@ The Date Shed Saturday, May 18th @ 9pm, 18+older
By Lisa Morgan
The Date Shed is once again exploiting the fact that any excuses for not joining them on a Saturday night are simply invalid. In what has become standard protocol for the place, the Date Shed is bringing yet another certified gold album selling power rock band to their built for big sound stage ~ Smile Empty Soul. If that’s not enough to put your car in drive, they are bringing in local favorites, Drop the World and Deadend Paradox to kick off the concert, and get this: the show is free to locals.
Smile Empty Soul: I had the chance to discuss the bands early days with Sean Danielsen, lead vocalist and guitarist for the American post-grunge band formed back in the late 90’s in LA County’s Santa Clarita area. I asked how they got started and how they managed to stay together over the years. “Smile Empty Soul started with Ryan Martin and me. We met in the local band scene and started playing lots of shows in Hollywood. We ended up catching the ear of a producer that helped us record our first record and got us our first record deal.” That first record deal was with Jason Flom’s Lava Records, a label known for the huge success of artists such as Kid Rock, Matchbox Twenty, Porcupine Tree, Sugar Ray, The Corrs, Uncle Kracker, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and many others. On May 27, 2003, the band (that at the time also consisted of drummer, Derek Gledhill) released their self-titled debut album Smile Empty Soul. The album went certified gold with three successful singles, and their career was launched.
“In 2005, we parted ways with our drummer and brought an old friend of Ryan’s in, Jake Kilmer. We’ve been the same lineup ever since,” Danielsen shared. “We’ve got a great team here, and we get along so much better than most bands. Our relationships are truly great.” When I asked him what the key was to staying together, he said, “I think the biggest thing is mutual respect. You have to learn each other’s quirks, and respect them.”
Smile’s music, now 5 albums deep, seems decidedly clean and generally positive. They’re not selling rainbows and unicorns by any means; as a matter of fact, their lyrically forward songs tackle some very honest topics and emotions. Dark topics are somehow captured in the light of expression, with a driving pulse that makes you want to pound out your aggressions productively, as opposed to pulling up a chair at a pity party table for one. “There’s no one theme or message to our music, or my lyrics. It’s just about everyday life and the different emotional places we find ourselves in. I use our music as a personal source of therapy to purge things that are rattling around inside of my head, and I guess, at times, it makes sense to other people as well.”
On behalf of our local up and coming rockers, I asked how the music industry has changed over the past few years and if he had any advice. “The music industry is a completely different beast these days than it was when we signed our first deal in 2002. The entire industry is down, but rock music is at the very bottom. It’s a struggle for most rock bands to survive these days, and it’s really taking a lot of sacrifice and forward thinking to stay afloat. If you love rock music and want to pursue it as a job, be prepared to work hard. It’s not the ‘fun and games’ most people imagine. There are a million bands out there fighting for one spot, so you better write good songs.”
Write good songs, they do. Smile’s music reaches a broad listening audience as it doesn’t cross too far into the heaviest side of metal, nor is it anything remotely pop or “adult” contemporary. They have somehow captured that delicate balance of being relatable without being trite or soft about it. It’s passionate, honest and hard driving. What is in the future for Smile Empty Soul aside from rattling the walls of the Date Shed? “We’re actually going into the studio in 1 ½ weeks to record our 6th album. We also have a headlining tour we’re doing in June, and another tour we can’t quite talk about yet in August. We intend to release our new record in the fall and be on tour in its support.”
Find Smile Empty Soul’s music and follow their tour at:
Drop the World: I first saw this young, but far from novice, power trio in the Battle of the Bands at the Indio Date Festival this year. It may not have been the perfect forum for their thunderous, all or nothing rock and roll grit, but they didn’t appear to care. All that mattered was that they were there and plugged in, and they were going to be heard…loudly. I instantly alerted my buddy Ming Bob about this group that I thought was perfect for the Date Shed venue. Not only did they have a sound that seemed beyond their years, but their experience playing in bands throughout the valley since high school, had already put them in the eye of those whose job it is to find the best local, live, original music.
The band consists of Michael Aaronson, Ty Veros and Sean Timothy Brown. All of these guys grew up with an early love and education in music. Drummer, Ty Vero explained, “We played in bands around town for years, always eyeing and respecting each other from a distance.” 6 months ago, that all changed. “I’m in the band of my dreams,” confessed Brown. “We’ve all wanted to be in this band since we were 14 and admired each from a distance. It took us 10 years of our lives to finally build up the courage to confess our love for each other,” he smirked. “Now, we are all in this band that we enjoy so very, very much.”
“We’re finally writing the kind of music we want to write, and we get a long really great. This is definitely the band that I want to pour all of my musical integrity into,” echoed Aaronson. Brown added, “One of the really special things about this band is, we know that no matter what we do musically on our own, we’ll always be able to come together as Drop the World. When we play together, there are no limitations put on each other. If someone brings an idea to the table, we never shoot it down. We always embrace it. If anything, we push each other to be better musicians. It’s just a really good dynamic.” The guys admitted that they’re still honing in on their “sound”. But, as they say, “Every song we write, we’re more pleased than we were with the last.” Honing or harnessing their sound shouldn’t take long, since in their first 6 months together, they already have 8 originals completed and another 8 on the way. They do know what they don’t want. They don’t want to over complicate their music. As Brown says, “Fuck studio edits, and all that auto tune shit… we are live straightforward rock and roll!”
The sky’s the limit for this talented crew, and they are definitely a band worth watching. Their work ethic, philosophy, passion and most of all their mutual respect and friendship are a solid foundation on which this spirited bunch will only continue to grow. You can follow Drop the World on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DropTheWorldBand, or check out their music as they perform on their favorite roof top at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q20sHVg-CbY&feature=youtu.be and
Deadend Paradox: Founded in 2008, Deadend Paradox is an Alternative/Punk Band born and bred in the Coachella Valley. According to their fan page, the band “consists of three likeminded individuals who discovered music at an early age while growing up in the Coachella Valley. Alex Antonio on guitar and lead vocals, Eddie Airada on drums and Chris Dub on bass, have written, recorded and played live since its inception. Never a dull moment, the music is as diverse as the personalities of the band’s members; sometimes brash and loud, other times untroubled and tranquil.”
Deadend Paradox prides itself in taking a different approach on how music is presented. “In a day and age where fiction has become reality, we have chosen quality over quantity. Nothing speaks as loudly to an individual than something you can not only hear, but you can feel. If you want something fast and melodic, we got it. If you want something genuine and loud, that’s our sound.”
This band promises to be yet another dynamic addition to the already thunderous line up at the Date Shed this Saturday. Follow Deadend Paradox on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deadendparadox3