Promo pictures taken by: Thomas Mead
Live pictures are taken from the archives of Anders Sandvall
Fatal Smile has recently been out supporting Doro and WASP in the U.S. I was lucky to have a moment with Blade before they headed off to England to support Bullet Boys, Britny Fox and Pretty Boy Floyd. Fatal Smile will also be the support act to Vince Neil when he heads out on the road this December in Europe.
Hi Blade, It was a while since I last interviewed you. Are you ready to talk about your latest album WORLD DOMINATION and other stuff?
Yeah man, cool seeing you again! Hammer on!
Well, let’s start off with talking a bit about your new studio album WORLD DOMINATION that was released earlier this year. When did you start to write songs to the album?
Actually it all came together very quickly and I was a bit surprised by Y’s creativity.
He gave me 18 complete demo recordings containing all the music in July and august. Alx moved in to my house and together we all wrote all the songs based on these recordings in my studio whenever we weren’t out touring. Some of the recordings Y made were left as is and some were chopped up and put together with bits from his other recordings.
How long did it take to write all off the material and music?
Like I said, we started late last summer and I guess we were done in like September – November.
Did you want to follow the same musical path as on the previous albums or did you want to take on a little different musical approach on WORLD DOMINATION?
We wanted the Fatal sound, and we love the groovy style of the previous stuff. You’ve heard it before, but when there’s a lot of touring you tend to enjoy the songs that make the crowd go wild –which usually is the heavier, harder stuff, so this album became just that. Also the fact that us new guys came in with our influences and abilities stirred the pot a bit. Alx is into harder stuff, and I like to sing a bit rougher than HB (the previous FS voice) so some differences came naturally.
What are the lyrics about this time have you written about any special topic or subject?
Well, not really. You can tell that were not the kind of guys that cry and beg for love in our songs. They are mostly quite dark, sometimes describing people in different shitty positions. Some lyrics are sublime and poetic about inner struggles or darkness; some are about the hell of war. But then some lyrics are true stories.
Y has written all of the music while parts of the band have written the lyrics together with Peter Tägtgren and Paul Sabu. Have Y been a part of the lyric writing also?
Well, Y has been involved in every part of this album. He has been in the studio while recording every little thing. He would take part in my pre-recordings and comment and suggest, come with ideas. We like to say that most of the goings on with Fatal needs to pass the Y-filter. But we are very democratic, it’s important for all of us to be satisfied with every aspect of what’s going on in the Fatal camp.
What do you and the guys think of Y as producer?
He is a great producer. I think he always has been. It’s in his personality. Y has an eye for detail in every aspect of an album and I don´t think anyone else on this planet would put so much effort in an album. Were quite alike musically and if I’d produce I would like the same result as we have in World Domination.
Has Y produced other bands besides Fatal Smile? And do you think he will produce forthcoming albums by Fatal Smile?
I believe he has had a greater part of the previous albums than he takes credit for. If he would have the tools, meaning the people then that he has now they would sound a lot like World Domination.
The whole band, the label and everyone else involved, is really happy with World Domination, so I don’t think it’s a long shot to say that Y will probably produce again!
The famous Paul Sabu has written lyrics to the album, how did he end up writing for you guys? Are you close friends with him?
The contact was made through our label Locomotive and that was a great thing. He has written lots of hits for artists like Alice Cooper, Heart and Shania Twain. Paul is extremely talented and a great guy! We’d love to work together again if it is possible. He is very fast and understands exactly what we want! A perfect match!
The album was recorded in Accidental Design, MIR Studio and Studio Abyss, where are these studios located and why did you record the album in three different studios?
Jonas Östman who has worked with us in the pre-productions owns MIR, and most of the string work was made there. Drums went down in Accidental, which is great for that. I really love to work with Peter Tägtgren and I’ve spent many a drunken night in Pärlby where he lives and has his legendary Abyss Studios. He is a great friend, his studio is great and I will always record there if it is possible. He spent a lot of time at my house the summer of preproduction and has a finger in most of the tracks!
The album was mixed by the famous and well known Michael Wagener. How did you get him to mix? How was it to work with such a legend?
It’s impossible to think he is the legend he is when you spend time with him, coz he is very humble and the nicest guy! But when you hold the masters to “Balls to the Wall” or “Master of Puppets”, you realize who you’re dealing with.
He is responsible for many of my top ten albums.
The owner of Locomotive knows Michael and when we asked for him he was given a demo. He loved it and we were off to Nashville! Were really grateful for his work on the album, it sounds great!
WORLD DOMINATION has been out for a while now. What has the media to say about it? Have you read any reviews of the album?
We wanted to make a good follow up for Neo Natural Freaks album, which is not easy coz Neo is a great album, but we knew we nailed that! But we weren’t at all ready for the reviews we got. World Domination has been listed top ten in leading magazines all over the world. For some of us in the band it’s a debut album, so it has been really fun to read the reviews. 2008 has been a great year thanks to a great album!
What was the idea behind the title WORLD DOMINATION?
Yeah, he he, that’s and old Fatal saying that finally made album title. Y has answered many questions in interviews with those words. “So, what are the future plans?” –“World Domination”. We said it a lot between ourselves, like “OK, dudes, lets Dominate the world” and Y really wanted it as album title! A bit of a bold statement I must say, he he.
How would you like to describe what kind of music we can find on WORLD DOMINATION? Do you think your older fans are gonna recognize the sound on the new album?
Fatal Smile has a distinct groove in the sound that you can hear on all three albums, and even more so on WD. Sure, my voice is tougher than HB’s so it’s a little harder sound, but with Alx and Zteff making the groove, it swings! Also it’s got Y’s riffs as the center piece with his big guitar sound. I think the album is rougher and harder, but it’s definitely a Fatal Smile album!
Are there any plans to release any Singles from the album?
Well we released S.O.B as single and we just released the video for that. The video is produced by Bill Schacht, who has produced videos for DIO, Alice Cooper, Zack Wylde and King Diamond to name a few. We shot the video in “the Stockholm Globe arena” and “Johanneshov Ice stadium” in front of a crowd of 8000, so it’s an explosive piece of film.
There will be at least one more single and video from World Domination.
Were there any left over material from WORLD DOMINATION? Did you reject any songs that didn’t fit into the album?
We had eighteen songs and released eleven –including the Japanese bonus track. We plan to include one of them on the next single.
Are you happy with the outcome of WORLD DOMINATION?
I’m very proud of the album! Every little part of it came out perfect! And considering how it’s been received we couldn’t have done better!
Fatal Smile has a few new members in the line-up. When I met you at the Rockhimlen Festival last summer both you and Alx were new in the band, when did you guys join the band?
Alx joined for the tour in Scandinavia with WASP. I joined half a year later, in May 2007. I had ten days to get ready for the gig at Sweden rock! That was the first time I met Alx. Since he doesn’t live in Stockholm, I rehearsed with Marcus, the old bass player. Also a great guy!
Have you and Alx been involved in other known acts before they came to join Fatal Smile?
Yes. Or… next question please…..
What happened with the old singer H.B and bass player Markus? Why did they leave the band?
H.B is working on some new projects and Marcus is a full time dad, just like TG, who used to play drums with us. They were not in the position to tour anymore, and with Fatal taking off, there was more and more time spent in airports.
You also have a new drummer in Zteff, tell us a little about him and the obvious question then are, why did Tomas leave?
Well, as I said, TG (Tomas) is a devoted family man and father now. He wouldn’t want to tour like crazy like we have this year. We knew he was taking off when his baby came, so we had time to look for the best, and obviously we found Zteff….
Zteff is extremely funny, cracks us up all the time! Very easy to be with and a great performer! We’re lucky to find him! He’s Fatal for life!
When was the first time the new lineup stood on stage together as Fatal Smile?
The first time with Zteff was in Malmoe at Painkillers club- “Powerhouse” – about a year ago. I remember having a Whiskey with you backstage during our photo shoot, he he!
Do you see any problems or difficulties with an entire new line-up?
This line up is put together with the idea of touring together a lot! I think these guys are great to hang with and we have fun. There’s no big heads here. I can’t think of anything wrong at all. I’ve never felt so right in a band in my life!
Do you see this line-up as being solid also on the next album?
This is a rock hard solid line up! We’re all glad to play together and no matter which band would offer me a job earning whatever the millions are, I’d never quit Fatal Smile! This feels like a band forever!
Did you have to audition to get the job or did you know the guys from earlier and knew that you would fit into the band?
The first audition is the buddy test, with food and drinks all night long. We didn’t audition Alx or Zteff really. We wanted them; they tried out and got the job. I’ve known Y for years and when he asked me to join I did! Fatal Smile has a great reputation back home so it wasn’t hard.
Is Fatal Smile a democracy where all the members are deciding what to do or is there a boss ?
I think democracy is a must, since there are many decisions that concern all of us. We all respect each other highly. The “Godfather” of Fatal Smile is Y, and we all believe in his thoughts and ideas, since they are usually great. He has lived and breathed Fatal for many years. He keeps it together well.
Why does some members have “artist” names and some don’t?
We all have nick names these days. I wouldn’t want to be googled with my full name. Too much history and present to be dug up!
Was it tactical thinking to feature Alx on bass with though of he used to sing in Scaar, so that he could sing b-vox to you?
Anyone who has had the pleasure to see Alx on stage would understand that he is the first choice for any band on bass. The fact that he is an excellent singer that makes me look good live is a bonus. He sings a lot and what you hear is often his and my voices mixed together.
Is Alx still a part of Scaar?
No, not anymore. He tried to, but Fatal Smile is a speeding train right now and there’s no way to be able to do anything else. We’ve done more than 80 gigs so far this year and we travel for promotion events and stuff.
You have recently closed your deal with GMR, why did you leave the label?
GMR is great, but we needed to get to the next level and Locomotive has been a great partner for that so far.
You are now signed to Locomotive Records, what’s the reason you inked a deal with them?
They are good, experienced guys, they drew up an inkable contract, and they got us drunk
Who own the legal right to your first and second album?
I think GMR has it.
Both your previous albums are not available today; do you have plans on re-release any of them?
They are available all over the world; I have seen them in record stores all over.
For how many albums are you signed too at Locomotive Records?
One more before it is time renegotiation.
What’s the difference in between working with GMR and Locomotive do you think?
A big difference is their location, and that they have offices all over. Our tours in USA wouldn’t have been the same without a present label.
Is WORLD DOMINATION released world wide today?
Yes, in all relevant regions. I don’t think it’s in many stores in Africa, but in Europe, North and South America and some Asian countries, like Japan and Taiwan.
Is the label happy with Fatal Smile so far?
Let’s hope so I think they are they flew us down for a little celebration a month ago. Let’s just say they didn´t spare any expenses in the liquid account!
Do you see any problems with the fact that Locomotive Records isn’t based in Sweden?
Not really, I’m not sure Sweden is our prime market anyway!
Have Locomotive Records put in more work in the album with PR etc than GMR?
This remains to be seen. I think so and I hope so!
Your previous album NEO NATURAL FREAKS came out in 2006 and after the release you toured quite heavily. What did you to after the tour had ended?
That was a time for breathing, writing and regrouping. There were lots to be done in the Fatal camp.
Where in the world did the NEO NATURAL FREAKS tour take the band?
We were in Japan, all over Europe and in USA. One hell of a ride! The world Domination tour is even more massive though.
Has Fatal Smile been alive despite you haven’t released an album for 2 years?
Oh Yes, alive and kicking indeed. But you can’t quit promoting an album until you’re satisfied with it. We gave Neo Natural the time we could and it deserved more. And then it took a while for us to record the new album, with new guys onboard.
Do you have any idea of how many copies your debut album and second album have sold in?
They sold well. Neo Natural did great, and still does.
You started out with doing gigs last summer, how many shows did you do the past year?
All in all with this line up, I couldn´t say. I know that during 2008 we´ve done over 80 shows so far. And it ain’t over yet………
I know that Fatal Smile are huge in Japan. How does that feel? What’s the difference between European and Japanese fans?
Were not huge, pleasantly bold perhaps Asian fans are more fanatic than European since we’re from the other side of the world, so we’re “something else”. It’s the same in USA, when you come from the other side of the big pond, they get a bit more excited than if you’re local.
You have not played Japan this year are there any plans of do that do you think any time soon?
There were plans, but we couldn’t make it that time. We haven’t found the time to go, and that’s a shame since we all really want to. We hope it won’t be too long. The Japanese fans deserve to see us, and we deserve them!
You have also got a new management backing you up, are you satisfied with your new management?
We had, is that a good enough answer? We are in negotiations with new managements as we speak!
You have been out on an US tour together with W.A.S.P and Doro how was that and how did the Doro and the W.A.S.P fans treat you?
We went on those two tours since we knew their fans are right up our alley! If you like them you’re sure to like Fatal Smile! We were right!
What was the best response from the W.A.S.P fans or the Doro fans when you played?
Some liked us, some loved us and all of them wanted to take us home!
How was it to be on tour with legends like Doro and W.A.S.P?
They are all great people and we had lots of fun together. It’s impossible to explain the feeling being on those tours and all that happened. We made great friends and had lots of fun!
Early this summer you also opened for DIO for two shows, how was that?
Anyone who has met DIO and his band knows that they are incredibly cool cats. We loved hanging with them and it’s a pity we were previously booked so that we couldn’t do the whole tour with them. Next time maybe……..
You also played at Sweden Rock Festival. Was it the second time you stood on that Festivals stage?
Yeah! Sweden Rock is a favorite for all of us. We had been up all night with the guys in DIO and some guys from Whitesnake who came over since they happened to rehearse in town, but the crowd gave us all the energy we needed and it was a great show. Right after the show we had to rush though, coz we had to do a performance in a Swedish TV studio in Stockholm so there was no sleep that night either.
What have you been up to this summer, besides playing of course?
We’ve done some promotions traveling here and there. Lots of hanging by the pool and enjoying the summertime night life. I’ve had Douglas Blair from WASP in my house and we’ve had a blast hanging out! Feels like summer is way too short here.
You will go over to England and play later this year what do you think about that tour?
That tour is with the Bullet Boys –who we met on tour in USA and spent a lot of time with in Washington, New York and Florida, so were really looking forward to that. Also joining is Pretty Boy Floyd and Britney Fox. We’re exited to see them again and it’s gonna be crazy.
You are also gonna be support to Vince Neil when he comes to Europe. wWat are the expectations on opening for him?
Well, you know, Vince is the lead singer in Motley Crue! We’re talking about Vince Neil! Of Motley Crue! That tour is going down in history! I can’t wait!
When can we find the next Fatal Smile album out in the stores do you think?
Well we just released the video for S.O.B, and later on there will be another video for the next single. This is a great album and we will tour on it until the world can’t take it no more. THEN we will get in the studio again, and hopefully it will be a great album to follow up World Domination.
Give the readers three reasons why they should run out and buy WORLD DOMINATION.
It is a kickass-in your face – rock n roll – ballbreaker! It’s a “crank it up and have fun” album to party to, groovy tunes to make love to and it will keep you awake in your car, so it may save your life! A groovy classic Rock album works anytime, anywhere! And we’re great guys too, he he!
How do you look upon the future for Fatal Smile?
Very bright. This lineup has just started the World Domination! I’m excited; I’d love to peek in to the future!
What are the plans for Fatal Smile during 2009?
Touring, touring and touring! And a few glasses of Jim Beam!
Well, that was all I had for this time. Good luck in the future Blade and is there anything you’d like to say to the fans out there?
Yeah: Crank it up, have fun, and see you all on the road. The road to World Domination! Peace out *Blade
Check out the CD-reviews of the Fatal Smile albums here
More info about the band