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Smoke The Sky

Het is altijd leuk om eens iets nieuws en buitengewoons te horen. Dat gevoel gaf me Smoke The Sky met hun tweede album ‘The Human Maze’. Dit is gewoon muziek die je moet ontdekken! Dus hadden we met sympathieke zanger/bassist Kris ‘Krash’ een leuk videogesprek over de band en het album.

Door: Koen W. | Archiveer onder different metal

This is the first time I heard from the band Smoke The Sky. Where did you hide all that time?
The last two years we spend with recording and producing this record. We produced a lot of video content as well. I created six music video’s. Two of them are released right now. We made a little documentary about the making of the video. We’ve been around since 2010. We played a lot of shows till 2014 and 2015. And then we start writing for the new record. So where have you been? We hope to get out there as soon as possible.

The styles you hear are almost uncountable, but it is mainly southern rock metal. How can you definite the style you play?
Those Southern metal rock was more accurate for the first record then this record. And we already had a lot of conversations how to call this kind of metal. So, if you want it to call it Southern Rock or Southern Metal, cool. We just want it to call metal music or we even came up with this alternative metal thing. There is some hard metal on it. And we have some, not ballads, but quieter songs on it. It is probably some kind of groovy Southern Metal.

Opener ‘Avoid The Void’ is just sounding like a complete rock opera from a mental not so healthy but intellectual band. How do you approach the writing of such a song?
‘Avoid The Void’ is a very good example of it. Because the song is about a person who has three personalities. And the song is ranged in three acts. The first act is the first person. The second act is the second person and the third and last act is the third personality. And then all those different riffs and arrangements come together in one riff and very confusing stuff. So, I want to say that there is really no method to that metal madness. It is just a very intuitive thing. And since I am a huge movie, literature and history buff. I just had the weird idea about a guy with three personalities and so I had an idea about the lyrics and just said: let’s write a song about it. And then this thing started with very unusual arrangements, almost no choruses. So, there is just one chorus at the first act. And at the end of the third act there is a chorus as well. So, we tried to combine the three personalities in the song structure. And then put all those riffs together and put a part from the first act in the third act. Just to confuse things and mix it all up a bit. But it approaches just a feeling that happens.

So in the singing part, it were all three your voices?
Yes, I do all the singing. In the second act we had two guest singers. Friends for another band in Munich. Two of the best singers we have here. It just fitted perfect. We gave them the song and said do want you want to do. And it worked fine.

Do you have any idea how to perform this song life on stage?
We will perform it live on stage. All three of us and then I mean the other guitarists Konst and Mo, we all do singing as well. We practiced already a lot to do this live. But I will do the most vocals and the main singing. But yes, it is really a challenge to transcript this thing on stage. Still have some work to do but we are in a good way.

Which elements should have a Smoke The Sky song before you approve it?
There must be some edgy guitar stuff going on. We have two amazing guitarists and some very cool bass and drumming. And a rhythm section going on. And off course that edgy and freaky guitar tone. That is probably the sound that Smoke provides. And don’t forget the cool lyrics.

How long did you worked on this album. The duration is over one hour, and it aren’t the easiest songs to compose?
I think we worked on this record for about two years. The first song we wrote was probably 'Iron Sun' back in 2014 or 2015. That was the first song and from then, everybody brought some new ideas for the record. I did a lot of guitar riffing stuff. The guitarists Mo and Konst put a lot of their music theories ideas in it. We arranged stuff and made some cool edition from the drummer’s point of view. How to move things. So, we spend around three of four years by writing this album. And it is a lot music.

Something completely else is the song ‘Raw Is The Law’. It is one of the heaviest and is like an anti-war song?
Not exactly. The funny thing about ‘Raw Is The Law’, in Munich we have this local metal bar called Raw. The owner is a very good friend of ours. So, I just wanted to write a hymn for his bar. And that is why I used all those references to metal classics like Anthrax ‘Spreading The Disease’. There are even quotes from Mastodon, Type O Negative lyrics and a Slayer reference. So, it is basically a hymn to the Munich metal bar Raw and the Munich scene as well.

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And what is a song like ‘Frankinsmoke’ going about?
That is my song and it is the most personal song on the album. It has been around for quite some time now. So, I just suggested to the guys: hey, I have those sweat little one-line guitar tune that I like to put on the album. It is a song about the relationship between a father and father figures in life and how to handle life your way and the father’s way and stuff like that. But the interesting part is that ‘Frankinsmoke’ is part two of a song of the first album that was called ‘Leave This World Loud’. On this record there is a song called ‘Patchwork’. So ‘Frankinsmoke’ is the second act of the song were ‘Patchwork’ was the first act. ‘Patchwork’ is about Doctor Frankenstein and is told from his view. ‘Frankinsmoke’ is told from the monster’s view who is talking to his father how he could do that to him. You asked before if ‘Raw Is The Law’ was an anti-war song. I like to write lyrics where you can think about different things. The interpretation of the song could be an anti-war song, but it also could be a funny song. So ‘Frankinsmoke’ could be a very personal song about your father. But it also could have a science fiction approach.

What I really don’t get is that the first album was self-released but also this album. Is it so difficult to find a good label?
In one word: yes. It is very hard to find a label and specially for a band like us. We once tried it a couple of times, but they said: men it is great music, but we just can’t do it for this time. Maybe some next time. We tried it and got some offers, but it was always the same answer at the end. So, we said Fuck it. We did it the first time on our own so let’s do it the second time again. They just don’t want us. Not yet. It takes a long time and a lot of work, but we did it.

Which bands have mostly influenced you guys?
Puffs, unfortunately I don’t have the other three guys with me. But I have to say Alice In Chains, Mastodon, Prong, Corrosion Of Conformity and in the early days a lot of Pantera. But it is not like we said we like those, let’s write some songs and combine those bands. I am also a huge Sting fan. If you listen to Sting records, I personally see a lot of parallels in the arrangements. But that is my opinion when it comes to influences.

Like you mentioned before, you made six music video’s. ‘Mephisto’ and ‘Skysuckers, Inc’ are already released. You are also a virtual designer. Did that helped a lot?
I am a graphics media designer. Konst and Mo are music production engineers. That is a good thing. We can do a lot ourselves. But that is also a lot of work. Making six music video’s is a lot of work.

Do you have an idea how many hits you have on YouTube with a video?
We have a release sheet on which we plan every release. We started it with releasing on Facebook first to get the reach there. So, I think we have already some 11 or 12.000 views. So that is a lot. YouTube is another thing with subscribers and stuff like that. So, we first try to reach people with Facebook and then hopefully YouTube will go along as well.

So what are you aiming at now? Playing some local shows or going further with that.
Mostly we want to play live. First, we are going to try Germany and then in Europe as well. But it is very difficult without a label or without a booking agency. It is just the whole day working on your band and spending money all the time. Which is not easy. We are all freelancers so that is the good side on it. But is has a bad site on it also because you still must make some money. You can spend thousands and thousands of euros on the band each day. But we want to play live as much as possible. And tour, tour, tour.

Are you the social media guy of the band?
Not exactly, we all do this together. We all do the band stuff together. Band practices are a lot of time just band meetings where we discuss stuff and do a lot of talking about planning things or when to release this or that. We do this combined. But I do all the graphic and media stuff.

Did you already have received some reviews from the album?
Not yet. We have through Mona (All Noir promotion agency) some addresses of guys to whom we have send the album. So, we hope that the next couple of weeks, come some reviews. So, we are all excited to see how they turn out. Mona is a freelance promotion agent and she is great.

I’m from Belgium and work for a Dutch webmagazine. You are from Munich Germany. Your album has reached us and now we are just talking.
It is all Europe and that is awesome. For our first album, we didn’t have the connections we have right now. We started about eight years ago and the first record was released in 2012. That is six years ago. So, this time we said we want to get out there and reach some new people. So, we asked Mona through another friend of ours Thorsten Zahn, the chief engineer from Metal Hammer and he introduced us to Mona. So, we were very happy that finally somebody wanted to work with us. No labels wanted us, so it was very hard to get somebody.

So if somebody wants to buy your album or some merchandise, what is the best address?
We have our own online shop. You can purchase pre-release specials there, we have vinyl’s, cd, digipacks. We have lighters, pics and shirts will be out the next couple of days. So visit our homepage.

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