Sean Danielsen of Smile Empty Soul
Smile Empty Soul is a 3-piece alternative hard rock band formed formed in 1998 out of Santa Clarita, California, consisting of Sean Danielsen (guitar and vocals), Ryan Martin (bass), and Jake Kilmer (drums).
The much anticipated fourth album from the L.A.-based rockers, called Consciousness, is set for release on August 25, 2009. Consciousness is an incredible collection of rock tracks that showcase the musical talents of one of L.A.’s own.
In support of Consciousness, Smile Empty Soul and Monster Energy Drinks have a very special treat for their fans. When a fan pre-orders the album, they are automatically entered to win an exclusive performance from the band at the winner’s house. The band will deliver their new album to the lucky winner’s house on release day, and play a private party for the winner and the winner’s close friends later that evening. Fans can also join The Monster Army to get a free exclusive song download from Consciousness courtesy of Smile Empty Soul and Monster Energy Drinks.
TheyWillRockYou.com “sat down” with Sean to get his thoughts on the music, among other things, before the album drops.
Interviewed by: Justin | July 2009
Tell us a little bit about “Consciousness”? Is it going to be more like the self-titled album, “Anxiety” or “Vultures”, or will this be something completely different by the band?
Consciousness is our new record that comes out on August 25th, and we feel like it’s the best thing we’ve done. It’s very different than our other albums but not so different that our fans won’t like it.
You’ve said that you’ve come a long way both personally and musically, can you tell us what you mean by that?
I think it really shows maturity and development, and sonically it’s a new level for us. What I mean when I say we’ve come a long way personally and musically is we’ve been through a lot of shit in this industry and in our personal lives since we started releasing records in 2003, and I think it has shown in our music.
I know describing the band in one word is tough, so how would you describe Smile Empty Soul in seven words for the poor souls who are not familiar (or obsessed) with the group?
Always been in it for the music.
The band is teaming up with Monster Energy Drinks for a contest that in the end will have you playing a personal show for a fan at their home..can you tell us how that sort of fell into place and any worries about who might win and where you might have to play?
I’m not really sure how it came about, but it’s going to be interesting. We just hope that whoever wins is a real fan, we’ve done contests like this before and it just sucks when someone that only knows “the single” wins. We have so many great fans that know every word to every song, and that’s the kind of fan we would like to win.
For about a year or so, around the time “Vultures” was released, Mike Booth was in the band as a second guitarist. Will the band ever add another guitarist or continue as a three-piece?
Having another guitarist in the band was cool at times but we work best as a three-piece and its going to stay like that from now on.
Your departure from Lava Atlantic has been described as a “glorious emancipation”. What really happened and what did you take away from that as a band?
The story of “us and Lava” is a long one, but the short version is that we weren’t seeing eye to eye anymore. It was a great experience looking back though, and we learned so much about the industry and the way things work. We would never be where we are now without that.
It’s been over a decade since Smile Empty Soul formed in Santa Clarita when you guys met in high school. When you started out back then what were your expectations? Did you ever see yourself where you are now?
From the very beginning we knew we wanted to make records and tour. It hasn’t gone exactly as planned at every step of the way, but here we are and I wouldn’t change a thing.
If Jesus is the manager of Wal-Mart, what is Satan doing?
I heard Satan runs the Fed.
Smile Empty Soul has always been known for their honest lyrics and expressing so many different views on life. What do you think of the world today? If you could change any one thing, what would it be?
The world today is a strange place. I think we need to move away from being so superficial and obsessed with appearances, there’s more to this world (and to reality) than meets the eye.
My personal favorite song of yours is “The Freaks Are Coming” off of “Vultures”. Can you tell us some of your favorite songs on the new album and tell us a little bit about them?
We have a song on the new record called “L.A. river” that relates to my answer. It’s about all the spoiled, superficial people that move to L.A. to “make it” because they want to be famous, but end up in the river. Another song I’m really proud of on the new one is “O Lord”, which is a call for help from a dark place. I wrote it when I had just quit drinking (which is not an easy thing to do).
Which band (aside from you) should be bigger today, and which band had no business getting signed in the first place?
In my opinion Dredg and Sigur Ros should be way bigger than they are, and the worst thing in the world to me is when some no-talent ass-hole like Ashlee Simpson makes a record. What business does someone like that have entering the music world? They can’t write, they can’t play, and they can’t sing.
What’s one album that each of you grew up listening to that had an impact on you?
I can’t speak for the other guys, but one record I’ve been listening to consistently since I was 11 is “Purple” by Stone Temple Pilots. That record is so diverse and amazing, and I never get sick of it.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give somebody (about anything)? What are your “Words to Live By”?
I don’t think I’m in any place to give advice; I’m struggling every day to understand this world and this life for myself.
It’s time for TheyWillRockYou Word Association (or TWRYWA, pronounced “Bob”). We mention a name and you give us your uncensored, impulsive thoughts, just like an ink blot test:
Susan Boyle: Who the fuck is that?
Perez Hilton: Who the fuck is that?
Axl Rose: I’ve heard he’s a real dick
Barrack Obama: We’ll see
Bret Michaels: Bald as a mutherfucker
Butch Walker: Southern accent
Howard Stern: Lots of hair
Madonna: Old skank
Richard Simmons: Spandex
Nadya Suleman (Octomom): Irresponsible attention whore (everything that’s wrong with the world today)
Thanks for taking the time to sit down and do this interview with TheyWillRockYou.com (unless you’re standing up, or jogging, hanging upside down, or doing Tae Bo). Any famous last words you want to tell the readers? What’s coming up for Smile Empty Soul next? Either in the next few minutes or the next few months.
We’re going to be hitting the road soon and our new record comes out on august 25th, so check it out and we’ll see you all on tour!
For more info on Smile Empty Soul visit them on MySpace