There’s a good deal of intelligent pop music coming along at the moment. Listening to Club Smith’s Loss EP, which is due on March 8th, you can hear the same influences that have catapulted Yeasayer to their current lofty perch. This is wonky pop with one foot in the past, but with a definite eye on the future.
I hear hints of The Smiths, Interpol and New Order in lead track ‘Lament’ as it swoops and sores over the last 30 years of British pop music. There’s the bitterness of North East embedded in each track. A hint of Field Music’s darkness, The Futurehead’s ear for a cutting riff. There’s no Dire Straits influence. Anyway, we find out they like Paramore and picked Kasabian for their mixtape, so perhaps not ALL’S well…
For people out there that have never heard of you. Give us three reasons why they should…
I don’t know about three reasons but I think we do a new take on miserable because only one of us is really that miserable, the other 3 are a bit too polite to to shut him up, and the the one who is miserable isn’t that sure he’s all that miserable anyway. So it’s kind of music coming from a dark place but not really wallowing in it, and then referring to itself in the 3rd person. eek.
Can you recall the moment when you first decided you wanted to become a musician?
I think I was 12 when I started playing guitar. Not really sure what motivated me to do it. Certainly wasn’t the old cliche of doing it to impress women, I was a late developer. Let’s not talk about it, that’s part of the dark place. ha.
Where do your songs come from? What’s your inspiration?
The songs on the Loss EP (out in March) are all quite reflective really…mainly a response to losing my mum a couple of years ago. It happened very suddenly and I didn’t write any of these songs around the time, but found myself constantly trying to comprehend the grief and make sense of it, and my place in everything. I now think it’s an impossible task to an extent but these songs are a reflection on all those things really.
Name your Top 5 records.
The Streets – Original Pirate Material – Life Defining album for me. Amazing for a boy from a village in east yorkshire.
Elbow – Asleep in the Back – The album of my college life, sound-tracked being dumped by first proper girlfriend. Awesome.
Bright Eyes – Digital Ash in a Digital Urn – The lyrics on this album are SO SO amazing, each song takes you on a ride…bit of adventure, followed by regret.
The Killers – Sam’s Town – I love the intent of this album. Such a big statement by the band and sounds so huge and ridiculous.
Paramore – Riot! – I don’t know why I’m embarrassed to put this like I was embarrassed about them being top in my last.fm chart by about 100 plays for about a year. It’s really ace pop and I can’t help it I love it and I wish I was a teenage girl when I listen to it.
What was the first gig you ever played and was it a success?
I think I did a gig at school when I was about 16… me and some classmates were doing gcse music and decided to form a band and we taught a mate who’d never picked up a guitar to play the basslines to come together (beatles) and get myself arrested by gomez. At the time it felt like a triumph but I’m pretty sure it must have sounded garbage.
What one piece of criticism has stuck in your mind and was it justified?
I’ve been told I try to control too much. It’s totally justified, but I wish there was some way I could stop people saying it.
What one thing has caused you to waste your free time in the past 6 months?
8 ball quick fire pool on miniclip.com – just checked up my statistics for when I’ve been playing it and I’ve done nearly 9 hours in total. That’s depressing.
If you weren’t making music, what do you think you’d be doing?
What I’m doing at the same time as music…work as a housing support worker for a housing association. So if music wasn’t going on I guess I’d be fully embroiled in more people’s debts, harrassment and overcrowding disputes.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
My last job was at part of Defra invoicing pesticide companies for the use of different chemicals. There just wasn’t enough work, and the civil service makes it so hard to leave I was just surrounded by collective acceptance of being unchallenged and underworked. I was working for a temp agency and worked out what was being paid for me to do barely nothing for 9 months covered all the tax I’d paid the previous 9 years of working. I don’t know what’s more depressing…the absolute waste or the fact I chose to work that out. I really had that much time.
We’d like you to make us a mix-tape. Pick five tracks with a theme of your choice.
Since we’re Club Smith I’ll make the theme clubs…
Club Foot – Kasabian
In Da club – 50 Cent
Club Tropicana – Wham
Tipsy – j-kwon (he says “Everybody in the club get tipsy”)
Love in this Club – Usher
That’s a lot worse than I could have hoped for when I thought of the theme…sorry!