Interview with Shadow Smile
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Going through relatives CD collections and finding albums by bands such as Queen, Alice Cooper and Guns N Roses.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Working out is great for clearing my head and triggering ideas. I like to play rounds of Call of Duty between takes in the studio because I can overwork very easily. It helps to build blocks of relaxation into the day so I don’t end up burning out my voice.
How long has your band been around?
We formed in 2019 and haven’t looked back.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Personally I live pretty much in Sherwood Forest so there’s a rich cultural heritage around (Lord Byron lived down the road) while the band is primarily based in Sheffield so we’re surrounded by artists such as Bring Me the Horizon, While She Sleeps, Def Leppard and more. We try to avoid sounding too much like anyone else but some of the local scene always rubs off onto our music.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The name comes from a song by The Cure called ‘Burn’ from the soundtrack of ‘The Crow’. There’s a line that says ‘Just paint your face and shadows smile’ which I thought sounded pretty cool. So we used that!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Our very first show was supporting Skid Row at Corporation in Sheffield which was great because we are fans of that band. Because we formed just before the pandemic we haven’t done quite as many shows as we’d like but we have some really cool festivals coming up and we always make our set something to remember.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
So far, Corporation, Sheffield has been a lot of fun because I love the crew there and it’s a hometown crowd for us. In terms of the future, Rock City in Nottingham is a goal and, Long-term Donnington Park for Download Festival.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Avenged Sevenfold, Ghost and Shadow Smile would be a great experience.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
To my younger self: remember this is a business and there are a lot of sharks looking to take your money.
To someone getting into a band: This is HARD, make sure you absolutely love it and don’t waste anyone else’s time if you aren’t truly passionate.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Be wary of people with big promises, be more ruthless when people start making excuses.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
‘Dearly Departed’ because I wrote it about a very personal period of grief and the effects it had on my mental health.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
‘Digital God’ is aways fun because it’s probably our most simple and we can really engage with the audience. ‘You’re Safe’ definitely gets requested the most and people sing along pretty loud.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
It really varies song-by-song. I usually come in with a few chords and a chorus. Then I spend a bit of time with our producer, Daniel Jeffery, building around it before the rest of the band then come in with their ideas for parts and structures.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We try to encourage our audience to think for themselves and not blindly take in any narrative. Sometimes there’s a political statement we feel strongly about, other times it’s an emotional outpouring while on other occasions it can be pure entertainment for the sake of fun. The band is an extension of our personalities so all aspects come to light at different times.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
On a daily basis. We all care very deeply about doing the best for our audience and making the best music we can and this can lead to some serious conflict. But it all comes from a good place and we usually just battle it out verbally and take votes where necessary. It all ends well.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We have just released our new single ‘Dearly Departed’ and we’re about to play some shows in the UK before releasing our debut album next year!