Smile Smile

I got my first taste of Smile Smile at an inside show at Emo’s. I tagged along with Ian, who wrote for Double Stereo at the time, to take photos for his review. You can read more about my first impression and why I was intrigued by this band’s story here.

So when SXSW came along, Ian asked me if I wanted to interview the band for Red River Noise. I immediately said yes. I had so many questions to ask and believe me, they answered them. I hear a lot of band drama, but no band has drama like this. It was the first interview I did during SXSW that the other interviews just didn’t compare.

Q&A Interview: Smile Smile
Originally published on May 13, 2010

Everyone deals with a breakup in different ways. Blaring the “I hate you” songs, some people head straight to the chocolate and some to the booze. But letting out the aggressive hurt is all part of the process. Lucky are the musicians who get the sweet revenge of publicly blaring their heartbreak through song like Gwen Stefani did with “Don’t Speak.”

Vocalist and guitarist Ryan Hamilton did just that. The odd (and awkward) twist is that the ex-lover who jilted him is his current (and only) bandmate, Jencey Hirunrusme. They were a couple when they formed their band, but Hirunrusme cheated on Hamilton with a predominant figure in the Dallas music scene. Music business drama like this never stays a secret, and this sticky history became a comic strip in a Dallas entertainment newspaper.

This is the world of the Dallas indie duo Smile Smile. In their latest album, Truth on Tape, Hamilton chronicled the aftermath of his breakup with keyboardist and ex-fiance. Hirunrusme also sings back up vocals to these songs.

A sane person might wonder how these two could still create music together, let alone be in the same room, after all that went down. I sat down with Hamilton and Hirunrusme to find that out for myself.

Click here to read the rest at Red River Noise.

Of course the coverage didn’t stop there. I also reviewed the album Truth on Tape for Accent Newspaper.

No smiles for depressing new album from Smile Smile
By Sarah Vasquez Campus Editor
Originally published on March 1, 2010

Smile Smile’s newest album Truth on Tape reveals an open letter from the heartbroken vocalist/guitarist Ryan Hamilton to the woman who caused these scars. His lyrics portray the hurt and longing of his former lover. They are accompanied by a simple acoustic piano backing or a head bopping ditty complete with a full band.

The woman who is Hamilton’s muse of these public proclamations is Smile Smile’s keyboardist herself, Jencey Hirunrusm. Hirunrusm even provides backing vocals to the angsty lyrics written about her.

Click here to read the rest at Accent.

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SXSW 2010 interviews for Spinner

Right before SXSW in 2010, put out a call looking for contributors to interview official showcasing bands. I applied because it seemed like an easy assignment and it paid.

Here are links to all the interviews I did. I got a little behind that I ended up pulling an all-nighter the Tuesday before the music portion. I think I slept for like an hour, took a shower and headed downtown for my music badge. What sucked is that they made me take a photo for my badge which showed that I obviously didn’t sleep the night before. Plus my hair was still wet.

Blessure Grave
Rob Delaney
Xiao He
The Pack A.D.
Royal Bloodline
Rockwell Knuckles
Royal Bangs
Rocky Votolato
Roky Erickson with Okkervil River
Roxy Cottontail 

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Funny story about this guy. It’s Wednesday night at SXSW and I’m walking around trying to find the entrance of St. David’s Church downtown for a showcase. As I’m walking around the building, this friendly looking guy approaches me and asks if I’m heading to the church as well. I know I took a big chance letting a random stranger just approach me like that at night but it worked out in the end.

So we walk around the church together trying to find this door and he finds out I’m a journalist and I find out he’s a musician. After he hands me his CD and business card, I realized that his name is strangely familiar. I tell him this and that’s when he mentions that he’s playing a day show on Friday at Clive Bar. I RSVP’ed for that show. SPEAK, who I featured for the last issue, is part of the line up. In fact, I had downloaded and listened to the free show sampler which had one of Danny’s song days earlier.

What a small world.

So Friday after his set at Clive Bar, we conducted a very brief interview about his music and I mean brief as both of us had other things we needed to rush to.

Originally posted at Accent during SXSW 2010.

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Amped Reviews: Interview with Dead Confederate

DSC_0067I interviewed a lot of bands during SXSW 2010 and Dead Confederate were one of the last bands. I met up with them at Encore (which is now Barbarella, I think) and chatted after their show. Of course, this was the day that Austin decided to bring in a cold front so it was freezing that day. I always expect rain during SXSW, but never the cold. It was weird.

And of course, we conducted our interview outside so we could hear. I was freezing that it was hard to concentrate. But the guys were cool nevertheless. We basically just chatted about Austin’s music scene and less about their music. Ha.

Interview with Dead Confederate
Originally published around July 2010

During this past SXSW, Dead Confederate’s singer/guitarist Hardy Morris and bassist Brantley Senn chatted with me about Austin, TX and some of their experiences here and about the upcoming album “Sugar” which will be released on August 24th.

Click here to read the rest at Amped Reviews.

amped reviews dead confederate interview sxsw 2010 q&a