MEB staffer Connor Feimster recently had a chance to sit down with drummer Fredrik Blond of The Sounds before they took the stage at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer. Read on to learn more about The Sounds’ writing process, the reception to Weekend, and what Blond listens to during his downtime.
MEB: For the record, can you please state your name and your role in the band?
Fredrik: Hello, my name is Fredrik Blond and I play drums for The Sounds.
You’re currently out on tour in support of Weekend. How has reception been for the record as a whole?
It’s been pretty good, actually. We always meet people and fans who are like, “Ohhh, I like it but I don’t like it as much as that one“…you always get those people. You also get the people that say it’s their favorite one, especially those who have never heard of us before and have just discovered us through this album. That’s pretty cool, too.
Would you say you’re getting a lot of new fans through this record? I, personally, haven’t seen much promotion for Weekend as I did for Something To Die For.
Yeah, well, technically, it’s like we are the label. But at some shows, there are still new people, between 20 and 30, next to our old fans, so I guess they must have discovered it through something.
So, Weekend is the fourth label you’ve been a part of for American releases; you’ve been on New Line, SideOneDummy, Original Signal, and now…?
I guess it’s our own label.
Right, so my question surrounding that would be: why the jumping around?
I don’t think I’ve ever been happy with a record label. Of course, if you ask them, they might say the same thing about me. First, we had New Line Records, who mostly release soundtracks to their movies, so…that was weird, and it wasn’t a deal that we signed; it was a deal that our European label signed for us. So somehow, we get out of that and get involved with Original Signal who released [Crossing the Rubicon] and, about nine or ten months later, went bankrupt. So because of that, [Something To Die For] came out on SideOneDummy and we weren’t too happy about them. After that, we realized it just takes too long to deal with record labels and stuff like that, so we decided to skip all the bureaucracy and just get it out and whatever happens, happens.
How has touring in support of Weekend been going?
It’s good! I’m amazed at how quick it’s been. There’s, like, two weeks left or something. I don’t know what happened [laughs]. It’s been going really quick and we finally have some decent weather. We were up in Canada for a few days and it was snowing. I wasn’t really prepared for snow; in my mind, spring would actually arrive in North America.
Yeah, you know, it should, but it’s not.
Well today was nice! I actually took a walk today.
That’s good, take it all in…so in terms of reception or reviews, how has Weekend compared to Something to Die For?
I don’t read that many reviews, actually. I’m not active on social media, either. Even though I don’t know that much, I’d have to say it’s been as good, if not better than [Something to Die For]. That’s my general take on it.
When it comes to your songwriting, when in the process does the drumming come in?
Usually, when we do demos, there’s almost never real drums. We just use computerized drum beats, because it’s faster. I can only speak for myself, but when I’m in the writing process, I like to make it as easy as possible. I usually just use, like, one or two beats and copy them up so I can get somewhere. It’s usually the same way with lyrics: if I have lyrics for one verse, I just copy them in to get a feel for what it would sound like.
So you co-write the lyrics, as well?
On some songs, yeah.
Given that this is your fifth record, what would you say was the most difficult of the five to write and why?
Wow, that is a good question…and it’s a little bit hard for me to say. In the earlier albums, I wasn’t that much into the actual music. I had my opinions and would say “maybe we should try this or that…” But not until I [worked on] this album, did I really have a place in the writing process of the actual music and lyrics. So it’s pretty hard for me to say. They all had their struggles, they all had their charm…I would say–it didn’t feel like [Weekend] was harder–it actually felt a little easier, because the principle writers were Félix, Jesper, and me. Basically just the three of us. It was really fast to come up with ideas, so in that sense, it was easy. I know we always thought that [Dying to Say This to You] was going to be really hard, but it wasn’t that hard. I think that was all written in six months or something. Then again, we didn’t have that many songs [on that record]. We only had ten and [“Night After Night”] had two different versions. I just think it’s always hard when you’re done with a record and then you, sort of, start off with no ideas. I really don’t like that feeling, like “we have nothing right now”…that’s horrifying. But that feeling also gives you a sense of freedom, because you don’t have to adjust your sound to make things “fit”, so they both have their ups and downs.
Having been a band for over ten years, you haven’t seen any lineup changes, which is very rare to see, especially nowadays. Because of that, how has writing together grown for all of you? Is it easier to do it together after doing it for so long?
Everything is pretty much the same as it has always been. Sometimes it’s hard when all five of us are there, because it’s five opinions [at once], you have to fight way more. I personally like when it’s just two or three people at the most, but you don’t ever want to leave anyone out. It’s honestly very rare that all five of us are in our studio working at the same time. It’s almost only all five of us there when we rehearse.
What are some of your biggest influences in your songwriting? Favorite musicians, records?
I’ve always liked the simple stuff, not being very good at piano, guitar, or singing. I like the ones that are usually just three or four chords. When you break them down, it’s very easy and accessible. You sometimes hear a song and immediately feel like, “wow I need to learn that song!” and that actually happened to me not too long ago, when I was listening to “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. It’s only three chords and it’s the same chord progression in the verses and chorus; it’s just so simple, but when you listen to it, you don’t think about it. I like those songs. When you break them down, they’re just so simple, it’s hard to believe they sound so good. Those are the songs I like.
Do you have any favorite albums or anything that just has staying power?
We all go through different phases. Lately, I would say…when I’m at home, I usually just play vinyl records because you can just buy them cheap from anywhere. I like a lot of movie soundtracks, cinematic sounds. I’ve been listening to a lot of Henry Mancini, who did the Pink Panther theme, some Romeo & Juliet theme, he even did Shaft, I think. I really like him, he’s really cool. Then again, he’s nothing like The Sounds, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be inspired by him.
Any influence is still influence to the musician, anyway.
Yeah, exactly. I’ve also lately listened, a lot, to Elvis and Frank Sinatra…not very “Sounds-y” [laughs]. It’s all to just relax.