• Adam Ruane

Smiling Assasin - Interview

We had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Hull based punk outfit Smiling Assasin a little better during this quarantine period.

Check out our interview here:

1 - Firstly, we find ourselves in unprecedented circumstances, how are you guys holding up and what kind of impact has the Corona Virus epidemic had on you musically?

Robbie Johnson (Drummer) – In all honesty it hasn’t really affected us a whole lot. We worked extremely hard for 6 months and created an album we’re all proud of. Of course, we miss jamming every week, but the hard work has been done and everything’s set to be released now.

We think the fact that people are on lockdown gives it a great chance to be heard! Obviously, we feel bad for the other band’s that aren’t in our position and who rely on gigs for an income, but just hope this will be over soon so we can all get back on the road together!

2 - So tell us more about Smiling Assassin, where did the name idea come from, what are the main influences you have within your music and where did your love of music stem from?

George Garnett (Vocalist) - I originally wanted to call the band 'vulgar', but there's already a band called that.

I was thinking about a name for a while, then one day a friend described someone as being a Smiling Assassin and I'd never heard that phrase before, so I looked it up and thought it was great.

It basically means a friend that will stab you in the back. I put it to the band, and we all agreed it would be a great fit.

In terms of influence, I'm influenced by a whole lot of bands. The band's that show through Smiling Assassin's music would be Iron Reagan, Leftover Crack and Misfits to name a few.

I guess my love for music first came from my friend who gave me a Black Sabbath album when I was 12… I was immediately hooked. My dad bought me a guitar a bit after that and a year later I was trying to start a band!

3 - We talk a lot about the developing music scene in Yorkshire, what are your thoughts about the punk scene around here and what would you improve about it?

Casey Stead (Bassist) - In our hometown of Hull the punk scene is pretty patchy. There aren't a lot of punk bands about at the minute, but the few that are around are great.

New young bands like Spilt Milk are showing a lot of promise, and I think it's just important that other bands as well as venues and promoters continue to support emerging artists.

I think it could be improved if the scene wasn't so insular, and with more "gig swaps" with bands from further afield.

Having that variety for punters is an incentive for them to keep coming to shows.

4 - What pointers would you give to younger folk contemplating starting a band?

Josh Rogerson (Guitarist) - There's a few definite pointers I'd give younger people wanting to start up a band.

Those being, you should definitely practice for a good few months before you start gigging so that you get to know the rest of the band and how they play, it also means you know your material better and play better as a group.

The other biggest point I'd give is make sure the rest of the band are ready to commit time to running other aspects of the operation, like managing the content/ social media and the general marketing of the band, that's what will help further down the line.

5 - If you could make someone listen to one album, on repeat for the rest of their lives what would it be and why?

Josh Rogerson (Guitarist) - I'd definitely make someone listen to Powerslave by Iron Maiden for the rest of their lives, mainly because I think it's one of their best albums and the whole band played really well, wrote some awesome songs and ripped on the solos.

6 - Let's talk about your newest video which is all about Covid-19, we have seen bands doing all they can to make the most out of the situation, with shows cancelled bands need to think on their toes to be captivating to new audiences, how did this idea come about and what can we expect next from you?

Robbie Johnson (Drummer) – We literally wrote, recorded and shot the video for that song in less than 24 hours.

George had the idea for it when Corona hit the headlines, so we jumped straight into the studio that day. It’s really DIY and not to be taken seriously to be honest, but we’ve had a really big response from it!

In regard to what’s coming next, we have been really lucky and managed to finish recording our album ‘Plight of The Millennial’ just before this whole lock down thing began.

We’re sitting on a mountain of content which is slowly being released, our debut single ‘Coping’ is out now and there’s another single coming soon but that’s all we have to say for now…

7 - Once the doors are open for gigging to return do you have any immediate plans to hit the road, and if so where are you most excited to play/where would you love to be invited to play?

Casey Stead (Bassist) - I think it's pretty likely we'll be touring in support of the album, which drops at the end of May.

Of course, we don't know exactly when things will be back to normal, but once we're gigging again, we'll focus on getting shows at key venues such as Temple of Boom and The Brudenell in Leeds, The 100 Club and The Black Heart in London... Then set our eyes on festivals like Manchester Punk Festival and Rebellion for further down the line.

If there's one place I'd love for us to be invited to play, I'd have to say WONKFEST. It's a mad line-up every year, and just our kind of crowd.

8 - During lockdown are you finding time to pen new material and if so when can we expect to hear it?

George Garnett (Vocalist) - I find the more active my mind is, the more material I write. So things have slowed a little bit due to the lockdown but we’ve already got a bunch of new and unheard songs ready to go on the setlist for the inevitable end-of-lockdown party!

9 - Any other updates we need to know about?

Robbie Johnson (Drummer) – Our debut single ‘Coping’ dropped last week with an official music video. You can check it out on our YouTube and Spotify. We have another single coming for you soon and the full album (Plight of The Millennial) will be released on the 31st of May.

The support we’ve received so far has been freaking mind blowing, the best part is that we are just getting started.

10 - Our usual end question is our zombie survival plan and given the current world climate we may need these ideas soon! So, go ahead, what is your ultimate zombie survival guide? Where do you go, who do you take, what do you take, and which band member do you sacrifice to the horde in order to get away?!

George Garnett (Vocalist) - My best friend Ted has been preparing for a level Z emergency for many years now. It’s that good I don’t want to give much away, but let’s just say it includes katanas and a cow catcher for his car… All we have to do is survive until he picks us up. I guess Josh's old man knees would make him the slowest and a sacrifice. Sorry Josh.

Check out Smiling Assassin here:

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