In my eight years at Pennyblackmusic, there have been quite a few bands that I’ve seen and decided that they deserved to be far more famous. But, in all honesty, there have been far fewer that I convinced myself actually would become properly famous.

When I met Sounds Like Violence in June 2004, when they were playing at the Cavern Club in Exeter, I found an exception to the rule.

Sounds Like Violence, who are originally from Angelhom in north Sweden, don’t sound like anyone else. An astonishingly intense band, they give absolutely everything they have on stage, to the point where they leave the stage visibly exhausted. And yet, there are great tunes poking out from the chaos, and a stark, simple sound that shows them off perfectly.

I can only put their failure to become huge down to bad luck, but I don’t think that will last. After this interview, I saw them play an astonishing show. To an audience of maybe twenty people in a bar ten minutes from Angel tube, I saw them produce a set many bands would have saved for their headline date at Wembley. Sounds Like Violence simply won’t be able to be this good for too much longer before the wider public notices.

Pennyblackmusic spoke to Andreas Soderlund, guitar and vocals and Daniel Petersson, drums, before their second night playing in London. The venue was rather a strange one, which didn’t serve beer on tap, and had a pub downstairs that was only half-furnished. Still, we gathered downstairs, and against the backdrop of England’s World Cup Qualifier against Belarus, discussed the future of their band.

PB : When I last interviewed you, in 2004, you were touring your debut six track EP, 'The Pistol'. It's now 2008, and you’ve released a full length album, 'With Blood on My Hands', and are preparing a second album. What else has changed ?

AS : A lot has changed. We’ve lost one member. Our guitarist has left the band. That has changed the sound a little bit.

DP : I wouldn’t say that it has changed it a lot, but it definitely sounds a lot more focused. We’ve added the new member on top of the more focused sound.

AS : In the rehearsal room, when it was just three of us, I had to cover up and add more melodies and sound.

DP : You could say that the music is a bit more simple, but it has more intensity. But it is still the same Sounds Like Violence sound.

PB : Did that make you change the songwriting as well ?

AS : It’s hard to say, but I suppose it has changed. It is definitely more direct.

PB: And you’re recording a new album at the moment?

DP: Yes. You’re going to know that it is Sounds Like Violence, but there is going to be a lot more diversity in the types of songs.

AS : We’ve really been listening to Nirvana’s albums, the first Guns and Roses album… big albums like that. They will be our inspiration.

DP : Though we never focused on doing music that has a particular sound, we’ve always been inspired by the music that we grew up with. I think that this time round, we have let it influence us more.

The experience of doing these rehearsals with just the three of us has been more inspiring than anything in a long time. It’s been fantastic, when we rehearsed songs and demoed them. I’ve never been more enthusiastic about what we are doing than now. It’s just great fun being a member of this band, and it’s going to be really, really nice.

AS : The fourth member is joining us to play live, but I am doing all the guitars on the recordings.

PB : Will the live show change quite a lot ?

DP : He’s going to bring his own style to it.

AS : But, it is the same four piece band, with two guitars, drums, bass and nothing else. There won’t be a choir or anything.

DP : We haven’t trained him. We haven’t shown him a video of us playing live and said "do that!."

AS : It won’t be like the 'Use Your Illusion' tour when they suddenly had twelve members. But we do have four vocalists in the band now, everyone sings harmonies. We started doing that two years ago, when we were touring ‘With Blood On My Hands’.

PB : It is certainly a very energetic, physical live performance. Do you feel like the music changes, or are you trying to sound the same in the studio ?

AS : Playing live is always going to be special for us. We started playing when we were thirteen years old, so the live show is always going to be number one. We’ll do as good records as we can, but playing live is number one.

PB : What sort of venues do you like to play in ?

DP : It varies so much, but for me I like to play in the smaller clubs where you are right there with the audience. The more sweat the better!

PB : I saw you again last year, playing in a much bigger tent, at the Dour Festival.

AS : I think we can do better than that gig. We played our final show with our guitarist in Russia, in May. It was one of our best ever gigs, and a very nice farewell to him as well.

DP : A good show, a good audience and just the perfect size. It was the perfect goodbye to Philip (Hall-Ed)and a perfect Sounds Like Violence gig.

PB : Does the size of the audience make a difference ?

AS : No. We’ve been doing everything. We’ve played to just the sound engineer and the bar staff, or as support slots. We’ve got used to it, and we just know that we’ve got to just play.

DP : We definitely don’t rely on the audience, but obviously, it’s better for us when they are there! But we try and go out and enjoy ourselves.

When we played in the UK in 2004, we played in a really small place where we had to move the pool table out for us to play. There were ten people there, but it's one of my favourite gigs because we gave it all, and the people that were there obviously really enjoyed it.

PB : And this time, you’re just playing these two nights in London.

AS : It’s not really a tour. We are here to try and let people know that we are alive and kicking.

DP : (Sings the chorus from 'Stayin’ Alive') We’re also here just to get a good surrounding. We want to make sure we’re ready for the second album, we want to have managers and booking agents, so we’re here to see what happens.

PB : In the UK, you’ve had some attention. You’ve been praised on Radio One, and you’ve had some very, very good reviews - 5 star reviews - but for whatever reason, it seems like you haven’t become an established name.

AS : What does it take to get big here ?

DP : Seriously, we’re asking you! What would we have to do?

PB : I think you just have to be in the right place at the right time. You may get a 5 star review, but the magazine might have Foo Fighters lined up for the cover that week, so you miss out.

AS : We’re not connected to any scene. We just Sounds Like Violence. We just play our music. So that’s why it may take a while.

DP : We’re hoping to get the right person doing the right job for us, and we think that in the UK something could happen. We want to finish the album, and then hopefully do another tour around the UK as soon as possible.

PB : Also, when I first saw you play in Exeter, you were on the American label Deep Elm, and now you are with the Swedish label Burning Heart.

DP : Actually, Burning Heart came in before. They licensed the album from the American label, and we were happy with that. It worked out well. The problem was that immediately we sensed that it was easier working with a label that was over here. We had a lot of trouble contacting the American label and working out what they were actually doing. They weren’t helping us out or giving us the info they wanted. So we decided to separate from that label, so that we could have more control.

PB : Also, although Burning Heart is a varied label, most of their bands have more in common with you, I would imagine.

AS : They have Millencollin, and we’re not at all like them, though they do their thing very well ! We think we have something to offer that is our own, and we don’t want to get involved.

DP: We’re not going to be the next Refused. But we got the sensation that Burning Heart really believed in the band. I’m not sure that Deep Elm felt the same way about us now as they did when we signed with them. We’re thankful for what they did, and they helped us get where we are now, but...

AS : Actually, Deep Elm were really hard to get along with. They did the last album, but we don’t know if they really released it. They had some kind of online distribution, but they are such a small label, and they want to be ‘Indie Till Death’, as they say. We’re not into that. We want as many people as possible to listen to us, and spread the word !

PB : When do you think the new album will be done, and when will you be back in the UK ?

AS : Hopefully, in March or April this year. Maybe if we get a management, they will want us to do something different, but we want to release as soon as possible. We’re going to record it for three more weeks, and then send it to the US to be mixed.

DP : In our mindset, we want to release it in March. Then maybe, we’ll do a support tour, a pre-release tour and then a headline tour. We want to be back as soon as possible.

AS : We really want to sell-out shows. When you play show after show, and few people show up, sometimes that breaks you down. We really like playing live, but we want the audience to grow as well.

PB : Are there any specific things that you’d like the band to achieve in the long term ?

DP : My goal is always, in any band, just to play the drums. I want the stability so that I can live from playing music. I don’t have to be in the world’s biggest band, but I want to live doing what I love with this band. We don’t have to be the next Metallica.

AS : Well, we could be ! But I just want to write good songs that I’m proud of. And I want to just let the world know about us. It’s been a struggle, I can tell you, but we’re on a track now.

DP : Sometimes you also have to recognise how lucky you are. I’m in London, on Wednesday 16 October, playing drums with my favourite band, Sounds Like Violence. It’s perfect, and I’ve never had another dream in my life. I’m so close to getting to do what I love every day, my dream, that I’m happy.

PB : Thank you.

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