Swedish formation Then Comes Silence this year released their fourth full length album entitled ”Machine” (SPV Oblivion & Metropolis Records). The band is active since a couple of years now, but strikes back with a renewed line-up. Alex Svenson (vocals, bass, synthesizers), Jonas Fransson (drums), Mattias Ruejas Jonson (guitars) and Hugo Zombie (guitars) worked together with producer Alex Svenson while the album has been mixed by Stefan Glaumann (who already worked together with bands such Rammstein, Clawfinger, The 69 Eyes, Killing Joke ao). The result is a fully accomplished post-punk and cold-wave driven work, which will become without a shadow of a doubt one of the best albums of 2020. I got in touch with the band asking them a few questions.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Your new album “Machine” also is the first one with a ‘new’ line-up. Can you give us more details about ‘Then Comes Silence V.2’ and do you notice main differences/changes with the old line-up?
Jonas: Mattias (previously in A Projection) and Hugo (previously in Los Carniceros Del Norte) joined us between ”Blood” and ”Machine”. The new line-up feels really good, we have become close friends and we are working very well together. They are both great musicians and now it feels like we are all moving in the same direction with Then Comes Silence.
Q: What have been the main ideas and themes for the new album? Did you encounter challenges and/or main difficulties in the writing process?
Alex: ”Machine” follows the same theme as the previous albums, like death, finity, mortality and the human ego. If you want to write you need dedication, energy and discipline. Inspiration is all around us. All the time and everywhere. You can’t wait for a perfect moment, you just have to start working and the ideas will come.
Q: I honestly didn’t hear any minus point on “Machine”, but do you hear some aspects to improve and/or eventually elements you wanted different and/or better? And what are the criteria to know a song/album is finished?
Mattias: I haven’t listened so much on the album since it got released, but I do play some stuff differently live compared to the album. It has more to do with my way of expression than that I want to improve my work on the album.
A good rule is to give the album/song a specific amount of time to come to fruition and when the time is up, the album/song is done.
Q: I’ve been always fascinated by the mix of influences featured in your work, but the 80s cold-wave and post-punk elements both remain very present. What does the 80s mean to you in terms of inspiration and major artists? And how do you put all these influences together?
Hugo: I think that we have more influences from the 50s, 60s and 70s than from the 80s. So maybe we sound like 80s artists because we have the same influences they had back then, not because we try to sound like them.
About putting the influences together, well, I think is kinda like being in a kitchen: Influences are the ingredients, Alex is the chef and the band are the cook’s assistants. You can use the same ingredients as other people, but your dish will always have your personal touch.
Q: Your album has been mixed by Stefan Glaumann, but I think most music lovers don’t always realize how important a good mix can be. Tell us a bit more about this essential aspect of a recording and how did the collaboration with Stefan Glaumann happened? Anything to add about the production process?
Alex: The mix is very important. It can be compared to film editing when making a movie. There’s a camera man, a story, a director etc… but the editing can be decisive for the result of the film. The same goes for the mix of an album.
We knew about Stefan Glaumann, but had never met him. We wanted a colder sound with a punch. That’s what you get working with him. He is a master of the metal sound. He knew about us and liked my voice so he was excited to work on ”Machine”.
Even though I don’t play metal and probably never will, I believe the scene has many qualities. We payed a visit in their garden to see what flowers we could bring with us. It was probably something that came to my mind when we worked with Nuclear Blast in the past. I have always wanted to get into the metal club. I grew up with it along with many other genres, but they would probably just call me a poser. The metal scene can be quite conservative and strict.
I did the music production of the album and took care of the recording. I tried to make it as easy as possible for Glaumann to take over the wheel in the mix.
Q: Because of the Covid 19 pandemic, gigs, tours and festivals have been cancelled and/or postponed. What’s the impact of it all on the new album and what’s your experience with the live streams?
Hugo: It sucks and the impact of it all has been huge. We were waiting like one year for the album to be released, and then we release it just the day the world stopped. So it’s very difficult to promote a new album without touring, but anyway we are overwhelmed by the support we have from people buying the new album, merch… that’s really helping us and our labels to keep on keepin’ on.
We did a live stream in May, and it was weird but I had a really good time, and it was even better when I read a lot of messages from friends saying that thanks to the stream they were able to forget about all the shit happening around us for one hour. Anyway, the most important thing at the moment is that everyone stay safe and healthy, we’ll have fun soon.
Jonas: The album release worked fine, it’s just super annoying not to be able to do gigs and tours, we really miss it a lot. The last month we’ve been busy with building a new rehearsal studio, that has been a nice change from just sitting at home and doing nothing. The studio is very close to be finished and soon we can start making music again.
Mattias: We did a proper live stream with a full crew taking care of everything just to be able to put out a proper live stream for everyone to enjoy, we even engaged the audience and let them decide the set list and people seems to have enjoyed it.
Alex: We should be lucky to have social media. Imagine this same situation 15 or 20 years ago. Even though we won’t be able to play and tour like we usually do, the new album gets good attention on the social platforms. To me ”Machine” has become very much connected to 2020 and it was released on the same day almost all of Europe got into lockdown.
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