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INTERVIEW: Glenn Smyth talks about his new EP, indie MI shops and working with UPPM

Laura  Barnes
INTERVIEW: Glenn Smyth talks about his new EP, indie MI shops and working with UPPM

Universal Publishing Production Music (UPPM) recently announced that it has teamed up with Birmingham’s Glenn Smyth to release a three track EP, entitled We All Feel the Same.

Featuring tracks co-produced and co-written with David McCabe (Evil Alien’s McCabe, not The Zuton’s McCabe), the EP boasts an industrial sound with an underlying New Order influence.

Over the years, Smyth has worked with a number of well-respected producers, including Owen Morris and Steve Osborne, who have produced big names such as Oasis and New Order. His work has also been used in production for the likes of BT Sport through to Australian TV soap drama Home and Away, and a documentary about Donald Trump.

MI Pro editor Laura Barnes recently caught up with Smyth to find out more about writing production music, the art of layering sounds in the studio, and what the artist has planned for the rest of year…
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Tell us about the writing and recording process of the new EP.

I write on an acoustic guitar. It’s quite basic, but I basically sit down with a song title in mind and base it on that topic. I think if you can make tracks sound pretty cool just on an acoustic guitar, when you go to record it properly it should evolve better. So I’ll do a little demo of them first to see.

To be honest, I’m not the best musician, I can just get by with a bit of guitar. So I take my demo to Dave and he is an excellent musician, so we’ll record the tracks and he'll play a lot of the musical instruments. My strengths are the songwriting and singing.

So each track evolves a lot during the recording process?

Yeah, it does quite a bit. I’ll have an idea in my head of a sound similar to another song and that will be the vibe I'll want to go for, so we'll start from there.

The EP is available through UPPM – did you write these tracks with media use in mind?

To be honest, no. I started working with a guy at Universal a few years ago and he really liked a band I was in at the time called Evil Alien, which I was in with Dave. The music was really cinematic and he liked what we were doing and could see it working for that purpose. He asked us to do some tracks, so I knew what it was for but I didn’t sit down and write music specifically for Sky Sports or anything.

You played football for Derby County in your youth, how did you end up having a music career?

I was a good footballer as a kid but I’d always played guitar since I was about 13 and started writing songs around that age. It was like a balancing act for a while but music became more of the thing I was focussing on and it just went from there.

Do you think high street MI retailers are still important to have around for young people getting into music?

Definitely. I always go to PMT Birmingham. Unfortunately there’s not many other places left in Birmingham to go and get your gear from, which is a real shame. It’s quite sad really. I have great memories of when I was a kid going to shops and playing on guitars all day.

You really notice it when you go to London and see all the shops along Denmark Street, then when you get out of the city, you don’t really see that anywhere else anymore.

What gear do you use for writing and recording?

For writing I like a jumbo acoustic so I can get a real bassy sound. I’ve got a Takamine that I’ve had for a few years, that’s really nice acoustic sound to write on.

When we get into the studio we use a lot of synths to get the sounds and textures. There’s a Roland JX-3P that we use that quite a bit. And we use a LOT of pedals.

The Holy Grail reverb pedal gets used a lot. I must admit that sometimes we maybe put too much on but that’s the beauty of knowing what you’re doing in the studio – you’ve got to get comfortable in the studio to experiment.

Sometimes bands go in with whatever instrument they use for practice and they think they have to use the same stuff to record. But I think you should use your studio time to spend a few days on a track experimenting and getting the track sounding amazing.

What do you have planned for the rest of the year?

I haven’t playing much of my solo stuff so I’m planning a few shows and festivals. It’s quite hard to put together the tracks for a live show as it takes quite a bit of time to program. The right people need to be involved and it can end up as quite a complex live setup.

As much as I’m up for gigging and doing shows, I do like being in the studio, so I’ll definitely do more of that side of things.

So we could be treated to another EP this year?

Well, I’m thinking about a full album, actually. Hopefully I’ll get something done by October/November time. Putting an album out and playing a bunch of live shows could definitely happen.

Listen to Glenn Smyth’s latest EP We All Feel The Same on Spotify and iTunes, or download it at UPPM.

Tags: Interviews , Glenn Smyth , UPPM , publishing music , Evil Alien , Dave McCabe

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