Ahead of the release of their second album we caught up with Wil Wagner, vocalist of Melbourne's Smith Street Band to find out more about their latest album Sunshine and Technology as well as what it's like touring with the likes of Frank Turner and Fucked Up.
Sunshine and Technology is released on 24th August through Poison City Records. The band are currently touring nationally dates below.
So what’s the story behind Sunshine and Technology? Are there any stories or added significance behind any of the songs?
Totally, I only really write about things that are important to me or have had an affect on my life. There were a few songs, "Young Drunk" and "I Want Friends" are two examples, that just poured out of my when I started writing them so obviously I really needed to say what I say in those songs! I put a lot of emphasis and work into my lyrics so everything is pretty significant to me I guess!
Do you have any favourites from the album yet?
I think "Young Drunk" and "Don't Mention the War" are my favourites! "Young Drunk" is so fun to play live already and the lyrics in that song mean a lot. And "Don't Mention the War" is kind of different to other stuff we've done, its pretty slow at the start and gets pretty ridiculous at the end, looking forward to playing that one live to!
How do you approach the songwriting? Do you write with the whole band in mind, or do you start smaller and flesh it all out later?
For this album, I wrote with the band in mind but in doing so tried to keep my input as basic as possible, just chords, lyrics and maybe one integral riff/melody that runs through the song. This was different from our first album, where it was more of a collection of solo songs that the band played, the rest of the band had a lot more input on this album and I think that shows in the record!
Did you approach the recording of Sunshine and Technology differently to your debut No One Gets Lost Anymore?
Yeah completely differently. We recorded and mixed No one Gets Lost Anymore in like 5 days on Fitzy's parents balcony and at the Arthouse as it was closing down and everything was being packed up around us. This album we had 2 weeks to track at Three Phase and then another few days to mix at Sing Sing so having so much time to record meant that we focused on getting good tones and really making the album we wanted to make rather than the best we could do with the time we had. We also did 4 lots of demos and were jamming or playing pretty much every day in the lead up to recording, so were as tight as a bunch of dickheads can be!
Earlier this year you joined Frank Turner on his national tour, how did that go?
Was amazing and inspiring and almost life affirming doing that tour. Seeing a real band destroy the world every night and then getting to hang out with them and see that they are just sweet people like every one else was just so awesome! We learnt a lot on that tour and it was so refreshing to just be a band on a tour, not trying to organise everything and worry about people coming, all we had to do was show up and play!
What would you say you have learned from opening for the likes of Fucked Up and La Dispute?
Every time I see a band I like, be it a local band or an international or anything, you learn something. I guess the more time you spend watching bands that have been around longer than we have we learn how to play better and how much you need to practice to be as tight as them. Watching a good band play well is the best thing in the world and it was a real honour to get to share the stage with such amazing musicians!
The album tour has already got underway, how have the shows been so far?
We've done Tassie so far and I'm not going to lie it was probably the best weekend of my life (its Tuesday and I'm still bed ridden but was totally worth it)! The Brisbane Hotel show on the Friday was, in my opinion, the funnest show we have ever played. There just seems to be so much less scenester, clicky bullshit down there, everyone is just keen to have a good time!
We also did an all ages show at the Ride The Tiger boys rehearsal space which was super fun! And we were supposed to play a house show on Saturday but it was so crowded we weren't even able to set up. Also like 7 cop cars showed up and that kind of ended the party...
What’s the plan for the rest of the year?
We are touring Australia over the next few weeks, half with our best bros Foxtrot and the other half with our soon to be best bros Restorations. After that we come back to Melbourne for the Poison City Weekender which is always a 10 out of 10 weekend!
Then we head to China and America for about 6 weeks and are playing heaps of shows culminating in playing the Fest in Gainesville! And pretty much straight after we get back we are supporting Lagwagon on their Australian tour! I'm going to be having maximum fun!