Smile Empty Soul is set to release their latest album, 3’s, this upcoming Tuesday, May 22nd. The record will serve as a follow up to 2009’s Consciousness, arguably the group’s strongest album to date. Although the guys are signed onto their fourth label in nine years, it appears they may have found a stable home at eOne Music and are ready to begin promoting their new material out on the road this summer.
Despite putting together an impressive catalogue of songs, Smile Empty Soul has had difficulty staying with labels over the course of their career. In 2003, the group released a strong debut album which spawned three successful singles including “Bottom of a Bottle,” “Silhouettes,” and “Nowhere Kids.” Unfortunately, as they were putting the finishing touches on their second record, Anxiety, the band was promptly released from their label at the time and forced to shelve the album. Since, the band has jumped from label to label while continuing to record solid albums and in late 2009, they were finally able to release Anxiety which had gone unheard for about four years. But with Smile Empty Soul’s recent signing with eOne Music, lead singer/guitarist Sean Danielson expressed hope that the band may have finally found the right fit; “this is the first label we’ve been on since our very first record that really has a legitimate shot at putting some real momentum behind it. The last two labels we were on were both a little bit lackluster.” Currently, the band and label are working to promote the lead single, “Afterlife,” a heavy-hitting and aggressive track that fans are sure to enjoy.
Regarding the recording process of 3’s, the band brought in their close friend and producer Eddie Wall, who they also worked with on Consciousness. Sean explained that the band benefited greatly from having a trusting and open relationship with their producer; “Eddie is a friend first and foremost so he really gets us as people and as a band, and what we’re trying to do; he doesn’t produce per say in the sense of coming in and telling us what to do with our music. Instead, it’s more that he comes in and helps us record these songs that we have. It’s not quite as hands on as some producer-bands situations might be but we still need somebody to record us, engineer the whole thing, and really just be a part of the whole process. Eddie’s got great ideas and he doesn’t try to change anything about what we’re doing. He knows we have a vision for what we’re doing and lets us do our thing.”
Furthermore, because the group funded the majority of the album themselves, they didn’t have to deal with any record executives telling them what could and couldn’t do on the album; “at this point in our career we have a very strong vision about what we want and what we’re trying to do, and we don’t really need or want the input of a record executive telling us to change this or change that about our music. We want to handle the music ourselves and let the record executives handle the business side of selling a record.” In addition, the band also had the leisure to write and record the album on their own time without having the pressure of making any strict deadlines. Since this was the case, the guys were able to thoroughly work through various sounds and dissect different aspects of songs until they had a collection of tracks they were all confident in. When talking about the overall writing process, Sean had this to say – “I’ll come up with the lyrics, melodies, and core progressions, and bring them into the guys. Then we’ll start banging the tunes out in our rehearsal space and get all the arrangements just right…we usually jam on the song and once we got it pretty much set for about month or so, we’ll just let it settle; usually about after a month of having it finalized and jamming on it, we feel pretty good about tracking it.”
Sean also shared that the new album will be a change of styles from both a lyrical and musical standpoint; of course, this may come as somewhat of a surprise to fans considering the band has been consistent regarding both throughout their career. When describing the new changes, Sean shared that “the lyrics are little less self-explanatory, a little more cryptic, and can be taken in several different ways. That was kind of purposeful because I’ve been explaining my lyrics so often and for so many years now that now I am just trying to move into a place where I can let people hear the lyrics, take it in, and judge for themselves what they think it means…I definitely think this is a pretty different record for us; it’s a lot more musical in general and a little more progressive for us…sometimes you get a little bored with the same four chords and you gotta expand what you do.”
Smile Empty Soul will be on the road throughout the summer and fans can expect to hear the new album in its entirety at shows; “as soon as that new record comes out on the 22nd, I think we’re actually going to start playing the record top to bottom…I think that’s good way to showcase that we have a new record.” While fans will still be able to hear some of the band’s older material on the tour, Sean was clear that the guys were excited about the new album and wanted to play as much of it as possible live for their fans. Currently, the band is set to play a string of shows at small clubs and secondary markets throughout the United States until mid-June; following this, the guys will begin a full headlining tour shortly after the July 4th time frame. Fans should be sure to get tickets to the shows and pick up their own copy of 3’s.