We caught up with Essex-based musician Smotherly Love following the release of his brilliant EP ‘Predestinate Grooves’. Read the full interview now!
What is your earliest music memory?
My earliest music memory is probably hearing my dad play his acoustic guitar at home, let’s say, enthusiastically. These would range from Irish folk tunes to David Bowie covers all to differing levels of aptitude. Being a stubborn little sh*t I made it my mission to play better than him!
Who or what got you into music?
I learnt the piano when I was young, and I really think that’s where it actually started for me. I hated playing scales and practising, but give me a pop tune to try to copy and I would love it. From there I picked up guitars and eventually the drums a little in the same way.
In terms of actually what got me writing, it was probably just me getting a bit older. Mundane sh*t in life, like work, takes over and it felt like I had no real outlet for any creativity at all. Sitting down and actually coming up with music ideas bad or good always felt like a way of blowing off steam.
Who influenced your latest release ‘Predestinate Grooves’?
I’d been listening to a lot of a band called Crumb when writing, their album Jinx came out last year, and it really resonated with me, I loved the overall feel from production to instrumentation, it felt like a great jumping-off point. It would be impossible to not mention Kevin Parker as well, a big hero of mine, and particularly tracks from inner speaker. It kinda helped me remember to be a little looser and happy to let a tune jam out, but also not to shy away from ‘poppier’ moments.
I also love the weirdness bands like animal collective and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard bring to there music, whilst still being able to write some just great accessible tracks, so I really wanted to bring some of that as well.
‘Places To Be’ is the first single release form EP, why did you choose that song in particular?
I chose ‘Places To Be’ as the first single from the E.P. as honestly, it felt like the one with the most traditional chorus! I think that as a track it showcases the rest of the EP well and hopefully draws people in to listen further!
Across the five tracks, there are two instrumental interludes, what inspired the instrumental tracks?
The instrumentals were essentially born from tracks that had been filed away from previous projects and sessions. I’m a real hoarder of things I write, I always come back and pinch bits and pieces from tracks that may be 2-3 years old but never got anywhere. (Backwards, Bending) was one of the first things I had recorded and wanted to include it in some form, as a way of drawing a line between all my previous work and new tracks. (Alien Beaches) was a similar story, and I felt that it helped the transition from more ‘full band’ tracks into a more acoustic closer Water, Revisited.
What’s the music scene like in Essex?
I’m a relative newcomer to Essex, having moved here a year ago, so I’m still exploring the local music scene. I can’t wait for the venues to reopen properly and catch some of the local artists I’ve found online!
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’d pretty much take anyone going, writing music alone is hard work!
I actually think it would be really interesting collaborating with other solo artists, almost like a social experiment, whose ego would run rampant and who would take more of a backseat role!
By this logic, let’s say, Father John Misty, BC Camplight and Toro Y Moi. I mean they’d all run rings around me, but it would cool to be there! Ah, screw it if it’s a fantasy collab let’s get Kevin Parker there too.
What changes would you like to see in the music business?
I think a topic that’s all on musicians minds is the role of streaming services within the industry. I love the immediacy and open nature of say Spotify or Apple Music, it allows people such as myself to release onto a worldwide platform for only a small investment, but clearly, there is a big problem in the way artists are paid royalties.
I thoroughly back artists like Nadine Shah, who are speaking out about how little they receive for their work. So definitely, for me, this is an area within the music business that requires some change.
How do you feel about how the internet plays a role in the music business today?
The internet and the music industry are now so utterly intertwined that I think you have to accept what it is to a certain extent. Releasing music in 2020 can feel a bit like shouting into a void, trying to be heard over a million other voices and can sometimes be disheartening. Despite this, it’s given such a platform to so many incredible artists that may otherwise have gone unheard. Using the internet and social media well is almost like a game. Play it well, and you can appear popular and use it to further your career, badly, and it’s easy to be ignored.
I’m almost certainly too lax on pushing things as hard as perhaps they might need, I always just quietly hope, perhaps naively, that the music wins out, over all the other noise…
Have you started working on your next release?
Although I haven’t started writing new music properly yet, I have some solid foundations in place. January is when I have time set aside to really dive into it properly, and since the release of ‘Predestinate Grooves,’ I have been turning my focus onto lyric writing and creating almost a palette of sounds, production values and ideas I want to use on my next tracks. I can’t wait to get cracking!
FV Music Blog December 2020
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