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The Combustible Hard Rocking Sounds of Hellsmoke

The Combustible Hard Rocking Sounds of Hellsmoke

The Combustible Hard Rocking Sounds of Hellsmoke

Hellsmoke is an explosive hard rocking band from Sweden ready to unleash their fiery refrains all across this great big planet.  Their brand new album is entitled 2020, now available worldwide from Pride & Joy Music, and it’s fiery tunes are well worth seeking out.  Included within the membership of Hellsmoke are Christofer Dahlman from Alyson Avenue and Jörgen Löfberg from the legendary thrash metal brigade known as DarkaneHighwire Daze recently interviewed Hellsmoke founding member Christofer Dahlman to discuss the making of the raging 2020, opening for the likes of Pretty Maids, how a member of the thrashing Darkane became involved in a hard rock band, and other burning topics.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Hellsmoke and how long the band has been together.
I’m the guitarist and songwriter in Hellsmoke and my name is Christofer Dahlman. I started the band with a former band member in 2015 and we have had different members, changes along the way, you can call it a try out period to find the right line up. Current lineup is the 2.0 lineup and we have a good chemistry and I believe in this line up.

Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
Today Hellsmoke is based in Malmoe but originally we’re from Helsingborg, both cities located in the south of Sweden. There are some really good bands from these cities, bands like Soilwork, Darkane, Alyson Avenue, Sapphire Eyes and many more, however there should be more rock clubs and possibilities for original bands to play live. There are really many cover bands…and that’s just boring.

How did you wind up signing with Pride & Joy Music?
We signed up with our mgmt team Wind Up Production in 2019 and they recommended Pride & Joy Music. WuP already had a great experience cooperating with P&J with another band called Sapphire Eyes. WuP introduced Hellsmoke to P&J and they believed in us and that’s the most important thing for me/us. We will never have a cooperation with anyone who don’t believe in us, that’s just waste of time for all involved. With that said, we happy to be with both WuP and P&J.

Is there any overall story or concept behind 2020 title? It’s been such an interesting year to be sure…
There is no connection with the album title and the ongoing pandemic. We decided the name already in 2019. The meaning or concept of the title 2020 is quite simple, we release the album this year and it’s a 2.0 in a double sense for the band, maybe a little cryptic but that was it means. Also, in the compass you can find S, W, E and that stands for Sweden, since we are a Swedish band.

Select two songs from 2020 and what inspired the lyrics.
I’m not involved in the lyric writing, but I came up with the song title Nowhereland. That song has a very inspiring or strong lyrics and I think a lot of people can relate to it. Torbjörn, the former member wrote the lyric and Rimbert changed it a little when he went into the studio. It was a life situation that inspired Torbjörn, can’t say anything more about it since it’s personal and he’s no longer in the band. We want our fans and listeners to interpret their own life story into our songs and lyrics. Another strong song lyrics that I like is Black Sun Rising, but that is more building up a fictitious story, but is a great lyrics.

Who produced 2020 and what was it like working with them?
We have worked with Anders Hahne who co-produced the album together with me, Rimbert and a former member Torbjörn (he left the band 2019). Anders has really great skills in how to produce, mix and master a song or an album and he made a huge difference in our sound. We’re extremely happy to work with Anders and will do it for the next album as well.

Who did the cover art for 2020 and how much input did you have on it?
I did the cover art and all illustrations in the booklet, so it was 100% input from my side and of course Roger and Rimbert had to say “go or no go”. I do all our art stuff and love doing it.

What do you find with Hellsmoke that you did not find in Alyson Avenue or Bai Bang?
Well, first of all I played guitar in Alyson Avenue and Bai Bang way back in late 90’s and early 2000 and in both bands I only was a guitarist. However, I wrote all the guitar parts and solos for the songs I played in Alyson Avenue, so that was very creative back then and it was on the two first albums. In Bai Bang I was the guitarist in between two albums but did a couple of really cool shows with them, Sweden Rock Festival and Monsters of Millennium (Scandinavian leg). I wanted to be in another kind of band playing a little bit more aggressive/more attitude and to be more involved in the songwriting process. I started Hellsmoke with a former band member (Torbjörn Månsson) and we wrote the whole album together and the upcoming album will be written by me and Rimbert our singer.

How did Jörgen Löfberg of Darkane become involved with Hellsmoke? Definitely a different style of music for the longtime Darkane member!
We know most of the guys in Darkane and we needed a certain kind of bassist and Jörgen was the perfect match. I like Jörgen’s way of playing the bass and what he brings to the sound, that will be really important for coming shows and albums. Jörgen listens to all kind of hard rock and metal and Hellsmoke is also something different than Darkane, so it is more exciting for Jörgen to join a band like Hellsmoke rather than to another band like Darkane.

What has it been like to release a new album right in the middle of a pandemic? Have you had any shows or tours cancelled because of it?
We originally planned to release the album in May this year but decided to postpone it to October, naively we thought it should be over with the pandemic then. We had a proposal joining a tour in nine countries with a well known artist in December, but that was cancelled of course. We have no scheduled shows right now but are looking into opportunities.

What could one expect from a live Hellsmoke show?
Flamethrowers, hard hitting drums, pounding guitars, screaming harmonies and horns in the air! We’re determined to give the audience a great show with a little more visual experience. I wont tell everything now but me and Rimbert are going all in for creating a more visual show and not only rock on the stage.

You opened for Pretty Maids whose vocalist Ronnie Atkins is currently dealing with Stage 4 cancer. What was that experience like and did you get to meet or hang out with them at all?
Ronnie is one of my favorite singers and I started to listen to Pretty Maids already in 1983, so I’m a big fan of him and the band. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to hang out with them, but the gig was really fun and we played really great that night. I met Ken Hammer a year prior to the show and bought his Gibson Les Paul Custom and that’s my favorite guitar today. We all hope the best for Ronnie and that he recovers.

Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside Hellsmoke?
No, I don’t have any other bands or projects right now. I have some song ideas that are not Hellsmoke material, but I don’t know if I will do anything with it right now because I beleive in focusing on a few things and not being involved all over. I also believe in bands as a metal fan, projects are not that interesting for me, I like a real band. Rimbert has another band with his son on drums, they’re called “Drunk Turtle Band”. Strange name of a band but they’re quite good.

What do you hope 2021 brings for Hellsmoke?
We want to tour, playing in both Europe and US. We will soon start the work for the next album so maybe we’ll release our second album next year, but it depends on how busy we will get playing live/touring. Regardless, we will keep being busy in one or several directions with establishing Hellsmoke on the metal scene!

Any final words of wisdom?
Never stop believing or trying, keep the momentum and you’ll succeed!

Rimbert Vahlström – vocals
Christofer Dahlman – guitars
Roger Landin – drums
Jörgen Löfberg – bass
Michael Åkesson – guitars

(Interview by Ken Morton)

Hellsmoke on Facebook
Pride & Joy Records on Facebook

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