This week it’s our first foray into European territory, as we introduce Berlin based five piece, Smile and Burn.
Nobody quite knows how to describe them them. Chris their bassist explains: “Recently we got a review that said ‘corporate punk’. A couple of days later our singer was described as a hybrid of Gaslight Anthem and Comeback Kid.” And for their first full-length, “The range of comparisons started with Good Charlotte and ended with Good Riddance.” They’ve also been compared to one of Germany’s more famous punk exports, The Beatsteaks.
They’ve been influenced by many, but they’re wary about putting bands on a pedestal. “We’ve come to terms with the fact that looking up, even in punk rock, is a dangerous thing to do.”
“There’s plenty of bands by whose lyrics and musical skills we’ve been impressed with before and very often they’ve turned out to be a bunch of lazy guys hanging out backstage on Facebook with their MacBooks, occasionally leaving the sofas to play a set.”
That doesn’t mean they aren’t still taking the best of what they can find out there. “We’re still stealing Barker’s drum breaks, The Wonder Year’s lyrics, A Wilhelm Scream’s live performance and Propagandhi’s middle finger.”
The band came together in 2008 as a mash up of former bands within the German punk scene. After they left school, “the juvenile rage ended and suddenly everyone got bulldozed away by their jobs, campus life or engagement rings.”
Tons of their friends and bands split up, but their guitarist Sacha was ready to pick up the pieces. Chris explains: “out of the remains he sourced some of the best musicians I’d met, and since I had only just started playing bass myself, I kinda felt honoured to be part of it.”
Streaming below is ‘Long Nights Fiasco’ taken from their album ‘We Didn’t Even Fight Yet.’ It’s the most representative of their sound, and what makes it great is that as well as being punk at heart it’s still highly accessible. You can dance, mosh and sing-along. Have a listen for yourself and tell us what you think.
‘We Didn’t Even Fight Yet’ is the second full length album from Smile and Burn, and the band admit themselves that recording experience was a lot more stressful than they first imagined.
“We lost our guitar player during the preparations and then as an act of ‘punk’ish folly’ decided we didn’t need a sound engineer, just a studio to rent.” As a result there followed a month of “total insomnia, a dish of Tofu Curry every day and every episode of Total Wipeout”, but finally they had a master copy of the record albeit a non-satisfying one. They then took the record to Canadian Drive studios, and after another month of work, they had it fixed up.
“Meanwhile we were trying to find out which things look best when set on fire, and boringly enough decided on a picture frame for our artwork. We had to postpone the release date three times and eventually the CDs arrived 24 hours before the first show of our tour”.
Next time around, they’d do things a little differently – “Rent a studio somewhere in southern Italy, do 7 hours of recording every day at best, get a great sound engineer” and obviously… “set bigger things on fire when doing the cover artwork.”
Going into the rest of 2013, the band have plans to tour with Antillectual, but not too much beyond that as of yet, apart from writing to Chris Hannah of Propaghandi (again) to see if they can tour with them.
heir favourite moments as a band are all about the touring. It’s when they get to really feel like a punk band. “Several months ago, we were on the highway and one of us was sick out of the driving car due to a hangover while we were listening to the autobiography of Germany’s most famous and certainly most stupid rap artist, last week I got thrown off a wall by our drummer, neither one us knew what we were doing.”
“And in December we took a walk through the snowy town of Regensburg with a little stay at the Christmas market. Pretty badass, I know, but at the end of the day, that’s what makes it worthwhile.”