Myron Schmidt, after hearing Portuguese metallers Switchtense‘s self-tilted sophomore album, couldn’t wait to ask the band a few questions. Talking with the band’s lead vocalist Hugo Andrade they talked about the writing of the album, touring, future shows and the future aspirations of Switchtense…
Was the writing process different for ‘Confrontation of Souls’ compared to ‘Switchtense’? Do you all collaborate or is there one main songwriter for the group?
First of all, thanks for the opportunity to talk about our band and our work for your readers. This means a lot for us… It’s a great way to present Switchtense to more people!
The main difference between the writing process on the 2 albums is that, on Confrontation of Souls, we composed the majority of the songs as a quartet. Then, our drummer left the band and for 4 months we were searching for someone to fill that place. That’s when we found Xinês , our current drummer.
Since that time we composed 6 or 7 songs for the debut album, after Xinês came into the band, we did the rest of the album. Of course, he added his own touches to those songs that we’d done before. But on the 2nd album, we did all the work together, working as a real band, and without a main composer of the songs!
Usually, the first ideas comes from a guitar riff, and that leads to some kind of groove… then you choose a beat! Then we record the songs, we make the changes we want, and that’s it! We are all into this writing process, and it’s easy, because we are very good friends and we share the same visions and feelings about Switchtense’s music.
There are some who might put you in the Metalcore genre and some just classify you as good old thrash – how do you feel about labels and does your music really fit into a nice neat genre?
We don’t care about labels cause we play the music we love! I know it’s a normal situation to label bands, especially if it’s a new band on the scene like we are.
Although, I guess that we are into the thrash scene because of the riffs, mixing in some of the groove of Hardcore… We like the old-school bands and we like a lot of new acts…in the end, what it matters it’s that we do what we really love ! No faking or following trends!
Do the fans expectations weigh heavily on your minds during the writing process as you developed Switchtense and as you move forward with new material?
As a continuation of the previous answer, our main motivation is to write music that we really like… First of all, we have this on our minds! If we love what we do, there’s no doubt that the fans of Switchtense will enjoy it for sure. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves and in the music we play.
Of course we think about how is going to be the received by everyone that will listen our record and then how will it work in a live concert…but that’s normal to all bands!
What are the current Switchtense touring plans? Any chance of getting out worldwide and in particular to the United States any time soon?
United States would be awesome for us, but at present that is quite difficult to do it. We need a distribution deal and a label outside of Portugal, and after that, we have some possibilities to hit USA for some concerts.
Until that opportunity comes, we will be promoting the new album in Portugal and in another countries European like Spain, Germany etc.
At the end of July we played the Resurrection Fest in Spain, side by side with bands like Meshuggah, Bring Me the Horizon and many more.. On 31st August we are confirmed as support for Hatebreed’s concert in Portugal, and in September we will be touring Europe!
Do you have a favorite city or country that you particularly enjoy performing in?
We want to go everywhere possible… We are a young band and we’ve only played in Germany, Holland and Spain, aside of Portugal of course, so we have a lot of places still to visit and play! Obviously, the USA is like a hell of a dream for us, but I’m sure that we will make it! It’s a question of time, perseverance and hard work.
What are your favorite tracks to play live and what is your most challenging track to play live?
This could sound like a cliché, but we enjoy every minute of our shows, no matter what songs we are playing. We really love to play live, and it’s on the stage that we are more comfortable… No doubts about it!
All of them are great challenges to ourselves.
Speaking of touring, from an outsider’s perspective, travelling and touring can seem gruelling, what are the coping mechanisms that you use to take the edge off the road?
We never did those kind of long tours yet, so we’ve never experienced how hard it is to manage all the problems that you find on the road…but I guess that the remaining thoughts and experiences that you collect during a tour are so comforting that you easily forget about the nights without a good bed. In the end, you are doing what you love, and for that, we should be grateful.
Your artwork is truly inspired, can you comment on the process that you and your artist go through to produce the vivid imagery we as fans end up seeing?
Nowadays, Switchtense has become an important part of our lives. We give a lot of our energy and strength to this band, trying to achieve the next level.
So we arrive at this point: our second record, and that’s why he decided to name our new record with the name of the band.
It’s an important mark for us…we feel more confident and more ‘Switchtense’ on this work! So, we really wanted a strong cover, where the main idea was the name Switchtense written on somebody’s flesh!
After this main idea, João Diogo came up with this great atmosphere and pictures! He was responsible for Confrontation of Souls artwork, and we wanted to be him again… I guess we were right!
In closing, thanks for taking time to answer a few questions, and is there anything you want your fans to know about Switchtense?
Thanks for this chance once again. Keep helping us to spread our name and our music… tell your friends about us, or even to your enemies! We really want to play everywhere we can, and we work hard for that!!
Check out our new video for “Unbreakable” at our website.