Fatal Smile is a Swedish up and coming act that recently released a brilliant new album called NEO NATURAL FREAKS. Because of that explosive new album I jumped at the opportunity to interview the guitarist Y.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Pictures on Y and live by: Anders Sandvall
Promo Pics provided by GMR Music Group
Hi, to start off with I’d like you to tell the readers a bit about Fatal Smile, like when and where and why was the band formed etc.
Y: Well to make a long story short...I started the band back in Katrineholm (a small town) 1995 with some friends, we played a lot of shows and did some demos but since I wanted to take my music career to a higher level I decided to move to Stockholm, since I knew that it was the right place to be...Later in Stockholm I met the coolest bassplayer in Sweden: Markus Johansson and later on I ran into H.B. Anderson, we did a lot of shows and recorded the debut album "Beyond Reality" that got some awesome reviews from all over the world, played a lot of gigs and festivals like Sweden Rock Festival and went over to the US to play at Metal Meltdown Festival in New Jersey and then got back to the US later for a 16 shows tour in 21 days on the east coast. That was a blast!
Back in Sweden we got hooked up with the ass kicking drummer Tomas Lindgren that had just got back from LA after learning some new beats at MI (Musician Institute). We just felt that this was the complete line-up for FATAL SMILE and now we’re ready for WORLD-DOMINATION with our new album "Neo Natural Freaks"!!! ;-)
How come you chose to name the band Fatal Smile, what’s the story behind that name?
Y: We’ll I think I got the name from a film or a song and I just thought that it would be a cool name for my band…
You released your debut album BEYOND REALITY 2002, what did the media think of that album?
Y: We got some outstanding media response for our debut album. It was just like all the press & media totally agreed that the Beyond Reality album was the “album of the year”…And that was really cool since the fans seem to agree on that….
If you compare your new album with the debut do you think that you have developed musicwise? If so in what way?
Y: Yeah, I think that we have developed pretty much. The main difference between our first album and Neo Natural Freaks is that we have better songs, better performance, better sound, better production, better mix...We just feel that we have a complete "in your face" album that kicks ass!!! I think this is a natural step for us since it’s been 4 years since the “Beyond Reality” album was released…And you always have to develop as a musician and as a person and not just stay in the same lane…You sometimes have to change lane on the highway…to hell;-)
You did quite a lot of touring during 2002-03, where did you play and were you the headline act?
Y: We played in Scandinavia and went to the US 2 times and kicked some ass….We’ve been both supporting bands as well as being headliner on this tour…It was a lot of fun…
During that time you also did several festival shows in both Scandinavia and the US, how did that go and what did the American crowd think off you?
Y: Yeah, we played some festivals in Scandinavia as well in the US and all we can say is that the American crowd really loves Fatal Smile. So we have to get our asses back to the US soon…
You’re signed to GMR Music Group, what do you think of the work they have put into the new album regarding promotion etc?
Y: We only have a license deal with GMR and they’re doing a pretty good work for the album…So we should not complain…
How would you describe what kind of music Fatal Smile plays?
Y: I think the music is a really cool mix from our hardrock/metal heroes from the 80´s & the 90´s, but still not dictated to them!
We manage to keep things fresh but still you can recognise the classic stuff in our sound & music...Our music is not metal, it’s not glam, it’s good solid hardrock delivered in a mix that is updated to hit you in the face like a fist!!! We have a good mix in the songs that our listeners sure will agree with me...
Why has it taken you so long to follow up your debut?
Y: We’ll, our debut album was released in 2002 but it was released in Sweden first and then in Europe & the US so it took like a year for the album to be released and then it was a lot of touring in Sweden and in the US and so…And we didn’t wanted to rush into writing songs and releasing an album just for the that…And as you all know, things do take time in this music business…But it’s cool with us! We wanted to deliver the best we got and I really think that we have done that so now it’s up to the fans to decide that…
Can you live on the music or do you have other jobs besides the music?
Y: We’ll we still have to sell our butts besides the music but not for a long time…
Do you get a lot of mail from fans and what is the most common question you get from the fans?
Y: Yeah, we got pretty much mails from fans all over the world and the most common question is “when are you coming here for a show…” and there are also a lot of “X-rated” questions from our female fans as well;-)
Is your debut still available in the stores or is it sold out?
Y: I think it’s all sold out but you still might find it somewhere on the internet…Or through GMR Music Group (www.gmrmusic.se)
Usually a metal band have two guitarists but you only have one, how come? Haven’t you thought on taking in another guitarist?
Y: Yeah, but we’re not a metal band. We are FATAL SMILE and we only need one guitarist and that’s it! We have a classic line-up with a 4 piece band and that’s the way we like it. And it’s better cause then you have more space to move on the stage ;-) But sure it would be great to have someone backing you up on the solo’s but I think we’re doing fine just like it is…
Where in the world do you have your biggest fanbase do you think?
Y: I think that it would be in the US, since we been touring there and we have a great fanbase over there. We really hope to get back there soon. As well as the Japanese fans have discovered us as well because our new album was released in Japan on March 29th…And we have pretty much fans in the Europe as well…So the future is looking really bright…
Do you have any figures and numbers on how much you two albums have sold until now?
Y: I don’t have any numbers but I think that the debut sold pretty good and the new album has sold really good just in a couple of months…
Does Fatal Smile have any particular artist or person that have inspired you all in the band?
Y: Our inspiration comes from many different bands and it’s very mixed I think…I mean, Tomas our drummer is into Soundgarden, Rush and stuff like that meanwhile H.B. is more into all kind of stuff from Frank Sinatra to Metallica…And Markus is some more of a southern-western influences from Budgie to Mötley Crüe…And my inspiration are pretty mixed as well…From good old Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy to Whitesnake, Dokken, Dio, Ozzy, Alice In Chains etc… We just mix all our influences and it turns out the way FATAL SMILE sound today….
Do you as guitar player have any role model within the music scene?
Y: Yeah, I had a couple of them when I was younger…Guitarists like John Sykes, George Lynch, Zakk Wylde, Warren De Martini etc…All great players that did inspire me through the years…
For how many albums are you signed for at GMR Music Group?
Y: Actually we’re not signed to GMR, the album is just distributed by them. That was the way we wanted it to be…So we can decide by ourselves what do and so…So we do license deals instead and that much better for us I think…
How long did it take to write your new album NEO NATURAL FREAKS?
Y: We wrote the album pretty quick, since we had some stuff that we just put together and it turned out really cool….
Where and when was it recorded and who’s written the material?
Y: The album was recorded in some different studios, just to get the right sound for each part of the instrument and so…We did record the guitars in one studio, the bass in a different studio and the same for the drums and the vocals…I think this was a great thing to do for the sound and to get the right feeling…I write the most of the songs and Markus helps me out and our singer H.B Anderson writes the lyrics…And it turns out very well that way….
Are the lyrics about anything in particular?
Y: The lyrics is all our singer H.B. Anderson thoughts and experiences in life...It’s not about some knights or worshipping Satan or so...It’s about life and the road that takes you through it I think...We have songs like "Practise What You Preach" which is pretty much about that you should put your shit together before starting to spread shit all around you...And "Quiet Chaos" is about when you’re all fucked up on the inside but you just can’t let it out so you have to keep in inside instead...As I said, the lyrics is all about different things in life....
Jonas Östman have produced the album, what is it that makes him a great producer?
Y: Jonas is a cool guy that always brings the best out of us…And it’s like blood, sweat and tears;-) with the recording process…He pushes us to the limit just to get the best of us….We complete each other very well…And he’s very strict and doesn’t just let anything that’s not 100% pass through…And it’s the way it should be…So in the end it turns out great!
How did you get the legendary Stefan Glaumann to mix the album?
Y: Actually we did record a demo a that was mixed by Stefan Glaumann a couple of years ago and we liked the result so much that he was the one that I wanted for to mix our new album. He’s really great to work with and I think that he has done a awesome work with the mix…It’s dirty but still clear and hits you in the face like a fist! Just like we wanted to…
Why the title NEO NATURAL FREAKS? Does the title mean anything special to you?
Y: The album title “Neo Natural Freaks” it’s a kind of tragedy-comic about all these reality shows we have in Sweden I’m pretty sure that the programs like this is running all over the world…). when they take a bunch of “wannabe-people” and put them in a house, jungle or a island or so…We do feel sad for these people that wanna be a “famous” person or a “star” but without having any quality in what they’re doing…And if you ask them what they are good at the answer is: don’t know…
I mean, at least you’re good at something like football, music, tennis or whatever but these kind of people just wanna have the life of “rich and the famous” without having any talent at all…That’s what “Neo Natural Freaks” are about!!! People that do everything just for “15 minutes of fame…” I personally only have 2 words to say about these poor bastards: Fuck Them!!!
Your first single out of the new album was “Learn-Love-Hate” which became a hit, what was it like to have such a hit?
Y: Yeah, the whole thing with the single is just great, I mean, it went straight up to No. 6 the same week it was released and peaked at No. 3 as best. And it stayed on the Top 40 for 4 weeks and all we can say is that this proves that the Swedish-people need some good fucking hardrock instead of all the shit music going on in the Swedish charts…;-) I mean, sure we did work hard to get out the single and we did have hopes for the single but we didn’t expect it to make a success like this! We’re really happy for this and it have opened some doors for us here in Sweden so things are going really great right now with the album and so…The future looks really bright…Time will tell you know….
Was the CDS only released in Sweden?
The new album was released in Scandinavia at the beginning of this year, but where else is it released now? Is there any dates on when it’s coming out in North America?
Y: Yeah, the album was released in Scandinavia on Feb 1st and it was released n Europe on Feb 24th and it was also released in Japan by Spiritual Beast on March the29th. We’re working on a license deal for the US right now & we do hope that the album will be released in the US later this year…
Have you read any reviews on the album? What have the media to say about it?
Y: We got some awesome fucking reviews from all over the world and it seems like all of them agree that our new album kicks some serious ass!!! And that’s really cool that there are people that understands high-quality, in your face hardrock…Since there are a lot of shit music being released out there as well…So we’re thankful that the press, media and fans like the new stuff…
Who has done the cover artwork and what do you think of it?
Y: The artwork was done by Carl-André Beckston, a really cool guy that knows what he’s doing…He have also made some really great artwork for bands like TNT etc…We wanted the cover to be as an old movie poster/whiskey label…And the dragon has always being a symbol for rock’n’roll and tattoos, so that did fit our music perfect…It’s a fucking piece of art man…
Do you have any favorite track(s) on the album? If so which one(s) and why?
Y: Ehh…It’s hard to choose any favourite track, because each of the songs have different moods and feelings over it…And they seems to change from day to day…Someday I might like “Neo Natural Freaks” and “Bleeding Kiss” best and the next day or week my favourite songs will be like “Quiet Chaos or “Practise What You Preach”…I thing that all of the tracks on the album is my favourite songs….It sure sounds stupid but hey, that’s the way it is….
Are you heading out on the road now that the album is out?
Y: Right now we’re touring in Sweden/Scandinavia and then we’ll go on a tour in Europe and we also hope to go to Japan later this year as well as the US….Everything is being planned right now…
What area is your main priority at the moment, Scandinavia or rest of the Europe or the US?
Y: I think all of the world is our main priority, we’ll start off with Scandinavia and then the rest of the Europe and then US and so on…The goal is world-domination!
Are we going to have to wait long for a follow up to the mind-blowing NEO NATURAL FREAKS?
Y: We have already written some new ass kicking songs but I still think that you’ll have to wait a little bit before the next release since we’re planning to touring pretty much this following year…But I’m sure it will be worth waiting for…
What’s the plans for Fatal Smile for the rest of 2006?
Y: As I said: World-domination!;-) We’ll be touring pretty much and we’re also planning to release a new single...
Give me three reasons why the readers should run out and buy NEO NATURAL FREAKS
Y: Cause it has all the things a great hardrock album should have!!! It has great songs, great sound, great performance & a hell of a attitude that will make your ears bleed!!! This is the real deal: True “in your face” hardrock played by musicians that are doing it for the love of music and NOT because a fucking label says what to do…That’s why everyone should get their asses out right away and buy our “Neo Natural Freaks” album. IT KICKS ASS!!!
Finally, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions, is there anything you’d like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
Y: I’m the one that should thank you for keeping it real and for supporting true music. So, keep it real and hope to see you all on the road soon…And remember…METAL RULES THE WORLD!!!
Peace, Love & Understanding,
Y – Fatal Smile
Thanks to Y for taking the time to answer my questions and a big thanx to the rest of Fatal Smile for nice treatment at the show.
Read the reviews on the bands CD’s here in metal-rules.com
More info about the band.