THE SMITH STREET BAND
Don’t Waste Your Anger, the fifth studio album from Melbourne six piece The Smith Street Band was set in motion a little over two years ago when the band, with the help of a handful of family and friends, set about building their own solar powered recording studio on the edge of the Wombat State Forest in regional Victoria. Over a couple of months an empty tin shed that was once a motorbike garage would be turned into a multi room recording studio designed specifically around the way the band like to record, and all running entirely off grid.
With the Bush House studio built, The Smith Street Band bunkered down and started writing new music, recording their progress every day in order to learn how their new space sounded and how they sounded in it.
Lead singer Wil Wagner reflects on the process, “throughout the ups and downs of the last few years the studio has been a constant safe haven for us, somewhere to be creative, somewhere to have fun, somewhere you can just bash things really loudly if you need to. In many ways, the same goes for this album.”
“The main perk of having our own studio is we had so much more time to work on songs and sounds than we’ve ever had before. Whenever we needed to we could just jump into the studio, turn the rest of the world off, and all that mattered was what we played. A lot of these songs went through drastic changes from my first acoustic demos to how they are now on the album. There was even a full week where we just played with synths (I loved that week). This was an incredibly cathartic experience for all of us. A lot of passion and energy went into making this record and we are all so excited and proud to be sharing it with everyone!”
The resulting 10 tracks that make up Don’t Waste Your Anger are home to all The Smith Street Band characteristics: relatable, authentic lyrics and a raw emotionally charged performance. From the opening track ‘God Is Dead’ the album traverses the fierce while also venturing to fragile moments with tracks ‘Dirty Water’ and ‘Losing It’. First single from the album, ‘Big Smoke’, was penned about moving to the bush, falling in love, living somewhere it snows for the first time and only owning one pair of nice pants.
‘I Still Dream About You’, added to triple j rotation and Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist, was the first track written for the album, inspired by a recurring dream Wagner had after quitting smoking “I would just roll and smoke a cigarette and I thought it was interesting that my body, or subconscious, was holding on to something I’d tried to quit”.
A song about making the most of what you’ve got and finding something to give you hope even while the world falls down around you, ‘The End Of The World’ Wagner recalls “I wrote it over a year ago so it’s a pure coincidence that the world does currently feel like it’s ending! It’s also about really making the most of the here and now. The rug can be pulled out from under you at any moment, as we’ve all learnt over the last month or so. Everything could change in an instant which makes it even more important to make the most of the moment you are in and the people you are with.”
The new album comes after The Smith Street Band last month released their first ever live release, recorded on the second night of two sold out shows at Brisbane’s The Triffid in late 2019. The album, aptly titled Live At The Triffid debuted at #4 on the ARIA Album Chart and #1 on the AIR Album Chart and was released exclusively on Bandcamp to raise funds for the band’s crew who found themselves out of work due to Coronavirus.