On April 4th, 2014, Smash Into Pieces was playing in the Lido Club in Berlin. Our Sandra took the chance to grill the talkative Swedes. She met the guys before their concert and was able to reveal one or more stories. Their debut album was released in March 2014, although it was already finished a year ago. During the interview we got to learn what problems the guys had to deal with and, for example, when and how they are writing their songs. The interview definitely was a lot longer than we had planned, but this is very enlightening and also born in the middle of the tour life.
Sandra: You guys are currently touring with Amaranthe and Deals Death. How is it going so far and what city did you think went best?
Per: Uh, my favorite would be Madrid I think. The audience was just crazy. Maybe not the biggest venue, but the audience was really supporting us.
Chris: I actually had 2 shows that were my favorites, Madrid and Milano. There weren’t as many people, but the energy was…MASSIVE! So it was kind of cool. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy so… That is one of the reasons as well.
Per: I think In general the tour so far has exceeded our expectations. I mean as a supporting act, the audience is usually like “Ok. We’ll listen to you.” But it feels like when we are on stage that we are the main band. Really there is a lot of love. And also we sold out of our cd’s and everything although we expected it to last the entire tour. After about the halfway mark, we were out so we had to order more.
Sandra: Wow that awesome! I’m happy for you guys. The concert tonight is taking place at a location where, maybe you guys already know. 50 years ago just 100 meters from here people died because they wanted to cross the wall to live in freedom. Did you guys actually get to see the remains of the Berlin Wall? Or do you guys not have any time at all to do that?
Chris: Today because I was sick I was just sitting in the dressing room. But I have always wanted to go there and see how it is and what it looks like but…
Per: I think today because it’s a special day with all the gear and everything. Usually we’d have a couple hours where we could just walk around and see the city and stuff, but today we were mostly just hiding in the dressing room.
Chris: We are so sorry! Haha
Sandra: Haha that’s a pity! Maybe next time. It’s really just around the corner from here. On your website, 4 out of 5 band members state that Alter Bridge was a big influence. What exactly makes that band so interesting for you guys?
Per: Who is the member that didn’t state Alter Bridge? Was it me?
Sandra: Yea it was you.
Per: Well I guess that you should answer that Chris.
Chris: Um, When I began to practice my singing, I didn’t like my singing as much, so you know I just started searching for singers who I could compare myself to. So I found Myles Kennedy and Alter Bridge. I kind of felt that if this guy could do it, I could do it. You know I don’t have so…I’m not the baritone guy. I’m the guy who hits the higher notes, and they are the ones who are also like that so…for me, it began with like…
Per: Well I guess his vocal range is a bit similar to Myles Kennedy so he could sing along…
Chris: That was the first thing. The next thing is that they play good music! Haha
Sandra: haha fair enough! The majority of the employees at Metal-Talks.de, they all listen to Alter Bridge, this is why they wanted me to ask this question. The last album by Alter Bridge named “Fortress” made a big step towards metal. Do you guys agree and do you like the development?
Chris: Yes, I do.
Sandra: Yea you do?
Chris: Yea. The sound is kind of different between the albums actually, and I like that because it makes you like you don’t want to hear 4 albums like “Ok they are sounding the same” so you always want the kind of change in every album that comes out so…
Per: I also think that “Fortress” to me was an album that I thought was stronger than “AB3”. I didn’t really stick to that one but “Fortress”? It’s been playing a lot actually on like Spotify. So I like that one.
Sandra: Okay, on your current album you can hear beautiful melodies. Are you guys working on it together or is there just one of you guys that has a special feel for it and just works on it himself?
Per: Usually it’s me and Benjamin, the other guitarist that writes the songs, so we kind of come up with the ideas and then we develop them together.
Chris: In the end, everyone puts their own kind of magic to it. But Benjamin and Per are the ones, the guys who are coming up with the big ideas for everything. Then we all add the small details together.
Per: We are all always like when we are traveling, “Ahh this melody Na na na na na na na na” recording it just to remember it. *group laughter* and when the other ones are playing Quake or something on the computers…
Sandra: Yea I actually read that a lot of you guys actually play a lot of video games.
Chris: Yeaaaaa….We do. Too much actually. Haha
Sandra: Are the chorus melodies developed first and then you work on the rest of it, or is it the other way around?
Per: Usually, the words come last. We get the chords and the melody, then I kind of listen to it. Like what feeling do I get from it? What does the sound tell me and what is it about you know? Then I just kind of stick words to the melody. It’s the same with Benjamin, it’s always been the melodies that you kind of…It can be like listening to a video game or something. I can get equally stuck in that, more than just…I’m not a poet, I’m more of a melody guy.
Chris: I think we all are actually. I’m also more of the melody guy. Even if I have my favorite band that I’m listening to, I’m always like “I don’t know what this song is about actually!” I’m just listening to the melody. Every time it’s like *singing* yea! *nodding*
Sandra: *Laughter* Ok, so are you naturally talented or did you have vocal training or anything like that?
Chris: Um, I’m self-taught. But I called a vocal coach one time just to have some help with the warm ups and what do you call it when it’s after a gig? Down ups?? *group Laughter* That’s the only thing actually that I’ve been taking lessons for. To just do the warm-up thing. Not so much for the singing itself. So I’m self-taught.
Sandra: Yea. Ok so how long have you guys individually made music for? Not as a band, but when did you guys start playing music?
Per: As Smash into Pieces?
Sandra: No before that, like individually.
Per: Ok. Well I guess for me it’s like 15 years ago I started. You know I’ve been in so many bands before smash so… I used to play covers I’ve been playing death metal and I began paying drums actually because my uncle did and I thought it was cool. When I was like 10 years old I started playing drums and then maybe 3 years later I switched to guitars so, since I was 10 I think.
Chris: This is my first band. Yea it’s a new thing for me.
Sandra: So you started like 5 years ago?
Chris: Yea 2008. I started training my vocals 7 years ago I think.
Per: Shower style!
Chris: haha yea and then 2 years later I was in this band. So it went kind of quick!
Sandra: Ok wow! That’s impressive. On your cd cover there are huge chain links displayed. Was there a reason why you chose that cover? Did you guys have a say in that? Does it stand for something?
Chris and Per: Yea of course!
Chris: You know the band has been through a lot throughout the years but we have always stuck together no matter what. So there is nothing that can rip us apart.
Per: Since the album is called Unbreakable, It took us like 4 years to get the debut album released. We had another label and we had a lot of fights with that with lawyers and stuff and we got free and recorded this album all by ourselves. Then we got the label after they listened to it, a finished product. We kind of thought it would symbolize that we are…each link is strong.
Sandra: That makes sense. On May 23rd you guys are playing on the Metal Svenskan 2014. Old school bands such as Saxon, Helloween, and Kreator will be there as well. Is there something connecting you to these bands? Do you maybe listen to their music?
Chris: M. Kiske from Helloween, is one of my favorite singers. That’s the only link I have to those bands.
Per: But basically it’s in our hometown so I guess it’s not like we have so much in common with those bands. Of course we know about them and have listened to them but they are not Alter Bridge to us.