One of the biggest names in the glam metal/sleaze rock scene, CRASHDÏET, have released their new album, Automaton, which is available now on digital platforms and CD via Crusader Records/Golden Robot Records. The limited-edition coloured vinyl is due for release on September 9. Just like a gigantic robotic machine with pre-determined instructions, failure was never an option. No matter what obstacles may have come their way in the past, CRASHDÏET have always marched forward, delivering their own style of Sleaze Metal they have become so well known for. Automaton contains twelve powerful sing-along anthems with massive drums, guitars, bass, and powering vocals. Peter London and Martin Sweet from CRASHDÏET talks to Hi Fi Way about the album.
It was literally just a couple of hours ago that the band released your new single so its probably a bit hard to gauge the response just yet, but do you guys get nervous when you release something new to the market?
Peter: I do because there are so many technical things that can go wrong on the Diet Records shop.
Martin: We’re not too worried about the music. We’re confident in our music. Everything needs to line up when you release something so there’s always something you’ve forgot.
I’ve watched the new video Together Whatever and can’t help but notice that you’ve got lots of footage of Dave and Simon in there while Gabriel is on the vocals. What’s the intent behind that? Is this having a shot at those who have a go at Crashdiet for continually changing vocalists or something different?
Martin: It’s just a celebration really of the different parts of Crashdiet’s history. Obviously, you can divide it by the singers you have had. They have all been important to take us to where we are today. Every singer have had their own “thing” and we just want to say that we’re proud of our past. So we’re not trying to cause any damage… (laughter)
I’ve been lucky enough to have been given and advance of the album so I’ve had a quick listen. So the title Automaton, can you define the meaning and how it relates to the album itself?
Martin: It’s just and idea or concept of the band Crashdiet and how we work. We’re kind of like a machine, a creature that you can’t stop. That’s s where the name comes from. A human-like robot if you will. We can relate to that because sometimes we don’t know why we’re doing this. (laughter) We’ve had so many setbacks in our career that it’s ridiculous. We just seem to … “Its time again!” We need to do this. We love what we’re doing but sometimes its like “why are we still around?” I think that’s where the title comes from.
I do think this is some of your best music but what struck me initially is that it’s a big rock album. Lots of guitars, big riffs, thundering bass, big drums. One of my instant favourites was the song Shine On, it’s big production. It’s a real rock n roll album all round. Was it your intention to go in and make a definitive rock album, or is that just how it evolved?
Martin: I think it’s how it evolved. We did the first attempt to record the album in the studio in Stockholm and we failed miserably. We couldn’t get our shit together really, so we finally decided to hop in a bus and go to the south of Sweden and record the whole album in two weeks, and that’s what we did. Then we could just focus on the songs and the music, and all the distractions could stay in Stockholm. So I guess that’s what you hear on the album – a very focused band.
So the first time around it didn’t work, was it more the location, the distraction, the lack of focus?
Martin: It was a combination of all the shit that was going on in the world. The pandemic and…
Peter: Everybody had to work.
Martin: The uncertainty of everything like – when do we get to tour again? We knew nothing and we had to try to get our creative juices flowing in the midst of this. We went in and tried to record a few songs and we tried to do a lot ourselves in home studios all spread out, it was just a mess.
Well anyway, in the end it’s come put amazing.
Peter: Yeah, Thank you.
It’s still got that feel that people will refer to as “Swedish Sleaze”, which is the phrase that has been coined, but it’s also got a very modern twist to it I think. Many of your contemporaries from about ten years back have branched out into garage rock, into power metal, into all these other areas whereas you guys seem to have stayed true to that “Swedish Sleaze” sound. Is that where you guys feel the most comfortable?
Martin: We’ve taken quite a few chances on previous albums actually, but when people hear it, it just sounds like us anyway. We think we’re doing this crazy thing and they’re like “Ah, it’s Crashdiet”, so it seems like when we try anything crazy it’s going to sound like us anyway because we have this recipe that we can’t really explain.
Even on this album you can hear a bit of industrial here and there, a few really heavy moments but in the end I guess it still sounds like “Swedish Sleaze”.
Martin: (Laughs) Yeah, but that’s a good thing. We don’t have to worry then.
Do you think the Swedish sleaze scene is still a bit thing in Sweden if you compare it to say ten years ago? Or has it changed somewhat?
Peter: It’s hard to say right now because there been a pandemic and there’s been no shows. I don’t know.
Martin: We can only guess. In our world it feels like it’s cooled down and we’re yesterday’s news. But then we release something, and everybody is going crazy. It’s really hard to tell until we go out on tour and see if we’re playing to two people or two hundred people.
There will be good crowds I reckon. Last time I saw you guys I think was “Rest In Sleaze Festival” in 2016. That was the show that the blizzard almost shut the gig down from memory.
Martin: Oh yeah. We almost never made it over there.
Peter: I didn’t make it in time.
I know lots of people we know that never made it. Since then you’ve obviously added Gabriel to the line up. How did you find Gabriel and how do you think he’s fitting into the band?
Martin: It’s such a long story but to make a long story short we started working with a manager. Actually let me re-phrase that… I started working with this guy Sven who later became our manager and he wanted to work with me on Sweet Creature stuff, my solo thing, and then he was “You should continue with Crashdiet and get a new singer. I was like “I don’t know. I don’t know man”. He took it upon himself to find someone, and he sent some different singers and we were like “I don’t know” but then Gabriel showed up in the emails and he had done a song with us. We were like “Fuck! This guy can sing. For real!” So we got interest from there to restart the whole band again. So that’s how it started.
Peter: I was in Brazil when it all started, when Gabriel’s demos came in. I didn’t even have a ticket home. Ok I’m gonna die here (laughter), I’m going to be here now for a while. Then I heard those demos and I was thinking this sounds really, really good.
Martin: Then we just started hanging out with the guy, and he was easy going, not too difficult to be around. That’s a good thing in our camp. (laughter) We’re happy campers. It just moved on from there. We didn’t have this whole masterplan that we’re going to take over the world and record albums again.
Peter: No, not at all.
Martin: It was very innocent in the beginning. We were just, let’s see, lets record one songs and release it to see what happens. And then it’s just… ummm
And the rest is history?
Martin: Well yeah, and now this is our second album.
Your first album with Gabriel RUST was just before the pandemic hit which pretty much shut down live music around the world.
Peter: Yeah, you can say that!
I guess through no fault of your own did you see that as an opportunity lost or did you see that time and use it to your advantage? Just having launched a brand new album and having all your tour plans thrown in the bin…
Martin: Yeah, it was a bummer because we only got to tour for a few weeks with the RUST album. Then that album was kind of old because we couldn’t tour it. So we decided early on that we just need to continue writing songs. Lets focus on the next album so that’s what we did.
So you had to write off that two year period and look at what was ahead?
When Gabriel first joined the band a lot of the things I was reading online was that there wasn’t enough grit, wasn’t enough attitude or grunt in his voice. I’ve listened to this new album and I think that he’s just completely raised the bar. He’s got the smooth vocals when that’s needed, he’s got the raw, gritty, aggressive vocals when that required. Is that something that he actively worked on or is that something that came out of him when he got more relaxed and into the band?
Martin: I think it’s a production thing actually. I recorded the first demos with him and he always had that raspiness on the demos. But then when the album RUST came out it was like it came out quite lean.
Yeah, which I think was the general consensus across the board…
But then when I listen to this…
Martin: When I heard him live it always sound much better than on the album. So I think we just managed to transfer that onto the new album.
Yeah, and it has come across amazing. Amazing vocals. The highs, the low, the aggressive, the smooth. A lot of the songs on the album, I don’t know if its me just reading into it on the first or second listens, a lot of them seem to come from a dark, maybe not angry, but a mellow place. Songs like Darker Minds, Dead Crusade, Resurrection of the Damned, Unbroken. Is that just a representation of where you guys were at, at the time of writing and recording?
Martin: I’m surprised there are so many positive songs. (laughter) Usually it’s mostly dark.
Peter: We have dark souls. It’s life.
Martin: It’s the way we are. And Gabriel… he’s the light! The light soul that comes in and breaks it off.
Peter: That’s actually true. (laughter)
Has Gabriel actually been involved in any of the song writing on this album?
The song Powerline is just another cracking rock song. Now that features Michael Starr of Steel Panther, is that correct?
Martin: That’s correct.
How did this collaboration come about?
Martin: It was an idea. I met the guys waaaay back and they were super nice dudes. I’m not a huge Steel Panther fan but I always liked the dude. They’re nice and professional guys and Gabriel is a fan. More like a fan-boy. (laughter) So we just had this idea that we should have a guest star on the album, so we just texted him and he was like “Yeah sure.” We know they’re Crashdiet fans, so we though it’d be a cool thing and it came out really cool.
Yeah it did. It sounds amazing. Similarly going back a few years you had Mick Mars on one of you albums. How did that one come about? That seemed like a very ‘out there’ collaboration.
Martin: At the time Mick Mars wanted to collaborate. I guess it was a record company thing. They had me on the radar and it just happened. Stars aligned. I just remember getting the phone call “Do you want to write with Mick Mars?” and I was like “Who!?!? Fuck yeah!” so that was unreal.
The new album is out now. Last time we saw everything from vinyl, to cassettes to minidisc, to VHS released.
Peter: Yeah. (laughter)
Any surprises instore for us this time Peter?
Peter: Yeah, I think so. So the vinyl comes out in September. And we might have some new formats by then. (laughter)
So we’ll have an 8 track coming this time?
Peter: (extended pause) Yes. Haha
Martin: You put him on the spot there. (laughter)
I thought you might have a bit of a surprise in there for us as you always seem to have some obscure things up on the webstore.
Peter: Of course. Of course. And we’re going to try to do Beta Max, but I’m not sure yet how that’s going to go. (laughter)
Martin: Very small market.
Sorry, but I’m not buying until the reel-to-reel comes out. Then you’ve got me.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, … (laughter)
Since you guys have signed with an Aussie label, Golden Robot Records, hopefully that means you’ll be down here sometime soon. I know a few tours have been canned now.
Peter: Yeah, we hope so.
Hopefully we can see you down here sometime soon. I know when you came down here for the Generation Wild tour, they were some of the most amazing shows I’d seen here. Is there anything that sticks out from the tour?
Martin: I remember a lot from that week. I got tattooed (present a tattooed forearm) Was it in Sydney… I can’t remember. We met a lot of good friends there and had lots of fun. You’re very nice people over there so we cant wait to come back.
Yes! A lot of bands often miss Australia on their tours so when that tour happened everyone jumped on that one, and by our standards those crowds were really good. So hopefully this pandemic can piss off and we can return to seeing bands tour the world and doing what they do best live on stage. Anyway, I’d just like to thank you guys for your time. It’s been awesome to speak to you.
Martin: We cant wait to come back there. 10 years … it’s been too long. We’ll have to get over there more frequently.
Interview By Lindsay Bulach
Order the CD and/or vinyl from the Golden Robot Records Store HERE