• The Vibe

An Interview with 'Steam Train Hearts'


Who are the band members and what do they play?

Vocals: Wallace Dietz Lead & rhythm guitars: Bruce Smith Bass: Kyle Hermann (Michael Click on "Seed Change") Drums: Blee Child (John Morand on "Seed Change")


How and where did you get together?

Indie-pop enthusiast Wallace Dietz of the Silent Boys united with swamp/punk/noir-a-billy guitarist Bruce Smith of Dismal Swamp Lords to create the Steam Train Hearts, a melodically charged indie rock band, spitting smoke and cinder. Bruce and I are partners at Sound Of Music studios in Richmond, VA with our engineer John Morand who has produced bands like Honor Role, the Saints, Cracker, etc. We recorded the Steam Train Hearts album back in the summer of 2017 but set it aside as we got busy running the studio.

What are the band's main influences?

There is a strong Neil Young and 80s indie rock influence (Dinosaur Jr., Psychedelic Furs, Dream Syndicate) with elements of power pop and mod sprinkled throughout various songs on the album.


Have you played any notable gigs, festivals or other events? Likewise radio or TV appearances?

Stupid pandemic!


Are there any other interesting or amusing happenings – no matter how small – that the band have been involved with that would be of interest to those who like your music?

We double as a Joy Division tribute band, so we sometimes switch gears during live shows and throw in a classic number like "Transmission," startling the unsuspecting audience.


Do you have any favourable quotes from previous reviews of the band that you'd be happy to share?

No one has heard these songs yet as they have not been released, but I imagine folks will have some good things to say about "Seed Change" and especially "Despair," which stings and kicks like a Dinosaur Jr. tune.


Where was the single/EP/album recorded and who was involved in its production?

Smoke & Cinder was recorded and engineered by John Morand at Sound Of Music Studios in Richmond, Virginia. Bruce Smith mastered the 10-track album.


Can you briefly describe what the song/each song is about? If you are releasing an album then either describe the thinking behind the project or choose a couple of lead tracks to focus on.

The first single “Seed Change,” is a call for change in a society that’s becoming more divisive each day as we approach the November election. Release date: September 18, 2020. The second single “Despair” describes “holding on” during a bout of hopelessness and finding the strength to fight back with a vengeance. Release date: October 3, 2020


Were there any notable or amusing happenings surrounding the recording/production of the EP? As above, list whatever might be of relevance.

I started Steam Train Hearts so that I could play shows in Richmond again. Hard rock lead guitarist Bruce Smith, said he would join me in this new project if I would agree to lose the guitar. And furthermore, he would not put up with anything resembling the romantic jangle pop of the Silent Boys. I wrote all the songs on the album, mining a different vein of music, and Bruce replayed all of my rhythm guitar parts to give it a more rocking sound. While I did, as Bruce requested, “lose the guitar” for the studio recording of this album, I maintain my position as rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist for all our live shows, and Bruce admits I’m not as useless as he initially declared.


Please provide a one or two-line personal quote that can be attributed to a band member, about either the band themselves or the release. Obviously the more eye-catching this is the better.

"This isn't half-bad!"

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