Interview With Jack Valentine From Smudge - 26th August 2008
Photo Of SmudgeWe 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.

Hello 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 you?

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.

What 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 we do.

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.

Are you happy with the response the EP has been getting so far?
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.

What 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.

The artwork for your EP 'StayFeelRegret' is pretty outstanding who came up with the ideas and final design?
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.

Do you have any plans to make a video for any of your tracks?
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!

You 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.

Who 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.

What 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.

Do you prefer being on the road touring or in the studio recording?
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.

If 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.

You 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!

What is the most memorable gig you have played so far and why?
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!

You are big Blink 182 fans, are you fans of Plus 44 and Angels And Airwaves and can you ever see Blink 182 reforming?
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.

What 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.

Where 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.

Okay, one final random question; if you had a choice, what animal would you be out of a Zebra and a Giraffe?
Hmm a interesting to see what its like being so tall.

Thanks 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
 Band Members

Jack Valentine (Vocals)
Danny Atom (Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Gary Star (Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Chris Catastrophe (Bass Guitar)
PK___13 (Drums)
 Latest Releases
Smudge - LookFeelRegret
Release Date - September 2008
1. Flat-Line
2. StayFeelRegret
3. Lock + Load
 Band Related Links
Smudge Myspace