the AU interview: Steve Smyth (Sydney)

In the midst of a gigantic tour around the country, Sydney based singer/songwriter Steve Smyth caught up with Rhiannon Harper to chat about the shows so far, his origins as a musician and his debut album Release.

You've kicked off on yet another massive tour, how has it been going so far?

Been fun! Always feel lucky to be on the road and get the opportunity to play most nights. You get into the rhythm and improve the deliverance of each song. Seeing old friends and meeting new people along the way is wonderful.

When would you say your favourite time of the year to tour is?

Spring is always nice, leading out of a hibernating winter , people feel fresh to enjoy what will be a good summer..... Spring is hopeful, which is what you need in this industry.

What sparked your interest in wanting to become a musician?

Music. It hits people in an individual way. No one could say they have not been affected by it or had it have changed a time in their life. I guess it hit me hard and however far i dig I still find gold.

It's a magical artform that can change the mood in a room dramatically, I'd like to think that i can be trusted with giving something that an audience will feel enriched by. It is almost a responsibility to those who have come before

Who or what has inspired you in the writing of your debut album Release?

The Australian landscape especially the desert influenced the songs both lyrically and music... "Midnight in the Middle" was from passing through Coober Pedy mainly, along with the drive up the centre to Kununurra. "No Mans Land" really rounds up the brief overview of our white Australian history. The landscape changes are so harsh and vicious, high contrasted under the midday sun, so soft and forgiving on the slow sundown, which vocally I have worked in to back each song that i've typed out.

There are also motions of family, longing or lost love, the rebellion of conformity to the different cultures that can enslave. To really understand an issue you need to remove from it, to own it you need it to be free. Release conjures up many a theme, like the throwing of a stone with all your might can take the same strength as letting go of a trouble stuck in the heart.

Where did you record the album?

Sydney, at Big Jesus Burger. A shame for many of us that loved that city studio as it no longer exists. I mixed the record in East London.

Who did you work with on the record and how did they get involved?

The majority of the album came together with Joel Stein, as Producer, Glenn Moule on drums, from the Howling Bells. Wade and Brock from the Scare. Pip Branson jumped in from his corporation along with Naomi Radom from Coda. Juanita Stein came by for a duet. Chris Townend recorded the track 'In a Place' early on.They are all good friends who really brought their undeniable energy to the table. We finished the record in 6 days.

How far back do some of the songs on the record go?

Most were written over the last few years, before I put them to tape .... Sometimes a song has been living with you most of your writing life and then suddenly it shows you how important it should be with new verse or that certain chorus, but then some come through like lightning and you have no idea where the hell it came from.

Where has been your favourite place or venue touring yet?

In Pigale in Paris just down below from Le Sacre Coeur called Le Trianon. We had 5 nights back to back in a beautiful theatre. It was a pleasure to share the stage in support of Angus and Julia Stone.

You said that Jack Lowry was someone who taught you how to sing and love music. Have Jack and yourself kept in contact?

I'll catch up with him over Christmas I hope, it's been a while between cCoca Cola's. We live very far off lives but when we catch up its like it always is, which is sign of a good friend.

What is one record you could listen to for the rest of your life, and not tire of it?

Just one!? Gonzales - Piano Solos. Its a record that goes well while writing.


Remaining Tour Dates:

Tuesday December 20th – Sydney Vanguard
w/ Gemma Ray + Melodie Nelson

Thursday December 22nd – Cronulla - Brass Monkey
w/ Abby Dobson

Friday December 23rd - Sydney - The Beresford Hotel

Thursday December 29th - Glenworth Valley - Peats Ridge Festival

Friday December 30th - Sydney - The Beresford Hotel

Saturday December 31st - Sydney - The Vanguard
w/ Snowdroppers

Friday January 6th - Sydney - The Beresford Hotel

Saturday January 7th - Sydney - Lansdown Hotel
w/ Sativa Sun

Wednesday January 11th - Cronulla - The Brass Monkey

Thursday January 12th – Manly - Old Manly Boatshed

Friday January 13th – Sydney - The Beresford Hotel

Wednesday January 18th - Pyrmont - Rock Lily, Star City Casino

Thursday January 19th – Bondi - 34 Degrees Underground Bar

Friday January 20th – Newcastle - Great Northern Hotel - Back Bar

Saturday January 21st – Canberra - Front Gallery
Venue: 02 6249 8453

Sunday January 22nd - Wollongong - Yours and Owls

Wednesday January 25th - Surry Hills - The Study @ The Gaelic Hotel

Thursday January 26th – Sydney - Festival of the Voice – The Rocks