When I was asked to write a guest blog for Infectious Magazine, countless ideas came to mind. In the end, I decided I’d really like to shed some light on how we feel about the music industry and the scene of today. When I tell people I’m a musician it’s hard not to get pulled into a conversation about the business, its downfall, disgust for pop music, over-saturation, and these are just a few topics. Where is the optimism? I think the new ‘age’ of music (like everything else) has its pros and cons. It’s not all good and it’s not all bad, it’s just changing. Everything is always changing and you can either adapt to the changes or you can give yourself a lot of resentment by resisting the change.
Bearing that in mind, I have started to feel that many bands lose their personality and vibe amidst the thought that they will become famous by playing what is famous. I’ll narrow this point down and concentrate on rock alone. Rock is a mindset blended with the instrumentation of a rock band. Sonically, there is a lot of good stuff out there but not a lot of bands that are really bearing their heart and soul. Too many people are trying to be this or that instead of just owning who they are and taking that to the limit and then some. Authentic connection is what rock fans crave. A quiver in your voice, a bead of sweat while you share your soul, a story they know is true. I hope we can fill that gap. Instead of trying to write the next hit song or being the next big star, be yourself. In the past, our fans have compared us to Radiohead and Coldplay. The newer, upbeat songs we’ve been writing have been drawing a lot of claim to Kings of Leon and The Killers. For me, while these claims do hold ground, I don’t want to be thought of as trying to be the next Coldplay or the next anyone. I want to be us. I want to define who we are, know it, and own it. As a rock band, I hope we can carve a new path and be something different, exciting and interesting. Something that sucks people in and sticks in their bones. I don’t want to be a band that people listen to. I want to be a band that is a part of people’s lives – a band that people go on road trips to, make love to, sing along in their shower to and break up with girlfriends to.
The music scene is crazy, especially here in LA. There is every sort of person doing every sort of genre here. Being a part of that, for me, was daunting at first. It’s easy to feel like a small in needle in a big haystack. However, as LA grows on you, you grow with it. You make connections, you build up your name and your brand, you realize that it is a perfect breeding ground for success. Schlepping your gear through the streets a thousand times is suddenly not a burden but a catalyst for success. I’ve loved it. I’ve hated it. Right now I feel like LA is home – exactly where I need to be and where the band can thrive.
Andrew “Smitty” Smith is the man behind the drums for the fast-emerging alternative rock quartet We Are Kings & Queens. Their debut EP, titled Rise & Fall, was produced by Grammy Award winner Guy Massey (The Beatles, Ed Sheeran, Radiohead) and you can see their new music video for the opening track “Decide” below. If you dig what you hear, you can purchase a copy of the EP via iTunes.