Between Smile Empty Soul and World Fire Brigade, singer/guitarist Sean Danielson has been quite busy to say the least. Smile Empty Soul released their latest record earlier this year while World Fire Brigade’s debut album, Spreading My Wings, dropped on August 28th. While the lineup for the new side project may not garner the “super group” label, the band is impressive nonetheless; the group is comprised of Danielson, Fuel frontman Brett Scallions, and producer/musician Eddie Wohl. The new record also features guest appearances by Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) and Rob Caggiano (Anthrax).
Despite the recent release of Spreading My Wings, World Fire Brigade will not be going on a headlining tour this year because of Danielson’s obligations to Smile Empty Soul. Beginning in October, Smile Empty Soul will be hitting the road with Hurt, a band that also released a new record this year and is currently enjoying success with their latest single, “Caught in the Rain.” The tour will continue from October into December, and there are still more dates to be announced in the upcoming weeks. “I’ve always been into that band and I was really excited to hear that we were going to do a run with them. I feel like our music will mesh well together and that fans of either band can easily appreciate the other. All the Hurt material I’m familiar with I really like and I’m just excited for the tour.”
After leading with “Afterlife” as the first single off of 3’s, Smile Empty Soul is now in the process of selecting a second single for the record. Although the band has not reached a final decision, it’s become evident that they could be leaning towards the hard rocking “Sleep Deprivation” as their choice. “I think we’re going with a new single hopefully in late September. We haven’t completely decided yet what to go with, but Octane on Sirius XM started spinning ‘Sleep Deprivation,’ ‘Warning,’ and ‘Hard Biter’ here and there. It just seems like they’re spinning ‘Sleep Deprivation’ the most and that’s a song we all really like so there’s a definite possibility it could be chosen as the next single. Right now we’re kind of pushing for it and trying to get people to request it over there.”
After Smile Empty Soul’s tour with Hurt concludes, the focus will shift towards World Fire Brigade. Although the side project may come as news to some listeners, the writing of the album has been ongoing for the past couple years. And even though Danielson and Scallions have a relationship dating back to 2003, it was Eddie Wohl that encouraged the two musicians to reunite. “It’s actually something we’ve been working on for little bit. I met Brett back in 2003 when Fuel took Smile Empty Soul out on one of our first tours. So we became friends, but didn’t really stay in touch over the years. But then we did our Consciousness album with Eddie Wohl…Eddie is friends with Brett, and since I knew him from earlier, we all started getting together just to write some tunes. Initially, we didn’t have too much of a plan but then the songs just started to come pretty quickly, we started tracking them, and we got pretty excited about it so we eventually decided to take it on as a project.”
The band actually released “Shot Down” and “Take Me Away” on their myspace page over a year ago leaving some fans to wonder if the band would ever follow through on a full length album. But the reason for the long delay regarding the release of a LP was simple – finding time where all three members were available to record was a serious challenge. “We’ve been working on the World Fire Brigade record for about a few years. And the reason it took so long was because Brett was busy with Fuel and also was touring with the Doors back when we started the project. And obviously, I’ve been touring and releasing records with Smile the whole time so we’ve been recording it off and on over the past few years whenever Brett and I were home from tour and Eddie was available because we’re really the three core members.”
For three of the tracks on the album, the band enlisted the help of Mike McCready and Rob Caggiano. McCready is featured on “Shell of Me” while Caggiano can be heard on the heavy hitting “Take Me Away” as well as “Never Saw The Wall.” “Actually Mike McCready plays in a band with Brett; I believe they do cover songs and it’s basically an all star cover band type of thing. And we were really looking into having somebody come in and do a solo on ‘Shell of Me,’ and we saw if Mike could do it and he said he’d love to. So it was pretty simple; we sent him the track, he played on it, and sent it back. And Rob Caggiano is good friends and partners with Eddie; they actually run a production company together and have worked together for years. We needed some solo work on a couple other tunes and he said he’d send a few off so it was pretty cool of those guys to do that and it turned out great.”
While World Fire Brigade certainly has a heavy vibe similar to Smile Empty Soul, the bands still have their differences of course. The most glaring dissimilarity is Danielson’s role in World Fire Brigade is more so a guitarist than a frontman (Scallions provides the majority of the vocals) whereas in Smile Empty Soul he is the lone singer. And as Danielson explained, he welcomed the change and enjoyed the new experience. “I have completely different roles in both bands so it’s interesting and fun to do something a bit different. And it’s cool to not have to sing the whole time; with Smile I’m definitely stuck on the mic the entire time but in World Fire Brigade, I’m actually more of the guitarist than the lead singer. So I just get to jam out on some riffs and contribute to singing here and there.”
Smile Empty Soul and Hurt will kick off their tour on October 24th in Green Bay, WI. World Fire Brigade has no immediate plans to announce a tour but hopes to hit the road sometime next year.