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Interview - Steve Smyth (One Machine)

Interview with Steve Smyth from One Machine
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 14 April 2014, 7:08 PM

Steve Smyth, a song writer nd musician who has worked with such bands as NEVERMORE, TESTAMENT and FORBIDDEN, began his own band with former members of other bands such as Thomas Koefed of MNEMIC and Mikkel Sandager of MERCENARY in order to bring to life his own dreams. Steinmetal had a chance to talk with the legendary artist.

 Greetings Steve, this is a great honor having you for this interview for Metal Temple. So what have you been up to recently?

I’ve been busy in the planning stages for tour dates, including a return to Denmark in April. Get ready Metalheads, we’re coming back!

 After taking part in such great acts such as Testament, Vicious Rumors, Nevermore and Forbidden among others, it would appear that you finally settled down with something that is purely your own with the alteration of the early FIREHEAD, now called the supergroup ONE MACHINE. Do you agree with that?

Yes, this is where I plan on calling home for the future, is with One Machine. I believe in the band, the guys in the band, and the music most importantly, and it all just feels right, and heavy!

 How did this formation of ONE MACHINE come into existence? And I suppose that it will go around touring right?

Well, I had 6 songs ready to go, and was living here in England. I got in contact with Jamie Hunt first, as his band Biomechanical had opened for Nevermore in Greece in 2005, so I knew he was a solid player, great stage presence, and a good guy. He came over and checked out what I had, and from there we began collaborating on these and more songs. Mikkel Sandager had also opened for Nevermore back in 2005 with his band Mercenary, and I saw night after night what he could do on stage, and really dig his voice as well, and we got along well in person too. He left Mercenary in 2009, and I got hold of him and asked if would be interested in checking this out, he came over, and we got right into it from there. Tomas came on Mikkel’s suggestion after we found out he had left Mnemic, a band I hadn’t toured with, but was a fan of for some time. I knew he was a solid bass player, and found out he’s a great guy, easy to get along with, and very dedicated to metal. Raphael Saini came on board and drummed for the album, but decided he wanted to session more, and sent Michele Sanna over to us, whose playing I had seen on the Forbidden YouTube auditions back in 2011, so I knew what he could do, great drummer, great guy.  So we are complete now, and hitting the road!

 "The Distortion of Lies And The Overdriven Truth", your debut album, newly released by Scarlet Records, engulfed me with a lot of questions, unsolved contemplations regarding the essence of humanity and the social order. Through the rupturing musical explosion, you seemed to be quite extreme regarding what is going around us lyrically. What is your viewpoint as it presented on the album?

You’ve hit it spot on with what you’ve said, and that was our goal, to get you to think about it a bit, and notice what is happening. I think people are very well aware in their own areas that something is amiss, but when they hear this coming from all angles, it kind of  awakens people to the fact that this is a global issue. Corruption and greed at the highest levels of governance, financial and institutional manipulation imposed upon millions of people for the personal gain of a few, the list goes on and on. And what do we get? A smiling face on TV feeding more lies into the world, and people either accepting it, or just giving up and not believing it anyway? The truth is that we’re destroying our environment with over-manufacturing, going to war for natural resources that leave millions displaced and homeless, starved, or dead. This is what the title track reflects, and there are several songs on the album that also tie into the human condition, and the effects of what is happening out there on humanity.

 The introduction to ONE MACHINE, with "The Distortion of Lies And The Overdriven Truth", for me was like the supposed feeling of watching a volcano erupting. Other than witnessing the awesome talent of your comrades in arms, especially your frontman Mikkel Sandager, which I took pleasure on listening to his incredible vocal versatility back in his days with Mercenary, I couldn't hinder the fact that the guitar work on this release is no less than maniacal. I would not stretch into labeling of Progressive Metal or such but it sure sounds surreal. What is your opinion on that? Was it in your agenda to create something that is utterly overwhelming, which would blow the minds of those who have been witnessing your early works?

We are progressive minded players, Jamie and I, but I would say we’re more for the song than purely for the shred factor, or to have something in the song that only a musician will get. I have always written songs that I wanted any Metalhead to relate to, and on this album, we have tried to create that balance. You have players that all have chops and can surely use them, but we’re keeping it for the song as opposed to purely showing off.

 What you can tell about the album's songwriting process, especially since this is a multinational act?

Well I had 6 songs to begin with, and once I hooked up with Jamie, we began working on more songs and fleshing out some ideas that I had, that he had, and collaborating on these. Mikkel  and I worked via Skype quite a bit, as well as in person, talking about the ideas I had or he had, listening back, and making sure that we were both happy with the result of what was happening. Raph and I worked the same way, via Skype, text and email, until we got the drums to where we were happy with them. Tomas, same thing. So the distance factor was there, but more or less cut down by technology, making it much easier to connect, and get this album accomplished. Everyone sent their tracks to me, and from there I put it in a master session, and on to Roy Z for mix.

 Which of the songs on the release meant more to you than others? What kind of impact do you think that these songs should generate?

That’s a hard one, as I like every song on this album! Ha ha But some of these are personal. Crossed Over is about an out of body experience I had in the middle of surgery related to my illness almost 10 years ago, so that one has a personal depth there for me….but they all have different meanings to me, so it’s hard to find a favorite….It’s my hope that people will listen to the album and find their own favorite, or favorites! Maybe even the entire album! Ha ha

 Do you believe that nowadays society needs more slaps and wakeup calls like the ones you suggested on the release?

I think this is the time that this needs to happen yes, but there is only so much a single set of people can do to enable this to happen. We have advanced so much in terms of technology, at the expense of direct human interaction. It’s a bit colder, and people can tend to hide a bit more online than they can in person. Time will tell what happens.

 Since you guys are hailing from different places around the world, US and Europe mainly, how will you be working on future release or will be in a way under your wing as chief songwriter?

We will certainly be getting together and collaborating more on future material both in person as well as over the internet, as we have figured out the sound of the band now, I will still be overseeing a large part of this in future. I have a lot of riffs and song ideas already in the works currently, but we’re more focused on touring in support of the album right now, and getting it out to the people.

 You may or may not been asked about the matter, but it would be nice to you know your opinion regarding internet downloading, especially music. Do you see this as yet another promotional platform or the other way around, a terrible loss for the business?

It’s a Catch 22 situation, because it has made things easier to get across the internet and gain exposure for your music, but in turn, at the cost of income for all musicians in general. We’ve all got to tour a bit more now to keep the income happening, which I don’t mind, I love the road, but there are a ton more bands out there now, and it’s very easy to get heard one day, forgotten the next. I’m hoping people out there hear the songs, and will continue to listen to them, and come and see us on tour when we come through!

 Steve, I would like to kindly thank you for this interview. I have been monitoring your works for several years and I believe that you came through with something inspiring with ONE MACHINE. I wish you all the best. Any last words for the readers?

Thank you, I appreciate it, and am sure the guys appreciate this as well! Danish MetalHeads - One Machine will be coming back in April! Stay tuned on our sites for dates coming very soon: www.feedtheonemachine.com www.facebook.com/onemachineofficial www.twitter.com/one_machine



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Edited 27 January 2020
 

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