Swiss-based Beyond Frequencies are one of those few aspiring fresh units that have no problem crossing musical borders. (Seriously, are there even any borders left!?) While many metalheads may have a problem with the evolution of metal, it seems like fans of Beyond Frequencies are embracing their modern crossover approach and so-called “heavy pop” style with open arms. We had a chance to discuss Beyond Frequencies’ sound, influences and most importantly upcoming debut album “Megalomania” with their leader Mel Schweickardt. So, read all about in the following interview.
MG: Hello, Mel. Pleasure speaking to you. How are you doing?
Mel: It’s my pleasure! I am doing great, it’s an exciting time. The reactions to our first singles have been overwhelmingly positive, therefore I am quite fidgety and can’t wait to finally release the complete album “Megalomania” on October 23.
MG: Beyond Frequencies is a new act but you’ve already managed to make a lot of noise. Can you introduce the band?
Mel: Beyond Frequencies is a Swiss Band that hits the mark with those music enthusiasts whose playlists contain not only metal but also songs from other genres because they enjoy the variety of different music styles. Our vision is to represent a modern version of rock music and we feel extremely honored that we are already described by fans as Metal 2.0 or Grunge of 2020.
MG: You yourself label your music as “heavy pop”. What led to this fusion of sounds? What are the main influences for you?
Mel: It’s hard to describe sounds and songs with words. You’ll never find the right label. To us, “heavy pop” comes pretty close. We all love the roughness of intense guitar riffs and pushing double-kicks. At the same time, we like to experiment with the artificial sounds of electronical music. Our influences vary from Of Mice & Men, to Slipknot or even Skrillex. The sound needs to have power – so much for the “Heavy” part.
On the other hand, the main driver of all our songs is a clearly a catchy melody and my voice is anything but a screamo metal voice – so much for the “Pop” part. To me, this fusion of these styles make perfect sense and comes naturally.
MG: Many metal bands are bringing in these new mixtures of different musical genres and directions, creating several kinds of hybrids. While some listeners appreciate the evolution, others are a bit more sceptical and call it “selling out”. Would you say that bands and especially some of the subgenres of heavy music are stagnating or it’s going in the right direction? What’s your view on this controversial topic of the development of metal music?
Mel: According to Wikipedia there are more than 90 subgenres of rock and metal. Mixing genres is not new after all. Everything in life evolves, so does music, so does metal. I don’t see the point of fighting the change of times. The production techniques of these days opened up a sheer endless opportunity for creativity. Why not indulge in it?! For creatives, this is mere paradise! Every time I discover a young act dedicating their art to metal but unafraid to add a new fresh flavor to it, my heart skips a beat.
MG: What is Beyond Frequencies’ fanbase like? In general, does your music attract more metalheads or fans of pop music?
Mel: As far as I can tell, they are rather from the camp of metalheads. But we also notice that we spark interest with people who would normally never listen to rock or metal music. It seems like we are opening a gateway to the genre for these people.
MG: Mel, you’re the singer and songwriter of the band. From your perspective as a songwriter, what’s the hardest part about mixing these heavier and more mainstream styles together? How do you keep a balance between the two sides? Are there any limits when you create new tunes?
Mel: There are no limits when creating new tunes. Overcoming the lack of imagination is the hardest part. Or I should better say: It was until the right people gathered. It took a while to find the right people to work with. Most people I turned to couldn’t imagine what I had in mind, haha. Or maybe I’m just a bad communicator ;-).
I am thankful that Beyond Frequencies now has such great musicians on board who share the idea. And working on the production with Christoph Siemons (once mastermind of the symphonic-metal band Krypteria) and Fabian Zimmermann (i.a. Blind, Betontod) felt like winning the jackpot in the lottery to me.
MG: You’re not new to the music industry but you had a little pause as a performer before bringing Beyond Frequencies to life. What drew you back to music? Do you sometimes maybe regret not coming back sooner?
Mel: In hindsight, yes, I regret not coming back sooner. But you can’t skip the process, it is part of the journey. I really thought I was done for good with the music industry. Being an artist literally drains on everything. And starting all over again takes even more energy. It took a while to recharge the batteries. But once an artist, always an artist. I just can’t help it, I have to get the songs out of my system. Now more fierce than ever 😉
MG: You guys are releasing your debut album “Megalomania” on October 23. Let’s talk about it a little. What does the title represent? What message would you like to deliver with this album?
Mel: We truly believe in “go big or go home”. What’s the use of trying “a little”? No matter what you want to achieve, put all in. But let’s be honest, if you articulate your plans without first censoring them in a socially acceptable way, it usually sounds like megalomania. Voilà here is the soundtrack to all megalomaniacs out there! We believe in you!
MG: What was the most challenging thing about the whole process from songwriting to being just a few days from the album release?
Mel: Songwriting and making music are our playground, that phase requires a lot of effort, yet it’s not really challenging. But releasing music is so much more than just producing music (hence the band name Beyond Frequencies). The world doesn’t know that we even exist! No one has heard of Beyond Frequencies before, so why bother and listen to our music?! So, the most challenging part is to catch the attention of music fans and for our music to actually get heard. Especially challenging for a brand-new act who starts from scratch is to carve your name into the brains of journalists and music bloggers, so they are willing to write about you. In that sense: Metal Goddesses you rock! Thank you so much for having me.
MG: Which song on the album did you have the most trouble writing?
Mel: “After Dark”; both, lyrics and music. The lyrics are about a friend who is an alcoholic but somehow still manages to more or less hide the addiction and cope with the daily life – but I can clearly tell, it is a balance act in its last phase. The fall is foreseeable. Musically, I love the arrangement and the darkness of the sound. But personally, it was challenging to associate this dark sound with a beloved person. It took a while until I accepted it. Overall, I think you’ll need several listens to get into the song but will then acknowledge that it is one of the strongest songs on the album.
MG: Did the current global situation affect the album in any way? Was the album already finished or were you still working on it when the pandemic hit?
Mel: Haha, you must be kiddin’?! This is a rhetorical question, is it? It affects everything!!! The release of the first single in March was on the exact day when the lock-down in our area was announced – guess which news were the bigger ones. And we were supposed to play some first live gigs at festivals to promote the upcoming album – well, nada. Also, no promo-tour this winter. And next festival season it is mostly copy&paste of the line-up of 2020, hence most of the slots are taken and we hardly get any bookings. So please dear bookers out there: call us!
Also, the production was affected. Half of the sessions were scheduled for May. The producers are in Germany, we live in Switzerland. The borders were closed for several weeks, and no one knew for how long. As soon as they were opened, I jumped into the car and drove all the way (flying was not an option at that time, so it was me and the highway for hours and hours). Oh well, you can’t change the weather. Just try to make the best out of the situation and it’ll be alright.
MG: I know it’s hard to make plans during these uncertain times but do you already know what is next for Beyond Frequencies after the album release?
Mel: We are already working on the production of the second record, which will be released in autumn 2021 if everything goes as planned.
MG: Thank you for your time, Mel. Anything else you’d like to add?
Mel: Thank you for the interview! We can’t wait to finally get on stage and meet you all at a concert! Let’s keep our fingers crossed, we all stay healthy and it will happen soon!