SHINEDOWN singer Brent Smith spoke to Andy Hall of the Des Moines, Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3 about SMITH & MYERS, his collaboration with SHINEDOWN guitarist Zach Myers. Last month, the duo released dual singles from its forthcoming full-length album, "Smith & Myers Volume 1", due out October 9 via Atlantic Records.
"It just isn't SHINEDOWN acoustic," Brent said about SMITH & MYERS. "This is a different project. It sounds different. I think that if people have an idea that it's gonna sound like SHINEDOWN, they're gonna notice very quickly that that's not what it is.
"Before me and Zach decided to go and do this, we talked to Eric [Bass, SHINEDOWN bassist] about this, we talked to Barry [Kerch, SHINEDOWN drummer] about this. They understand that this is an outlet, and it's a different style, and they're very, very much on board with it — they're very supportive of it.
"I'm in Pennsylvania right now, 'cause me and Zach have a SMITH & MYERS show in Scranton tomorrow night, and then the night after tomorrow, we have a show in Pittsburgh. But I'm in the middle of writing with Eric at the moment SHINEDOWN [album number] seven in Charleston [South Carolina].
"Look, it's something for the four of us, where we talk to each other, we're very open with one another about what we're doing.
"This is a project that is very, very dear to me and Zach, and it's just a different style, it's a different animal."
Asked if he ever struggles with what might be a better song idea for SHINEDOWN versus what's dedicated to SMITH & MYERS, or if they are really that different, where he knows for sure that's what this is, Smith said: "Well, the thing about SMITH & MYERS is that it was interesting because this is the first time where we wrote 10 original songs. The first installment of SMITH & MYERS back in 2014 was just kind of for fun, and we didn't realize that it actually had the potential to be something outside of SHINEDOWN. So this is kind of the beginning of feeling it out in a lot of ways. With the other element of what we do here is we take songs from other artists that the audiences helped us pick, or kind of nudged us in one direction. But that's another thing, too — the covers on these two volumes that people are gonna be hearing, we've reimagined them in a way of we're really focusing on the lyrics and the story in these songs. And then from the original material, it was the first time that we had done it, so we didn't go into it thinking about, 'This is gonna be a SHINEDOWN song.' We went into it thinking, 'This is gonna be a SMITH & MYERS song, so what does that sound like?' And the very first single out of the gate, 'Not Mad Enough', I think a lot of people, they've already said, 'This is not what we thought it was gonna be, but it's quite intriguing.'"
SMITH & MYERS' new original single, "Not Mad Enough", was written in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd's death, expressing the intense emotions that followed and laying bare a plea for racial justice through direct and urgent lyrics over acoustic guitar. The song is paired with the release of a poignant version of "Rockin' In The Free World", highlighting Neil Young's timeless lyrics that are just as relevant today over lone piano.
"Smith & Myers Volume 1" features five original tunes and five re-imaginings of fan-submitted songs, including Post Malone's "Better Now", INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart", Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse's "Valerie", and THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS' "Unchained Melody".