Before their incredible show at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, we caught up with The Smith Street Band bassist Fitzy, and were later joined by guitarist Lee, to talk about their approach to playing live, the success of their latest album and, of course, who would star in The Smith Street Band movie…
Hello! How’s it all going?
F: Good thanks!
You’re part way through a UK tour right now, how’s it been so far?
F: Really good. We’ve got four or five shows left now, so we’re at the tail end. All of the UK shows have been great.
Your fourth album, More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me, has been out for a few months now. What are your thoughts on the response to it?
F: Yeah, we worked really hard on it and people are liking it a lot. It’s definitely the biggest thing we’ve done.
Would you say it’s the most accessible album the band have released so far?
F: I’m not sure. Accessible how? I guess they’re our most refined songs. A lot of our older songs are longer and on this album we’ve looked at economising and instead of having six minute songs we’ve got more three and a half minute songs.
Is there one song on the album that you’d say, for someone who has never heard The Smith Street Band before, listen to this one to see what we’re all about?
L: I’d say that Death To The Lads is one.
F: Yeah, it’s a more poppy one. Birthdays maybe. It’s kind of a positive happy song. There’s a bunch of songs album that are more dealing with breaking up with someone and darker topics, I think Wil’s lyrics have been more about his experiences in general, so Birthdays is a nice happy song.
L: The album is probably our most diverse, so if you want to listen to a quiet song you’d listen to one song and if you wanted to listen to something heavy you’d listen to another.
You’re on tour a lot all over the world playing a variety of venue sizes. Does that change the way you approach playing live from show to show, or do you look at a show such as tonight in Leeds with 300 or so in the same way as when you’re playing to 2500 in Melbourne?
L: That’s the size of the venue, now how many people are here! There’s a difference! Haha
F: Our last tour in Australia was around 2000 each venue. The way that we did that tour was a bit different than anything we’ve ever done before. We had more crew, more production. We had visuals, like a projector with stuff going on for each song.
L: We had two extra members. We went all out, in as much of the sense of all out that we could go.
F: Coming back to doing this, which we’ve been doing for years is sort of normal. It does take a bit of adjusting to come back and do a small venue, but it’s what we’ve done for years so it’s more normal than the bigger shows.
When you’re doing the smaller DIY shows and tours such as this one you get to play alongside so many great underground bands that people reading this might not know about. Who should we be checking out?
F: Current bands? In Australia we’re just putting out Jess Locke’s album. She played with us on our album tour. A lot of people wouldn’t have heard of her but she’s a genius songwriter. She’s very accessible and relatable. Really interesting lyrics, probably similar to why people like The Smith Street Band because Wil’s lyrics actually mean something rather than just adding words to music. She’s not run of the mill.
L: I don’t listen to anything other than black metal and Coheed & Cambria.
Hollywood calls, they’re making The Smith Street Band: The Movie and you’re in charge of casting. Who is in the band?
L: I’m Leonardo Di Caprio. Or maybe Edward Furlong could do it.
F: I don’t think he does much these days.
L: Yeah, but he’s getting the call.
F: I’d like to cast Will Ferrell as Wil Wagner. That would be hilarious. Chris could be Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling. I would be the guy from Rushmore, Jason Schwartzman.
L: Actually, I’d be the dude from the UK Office. Gareth.
F: If Chris Farley wasn’t dead, and Will Ferrell wasn’t available, he could play Wil. You should be a female…
L: Pamela Anderson or Natalie Portman!
That would be some movie! Any final words for anyone checking this out?
F: Disregard everything we just said.
L: I agree.