I chatted with Eric and Kyle from SMANTX about their catalog and experiences in the music industry.
Q: How did Smantx form?
Eric: We were originally another band named Domino Falls formed back in 2011. Basically, Kyle and I met like a lot of musicians on Craigslist and then met Chris through our first bassist Alex. After doing that for a few years, we ended Domino Falls and rebranded ourselves as Smantx in 2015, keeping three of the original members. (Kyle Wesley, Eric Smith and Chris Dennard.) We added Keni, our bassist, earlier this year actually, so he’s brand new, but he fits well and rounds out the group.
Q: Is there a story behind the band name?
Eric: Kyle actually came up with the name, so I’ll let him tell the story.
Kyle: I actually thought about it because of the way I write. A lot of my lyrics can have multiple meanings. I like to play on words a lot and I thought of the word that dives into the different aspects of meaning. Semantics! It just kind of clicked from that point. I thought it would be a fitting band name for the style of lyrics, but I wasn’t sold on the way its spelled, so I started playing around with the spelling and created Smantx.
Q: What is your songwriting process? Does one person write, or is it a collective effort?
Kyle: It’s kind of both. I usually spawn an idea, sometimes organically or from some form of inspiration (either a melody I hear, a guitar lick, drum beat etc.) and then I bring it to the group and we all try to create around the feel that’s developing.
Eric: Yeah it becomes a community effort, but Kyle usually has a decent vision and our process has developed over time to support that vision. As long as it fits what we think the Smantx sound is we’re generally happy, but we’re all perfectionists, so sometimes it takes a while.
Q: What is your favorite song of yours and why?
Eric: My favorite song keeps changing because I always like the newer material better than the old. I think its because, in my mind, we keep getting better, so I tend to gravitate toward our newer stuff. Right now though, I’d have to say my faves are “Love Criminal” because it stays in heavy rotation in my car and “Hold Me Down” because it’s just a lot of fun to play live. Plus, we get a lot of good energy from the crowd on that one!
Kyle: Mine is definitely “The Wild”! It has a special meaning to me.
Q: What is the hardest part of the music industry in your opinion?
Eric: I think the hardest part is building a following and then keeping their attention. With iPhones, social media, streaming services and whatnot people won’t sit down and give your album or song the attention they used to, so there’s less of an attachment. You really have to work hard to make yourself relevant above the noise and then maintain that relevancy to hopefully remain a part of their everyday lives. That’s why we’re so focused on consistently creating new material.
Q: What does it feel like being a part of the Baltimore music scene?
Kyle: It feels great, honestly, because there are so many passionate musicians hustling their work. It’s a tough scene to figure out because there isn’t one predominant genre, but the people in this scene are more supportive than any other scene I can remember.
Q: Are you guys excited about opening up for OTown at Fish Head Cantina?
Eric: For sure, we are! Sharing the stage with a national act that you grew up listening to is definitely a surreal feeling. It’s also always a good time playing at Fish Head. Our last performance here was when we opened for Aaron Carter and we had a great time. It’s an awesome venue!
SMANTX opens for O-Town Thursday, July 20th at Fish Head Cantina!
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