Smoke From All The Friction is an electronic pop band with industrial undertones. Based in Raleigh, NC, they blend the traditional and underground cultures to create a moody vibe with their music. These guys go above and beyond by striving to create a deep, thought-provoking experience between the audience of listeners and the music itself. Influenced by artists like Bring Me The Horizon, The Chainsmokers, Nine Inch Nails, and Owl City, this band is certainly unique.
Q: Smoke From All The Friction is an interesting band name. What was the inspiration behind it?
A: Friction is an energy created when two forces come together, that would not have been created otherwise. That’s been a theme we’ve tried to implement often in this band and in our lives. Intentionally putting forces before us that create things we would have never created on our own. Those forces could be working with another person who thinks differently, or restricting the mechanics of a song, or forcing ourselves to write within specific parameters. But we do these actions with the goal of seeing where we can end up with two or more energies instead of just one.
Q: Your list of influences ranges from Bring Me The Horizon to Owl City. How do you blend such variant genres to create a sound that is your own?
A: When creating, we go for more of a feeling than a genre. When we sketch out the templates for our songs, it’s far less of ‘this needs to be heavy sounding’ or ‘sound like Emika,’ but rather, ‘it needs to feel purple’ or ‘have a sense of longing.’ Because that’s generally why we listen to music – for the emotive response it creates in us. Why not start there?
Q: I saw that you did a cover of “Tainted Love”. Why was that song chosen?
A: A few reasons. I wanted a song that was decently famous but could benefit from a rework. There’s a fair amount of 80s songs that have some darker lyrics, but the music is far more chipper. Additionally, synth pop-inspired a lot of the artists who then inspired me to get into music in the first place, so it’s a bit of an ode to those musicians.
Q: A few months ago, the music video for “Cross & Tattoo” was released. What is the story behind the video?
A: That was a cool experience. I met a director on Craigslist and it was a scary but cool feeling to watch someone reinterpret your art. On top of that, we were able to work with a local art college, so a lot of students were able to help on the project. The final product has been well-received by fans and strangers alike – almost 1,000 views and counting on YouTube.
Q: What is the one song of yours that speaks to you the most? Why is that?
A: That’s a difficult question. For me, it’s kinda like asking which journal entry speaks to you the most. Most of my songs are a pretty honest and vulnerable expression of what I’m pondering at the time of their creation. For example, the song “Schiz” speaks to the experiences of someone experiencing mental illness. I was inspired by this guy I’ve been mentoring, so to speak, for about seven years. He has schizophrenia and I have a view of what he experiences on a constant basis, and the struggles he goes through. So in general, probably the most recent song I’m developing is the one that’s speaking to me the most.
Q: What do you hope listeners gain from your music, whether they listen regularly or only listen once at a local show?
A: Far too much probably. I really want more than to simply entertain you. It’s not just about putting on a musical performance. I want to inspire and convict you as well. I want to give you permission to investigate yourself, enabling yourself to be better than you ever were before. For the artists around me, I want to provide a motive to raise their own standards and claim ownership of their artistry and the potential impact they can have on the community.
Q: What is the local music scene like in Raleigh, NC? Is there anything about it you would like to see improved this year?
A: I feel a lot of the music here is stuck in a mindset from 2005. It’s harder to find acts trying to innovate and push themselves, but I think that could be organically improved if there were a more communal experience. The reality is, all bands in a geographic area need each other to create a music scene, and thus it’s in our best interests to contribute to the guys around us. It takes a long time, but we’re slowly finding the people around here who are really passionate about what they’re creating. We’re trying to push them and get them to push us to create the best songs, shows, and art that we can.
Q: What is something fun or interesting you recently experienced in the local scene?
A: We sometimes do a little drum-circle like thing for one of our popular songs, where I stick a big tom drum in the audience and hand out a bunch of sticks and they play the bridge with us. It really makes me smile, especially when a non-musician gets in there and can be part of it.
Q: Do you have any upcoming shows that you are able to tell us about?
A: Sure! We’re playing Imurj in Raleigh on Feb 16, The Pour House in Raleigh on Feb 17, and Slim’s in Raleigh on March 15th. All of our info is on Facebook and Instagram.
Q: New music has been being teased lately. Can you tell us anything about it yet?
A: Our next album is an exploration on the theme of “Nuance.” A lot of the polarization of the Western society is heavily influenced by our unwillingness to really try to understand how and why some people differently than us. But this album isn’t so much a declaration of ‘having and exploring nuance is good, you should do it,’ it’s trying to understand the blockers and personal development required to work towards becoming a person who can do this. Musically, we’re evolving and putting in new energies to create new frictions around us. We’ve been experimenting with some of the vibes of certain 80s music, which has some forlorn feelings in it, for one thing. We are not so much using any particular sound from that era, but the feels it evoked. So far, we have about half of the album written and are working daily on the remaining songs. We’re working super hard to get the entire album completed by mid-2019, so stay tuned for that!