Interview with Andy L Smooth (lead singer and guitarist) with Skinny Knowledge and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
ALS: Alternative Rock Band
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
ALS: I went through a really low point mid-2019, and I kind of felt a little lost with music. I decided to do something I’d never done before, and that’s write some music, solely on my own. At this point, I had no intentions of a band, or even releasing any. It was just some form of self-medicating, I guess. It seemed to work, and I fell in love with music all over again. After writing more and more, I decided I needed to put it out, and get a band together! Whilst recording the album, I started putting some ads out for members, and come the end of summer last year, we’re a band! Since then it’s been onwards and upwards.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
ALS: Musical, definitely Green Day and Foo Fighters. (You’ll hear it in the music!). Also Royal Blood, Sum 41, Nirvana… Non-musical? I love Ricky Gervais’ ethos towards life. He tells it how it is, and it’s not very often you get people nowadays doing that. Also, Dwayne Johnson. Just ‘cause, well who doesn’t love The Rock?!
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
ALS: Unrealistic goals, or normal people goals?! Haha… Well, obviously it goes without saying, every musician on this planet wants to play Wembley. That’s THE ONE. If they don’t say that, they’re lying. However, something more realistic… I just want ti play shows, and people turn up, and have the best time. I love going to see my favourite bands, being and the front, screaming every word along with them. I want people to come to our shows and experience that same feeling. The sense of unity, and passion. Ultimately? To stand in front of a crowd, and have people singing back your words. That’s the dream.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
ALS: I wrote a handful of the songs with a couple of my good friends who I used to be in a band with. They’re both great song writers, so it was easy and fun working with them, and we came out with some great stuff. The rest was written by me, on my tod. The songs are basically a soundtrack to what was going on in my head at that moment in time. Boredom, despair, lack of motivation, relationships, money… You get the gist. That strain which is inevitably forced upon us by society. Those endless emotions we struggle through whilst we continue to find our path, and find our way in this judging world. An ‘autobiography’ of my adolescent and young adult life, if you will.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
ALS: Well, unfortunately we haven’t done any shows yet, as we formed during lockdown! Other than that, we just promote ourselves online. Just getting people to share stuff is a huge help. We occasionally run ads on some stuff we want to push out there, like the videos.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
ALS: Downloading without paying, you mean? The internet really has some great perks. It also has some catastrophic downfalls. I solely blame the internet for crushing the music industry. YES, it’s a great way for people to hear your music from all over the world. But, it’s also taken anyway any opportunity of making any money from your music. It’s also now completely over-saturated with artists, because then platforms are there. Anyone and everyone is doing it. So although you have the opportunity of showing the entire world your music, when you’re drowned out by millions and millions of other people, who’s going to listen. It’s a bit of a catch 22. But going back the question more directly… I don’t hate people downloading the music for free (although morally wrong), I hate the fact that’s it’s easily accessible for free. We seem to be the ONLY industry that people take for granted, and expect things for free, which sucks. It makes it very hard to make a full-time job from music.
One more thing on this subject… Streaming, I’m not totally against. I use Spotify (guilty), but I do think that streaming services should give a much larger chunk of the cut to the artists. At the end of the day, Spotify wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the artists making the music. They need us more than we need them, and I think they forget that when splitting money.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
ALS: Bohemian Rhapsody. Because it’s the best song ever. End of discussion…
Aside from that (because I bet 99% of musicians say Bo Rap)… I’m actually going through a huge McFly phase, as I LOVE Tom Fletcher’s writing. I think it’s insanely clever, and well put-together. His use of harmony is very Beatles-esque, so on that note, I’m going to go with Star Girl.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
ALS: People filming concerts on their phones!!! I have had numerous heated encounters, about people putting holding their phones or cameras in the air (in front of my face), thus blocking my view of the band. A picture, or tiny video here and there, fine. But don’t stand there and film an entire song (or even some people, entire show), and block my view that I’ve paid good money for!
I also hate 90% of drivers on the road. I’m a bit of a road-eager (not proud), but easily done when most of the population don’t know how to use an OVERTAKING LANE, not a fast lane! Haha
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
ALS: I’d have to say the whole experience of setting up this project. I’ve been in multiple bands before, and loved it, but this is on a whole new level. I think, because it was just me on my own, in a room, and it’s been transformed into a kickass record, I have a real emotional connection with it, and it’s being really well received so far which is a bonus!
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
ALS: As a band, we’re working on our social presence at the moment, as we can’t physically go out and play. However, behind the scenes, we’re working on an album launch show for as soon as legally possible, so keep an eye out!
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
ALS: Our debut single, ‘Imagination’ is currently out on all platforms. Our new single, ‘Keep Me Out Of It’, is out 15th January. The debut album, ‘Don’t Turn Out The Lights’, is out 5th March, and a pre-order for the CD (yes, CD, remember those?) is available at our website: www.skinnyknowledge.co.uk
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