“400 people showed up just to see us fail”: The Blackout’s Sean Smith

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Before The EDGE’s Hayley Taulbut caught up with Sean Smith over breakfast (it was 2.30pm), he was cornered by a gaggle of teenagers who were completely in love with the man – a quick twitter search confirmed this. And although his awkward good looks appear to be what holds him in such high esteem with the pubesccent population, The EDGE found different reasons to fall head over heals with him. An interview with Sean Smith is very much like a cup of tea with your Grandma – digressive, eccentrically enjoyable, and sometimes downright surprising.

So, you are about halfway through the tour, how has it been so far?

Amazing. Absolutely mind-blowing. Apart from the first act, Hyro, who is a racist. He hates all white people and black people, which is strange. I don’t know how he can do it. Other than that, The Swellers have been good, and we’ve been alright, and the crowds have been amazing.

You are heading off to Europe after this, after a little bit of a break – you looking forward to it?

I hate having breaks, I hate having time off.  We had a day off before the show in London, and that just ruins the motion . We love playing every day so having a day of is a bit bleurgh – we literally just sat in the car park all day and got bored, and we were all too lazy when it came to the London show. It’s nice ‘cuz we get to see girlfriends and family and stuff, but we’re not in the show mode anymore.

Are you looking forward to Europe itself though?

Yeah, we’ve never actually toured with Funeral for a Friend which is strange, ‘cuz we’ve toured with every other band in the UK. But we’re old friends, so it’s going to be good, both being Welsh bands

Let’s talk for a bit about your new album – how do you think it has been received, both live and in the media?

Both very well I think. The only negative thing I have seen is on the iTunes comments – which was stupid, because if you are an artist, or musician or anything, you should never read comments; if you do a video on YouTube, don’t read the comments, because they are always going to be bitchy. Anyway all of them were five stars on the album, apart from one which was zero stars, with ‘this. is. awful.’ written after. The thing is, this girl is a fan of our band – or was a fan of our band – and there are songs on the album which sound like songs from other albums, so it can’t have been completely awful. But apart from that, it’s done well with reviews and sales, and people seem to like it.

It seems to be a bit heavier and darker than The Best in Town (the previous record) – was this a conscious decision?

We don’t sit down and decide what we want to do – we don’t say ‘right, we are going to make a pop song, or a metal song’ – it just kinda happens. We go into the studio with ideas for songs, work on each idea ’til we have something, and if we like it we keep it. A lot of things have happened since the last album, relationship wise, band wise, label wise and that kinda thing, which plays a part in the lyrics, but we are so happy with the record.

So, you have been around for quite some time now – since about 2003 – did you still think you would be doing it nearly eight years on?

After our first gig I didn’t think we’d do it again to be honest [laughs]. We started the band because, where we are from, there was probably only one other tiny energetic band. And I saw Lostprophets – they were jumping off the stage, the kids were going crazy, it was sweaty, it was my first mosh-pit experience and I was like ‘I wanna do that’.
At our first gig, 400 people turned up just to see us fail, they literally hated us. But when we played, I think a lot of people were taken aback. I mean, we worked really hard, practiced every day. At that show we did three covers, and three of our own songs – we did ‘Fake Sound of Progress’ by Lostprophets, ‘Counterfiet’ by Limp Bizkit and ‘Digging a Grave’ by Faith No More. But we never thought we would do much more – we didn’t think we would release one CD let alone technically four. It’s mad that every day we wake up and people give a shit.

Do you ever see yourselves as having made it?

No, no, definitely not. It’s mad that people come to see us. We haven’t done a headline tour in two or three years now, and to get to the end of the night and see people that are there just to see us, is absolutely awesome. When I make a trillion pounds, then we’ll have made it, which’ll never happen.

And just a few to finish up – if you could collaborate with anyone, either DJ, producer or another artist, who would it be?

Well, I’d retract doing stuff with Hyro, I’d take all that back [laughs]I think I would like to see what dance people could do with our songs, like Tech 1 did a remix of ‘Higher and Higher’ which was good. I’d like to do something with a band called The Bloody Beetroots.

If you could have a ‘The Blackout’ branded something or other, what would it be?

You know, I no longer use condoms because of JLS, constantly bareback because of JLS. If I die, I might try to sue JLS, because I hate them, and I think what they are doing is sick. I mean, why do people who like JLS need condoms? They’re fourteen! They do not need condoms, unless they think they are fancy slippery balloons!
So, because I can’t have condoms, mine would be ‘Sean Smith KY jelly.’

And lastly, what would you be doing if you weren’t playing with The Blackout?

I would probably [very very long pause]I would probably be dead! Or working in McDonalds, or working in the bingo hall that I worked in before, which was crap. Or maybe DJ-ing. We’ve been doing after-shows where we have done some rock DJ sets, but I’d quite like to try some dancy stuff.

The Blackout’s latest album Hope is out now – checkout our live and album reviews!

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