Stockholm, Sweden-based post-hardcore quartet, Blindside, have been kicking around the music scene, in one form or another, since 1994. With an absolutely die-hard, rabid following, the band’s fans went nuts when the group announced select December 2015 U.S. performances. With 2 shows on the books (December 4th at The Door in Dallas, TX and December 6th at The Fonda in Hollywood, CA), Blindside are preparing to head Stateside and perform their 2002 Elektra Records release Silence in its entirety. We managed to catch up via email with guitarist Simon Grenehed to discuss the group and their music.
For those not familiar with your band, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Grenehed: We are a Swedish post-hardcore band called Blindside that started touring the States in the late nineties and kept coming back, building an audience from the underground hardcore scene. We got signed to Elektra in 2002 and released the album Silence that opened a lot of doors for us. We’ve kept at it since then and headlined our own tours as well as opening for bands such as Linkin Park, Papa Roach, P.O.D, AFI and Hoobastank. Our last full-length album, called With Shivering Hearts We Wait, came out in 2011.
Your album Silence came out in 2002. You’ve done a show in NYC playing the album in its entirety and now you’ll be doing the same in Dallas and Los Angeles, how come?
Grenehed: It wasn’t really planned but when we had an opportunity to come back to the States we wanted to do something special and, since we don’t have a new album out, we decided to play the album that, in some ways, has been our most important one. A considerable amount of our fans found out about us through that album and to this day people compliment us for that album.
How do you feel playing such an old album live?
Grenehed: I think it’s aged well and the response in NYC was amazing which was the reason we decided to do it again. A lot of the songs we haven’t played in ages and some we rarely played at all so, in some ways, it’s interesting to rediscover that music all over again.
You guys are a heavy band, how does it make you feel when that power and energy you channeled in the studio comes to life in front of a crowd?
Grenehed: It’s interesting to recreate a song in front of an audience, some songs work and some just don’t fly, no matter how well prepared you are. That is one of the most intriguing facts of doing something creative like music. Some tracks build to a live monster but it’s kind of hard to predict. Playing in front of an audience really takes the music to a whole new level.
When you write do you do so with the live setting in mind or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?
Grenehed: We don’t think about the live perspective much while writing. It’s more about capturing the essence of the song at that very moment.
Along those same lines, do you take advantage of technology and email riffs and parts back and forth, or do you get together in a room in a more traditional sense and write together?
Grenehed: Both have their charms for sure, but if you’re able to create something together in a room I think that is the ultimate feeling, but it requires more time and persistence for sure.
Check out excerpts of then band playing ‘Silence’ live.
What is the story behind the name of the album Silence?
Grenehed: Silence is the title track and also the last track of the album. We spend a lot of time making sure the title of the album is right because we believe it should capture the heart of the message. With Silence it does sum up the message and we came to live through the value of silence during and after the touring for that album.
You have toured the world extensively. It there anywhere you would like to go that you have not been?
Grenehed: Yes. We’ve toured a lot of amazing places of the world including South Africa, Australia and parts of Asia. However we still haven’t been to South America or Japan yet, so that’s two places we’d love to play in the future.
What do you think of the current state of the rock/metal world?
Grenehed: That’s a tough question. I think rock and metal really fell through in the last ten years and you rarely see a solid rock/metal band hitting the mainstream these days, whatever mainstream is these days? Music is cyclical though so I’m sure it’ll come back around. It’s all about timing.
What are some of the newer metal bands that you are listening to or enjoy?
Grenehed: There’s a Swedish band called Black Temple and, of course, the band I manage called Rideau.
What is the heavy metal scene like over in Sweden?
Grenehed: Sweden has a great history of great rock bands including The Hellacopters, Refused, In Flames and the latest exports, I suppose, are Graveyard and Ghost, so I think it’s in pretty good shape.
Do you receive a lot of support from your local scene and fans in general?
Grenehed: Our biggest fan base has, and will probably always be, in the States, which of course is great. We have a loyal bunch of people over here as well supporting the band, but since we’re playing more Stateside they may be a little frustrated with us sometimes.
Do you have any touring plans?
Grenehed: We haven’t played much lately, but we’re starting up again and we’re open to the idea. We’re starting out with a few shows at the time and see where it takes us.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Grenehed: That is very hard to say. One of my favorite moments as a musician was during the recording of our album About A Burning Fire. I had an idea that we needed a guitar solo for the track “Hooray it’s L.A.” and thought we should have someone interesting doing a guest appearance. One of my guitar heroes is Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins so we called him up and he said he’d do it. So I flew up to Chicago and had a day in his studio, he ended up playing the whole track so I’m one of the speakers and he’s in the other. It was a pretty memorable day.
What is the strangest thing that has happened to you on tour, or at one of your shows?
Grenehed: One of the craziest thing that happened to us on tour was when we were doing a show with Nonpoint in Hartford, CT. People at the venue told us it was sort of a bad area but we didn’t really reflect on it… until this guy got shot by a police officer right outside our bus. We didn’t really feel like leaving the bus after that.