This Friday, Allan Smithy releases his debut EP I See A Palm Tree – a great result to come after what’s been a solid year of shows and single releases that have introduced us to a talented and captivating songwriter and performer. Ahead of the EP’s release, we got to check in with the Sydney based artist to find out how he’s feeling about it all.
We’ve waited ages for your first record, and we are super excited to hear that you will be dropping your first EP. How do you feel about it all now we’re so close to the release date?
It’s been a long time coming for me, so it’s mainly a sense of relief. Also it’s nice to have a body of work (albeit an EP) to my name, and I think that once the EP is out I can get cracking on some new music. I’m really excited about that.
The songs on your EP reflect growing up in suburban Sydney and many issues that come along with it. Would you see yourself staying in Sydney in the long term, or would you consider moving somewhere else? What is it about the city and the environment you’ve come up in, musically, that’s still a huge draw card for newcomers and NSW natives alike?
Honestly, I can’t see myself staying in Sydney in the long term. I’m really enjoying living here at the moment but when it comes time to buy a place and settle down a little more, there’s no chance I’ll be able to afford Sydney. I think Sydney had a lot of charm and possibly still does, but it’s too glamorous now.
Every 10 to 15 years, everything seems to get knocked down and then rebuilt, so I feel like a lot of the personality has been lost. The beaches are good but the nightlife is shit and there is so much red tape now around live music that it’s a pretty bleak prospect for attracting people here. I guess there are more venues here than rural Australia, but they’re dropping like flies.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of people like Tom Iansek (Big Scary) and Chris Collins. How easy was it to form these networks and link up with them on music projects?
One of the nice things about the industry is everyone is surprisingly approachable and everyone is keen to work on different projects, so it was actually pretty easy. I just emailed them and voila, it happened.
How has making this EP informed the way you want to make/record music in the future?
When you look back over any project, there are always things that worked well and others that didn’t work so well. So for my next EP, I want to turn it around a lot quicker and I think I will do that by doing a bit more of the recording myself. That way, you can always be working and never have to turn off the creative motor.
Your touring profile has risen quite a bit through 2016, which was awesome to see; how have you felt you’ve developed as a live performer off the back of the music you’ve been making as Allan Smithy?
I think I’m still developing and will be for a while. I originally found it pretty hard to perform. I had been a frontman before, but fronting my own project instead of a band has been significantly different. I think each show is getting better and as I write more songs and play longer sets, it will continue to improve.
Has there been any particular highlight from being on the road this year that has stuck out as one to beat?
It’s pretty hard to beat BIGSOUND. It’s a great couple of days, and playing it this year was a blast.
What’s been informing the way you’ve been writing songs lately, if there has been any one thing? Are you finding yourself to being influenced by any sounds or artists recently?
Recently, I’ve been very rhythmically focused. I’m searching for different beats and rhythms to set the foundations for some new songs, so I consciously haven’t been listening to any specific artists. I am literally just scrolling through Spotify and making a humongous reference playlist.
Lyrically though, there is a lot going on, and while I’m trying to write lighter songs, I find myself drawn to pretty dark topics so it looks like any new music will have dark content hidden behind pleasant melodies and sick rhythms.
Allan Smithy’s I See A Palm Tree EP is out this Friday, November 4th! He’ll be performing down the East Coast with the new record, check out the tour dates below:
November 25th | Waywards @ The Bank, SYDNEY
December 1st | Barbara, BRISBANE
December 2nd | The Penny Black, MELBOURNE