SMYTE (for Battle Helm)

I gotta admit that I kinda forgot all about SMYTE until I saw this interview I did and it all came back to me. Another cool band to check out.

Interview was prepared by ANDERS EKDAHL (Battle Helm)

How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-Being the first thing which is brought to listeners’ attention, the band’s name is certainly a crucial thing. We find it strongly important to let our potential fans know from the very beginning what our music brings, so SMYTE (which came from “smite”) was just the right choice for us. It is all about force, solid approach, which the word brings. Also, it might not be so obvious, but the letter I was changed to Y, as a tribute to the popular trend which was popular among hip-hop/nu metal artists in the mid-late 90s’.

I wanted to start a band in the 80s but couldn’t find the right people to do so with. What was it that made you want to do the band?
-Playing music instruments and being in a band became really popular in Lviv in mid 2000s’, so we actually became some sort of victims of this fashion. However, it was actually impossible to proceed with it only using the eagerness, you were doomed unless you possess a bit of talent. So, a lot of bands from those years collapsed and plenty of people simply gave up music. SMYTE gathered people, who had some experience of playing in bands. For example, this is the 7th band our front-man is associated with.

With so many genres and sub-genres of metal today what is your definition of the music you play?
-When we just started SMYTE, we decided that hard rock from the late 80s’ is the thing we are going to hold to. As you can hear by yourself, our debut single “Paradise Lost” is actually a classical hard rock, tribute-like song. Later on, our line-up has changed drastically and so did our musical style. Now we strive to nu metal, groove, metalcore and even rapcore sometimes. Guitars and drums became heavier, Andie started to combine screams with clean vox and even with rap. We can’t actually find the proper name for the genre. So let’s just call it alternative metal.

How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-There are a few tricks we’ve learned from the great bands of the past, but we can’t yet talk about it with certainty, since our debut album is still going to be finished and released. We would like to bring some sort of a conceptual manner to the song arrangement on the record, but we’ll see if we can cope with it.

I am fascinated by how people can still come up with things that hasn’t been done before, chord structures that hasn’t been written, sentences that hasn’t been constructed before. Where do you find your inspiration to create?
-Once a wise lad told us “You will always play and create what you listen to”, meaning you can’t fight the power of taste influences. So we actually try to listen to a rather wide range of bands and genres, from progressive metal, metalcore, post-hardcore, nu metal to hip-hop, trance, industrial. There is always something to find for yourself in each music genre, that’s an obvious fact. You can get a trick to your armory.

How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-We had plenty of ideas about the cover art when we were releasing “Paradise Lost”, all of them were way too certain, way too univocal. Also, we have noticed that a lot of bands try to exaggerate, trying to put too many details and elements on the cover art making it, let’s say, rather motley. So we have thrown away all the ideas we had previously and chose the way of simplicity. You may thing that it is a lazy path, but we would not agree. Visual simplicity is the thing modern bands lack. That’s what we think.

I get the feeling that more and more metalheads too are just downloading single tracks. Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-We did not support an idea of listening to music by single track, since you can’t make a full impression about the artist by taking a look on a single piece of the puzzle. That is a thing, that modern bands still understand, fans still understand this as well.

Are we killing our beloved metal scene by supporting digital downloading or can anything positive come from supporting single tracks and not albums? Will the fan as we know him/her be gone soon?
-A lot of people still purchase full albums of their favorite bands and the bands they are just getting to know. So no, downloading a single track is just a way to let the potential fan to notice you, a sort of a teaser, not an album-killing phenomenon.

Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-It is kinda hard to make a way to a scene for a heavy band like ours in our country, and city specifically, because of modern scene here is occupied by indie and pop-rock bands. Also, there is a pitiful tendency around making up a cover band here. Local gigs are overfilled with such sort of bands and less people care about heavy bands at the time. Yet we have got a bunch of ideas about how the local metal scene can be resurrected, so we are still in positive mood about it.

What does the future hold?
-An album obviously. Yes, we are planning to finish the record by the end of 2017. It will not sound like anything SMYTE was known for on the local scene, neither it will not sound close to “Paradise Lost”. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.

 

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