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Sounds Like Violence - Interview

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 14 / 6 / 2004

Sounds Like Violence - Interview


Swedish act Sounds Like Violence have drawn comparisions with acts as diverse as Nirvana, Iggy Pop and My Bloody Valentine, but remian genreless. With their debut EP 'The Pistol' making an impact, Ben Howarth chats to them on their first British tour

I’ve spent the last few days watching the Glastonbury highlights on television, and feeling rather grateful that I’m in a warm bed rather than rolling about in the mud. I was struck by how many bands seemed to be "buzz bands, where the "industry" is predicting big things for them, but perhaps they have yet to truly deliver a great record. It disappointed me how many of them were little more than imitations of other bands. The Killers looked and sounded like the Strokes. The Ordinary Boys were like the Libertines without the melodies etc etc… Sometimes these imitation bands develop their own sound. I’m not saying you shouldn’t sign bands young and let them develop, I just think I’d like to see more bands try and find their own identity from the word go. My "buzz band" of the moment is Angelholm, Sweden’s Sounds Like Violence. You can’t say they have unquestionably proved themselves, since at this point only 8 songs are commercially available, six on their debut EP ‘The Pistol’, another on the compilation ‘The Emo Diaries Volume 10’ and another on a split EP. But they seem to have already established their own sound. It is impossible to pick one band and think, “Oh, Sounds Like Violence sound like them”. When researching this piece, I looked on Deep Elm, their label’s website and when reading the reviews, I counted twenty two different bands that were cited as possible influences on the band’s sound ranging from Dinosaur Jnr and the Pixies to Nirvana and the Strokes to Rites Of Spring and Refused to Afghan Whigs, Iggy Pop, and even My Bloody Valentine. Essentially, no one can really think of a particular genre they fit into or a particular band they sound like. And I think that’s great. When I found out that my favourite new band were coming to the Cavern Club in Exeter I was, naturally, over the moon. They didn’t let me down in the slightest. Playing mostly songs from the EP, with a brand new song and also the track from the Emo Diaries they blew an unassuming crowd away, the sheer passion of their performance genuinely outstanding. Each aspect of the performance impressed me, the songs are powerful and engaging, the guitar work was imaginative and the drumming consistently drove the band upwards. I really believe that this is a band that has the potential to make some unforgettable music, but even at the earliest stages of their career, their recorded material and their live show cuts most of the bands that performed at Glastonbury to shreds. Before the concert I was introduced to the band, but with three of them a little conscious of English not being their first language, I sat down and chatted to drummer Daniel Petersson about the beginnings of the band and their plans for the future. PB: I’ll start off by asking about the beginnings of the band. How did Sounds Like Violence form? DP: Okay, it started first about ten years ago. We met up as friends. Daniel (Teodorsson), Philip (Hall) and Andreas (Soderlund) used to get together to play guitars, and they knew another guy that knew me, and I played drums. So basically, in the youth centre where there was a free rehearsal area we started like every band does, jamming and playing our own songs, mixing in some covers. We were into Hendrix and Nirvana and all that grunge stuff that was around in the early 90's. Then, about three years ago we took a break from the band. We felt like we’d run into a rut that we couldn’t get by, so we kind of stopped doing it. We stayed best friends, you know. We were apart musically but we didn’t fall out. One day, Andreas called me up and said, “Hey, do you want to hang out today?” And then later said, “actually, I have these new songs, and do you want try them out?” So we went and had a rehearsal. We had other projects going on at the same time. We weren’t totally out of music, and Philip actually lives next door to Andreas so he came along as well, and we jammed, and we wrote the song 'You Give Me Heartattacks' in that first half hour, and so we called up Daniel and he came down, and soon we had four new songs. That’s when we fell in love with the concept of being in a band again. So from there it started to get serious, and we started to do it full time. PB: So you’re not working at all? DP: No, I’m studying actually. I’m studying to be a teacher, and I have lessons three times a week, and I get some money from the state! The others get themselves by with music, and with working odd jobs when they need to, whatever they can get hold of at the time. PB: How did you get in contact with Deep Elm, the label? DP: Around half a year on from that starting point where we wrote the new songs, we went into the studio and recorded four songs, 'You Give Me Heartattacks', 'Grow / Blow', 'Perfect' and another song that is on the split single with Desert City Soundtrack and Settlefish called 'You Push Me Up The Stairs'. So we sent them out to a lot of people, and Deep Elm called us up and said that they really liked the songs, and they’d like to do something with us. So we started talking on the phone, and e-mailing and stuff, and they decided they wanted to sign us. It might sound a bit easy, send a demo and they call you and do it over the phone and you get signed. But it worked out, and that’s how it was. PB: Deep Elm tends to sign their bands straight from demos though, I think. DP: Yes, that’s true. We had some interest from a Swedish label, Burning Heart, who had The Hives before, and they said, “we like it, it’s good, but we need to see you live and we need to have a buzz around you”. But with Deep Elm, it just worked out from the demo, and that was good. PB: Do you plan to stick with them and do a full album? DP: Yes, we have a couple of albums to do with them, I think. We are hoping to do a full length at the end of this year. We want to promote the hell out of this EP and let it do whatever it can do, and then maybe after the summer go in and record a full length. We don’t know for sure, nothing’s been decided. But hopefully, it’ll be out around about the New Year. PB: Have you been surprised about how well the EP has been received, because it’s had some excellent reviews, for example Kerrang! giving it 5/5? DP: Yes, of course. You’re always going to be surprised, but you don’t want to get too happy about something because there’s always bound to be a let down. The music industry’s interesting like that because if you hope too much you are bound to get your heart broken. So, yes, we were a little bit surprised. But at the same time, we love the music, we think we’ve found ourselves, found our music and we like it. This is what I would probably buy in the record stores and listen to. This is we want to do. But, of course, we’re still surprised every time that it’s had such a good review. PB: What sort of music do you think influenced the record, and what sort of bands are you into generally? DA: A big thing about Sounds Like Violence, and it always has been in the past, is that we have a lot of different influences. Myself, I’m a bit heavier in my tastes and Andreas is a bit softer. He’s into Built To Spill and Guided By Voices, and myself and I like to listen to Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age and that sort of stuff. Daniel is a fan of softer, poppier music. But, I think we do have a few bands in common. It always comes back to Afghan Whigs and and the Pogues, and a lot of older music, like Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. But there are always a lot of influences and we try and mix it up a lot. When it comes to our music, the different influences help. For example, I’m basically a rock ‘n’ roll drummer. I don’t try and do too much and just try and make sure it fits in with the music. When all the different playing styles come together, we have found a interesting musical style that we like a lot and we try to propel a live, in your face, rock and roll style of music and put it on a record. That was our big thing. So I think the record was all the different influences that we have coming together. PB: I would agree that sense comes through on the record. Your music is not really something you can classify as being based on one particular style… DP: Yes, and I think that’s going to be even more true on the full length. The song we put on the Emo Diaries was different, and there are some new songs we’re playing tonight that show a lot more variety. There will be a few songs that show a much more mellow style. PB: When you record the full length are you planning to use the same studio and producer? DP: Maybe not. As I said, we recorded 'The Pistol' at a friend’s studio and it came out well, and at the end of it we felt good. But now we feel that we want to do something different, and maybe put a bit more pressure on ourselves, because we did get a bit too relaxed. I think it took too long to be honest. Recording six songs took way too long; we need a bit more pressure. We’re thinking of doing it in Sweden, and the record label’s suggested doing it in the US with a producer, but we’re not sure. We think that we liked to produce it ourselves. But we’re still thinking about the recording process. Our main priority is getting the songs together and making sure they’re all good. We think it will be quite a simple recording, but hopefully it will be quite effective and really show off our sound. PB: What are your touring plans. Do you think you will make it across to America or anything like that? DP: We don’t think we will tour America with this release, although maybe after the full length, but we’re not really sure about that. At the moment, I think I would like to concentrate on Europe. We’ve done really well in Britain so far, and we want to build on that because it makes such a big contribution to the music scene in Europe, and then there is talk of going for a bigger tour of Europe after the summer, going through Germany and Switzerland and down to Italy, and also Russia and the Baltic States and Finland. We would like to build things up here, and hopefully that will reflect well in the US and we can go out there, but I don’t think that will happen before the full-length album is released. PB: With songwriting, to change the subject, is it a case of you all sitting down in a room and working together or does one of you go away and come up with the ideas for a song on their own? DP: Well, Andreas is the most creative of the band. He will go away and come up with some lyrics, and he tends to be the one that will have an idea for a break into a chorus, for example. We tend to take his ideas into a rehearsal and work on them as a band, and then the vocals he does completely himself, because he is the one that will reflect that on stage. He will be the one putting out the feeling, the emotion, the anger or whatever, so it is better if they are his words. You can say that it is a ‘band’ process and we do it in the rehearsal together, but at the same time Andreas is the most creative of us, and he comes up with the chords and the vocals. PB: Did the songs evolve and change in the studio or do the songs stay much the same as when they were performed live? DP: There are some little things that emerged in the studio. There are some extra vocals that I like, and there are some extra snares here and there, and we did some dubbing on the drums. These were small things and I like them, but they aren’t that easy to hear, and generally we just tried to portray the songs as they would sound played live. Of course, when you’re in the studio, it is easy to put in four guitars and a solo, so we did that of course, but we didn’t put in 16 fuzzy guitars and 24 solos and 12 basses or anything like that! Basically, we recorded drums and bass, and then we dubbed guitars and then put on the guitar melodies and then vocals. When we had some extra time at the end, we fooled around a bit with the songs, but we only saved about 10% of what we did there, just some subtle things that you can barely hear. PB: How long were you in the studio for? DP: I can’t remember! We took a break in the middle. I think we had recording time from the beginning of July and we were done by the end of August. But when you’re recording in the summer it’s quite easy to go into the studio and say, “Bollocks” and go out again, go down to the ocean and take a dip or something. We did that, and that’s why I said that we need more pressure. We did it with a friend, and we’d go in a 4 in the afternoon, and go through till the morning, but its better to go in at 8 in the morning and go through till 10 or whatever. PB: Do you think you’ll set yourselves a time limit? DP: Yeah, something like that would be cool. We need to pressure ourselves, not that we want to whip our own backs or anything, but we need something to make it more exciting. I’m finding it hard to believe that if we’re going to produce ourselves that we will really pressure ourselves, so we need something that will really help us to go in there, and will make our hair stand up, you know! The best thing is to try and do the song in one take, but it’s hard to do that when you know you have 24 hours to do one song! PB: Where do you see the band going in the future? Have you really thought about the long term? DP: We’ve discussed this, of course. Everyone in the band wants to support themselves through music. That doesn’t mean we’re going to be the next Metallica, but we’d like to live off doing albums and tours. We don’t need the biggest publication in the world, we don’t need to make a million dollars a week, but if we can live off music that would be perfect. If we look at the music in that perspective, we aren’t going to change that much. We are who we are, we make music we like, and we might be more varied in the future, maybe have more songs like 'The Light Is A Beautiful Sight' on 'The Emo Diaries 10'. But we want to stay on the same track, but with some turns here and there. PB: Finally, you’re next release is going to be a split with Settlefish and Desert City Soundtrack. Do you know those bands well? DP: I know Settlefish. We were hoping to do a tour of Scandinavia in March with those guys but it didn’t pan out. It’s really hard in Europe to get promoters to book shows except on weekends. Britain’s really good for that. We’re playing here on a Wednesday night, and that would be really hard to do in Europe. That’s a shame, because I’d really like to meet the Settlefish guys. I’d actually like to meet all the bands on Deep Elm. We know Surrounded because they’re Swedish as well, and they are really great guys. But I have to say that I think Desert City Soundtrack are the best band on the label. Their music is just so powerful and just really great. One of the great things about being on the label is that I get sent all the music! I think there’s some really great stuff, like out of the new bands, I think the Fire Devine are a really great band. I put their stuff on, and it sounds really good. PB : Thank you George Norton took the photos that accompany this article.

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Sounds Like Violence - Interview

Sounds Like Violence - Interview

Sounds Like Violence - Interview

Sounds Like Violence - Interview

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Interview (2008)
Sounds Like Violence - Interview
Swedish band Sounds Like Violence don't sound like anyone else and play vigorous live sets. Ben Howarth speaks to them about the intensity of their live shows and their forthcoming second album

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The Pistol (2004)
Passionate, electic guitar rock from latest Deep Elm signing, Sounds Like Violence, whose music is as uncompromising as their name

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