seriously enjoy our music and shows. Look out for the new album in 2014 it will rock you're ass off!!
(Y) "Keep supporting Metal!!"
(P) "Thanx for the interview Jason, thanx for the support in you're website."
Thanx to Fatal Smile & Peter for the interview.