TV SMITH

I got into punk in 1978 but then lost touch and kinda missed out on the whole post punk and new wave era. I am therefore not too familiar with TV SMITH. Answers from TV. Anders Ekdahl ©2018

We all come into music with our own baggage. We want different things from the music. How does
-the vision you had for the band when you started compare to the vision you have for the band today? What is this band really all about? What do you want with your music?
I started out in the punk rock era and never really had a vision about what I wanted to achieve. I just knew that music at the time was terrible and needed a kick up the backside. I wanted to see bands with normal people in, not pretend rock Gods, and I wanted to hear people writing about the real world, not indulging in some fantasy.

Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
-Yeah, people automatically think you’re something special if you come from the capital cities. I’ve always liked the outsiders myself – probably because I am one. When I formed The Adverts in 1976 we were based in London but I’d just moved up from the South West of England that year so didn’t know anyone and wasn’t part of the scene. That gave the band a special flavour.

When you release an album that gets pretty good feedback, how do you follow up on that? How important is that I as a fan can identify album to album?
-The only important thing is the integrity of the music and you have to assume that your fans will stick with you because they appreciate that. But as the creator of the music you have to follow your vision, not just copy what you’ve already done. That’s what people do to try and get commercial success – they follow the template of something that’s already successful and hope it will work again. But it’s the death of creativity.

What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album? How do you write the really cool songs?
-The biggest challenge is getting from a blank page to a great song. I find that once I have the song everything else follows naturally – the arrangement, instrumentation and production just suggest themselves. But the songwriting is always a leap into the unknown, and you don’t have anything without a song.

I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
-When I started out digital hadn’t been invented – so yes, all my early albums were recorded on analogue, and I think it does give something special to the sound. The trouble is, half the time now it gets digitalised as soon as it comes out of the studio and people then listen to it on MP3s, so often the true analogue version never gets heard anyway.

What is it like to sit there with a finished album? Do you think much what people will think of it?
-I think I feel a bit like a mountain climber getting to the top of the mountain. You look back at the journey and can’t really believe you’ve got there. I do care what people think about a new album, of course, and I hope they will like it – that’s the whole point.

How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-For me, there’s no song without a good set of lyrics. I just won’t let a song go out until I’m completely happy with them. It’s got to have a message about the real world that makes sense, and it’s got to have some poetic beauty to it.

Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-Well, in metal the covers have a kind of overall style that reinforces what genre you’re listening too. You immediately know it’s going to be a metal album as soon as you see the cover. I’m not a metal artist, though. I started out in punk but now it’s kind of hard to fit me into any genre so I don’t have “punk” looking covers either. I try and make my covers look great, but stylistically as unique as possible.

When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
-Yes, I play 130 gigs a year and it’s a long slow build to get people to know you. But playing live is absolutely the best way to do it.

What do you see in the future?
-I’m hoping for more of the same.

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