Questions asked by Jon Wilde, added to Rock Realms 13th September 2011.
The Smears is a Nottingham based all girl grunge/punk/rock band with a new single "Freakshow" out.
We caught up with them to find out more...
Photo Credit Michael Preston at DIY Media
Hi there, thanks for taking a moment to answer these questions. Hope you are well?
Em: “Good thanks! surviving hangovers, dodging bullets, the usual!”
How did The Smears originally form?
Miss C: “I wrote an advert in crayons a long time ago asking for some other girls to join a band with me and stuck it up in a local music shop in Nottingham, where I live. I’d just left yet another band full of idiot boys. A few girls got in touch and after a few line up changes with different drummers (isn't that always the case?) we finally met C Doll and we’ve been that way since. I play bass, Emma guitar and vocals and C Doll plays drums. We started gigging in 2002 and we are the best of friends – we’ve been likened to a gang, but we aren’t really – we just look out for each other (and don’t take any bullsh*t)!”
Em: “I moved to Nottingham from Liverpool and after fruitless searching for a band I saw Nat's advert in a local guitar shop. It made me laugh so much and it looked like one of mine (written in multi coloured crayon!) so I answered it. Met Nat & we hit it off. Thankfully the same can't be said for our various other drummers until we found C Doll and we've been this line up ever since.”
C Doll: “I was the band's 5th drummer so I joined about a year and a half in.
Where did the band’s name come from and, not sure I should ask, but what’s the meaning behind it?
Em: “We were all in between doctors appointments if you like and discussing it and someone with us said 'that would be a good name for a band' and we liked it so it stuck. It's got a few connotations though, one of which is the way gossip can create a picture of you that's not necessarily always true, happens to us alot.”
Miss C: “We were on route to The Angel for a drink debating names for our new band and the topic of our recent visit to the doctors came up… uncanny we had all been called within a week to get a Smear Test.”
Did you know what sort of sound and style you wanted straight away or has it developed and changed a lot over the years you’ve been together?
C Doll: “I think the style and sound changed a bit when I joined but only because we started writing together and therefore my influences were thrown into the mix. We do all have similar influences but everyone has there own style of playing.”
Em: “I've always known I wanted to be in a punk band but I think our sound and style is definitely developing, we might have a few surprises on our new album. We do try to write slow songs but when we get together that never happens, we have a way of writing together that somehow we make basslines, drums parts & guitar & vocals that shouldn't fit go together.”
Miss C: “We have all brought something to the table, each of us come from different backgrounds and we all have different taste. At the same time we have a massive passion for all things art and music so we take a bit of everything and make it our own. But we all have a guilty passion for a bit of punk, grunge and pop.”
How would you describe your current style and sound? You definitely seem to have ‘a look’ going on.
Em: “Style musically? Still poppy grungey punk... Style on stage, depends what we feel like. My sound is influenced by fast low fi bands, I can't help myself. I'd like to be PJ Harvey but I always end up speeding up what I write and whacking the distortion on, I can't help it.”
Miss C: “I don’t really know what we are to be honest, we don’t really get accepted with open arms in any genre. We often get over looked by the punk scene and the big punk festivals probably because of how we look. We are unlike other grunge or punk bands, we like to look good and take care of ourselves. Punk was originally about dressing up and challenging perceptions, we like to think we carry that on a bit, we just wear whatever feels good on the day.”
C Doll: “We can't be pigeon-holed into any specific genre-I think that annoys some people, they can't handle it. We're a mix of punk, grunge and pop.”
Who were the early artistic inspirations for the three of you?
C Doll: “I grew up listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cypress Hill and Alice in Chains because of my brother, Motown because of my mum and Sabbath and Zeppelin because of my dad.”
Em: “My early ones where The Beatles, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Janis Joplin, Nirvana, Hole...”
Miss C: “My Dad used to make me mix tapes for my new stereo I had one Christmas, he put things on there like Jilted John and Crazy Horses. He also had lots of David Bowie Lps and Status Quo. A lot later on and after a weird 90's worth of Gabba and Happy Hardcore, I met an amazing person called Joe and he got me into things like Faith No More, Chilli Pepper and Beastie Boys. To which I am indebted to him for rescuing me lol.”
Your latest single is called “Freakshow”. What’s the story behind the lyrics to the song?
Em: “It's about a period in my life when I felt like a freakshow. When everything felt out of proportion and unreal and then I realised that everyone goes around with scars like that inside them at sometime and we're all just doing what we can do get through it sometimes. It's kind of a 'I know what you mean'/release song.”
How does it compare sound and quality wise to your earlier work?
C Doll: “It's quite theatrical in a sense, it has a bit more of a concept behind it than some of our other songs, but it definitely has the Smears stamp on it.”
Em: “It's a bit more crafted than some of our earlier work but it definitely has the components of a Smears song fast, snarling, honest.”
When do you see yourselves releasing a follow-up to your 2009 album “Hell In High Heels”?
Miss C: “Well we have our new album which is almost all written out next year. We book into the studio early Jan.”
Em: “2012. Long time I know but we've been busy gigging and touring to make enough money to make the album.”
C Doll: “We plan to release our next album in Spring next year. We're currently working on making it better than Hell In High Heels.”
What are you current touring plans?
Miss C: “We have a whole tour planned out ready for our album release which takes us to Europe a few times too! Very excited indeed.”
Em: “At the moment we have gigs planned around England then Holland and France next year and that's only at the moment. I'm currently trying to get an American band I'm quite fond of over here for a tour so let’s see what happens...”
C Doll: “We've got a lot in the pipeline. We'll definitely be going back to Europe early next year and we've got a few UK dates coming up between now and December.”
What is a Smears live show like?
C Doll: “Fun, fast and sexy, with loads of banter with the crowd.”
Em: “Being hit be a train. (in a good way).”
What have been the highlights of your musical lives so far?
C Doll: “Touring Holland, playing a show in a disused morgue and supporting the Buzzcocks were some of my highlights. There's been loads!”
Miss C: “There are too many really, we have organised and played Ladyfest Nottingham which is happening again this year on Saturday 19th November. Touring Holland was a right giggle. Playing the main stage of Nottingham's Rock City.”
Em: “All of it. Being in The Smears is ace and I have a feeling there's more to come. Being able to release a 2nd album is a definite highlight for me.”
Any question you love being asked that I’ve missed? If so, what’s the answer?
Em: “Tea, milk no sugar.”
Miss C: “Only on Tuesday nights ;)”
What are you up to once you’ve finished answering these questions?
Em: “Immediately after this I am eating some pizza.”
C Doll: “More drumming.”
Miss C: “I am off to the pub. I have that Friday feeling and I want a beer.”
Anything else you would like to mention?
Miss C: Yeah! Go 'like' our facebook page - we are currently at 1863 likes and if we reach 2,000 we will be giving away yet another free download off our album Hell in High Heels. We currently have Bring It On as a free download over on our Reverbnation site http://www.reverbnation.com/thesmearsuk
Em: “Thanks for all the support guys!
C Doll: “Keep an eye out for our new album next Spring!”
Thanks again to Miss C, Em and C Doll for their time. Keep an eye out for The Smears on tour, and for their new material!
Photo Credit Michael Preston at DIY Media