Posted On 17 May 2017
Meet the Swedish folk-pop duo Smith & Thell, who released their debut full-length album Soulprints on May 12th.
Maria Jane Smith and Victor Thell have spent the last few years establishing themselves as one of Sweden’s most sought after songwriter & producer duos.
Together they’ve contributed as composers on songs that have totaled over 200 million streams. Smith & Thell released their debut singles “Statue” in 2015 and “Row” in 2016 (respectively), which have racked up over 6 million collective streams on Spotify.
Check out “Row” here:
Connect with them here:
Purchase link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/soulprints/id1201171971
Learn more about Smith & Thell in the following All Access interview:
What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? What were some of the highlights? What are you most excited about for this year?
We put a lot of effort into finishing the album in 2016 and the process for us has been an emotional roller coaster. It’s mostly wonderful but also there are a few headaches here and there. We’re perfectionists with our music so it never really leaves our minds, which is good and bad. The highlights were the summer festivals like the major international festival Bråvalla and a Germany tour where we felt very welcomed (and got to open for one of our favorite artists LP). This year, we are excited to finally get this album out.
So how did this duo first form? How did you two meet each other and decide to make music together? How did you decide to be called by your last names?
We met in our hometown Helsingborg (in Southern Sweden) as young teenagers. I (Maria) was playing some songs I had written at a local music event. Victor was in the audience and contacted me on Myspace shortly after seeing my performance to ask if I wanted to start a band. Back then he was playing drums and I was singing & songwriting. Since then we have developed a bit as writers and musicians together. We knew we had found something special in each other and since that day we have became inseparable, both in life and in music.
Next month you will release your debut full-length album called “Soulprints.” How excited/nervous are you both about this? How long did it take to put it together? I read that it was like therapy putting together some of the songs on this collection. Can you elaborate on that? What songs are you particularly looking forward to sharing with people?
It is actually quite hard and we are a little nervous. The album is full of deep personal experiences and emotions that we are voluntarily sharing with the world. We question sometimes why do we choose to put these things out into the world? Why make ourselves so vulnerable? The answer is we feel that we have to. It is our story and we should embrace it. The album has been in the making for over 2 years now and it has felt like therapy. We think it is great to get your emotions off your chest and our tool for doing that is our songs. One track that we hold a little extra dear to our hearts is ’Garden Of Eden’. It’s about having to leave my (Maria’s) childhood home as a teenager, after her parents pass away. I avoid listening to it alone actually as it fucking hurts. But it was important to write the song in order to get those emotions outs, rather than have them live in me.
What was it like putting this collection together? What were some of the challenges and some of the surprising parts about the whole process?
We never sit down in the studio with each other and be like ’hey we have to write a new Smith & Thell song today’. We write a lot for other artists, but for our own artist project we let it come naturally. When we feel like writing we write. With this album we have learned to trust our gut-feeling on knowing when a song is ready to be finished and recorded. We want real emotion in our recordings and we never want to mess that moment up by forcing it. Our mood, the initial vocal takes and the hours of production around it, is vital for the authenticity of the song so it can connect with the listener. It’s been a little challenging and time consuming for us when we know we want to move forward and finish songs, but have the awareness to say ’no, it’s not a “February” (song title) type of day today’.
How do you think you two have grown as musicians since you first started making music together? How has your overall sound changed? How did your music change when you started dating and eventually became a couple?
Maria: Victor has taught me to enjoy a more simple way of writing to get my message across easier.
Victor: Maria has taught me how express my feelings in our music, she’s always pushing me outside of my comfort zone.
When we became a couple our music became more honest, plus we didn’t have to hide away all the love songs anymore. 🙂 In the beginning, our music was a little less produced. Then we experimented for a while but have settled in to what you hear now and feel like we are really on track.
Do you have plans to tour with the new album? Where can people see you perform live next? I’d love to know about your favorite show ever so far?
Yes, Next show is in Berlin May 23rd!
What was it like opening for LP last month?
It was just great, she’s one of the real ones. Very good vibes and she has such a welcoming and loving crowd.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you all love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration?
Paul Simon and Bon Iver. Life would be complete!
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
We hope that our music can help to allow people to feel their real emotions and know that regardless if those emotions are good or bad, that it is OK to just feel. Our music can give people hope and a little comfort in the darkness if your going through something.