EMQ’s with SMILING ASSASSIN
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Hull, UK based Hardcore Punk band Smiling Assassin. Huge thanks to vocalist George Garnett & drummer Robbie Johnson for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
George Garnett (Vocals) & Robbie Johnson (Drums)
George: I started the band in early 2019. I met Josh at Uni and had known Casey for a long time and asked them both to join. We had a few rehearsals where I played drums while we were looking for a drummer, we’d just about given up on finding one when I met Robbie in a nightclub. He told me he played and after one rehearsal he was in. We played a few gigs in and around Hull and decided quickly to record an album.
How did you come up with your band name?
George: I originally wanted to call the band “Vulgar” but there was already a band with that name. I thought about it for a while, then one day a friend described someone as being a Smiling Assassin. I’d never heard that phrase before, but after some research, I loved the concept, took the idea to the band and they loved it too.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Robbie: United Kingdom, Yorkshire! I’ve grown up here and have always played my part in the music scene, being in bands since I was around 14. I’ve seen it at its best and at its worst. Right now, in Hull there’s a real gap for metal bands, there’s no shortage of indie and mainstream music but the punk and metal scene could be better…To be honest that’s why George wanted to start this band and I like to think we have successfully started to breathe a bit of fresh air back into the scene. Some of the more recent gigs we played were packed and it’s obvious that fans want to come to the shows and throw down.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Robbie: Our debut single ‘Coping’ is available everywhere now, that dropped with our first official music video. The track is taken from our upcoming album “Plight of the Millennial” which will be released on the 31st of May 2020.
Who have been your greatest influences?
George: Dead Kennedys and Misfits have been 2 of my favourite bands since I was 14. As I got older, I broadened my tastes, but hardcore punk has always had a grip on me. Bands that show through Smiling Assassin are Iron Reagan and Leftover Crack.
What first got you into music?
Robbie: I remember being a big fan of hip-hop and rap at age 10 or 11, artists like Eminem and Biggie really got me into music. But that didn’t last long to be fair, soon I was thirsty for something heavier. My best friend played me Slipknot’s album and the drumming blew my mind, ever since then I’ve been chasing the super-fast double pedal rhythms from artists like August Burns Red and As Blood Runs Black along with the gut-wrenching heavy half time beatdowns from bands like Emmure, Suicide Silence and Carnifex.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Robbie: Personally, I’d love the chance to sit down and talk shop with Matt Greiner (Drummer for August Burns Red), He’s been a big influence on me throughout the years. I got the chance to meet him at a show last year and was lucky enough to be gifted a signed snare skin and china cymbal. I think the dude could sense my passion for being on a kit. But if the band were to collab with someone right now I’d probably have to pick my mates band Street Soldier just for the laughs. 2-3-4!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Robbie: Easy, Download. I used to go as a kid all the time and dream of being on that stage. It was my first ever experience of a big show like that. Watching Slipknot (one of the bands that got me into heavy music) tear it up to 100,000 people and Joey Jordison soloing upside down will inspire you in ways you wouldn’t believe. I said to the guys recently “I won’t stop until we get on that stage”.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Robbie: My girlfriend is our biggest fan and she gave me a blowy after one of our shows… Does that count?
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
George: Keep going to local shows and support artists. There’s tonnes of great bands out there that are working so hard to keep live music going and they can’t do it without you.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
George: Lemmy. Though he was old when he passed it was still too soon. I don’t think he was done writing music and Motörhead was a band that everyone should get to see live.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
George: I love meeting and jamming with other musicians. It’s great when you meet someone who likes similar music and you can jam it. It’s such a satisfying feeling to be on a level with someone you barely know.
I hate how being a musician has no support. Being in this business isn’t viewed as a business and it’s looked down upon, as if we don’t work as hard or master our craft with hours of practice.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Robbie: I would make it more accessible for younger/starting bands. Having been through this process ourselves It makes you realise just how hard it actually is to get anywhere. You have to have money and connections and time. It becomes more about that than about the music! It’s all a huge learning curve, every day there’s a new challenge but we are already doing our best to help out other musicians in our area, we get asked a lot about our tactics online and with marketing. I think some bands think you just write a song and stick it on social media and then you’ll be famous, but when you barely reach 10 people and no one wants to book you it can be so demotivating. It’s important to encourage and support local and new music.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
George: “The Art of Partying” by Municipal Waste. It’s just 32 minutes of non-stop party thrash. Every song is so fast and the riffs are so good it properly gets me hyped.
Robbie: “I Am” by Texas in July. Massively under-rated band from the 2000’s, ahead of their time then and still holds up today. I don’t listen to it much anymore but when I do I remember just how sick it actually is.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
George: Vinyl by far. It’s not just that the sound quality is clearer, but it’s like listening to a record can be an activity on its own. The artwork and such that comes with vinyl, custom records and picture discs makes listening that little bit more special.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Robbie: The best gig so far has to be our video shoot for our latest single ‘Coping’. We booked the venue a month in advance and invited all our friends, family and fans… The turn out and support was unreal and everybody there was only there to see us. I think that’s when we realised as a band that people were paying attention. We actually had to tell the crowd to chill out at one point so we could get certain shots (Something we would never do under normal circumstances).
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
George: Begging on the street. I’m not good at anything else haha.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Robbie: I’m not sure about a dinner party…But it would be cool to have beers with Matt Greiner, Joey Jordison, Rodney Mullen, Ryan Dunn and Lindsay Lohan (I’ve heard she likes to party).
What’s next for the band?
Robbie: Well we have an album coming out called “Plight of The Millennial”. That drops on the 31st of May and you might be lucky enough to get another single from that before then too… As for the rest of the year, we’re not sure what that will bring right now. We had planned to go on tour and have had a lot of interest in bookings prior to this whole Corona situation. We’re just hyped on the fact that we got everything for this album done before this whole situation came about. But one thing is for sure, whatever happens we are not slowing down and are already busy writing new material and uploading content to the interwebs.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Robbie: You can keep up to date with everything we’re doing on our website
We’re also on every major social media / music platform links below:
One link for Single ‘Coping’:
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
George: There’s a clue in the name! It’s chocolate and orange on a sponge!! That’s a cake!!!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Just to thank you for the interview and to give mad props to anyone who’s actually bothered about our stupid band.
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