Smile – The Name Of This Band Is Smile

Italian Jangle Pop with hints of Post Punk and Power Pop.

Meet ‘Smile’.

Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Hamilton Santià about everyday life alienation, ‘less is more’, arpeggio, and, looking the ones willing to listen straight in the eye.

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

It all happened in those two concerts we were able to play before the whole pandemic shit overthrew everything. After the first one, the moment we stepped out of the stage, some folks run into us telling «Hey, you really are a band!». After the second one, a famous musician from our hometown (Turin, Italy) put us aside and told us «You already have a sound and a stage presence!».

It was really something to be perceived as credible and meaningful, that is not as easy as it might seem.

Unfortunately, the live power momentum has been brutally interrupted by the pandemic! But the awareness, we were building something, drove us in these long months allowing us to work on the record, on new songs, with a new focus.

How did this record come together?

The Name Of This Band Is Smile” is a collection of songs tied together by the sound pattern of jangle-pop meets post-punk, and the lyrics about everyday life alienation and a sense of disarmament. We are not that young anymore and we are not interested in writing about imaginary things, nostalgia, or “our own private Eden”. We want to be as real and urgent as we can be as a band with guitars.

The record was written starting from a lot of guitar ideas: little fragments we built on shaping the sound. One of our key concepts is “less is more”: once the structure is done, we start removing everything that is not necessary. We want to suggest our nervous feelings through these frantic melodies. Once we hit the eight songs format we looked at ourselves and stated the record was done. Nothing more than necessary. No fillers. Ready and go.

How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?

It’s the spark underneath it all. It was part of our everyday life before the pandemic happened. Since then it slowed a little but we’re getting back on track by the minute. It’s a hunger, a second language that comes in handy when all the others fail: there’s something in an arpeggio/melody/rhythm that words just can’t contain, and at the end of the day your fingers reach naturally for the guitar/bass/sticks, your voice needs to come out after being silenced for too long.

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

We think songs are ever-changing organisms. They bend and twist and choose different shapes every time you play them. The fun part is racing along with them until you can say “this is your final form”. Then you enter the studio and try to finally capture them, just to find out they will change once more. It’s an endless, exhilarating struggle we can’t get enough of. One of our goals in the studio is to capture the “live” essence of our music, we believe the studio is a space of freedom and experiment. We play three minutes songs, but we won’t limit ourselves to the possibilities those three minutes open.

Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

The stage is probably our natural element: the place where our frantic music can sparkle out. There’s nothing like receiving the energy you’re throwing out from the people you’re connecting with. You could apply these words to various aspects of our existence, but for us none of them can compare to the thrill of saying what we want to say, the way we want to say it, looking the ones willing to listen straight in the eye. We think there is a pact between the performer and the audience, something electric and deeply mysterious. Moreover, the stage is the place where we celebrate the rebirth of each song: everything is new again when you play it live.

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