We chat to the Aussie songwriter in episode three of our Turning Heads podcast.
Episode three of Turning Heads features a conversation with Barcelona-based, Australian songwriter Steve Smyth. Smyth released two successful LPs in the early part of the 2010s – Release (2011) and Exits (2014) – before relocating to Barcelona in 2016. There was a long wait for the follow-up to Exits, but he returned with the single ‘Stages’ in early 2020, and delivered the Blood EP in May.
Compared to the noisy, junkyard blues rock of his earlier releases, Blood is a sparse affair that carries the influence of Smyth’s new surroundings. For example, ‘Stages’ is built around nylon string guitar and punctuated by funereal horn refrains. This aesthetic permeates the release, which entirely eschews drums and electric guitar.
Smyth worked with a group of local musicians and tracked the EP live in one of Barcelona’s beautiful cathedrals. But as with all of Smyth’s work to date, it’s his voice that really defines Blood. Artists like Tom Waits and Howlin’ Wolf have definitely influenced his vocal style, but he also has a unique vocal agility, which allows him to set aside the deep-fried bark and rise to a pure high note when he pleases.
Blood is the first in a series of four EPs Smyth has planned. He considers them individual chapters in a novella and promises the electrified blues rock’n’roll sound will return on chapter two.
In the podcast, Steve speaks about his long absence from the release radar and the sorts of personal hurdles he had to jump over before he felt comfortable releasing the new material. He also spoke about the universal desire to be accepted, and how this shapes his aspirations as a musician.
Check out the podcast episode below:
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