Congratulations on the debut album from One Machine. It really is a fantastic album! How long have the songs for The Distortion of lies and the Overdriven Truth been around?
Smyth: Thanks very much! Some of these songs I have had with me for many years, while other riffs and such were a bit newer, and created in the moment. Lyrically I had several themes for quite a few years I wanted to express as well, so those were things I had as well.
How did the One Machine line up come together?
Smyth: It took some time to get to where we are now, but ultimately it started with locating Jamie Hunt (Biomechanical) who’s band had opened for Nevermore back in 2005, and I had kept in mind as a guy who might work well. That was 2008. Mikkel Sandager came the next year, he had also opened for Nevermore back in 2005, and I had kept him in mind as well. Tomas came as a suggestion from Mikkel, and Raphael Saini, who drummed on the album, suggested Michele Sanna to replace him on drums.
Is there an overall concept or common thread running through the lyrics on the album?
Smyth: The theme throughout that ties is humanity, and the various things happening in the world today that are in my opinion affecting humanity in various negative ways. There is government manipulation and corruption on an unprecedented scale these days, affecting most every aspect of human lives, be it institutional corruption on a financial, educational, or personal (health) level, many countries going into various states of civil war, homelessness, hunger, with the advent of the internet, you get your very own personal pariahs that feed on slandering people on the internet, stealing artist works and peer sharing them….there’s a lot of ugly stuff going on, and what happens? More lies and bullshit that just attempts to cover or trample to death, overdrive, if you will, the truth. We have songs that register each of these aspects, as well as a few introspections on death, out of body experiences, questioning the afterlife or the hereafter, and a few other things as well.
You recently made your live debut in Denmark at Midwinter Meltdown. How was that experience and was the live band chemistry what you had envisioned when you put the band together?
Smyth: It was one of my most nervous shows I can recall in quite some time, and it felt really good at the same time! This is something we had all been working on for quite some time, and to see it finally come to fruition, as our live show, a festival headlining debut, made it even better, but also nerve wracking as well! It went off pretty good, a few technical glitches here and there, but the crowd, having never heard but 2 of these songs in advance, reacted very positively, headbanging, throwing the horns, a bit of pit action, it was great! Until the festival ran out of beer around the second to last song of our set! Ha ha But the diehards stayed on, and enjoyed it to the end.
Obviously metal fans know you from your work with popular bands in the thrash metal genre such as Testament, Nevermore, Forbidden, and Dragonlord and I hear influences from all of these bands yet there is originality in the music as well. Was there a conscious effort to add more melody and progressive influences to separate One Machine from your previous efforts?
Smyth: You could ask any of those guys, Eric, Jeff, Craig, and they’ll tell you I’ve always been more of the melodic and harmony guy, so that’s a natural thing coming from me that I think I added to their music in respect, as well as riffing, contributing songs and arrangement ideas to the albums we worked on with each of those guys. That’s chemistry, some get it, some don’t, but it’s real, and this album should help substantiate this fact as well. I wrote the lion’s share of this album, riffs, lyrics, direction, but we collaborated on a few songs with myself, Mikkel, and Jamie. I had Jamie focus on solo sections within songs, as I think he has interesting ideas there, and Mikkel, I listened to what he had, and offered direction on a few things here and there, and helped guide him into some new areas he had not explored before.
What do you think Mikkel Sandager’s unique vocal style brings to the One Machine sound?
Smyth: First of all, the guy is a powerhouse vocalist, and what he did on this album shows this and then some. He’s got a very distinctive and unique voice, awesome range, and he’s got a lot of ability to get into other characters as well, as he’s shown on this album. He’s showing versatility, and he’s also stepping up to the frontman position I’ve always thought he should be in, but wasn’t really wasn’t seen as much in his previous band, that’s what I think. Some fans will like this, some will not, but one thing none of us wanted was to sound like our previous bands.
After shopping the band to different record labels, how did you decide on working with Scarlet Records?
Smyth: It came down to a few choices to be honest, but we went with Scarlet in the end because they showed a lot of interest and willingness to help develop the band at it’s earliest stages, and so far, that’s exactly what we’re doing, and looking to do more of.
How did you come to work with Roy Z on the mixing of the album?
Smyth: I’ve known Roy for many years, since my time in Testament when we toured with Halford on the Metal Gods Tour back in 2003, and have always wanted to work with him behind the board if the opportunity ever arrived. It did, in the form of this debut, and I couldn’t be happier with the result! He did a great job with what I gave him, and we both worked really hard to make sure this album was the best it could be. It was recorded at everyone’s home studios, then sent over to me for adding into a master session, and Roy has awesome ears for keeping this as natural sounding as possible, with very little added in, and all edited to make it perfect. He’s a Martin Birch and Tom Allom fan, as am I, and that alone told me that we could get this sounding like you’re in the room with us. We left some scars in there! Ha ha I definitely wanted this to sound how you will hear the band live, and that’s exactly what we got!
On a serious note, in 2006 you had a kidney transplant. How is your health and do you think it will effect the rigors of touring with the band?
Smyth: Well, I have 7+ years behind me with the transplant, am in the best shape of my life, plus I toured my ass off in Forbidden again from 2009-2012, and it held up fine, so I think we’re all good again! Ha ha I know what I have to do, so I pay more attention to all that, but still have my fun and get to hang out with everybody!
Speaking of touring, do you have any touring plans in Europe or here in the U.S.? Do you have any other festivals lined up?
Smyth: We are at work on this now, and expecting to have some news about this in the coming months, so stay tuned on our website and other media!
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. I wish you the best of luck with the band. Where can fans find more information on One Machine?
Smyth: You can tune in with us here:
To all metalheads out there- FEED THE ONE MACHINE!!! Buy the album, write us and tell us where you want us, and we’ll get to you! See you on tour! M/!!!