Bandleader/singer/famous producer Pelle Saether – Grand Design
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Birgitt Schwanke at GerMusica Promotion & Management for help to get this interview done.
Thanks to AOR Heaven for the promo pictures of the band
Grand Design is a Swedish hard rock band that released their third album THRILL OF THE NIGHT at the end of September. Since I became curious about the band when I heard the album, I thought it would be nice to have a chat with the bandleader, Pelle Saether. All said and done, we hooked up for a chat and this is what Saether had to say about the album, the members, and the future of the band. Read on!
Hi Pelle, hope you are doing fine today. Are you ready to kick off the interview?
The brand new Grand Design album is titled THRILL OF THE NIGHT which is the third release from the band. How long have you worked on the material for the album and how long did it take to record the album?
To write the songs it took about 6 months. All from laying down ideas w an acoustic guitar/vocals into my Iphone to recording pre-demos in my studio. Many hours and hard work there. We recorded when there was free time in my studio but I think around 3 months to record and mix and master the album. I’m veeeeeery picky so there is a lot of “do it again”
Who writes the material and what are the lyrics about?
The first two albums I did it all. 100%. But I felt this time that it was time to let the guys contribute with riffs and lyrics + I wrote 2 songs with Eric from Eclipse. All this was a new experience for me but a very good lesson to learn. The lyrics are in general about love problems, having fun and daily problems.
I think the album is really great but why haven’t I heard the band before? From what I have understand the band haven’t been out touring much these past few years, is that correct?
Well we had some domestic problems in the band until early 2012 where fired the drummer, bass player and the guitar player. They didn’t wanna work for the band so I told them them this ain’t gonna work. So from early 2012 we done a lot of gigs and festivals: Firefest, MRF, Skogsröjet, Rock Out Wild, Väsby Rock Festival + club gigs in Sweden, Italy, Switzerland.
Grand Design “Thrill Of The Night” Trailer
The previous Grand Design album came out in 2011; why has it taken you so long to get out THRILL OF THE NIGHT?
As I stated we have gone through some line up changes and we wanted to play live to show the rawkers out there that we can deliver live. So after Idolizer (2011) our priority was to get out on the road. Also I think its gonna be that long until next album since it takes a lot time for us to complete an album + we loooove being on stage .-)
During 2013 the band recorded a digital single with (in Sweden) the legendary singer Sussie Päivärinta what did the fans and the media think of it when it was released?
We were overwhelmed by the reactions. I have always loved that song and felt Grand Design could do a cool version. Susi is a great and professional artist and we has a blast in the studio. Sadly she couldn’t appear in the video but her stand in does a helluva job.
Grand Design – Baby It’s You promo video
I think that the album have some influences by Def Leppard, do you agree and if so was that intentional?
We all love Def Leppard among other great bands from the 80s. There is no secret we use some Def Leppard elements to spice things up but the main thing is to make a 80s sounding album suited for today.
The band shot a video to “Rawk N Roll Heart Attack” what’s the video about and when was it shot? Tell us a bit about it please?
Well – from the beginning we were supposed to shot the video together with 2 motorcycles guys + Tiffany (The girl in the video) in a round room where they ride the bikes on the wall. Sooooooo cool!! But………………on the same day as we started shooting the video the motorcycle guys didn’t show up!! So we had to relocate and rewrite the whole video. We managed to find a barn in the countryside and took it from there. It’s a rawk n roll video with 2 Tim Burton characters + a great looking rawk chic + Grand Design
Grand Design – Rawk ‘N’ Roll Heart Attack promo video
Have you read what the media and press thinks of the album and do you and the band care about what critics have to say about your work?
Its always nice to read great reviews and this album have gained a lot of of them but I feel I’m not getting upset if a reviewer thinks we are D.L clones or if we are crap. We have always been a love or hate band.
You have produced the album, what’s it like to produce your own stuff? Isn’t hard to say objective?
I have always a veeeeery clear vision how I want the album to sound before starting the recordings. For me it’s like producing any other band and I am as tough as I am when I’m producing other rock bands. Since we record when its free time I get the time to be objective and there is a lot of changes on this last album. I think rewrote on of the choruses 4 times before thinking it was good.
Grand Design are signed to AOR Heaven, how come you chose to ink a deal with them?
After putting out one song on MySpace (remember myspace?) we got 4 record deals and I chose AOR Heaven because he phoned me up and in broken English Stated that he loved the band hahaha
Are you happy with the work the label have put into the band and the album so far?
We started off with Aor Heaven and I think they have done a great job and still do. We get exposed in a lot of fanzines and get a lot of interviews so yeas they do a great job.
Where does the band name Grand Design come from and does the name have any special meaning to you and the rest of the band?
Janne Stark came up with the name back in 2006. I called him and asked for help with a band name and he replied the day after with this name. Spot On!!
I think the name Grand Design represent the level of everything concerning the band. We want it all to be perfect!
During 2012 guitarist Janne Stark and bass player Mats Vassfjord join forces with the band, how did they end up in the band?
I have known Janne since beginning of the 90s and he was the natural choice when I started looking for a new guitar player. Mats have been recording stuff in my studio so I called him if he knew any good bass player that like 80s rock. He said – take me I looooove that kinda music!!!!
Do you see any problems in the fact that the members are involved in other bands besides Grand Design?
We are all involved in other musical projects and bands and I see that as a natural way to express yourself. I would never tell the guys to be in only one band. The main thing is to focus – if Grand Design needs your 100% attention I know the guys will do that.
The band have performed at Väsby Rock Festival in Sweden and at Melodic Rock Fest in Chicago this year how was that?
It was soooooooo great!! We showed a lot of rawkers that Grand Design delivers a great show at a very high level. In Chicago we sold out all CD:s 10 min after the show and a lots of people said we were the main surprise and one of the highlights this year at MRF
Do you what do have played more then you have done so far with the band?
We are now focusing on a video from MRF + we finally got a deal in Japan so the album is gonna be released November 19 in Japan with 2 extra songs!!
Are you happy with what the band have achieved so far?
Very happy! We have a lot of fun when we are together. A bunch of great guys!!
Many artists and bands claims that the music industry is dead and blames the death on downloading and streaming etc. What’s your opinion about downloading etc? Is the music industry suffering at the moment?
We suffer a lot! If u like a band buy their music – don’t download.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t discovered the music of Grand Design yet and could you give them three reasons why they should buy THRILL OF THE NIGHT?
1 Great looking band
2 Great fukkin songs
3 Helluva live band that is gonna rawk your socks off
Well, besides thanking you for doing the interview and wish you and the band the best of luck in the future that was all for me. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with the fans and readers?
Hey guys – if you’re into 80s rock give us a listen!!
If you dig on it – buy the fukkin CD or download on iTunes, Amazon etc
If u wanna look sharp – buy our merch!!