Having released their stunning debut album 'Great White Hoax' earlier this year, Essex based Smother (S) took some time out to talk to R13 about new releases, their upcoming tour and the possibility of covering Cyndi Lauper!

R13:For those not yet familiar with Smother how would you describe the band and what can people expect from you?
S:An unpredictable musical journey undertaken by three close friends who set out to test their passion and commitment to each other.

R13:Great White Hoax has proved to be one of the most exciting albums of the year thus far, did it turn out to be the album you set out to make?
S:As we recorded the album, the only real aim was to try and create something that was our own, more than just how we sound live, more texture and harmonies.

We had possibly 50 songs all demoed on four tracks lying around The Dead Museum (where we live and practice) but only a small record deal, Global Warming were not really in a position to finance an album, so we got frustrated and decided to graft our arses off to pay for it ourselves, in the end we just picked the songs that we enjoyed performing live for the album, and saved the more experimental stuff for the next record.

In hindsight, we are very proud, it was the right thing to do at the time, we have learned so much in the last year and I don't think that would of happened unless we had made Great White Hoax, toured and been through the ups and downs of it all.

R13:Having paid for the recording sessions yourselves, demonstrating clear self belief in your music, was the positive reaction to the album (and singles) vindication for all the hard work you put in just to get to that stage?
S:Yes. But we do divide opinion, there are people who think we are animals who just want to get fucked up and insult the crowd, but in contrast to that others think we are amazing songwriters who like to give a good show and test people. We're not looking for vindication, approval or anything else, we just do things our way.

R13:The new single 'A New Formation of the Truth' is a download only
single, was that the bands decision and what were the reasons behind not releasing it in any other format?

S:Well we've just changed that, the next single will be out just after the next tour (late Nov early Dec) on coloured 7 inch. Advance signed copies will be available at the shows. There will be a download single soon though, we just wanted to give fans of the band a treat before the years up.

R13:How hard has it been to select singles from the album? The strength in depth on the album means practically every song would stand alone as a single!
S:Well it was quite hard really, when 'Use' came out it was all we had ready, so we just went with that, then with understand the label suggested it, but the next single is a double A side of 'A new Formation Of The Truth' / 'Curiosity Killed The Sexes' and we really pushed for those songs, I'm not sure if people are aware we have songs like 'Curiosity' that owe more to Talking heads and Prince than Sonic Youth and Nirvana. These songs are more of a nod to where the next album will be going.

R13:There's currently a debate on the Smother message boards about what song people would like to hear you cover (initiated by yourselves). What's the story behind that and what's been the best / funniest suggestion so far?
S:It looks like we will be signing a small record deal with a little New York label in the next few weeks to put out the album, with a few added songs, one will be 'Square Wheels' our first ever song from 2002, another will be a cover. There have been some strange suggestions, I like the idea of something camp, like maybe some Madonna or Cyndi Lauper.

R13:You did your first UK tour earlier this year before playing a few
festivals over the summer, what was that like? Apart from getting things stolen from the tour bus!

S:It was life changing, we went as boys and came back as men, or something like that. It was hard for a number of reasons, we did all the driving and tour managing ourselves, we had no money to pay a sound man, no merch man etc. but it was fun to meet kids that really got the music, we had 17 stage invasions and a few gigs ended up with us in the crowd and kids playing our instruments. We sold lots of albums, had lots of parties, met lots of people and got really really good at putting on a show. If we ever meet the guys that broke in to our tour bus...

R13:There are no dates up on the website yet but I understand you have another tour coming up, can you give us any more details on that yet?
S:We will be going out on the Last Go Round 05' tour on November 18th:

18/11/05 Chinnery's, Southend
19/11/05 Lennon's Nightclub, Southampton
21/11/05 Portland Arms, Cambridge
22/11/05 Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
23/11/05 Sugarmill, Stoke
24/11/05 Soundhaus, Northampton
25/11/05 Bivouac, Lincoln
26/11/05 Engine Room, Grangemouth
27/11/05 Jabez Clegg, Manchester
28/11/05 Academy 3, Liverpool
30/11/05 Metro, London

R13:So what happened at Bournemouth beach that resulted in you nearly getting arrested?!
S:We can't possibly tell you that, as anyone around this band will tell you, we seem to attract trouble.

R13:You have quite a unique and diverse sound that sets you apart from most of the other bands around at the moment, did you set out to create a particular sound and what musical influences did each member of the band bring to Smother?
S:We all bring many different influences to the band, luckily we have the Dead Museum (squat/rehearsal space/demo studio) to hang out, listen to music and play around with new sounds, at the moment the floor is covered in Trojan Dub records and My Bloody Valentine EP's.

Its funny, to us the sound of 'Great White Hoax' is quite tame compared to what we are like live. I think that we could easily have made a really punk garage rock album as our debut, but we made GWH more layered and rich sounding because the next album will be quite different to the 'Traditional' three-piece sound.

What I mean is we needed to give ourselves the option to move on, we don't want to be a band like The Datsuns who are here today gone tomorrow because they only do one kind of thing, we operate as a song writing team and are all multi-instrumentalists, the next record will feature more drum programming/keys/and effects it may not even be performed with each member of the band having a defined role live, as in Guitar/bass/drums.

R13:Any more releases planned? Will there be any more singles from 'Great White Hoax' or have you started writing new material?
S:There will be the 7-inch, then maybe a download to be taken from GWH. Its time to move on, we have been working on the next record since we finished the first, at the moment we are demoing everything with the working title of 'Postcards From The Gutter', its shaping up well.

R13:Your live performances are pretty explosive and have created quite a buzz around the band, do you feel the live environment is the best showcase for the band?
S:In relation to the material on Great White Hoax, our live show is the best showcase for it, all the material Was really designed for that purpose. We've always enjoyed spontaneity in a group, and we like that about our shows, they have a kind of Chimps tea party vibe, one minute your singing next minute your running across the bar or trying to molest the front row.

R13:Given what you've achieved in a relatively short period of time and the positive reaction to the band so far, how far do you think you can take it? Where would you like Smother to be this time next year?
S:We are just going to get stuck in with the next album, try and make it a classic, one that cant be ignored. As far as major record deals go, or the supposed 'Big Time' we know its all bullshit, it don't last, we are underdogs, and we don't play that game. In our heads we are the only band that matters, and when the kids catch on, its gonna blow.

R13:Thanks for your time and good luck with the single, see you on tour!

S:Keep in touch:
Smother @ My Space

Global Warming Records
Solar Management