caught up with Smudge frontman Jack Valentine
to talk about how the band formed, their new EP
'StayFeelRegret', touring plans, their favourite band Blink 182 and much more.
and thank you for taking time out to do this interview.
First of all can you give us a brief history of
the band for the people who have never heard of
We got together after meeting in college. Myself
(Jack) and Dan met through high school and started
a band while their, and when we went to college
met new people to form Smudge. We formed in
early 2004 and since then have been gigging
around the country landing us some good support
slots to help get our name out.
are your influences and whom would you say contributed
to your current musical style?
We all take influences from different artists
and genre that we've listened to growing up.
We all have a passion for music based around
punk but we all have influences in other genres
like early rock, though to indie and pop. We
think this helps to shape our sound to what
was it like writing and reocording your EP 'StayFeelRegret'?
We wrote the songs for the EP a while back,
and then made some changes in the studio while
working with the Animal Farm. So it was excited
to take what we thought was a strong song, to
a stronger song because of their experience
as song writers. Recording in London for the
first time was a lot of fun for us, the guys
in the Animal Farm were great to work with and
the whole week was just a huge party while doing
what we love.
you happy with the response the EP has been getting
Were super happy with the way things are going,
the PR campaign is within its first weeks and
the people of Manilla have said we've had a
great response so far, which is good news to
us. We've had the songs now for a little while,
so we know some people bought copies when we
were printing and burning them ourselves to
sell at shows, but most are still buying the
EP because its now pressed properly and looks
a lot better.
is your favourite track from the EP?
I love all the tracks on the CD, I love the
way Flat-Line kicks in and sets the feel for
the EP, so I'm going to say Flat-Line despite
being a fan of all the tracks.
artwork for your EP 'StayFeelRegret' is pretty
outstanding who came up with the ideas and final
I did the design myself, 3 of us in the band
are media students which is really handy when
it comes to art work and t-shirt designs. Most
people are charging a lot these days to get
art work done, so its a good way for us to save
money. Plus we have a feel for our songs more
than anyone else, so who better to do the art
work than ourselves.
you have any plans to make a video for any of
We recently shot a video for the track 'StayFeelRegret'.
We thought the track was the most radio friendly
so went for that one. We shot the video in a
friends basement in Manchester, was a lot of
fun even though it was roasting because there
wasn't a window in sight. For our first video,
were happy with the result!
are currently on a big tour that runs well into
September, are there any shows you are looking
forward to the most?
We cant wait to play them all, we've never
really toured day after day so its going to
be a challenge for us, but we love getting out
there and playing to new people. We played in
Plymouth last night, and we had a great time,
its a beautiful place, so thats another reason
to look forward to the tour, we get to see new
places all the time.
are supporting you on your current tour?
Its not a support tour, but its not a headline
tour...its just a tour haha! were on a mission
to get our name out to as many people as possible,
so for most of the shows were playing with local
and out of town bands like ourselves. Some of
the shows will be with a band called Plastic
Toys. They sound great online so I'm sure there
going to go down a storm.
can someone who has never seen you live before
expect from your live shows?
110% ! We believe if your playing to 5 people
or 3000 people, that you play each show like
its your last. We enjoy doing what we do, and
we try to get the people in the audience know
that and let them get involved.
you prefer being on the road touring or in the
When you've had a recording for a while, there's
nothings you want more than to be in the studio.
Especially when you feel you have some great
songs to show the world. But getting on the
road is a lot of fun so we enjoy that also.
Depends how long you've been doing one thing
over the other.
you could play with any band past or present,
who would it be and why?
Growing up we were all fans of Blink 182, and
meeting them got us to the band more seriously,
so i guess playing with them would have been
another dream come to.
have shared the stage with many huge bands, how
did these opportunities come about?
We've been lucky enough to have been a band
for a while, and been gigging as much as possible
to get our name out, so a lot of the local promoters
know who we are and get us onto local supports
for the bigger bands. We also won the Taste
of Chaos competition for the Manchester Apollo
show. We were drafted into a top 20 through
votes, then judges decided who would play the
show. I guess we must have come across well
to someone to be picked to play!
is the most memorable gig you have played so far
Taste of Chaos was a huge thing to us, to be
playing along some of the biggest names in scene
and bands that we look up to was a great feeling.
To have Aiden say we were one of the best bands
to support on the whole tour was a great feeling!
They even invited us for drinks!
are big Blink 182 fans, are you fans of Plus 44
and Angels And Airwaves and can you ever see Blink
I personally like both the bands, but I don't
think they have the spark that Blink had. Its
a shame to see a band so many people looked
up to and were influenced by call it a day,
but I guess most good things come to an end.
I would like to say they'd get back together...but
it seems unlikely.
do you think of the current music scene?
Its a tough one. There's so many bands these
days that the competition is really high. When
we first started a band in high school, it seemed
not many kids were doing it, but now everyone
is in a band. I'm glad we started when we did
so that our name has been around long enough
for people to know who we are. I think it would
have been a lot harder for us it we were to
start the band now.
do you hope to see Smudge in 5 years time?
Hopefully on the other side of the world playing
shows. We've put a lot of time into getting
this band on the road and to get the ball rolling,
it would be great to know its going to pay off
on a larger scale. We'll just have to see what
the future brings. Were more focused on next
week as opposed to five years down the line.
one final random question; if you had a choice,
what animal would you be out of a Zebra and a
Hmm a Giraffe..be interesting to see what its
like being so tall.
for your time, is there a message you would like
to give to your fans reading this?
Just a big thanks for the support over the
past 4 years and we hope you'll be with us for
many more years. Oh and be prepared for our
next EP, were super excited for you to hear
what we've been writing!
Interview By Trigger