Interview with Smith & Thell: "There’s a Before and After the Storm."
Swedish pop duo Smith & Thell have spent the last few years establishing themselves as two of Sweden's most sought after songwriter & producer combos, and now they're embarking on their own journey, with a new single, "Row" out now and plans to release an album in 2017. Together, Maria Jane Smith and Victor Thell have contributed as composers for countless major label artists, but this time around, they're focusing on themselves, and the result couldn't be better. "Row" and their previously released song, "Statue" follow Smith & Thell's story and sees them weathering their own personal storms. Read more about "Row" and the upcoming album below!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves for any readers who may not be familiar?
We’re a folk/pop duo from Sweden. We write and produce our own songs, then we sing them. If you like drunken catchy choirs, playful yet serious lyrics, and think that tambourine is an underrated instrument - maybe you will like our music.
Over the years, you’ve been involved in many different projects behind the scenes, so what inspired you to go full force into your own project?
We actually started working together by playing in a band way back in the day. Victor was the drummer and Maria played guitar and sang. We actually got forced into learning how to produce our own stuff back then because when we were recording our first album, the producer at the time smoked too much weed and would fall asleep on the couch all the time and not work. So by default, we had to take the wheel to get the songs produced and finished. Because of this experience, we discovered a whole world of new sounds and possibilities and had the ability to produce music for ourselves. We realized we could apply the production AND writing skills for others, so we started to add that to our repertoire and send songs we didn't feel made sense for our current project, to other artists. When other artists started accepting them and coming back for more, we realized we may be on to something. As artists, it was not until around two years ago that we really found our sound, which is the current form of Smith & Thell that you hear :)
What have you learned while working with other musicians or producers that you feel has helped you when creating your own music?
It has opened our senses and perception a lot. When you are with a rapper one day and write radio pop the next day you learn to step out of your own comfort zone and do what is best for the other artist, not yourself.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve taken away from being involved in the music industry so far?
It’s hard work, and you have to be clear with your vision and not think that people will understand it just because you do. Be straight with what you want, at the end of the day you are the visionary.
You guys just released your new single, “Row,” which you’ve mentioned is sort of a lullaby for grown ups. Where did you find the inspiration for this song?
It came from our experiences with struggling emotionally to get through hard times. We (like many others) have had to deal with tough times and during those times it feels like you’re only living and working hard to keep your head above the surface, but not actually living life. “Row” tells you that it is worth it to keep on going and “rowing” through those rough times because you WILL find happiness. The song was written after “Statue” and the album we’re releasing follows a timeline. There’s a before and after the storm. The storm for me (Maria) was my parents passing away when I was only fourteen. Statue is about opening up to your true emotions. Row is then about the fight of dealing with those emotions.
Musically, where did you draw influence for "Row"?
We worked a long time to find some kind of swampy and dark yet playful feel. We felt like that connected with the emotion we aimed for. Loneliness, anger exist but we wanted to make sure this song showed you’ll make it out of there if you keep fighting.
With “Row” out now, can fans expect to hear any more new music soon?
Yes, an album will be out 2017. We just finished it.
With 2016 winding down, do you have any big plans for the end of the year or beginning of 2017?
We hope to tour more, we just went playing in Germany and now we just want to get back out on the road