The Smith Street Band

Interview: The Smith Street Band Talk Tours, Collabs And New Album

Melbourne Aussie pub rockers The Smith Street Band are taking their much-loved third album Throw Me In The River on one last tour around the country before heading to the UK and then back into the studio. The band have been relentlessly touring since the record’s release in 2014, playing to impassioned, sold out crowds across Australia and all over the world. It’s awesome to see that people everywhere are drawn to Wil Wagner’s rough-as-guts Aussie accent.

The popularity of songs like Surrender and Get High See No One comes from The Smith Street Band’s willingness to be completely, gut-wrenchingly honest about the frustration and confusion of their experiences while maintaining the universal appeal of a good pub rock band. When they play live, every song is delivered with so much raw energy and sweat it’s impossible not to to scream along with the lyrics. The Smith Street Band are every bit at home on the main stages of Australia’s biggest festivals as they are in dingy pubs in no-name towns. They manage to be simultaneously awe-inspiring, talented musicians and eccentric, relatable friends. We got to chat with the band before they take off again.

You started out 2016 with Weekend At The Wonk in the rural town of Forrest and have previously done the I Love Life festival, are there any plans for similar events coming up?

We definitely want to keep doing Weekend At The Wonk every year, it was such a fun time and getting to hang out in Forrest is always the best! We have a lot coming up in the next 12 months though so it’s just about finding time to organise stuff!

Last time we caught up with you you’d just toured the US supporting The Front Bottoms. How was it different this time around being the headline act?

It was really different doing our own shows compared to being a support band! It’s definitely a lot more nerve wracking when you’re flying to the other side of the world and it’s on you to draw the crowd! But the tour was so fun and successful and I can’t wait to go back and do it all again!

How does it feel to be selling out so many shows in your home country as well as in the US?

It’s very humbling, exciting and inspiring!

It seems like you guys are constantly touring, it’s great for the fans but must get exhausting after a while! What do you do in your down time?

I work on upcoming tours and music and just try to catch up with as many of my Melbourne friends as I can!

A few years ago, my sister who was 15 at the time put me onto Smith Street Band and I loved how much your lyrics connected with my thoughts and experiences about everything from relationships to existential crises. Why do you think your music connects so deeply with so many people?

I’m not sure to be honest… I wish I knew! I think it’s just that it’s pretty honest and up front, I sing about things that effect regular people rather than trying to be grandiose and all encompassing!

In an earlier interview with us, Wil told us you would be recording a new album soon. Is there any updates on that?

We’re writing at the moment and start recording in September! It’s very exciting, we have a heap of new songs and new ideas and I’m stoked with how it’s all coming together.

You collaborated with Lucy Wilson on your latest single I Scare Myself Sometimes. Are there any other collabs in the works? Anyone you’d love to work with?

Not with the band at the moment, but I’m always writing and trying to come up with new ideas so who knows what the future holds. I’ve been sporadically collaborating with Joelistics over the last little while and hopefully we get some more stuff done on the tour. I’d love to work with Bruce Springsteen or Chance the Rapper!

How do you think slower songs like that single change your live show which is usually so loud and rowdy?

I love playing slower stuff but it’s always hard to know if people are into it. With the fast songs, people move around and stuff and you can literally see if the songs going down but the slow ones are always a bit nerve wracking.

You’re no strangers to making political statements with your music and on stage. A hot topic at the moment is the lockout laws. As Melbourne locals, what do you think about how the lockout laws have affected live music in Sydney and could affect Queensland in the future? If it were up to you, how could we fix this?

I think it’s futile and a complete misunderstanding of the actual problems they are attempting to combat. But I think the main things causing violence are societal issues that will only really be fixed by a shift in the way people think about and treat one another. I have no idea how to stop people being aggressive to one another, but I think taking the problems of a few out on everyone and disrupting people’s nights at a time when they may be a bit too messed up to think straight isn’t going to help anything.

We can’t wait to see you at The Big Pineapple festival in a couple of weeks, is there anyone on the line-up you’re excited to see?

You Am I, The Bennies and Regurgitator!

Catch Smith Street Band at The Big Pineapple festival or on tour on the following dates:


Fri, June 3: Metro Theatre, Sydney (supported by Luca Brasi, Joelistics & Jess Locke Band)

Sat, June 4: Max Watts, Brisbane (supported by Luca Brasi, Joelistics & Jess Locke Band)

Thurs, June 9: Capitol, Perth (supported by Luca Brasi, Joelistics & Jess Locke Band)

Fri, June 10: Capitol, Perth (supported by Luca Brasi, Joelistics & Jess Locke Band)

Sat, June 11: The Gov, Adelaide (supported by Luca Brasi, Joelistics & Jess Locke Band)

Thurs, June 16: Max Watts, Melbourne (supported by Luca Brasi, Joelistics & Jess Locke Band)

Fri, June 17: Max Watts, Melbourne (supported by Luca Brasi, Joelistics & Jess Locke Band)

Sat, June 18: Max Watts, Melbourne (supported by Luca Brasi, Joelistics & Jess Locke Band)

You can buy tickets here.


Image: Supplied