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Smith, Lyle & Moore

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With the new single “Werewolf” just released, self-proclaimed musical perfectionists Smith, Lyle & Moore are eager to share their songs with the masses, though they admit to being unsure if they’ve caught creative lightening in a bottle – at least until they can see how audiences respond to their collective efforts.

“There is perfection in imperfection, but if you are too close to something you sometimes can’t see the perfection in the imperfection – you just see the imperfection,” Andrew Smith said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Smith and Jack Moore to discuss their musical bond, recipe testing their secret sauce, and rewards yet to be achieved.

TrunkSpace: Prior to coming together, you had all found musical companionship in other bands and projects. What was it about this unit that clicked creatively when you began to flesh out your first batch of songs together?
Smith: With Tyler, lyricism. With Jack, his guitar playing. The first time I heard “And some days I am a… mother fucking werewolf” I fell in love with the song. It was unexpected, badass, and great. I had never heard anything like it, especially in the context of what came across as a typical folk song until that lyric. With Jack, there’s just a soul to his guitar playing that he must have latched on to from growing up around his dad. I’ve played guitar my whole life and know lots of “great” musicians. But emotion > technical ability, and the emotion of Jack’s playing is fantastic and unmatched in any guitarist I have played with.
Moore: I think the whole process felt natural from the get go. Andrew and I had very strong common ground with our influences, and leading with those in the making of the tracks we didn’t feel like we needed to deviate creatively from one another’s goals musically.

TrunkSpace: Is there such a thing as creative soulmates? Can musicians such as yourselves find creative kinship with some but not others?
Smith: With soulmates, there’s only supposed to be one for you in the world, right? In that case, no. There is no such thing as a musical soulmate. But like how you can have multiple best friends throughout your life, you can have multiple musical best-friends who you click with (but they don’t even have to be your friends – you can musically connect with a songwriter in a single session). A musical soulmate is pretty similar to finding a band you love – you just get to be involved in the creation of the music instead of just enjoying it.
Moore: Maybe even more so musically than romantically, in the way that I would go back to an old writing partner, but not an ex. (Laughter) And of course, in the same way as you have chemistry with someone’s personality you find it musically speaking also.

TrunkSpace: The band came together in a really organic way. Musically, does that put less pressure on you when you realize that you’re not creating to create, but instead, creating because the environment is perfect for it?
Smith: I think most non-boybands come together fairly organically. That being said, it’s the opposite for me – there is a lot of pressure inherent in a passion project because anything less than elusive “perfection” feels like failure. In that regard, maybe this project is a failure. (Laughter) But I love it and it is great… just not perfect. But is anything? Hm… There is perfection in imperfection, but if you are too close to something you sometimes can’t see the perfection in the imperfection – you just see the imperfection. Like if you stand at the base of a massive skyscraper, like 1 foot away from it, and have to analyze the beauty of its architecture, you’re gonna miss a lot of what’s going on. Maybe you focus on the handprint on the pane of glass in front of your face and it bugs you – you just want a crystal clear pane of glass there. If you stood at the base of the empire state building, you’d have almost no idea what makes it beautiful (the top is so cool and iconic!). I’m standing with my face pressed against the glass of the building blowing air into my cheeks. I can’t even tell if it’s a skyscraper or a house.
Moore: Absolutely, we always have a lot of fun when we write, and we really just try and make the best songs we can and do them justice for ourselves. I always just think, “what would I wanna hear” during the creation process. It’s something I think I’ll always stick by.

TrunkSpace: What kind of emotions do you juggle with when releasing new material to the masses, and is the experience different this time around given that the entire world, essentially, has ground to a halt?
Smith: The emotion is fear of failure and bouncing between thinking what you’ve created is great and horrible. The world grinding to a halt plays no role in the emotion involved in releasing music, for me.
Moore: I suppose the obvious is how it’s going to be received, and have you done everything you can possibly do to make it as good as it can be. That’s definitely been a recurring theme. People often ask about releasing in the pandemic, but I’d say it’s about par for the course for us given the list of unusual hurdles we have had to overcome making the record. I think the true impact lies with the live performance side of the music, not recorded as I’m sure there are a lot of people sitting around bored in the mood to discover some new music, so in some ways maybe we have a more captive, but also more anxious and frustrated audience. Time will tell.

TrunkSpace: Normally you would tour to support a new release, but that is not something that is possible in every state right now. How has promoting the upcoming music changed? How do you get the word out when people can’t get out themselves?
Smith: By being creative, hopefully. And/or by grinding it out. Throughout the span of this project coming to fruition, there have been a lot of creative things that we’ve tried to promote the music. For example, years ago there was a Snapchat hack that released about 5 million usernames and area codes. I downloaded the hack the day that news was released, and it was scrubbed from the internet shortly thereafter. I then created 650 different Snapchat accounts and coded something to add the hack-released-usernames to each of these accounts automatically. Each of the 650 accounts followed users from a specific area code. This would hypothetically allow for targeted promotion when on tour, by using area codes to deduce location of users. After adding all 5 million people, I ran tests on the accounts – a story posted to all of the accounts would be viewed by 500,000 people. Unfortunately, I was taken away from music for a couple years and in that time-frame Snapchat deactivated all of the accounts I created so I was never able to capitalize on it. I always wait too long – until things are too perfect – and it bit me and us in the ass, especially now understanding the value of having 500,000 eyes on something. My god… the lost opportunity… but thinking of creative ways to get yourself out there is what it’s all about; no music speaks for itself. No song uploaded without a push will become huge, in my opinion. You need to be creative in getting your music in front of people and into their ears. Is that from a creative video? Or some program you create? Or just by talking to lots of people and engaging with them? It could be any or all of the above. For us, it probably won’t be a video (at least with these four songs). So it will have to be something else. Or a combination of other things. We have a little bit of secret sauce and are recipe testing more secret sauce to find something that fits and works.
Moore: Certainly the landscape has changed here with regards of conventional promotion of a record – as you say it’s practically impossible to do any kind of congruent tour at the moment, so we have to rely on the recorded music to do the speaking. That definitely makes it more of a challenge, but a fun one too.

TrunkSpace: If someone sat down and listened to your upcoming EP front to back, what would they learn about you and where you’re at as a band and as songwriters in 2020?
Smith: They’d learn more about where we were in the past because these songs weren’t written this year. But I think the themes on this album are points of view on the world that still hold true – which is sort of what you want (sometimes)… to create something and say something that you still believe in years later. There is something special about a song that is very “2020” or very “1987” – a song that lives in a year – and there is also something special about songs that don’t. To me, these songs don’t.
Moore: I’d like to think it would give a great idea of the band’s energy and what’s to come. As a foundation, and thinking about the other songs we have written, I think we chose the best possible introductory four to give people a feel of what we’re about.

TrunkSpace: Outside of the music itself, what did you want to accomplish with the production of the EP and do you feel like you checked off all of the boxes when you called wrap?
Smith: To make something that feels new-old. To accomplish a timelessness and freshness at the same time. I’m way to close to the project to know if I checked off all of the boxes. I definitely didn’t check them all off. But I have too many boxes – i.e., does this record sound as good as a Bob Ludwig mastered Nigel Godrich Produced masterpiece? Hell no, unfortunately. But maybe those aspirations were unrealistic? Anything short of that feels like failure because I set a high bar. Probably the songs would benefit from another person mixing them (I produced and mixed). But they’re closer than they ever have been to what the vision was… I think. I have no perspective on them at all.
Moore: It’s funny, it feels like you lay down a marker in time when you write a song, the more powerful it is, the more you are able to recall who you were and how you felt at the time, and that certainly rings true with these songs.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Smith: The production elements.
Moore: I’m proud of overcoming everything that was thrown at us on the way, and being genuinely truly happy about how they sound individually and collectively. We’re pretty perfectionist in this band so it took a lot for us to go, “Okay, this is it.”

TrunkSpace: What has been the most rewarding aspect of creating together thus far? What has this project done for you personally that you felt was a missing component from those you participated in previously?
Smith: Working on music you love is rewarding. But nothing is ever finished. Sometimes I hear the songs and feel accomplished and like they’re great, and other times I don’t like them. It’s all perspective. And I truly have none. I’m pretty sure the songs are good.

The component that this project contains that others didn’t is that it was done purely out of an obsession to make something I liked; it wasn’t to deliver something specific to a label or manager of another artist. It was making music for fun… even though a lot of it wasn’t fun, it was torture… because when I work on something I love, I guess I sometimes beat it into the ground until I hate it and then take time away until I don’t hate it, and then do the same over and over. I guess the rewarding aspect of making this, for me, hasn’t been achieved. I will feel rewarded/accomplished if we can figure out how to get millions of streams on these songs. I need verification that they are good from something external. These songs are meant to be a stepping stone to a full record. I’ll feel accomplished if/when that full record comes out. It is mostly finished and fully recorded, we just need a push from people out in the world to make it come to fruition — we need people to love these songs and share them and in effect contribute to this project, to help push us to the next chapter.
Moore: It was just a super fun and diverse EP to create. It really dragged us everywhere, both emotionally and geographically. At times it felt like some monster that had to be slain, but we got there in the end.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Smith: Sure – if we had any hits in 10 years, I could release them 10 years earlier and have 10 years more content out of the way. If history is a judge of the future, we’d need a time machine if we ever wanted to release a 2nd record… because these 4 songs took a long time… But in actuality, we have a full record basically finished and the reason these songs took so long is because I was learning who I was as a producer and engineer in the midst of making this record. I’m very fast and have a set-up that I understand and know how to use well now – something I didn’t have when this project started; the result is that I am able to lay down ideas quickly, efficiently, and well, and that allows for me to have more perspective and complete things quickly. Its all about perspective. Let me trade the time machine for a memory-eraser. I’d erase my memory every day. I’d make amazing music that sounds incredible if I could erase my memory everyday before working on the song I worked on yesterday.
Moore: I think it might spoil the fun. (Laughter) Besides, looking at it could influence you to do things differently which would alter the outcome of what you had seen, presumably. (Laughter) I think it’s just important to enjoy the journey of it all; the fun part is watching it all evolve.

“Werewolf” is available today.

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The Featured Presentation

Andrea Drepaul

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Andrea Drepaul joined the “Supernatural” universe this season as the sharp-toothed werewolf Melanie. As part of the archangel Michael’s fiendish (and still secretive) plan to destroy the Winchester’s reality, she appears to be involved in the bigger apocalyptic picture, though she’s not giving us any clues as to how the writers will use the character in the future. Thankfully, we’re a patient faction of the SPN Family and will be tuning in each week until we find out.

We recently sat down with Drepaul to discuss werewolf geek outs, the loyal fandom, and why our Jensen Ackles man crush is fully justified.

TrunkSpace: You recently made your “Supernatural” debut as the werewolf Melanie. Did getting to play a classic movie monster fulfill any long-percolating childhood dreams? You’re in great on-screen lycanthropic company now!
Drepaul: You know… I’ve always wanted to play a werewolf. This stems from (along with the other millions of people) I was obsessed with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” I remember watching it as a kid and was so terrified and yet enthralled with this notion of monsters and werewolves. So my inner geek, really geeked out.

TrunkSpace: The series is continuing to excite its fandom in Season 14, which is hard to even fathom given how short-lived even successful series are these days. We hear it is one of the most welcoming sets to step onto in the business, but is it difficult to go into something that is such a well-oiled machine and not feel like the new kid at school? Were there nerves?
Drepaul: No, not at all. There is zero tension on this set. Everyone is so friendly and lovely. A great deal of fun happens – the cast and crew are infamously known to gag the actors on set. There are lots of jokes and shenanigans, it’s a wonder how they get anything done. But they do and they do it so well. I was confident I had done my work and I knew Melanie inside and out.

TrunkSpace: We would imagine it is very helpful debuting in an episode that was directed by long-time “Supernatural” actor and director Richard Speight Jr. Beyond what he brings to his role as director, were you able to tap into him as an overall “Supernatural” resource as well?
Drepaul: Richard is amazing! We hit it off right from the audition. He loves actors and you can tell by the way he directs you and his insightful motivations for character. He has quite an infectious energy on set, which also makes you feel comfortable and lifts the energy of the set as well. We didn’t talk much about “Supernatural,” more about the motivation for the scenes.

TrunkSpace: Have you had the opportunity to feel the reach of the passionate fandom – the SPN Family – since your episode premiered last week? Has any of it come as a surprise or did you have a sense of how big the fan base was before being cast?
Drepaul: Wow, I’m absolutely blown away by the fandom. Truly, I have received only praise and welcome from the SPN Family. I knew the fan base was big, but you don’t really have a sense of it until you are on the other side. It’s so wonderful.

TrunkSpace: It seems like Melanie is part of a larger story arc that will creep back into play later in the season. Can you tell us about what we can see from her down the line? Is she going full, angel-powered super wolf?
Drepaul: I’d like to think anything is possible on “Supernatural,” but I feel that this would be a question only the writers could answer.

TrunkSpace: You grew up in a small farming town in Ontario. When did the acting bug first bite you and was pursuing it always the only path you considered traveling?
Drepaul: I’ve actually had a very unconventional path to this career. I was a model when I was 15. But I was raised that you had to go to college and get a “real” job. My parents were immigrants to Canada. I love them for that, for teaching me the value of education. I became the first woman in my family to complete college and graduated with an Honors degree in Business Administration. But afterwards I still felt the calling to be a performer. I moved to New York for a bit, but that didn’t feel right so I landed back in Toronto. Toronto gave me my start. My first job was with Taye Diggs! This career continues to be an evolving journey for me but I know that it is my journey.

TrunkSpace: What job has been the most important to your personal journey thus far? What role and project taught you the most about your craft and profession?
Drepaul: Great question! I’ve had the opportunity to be on amazing sets and work with incredible actors, but the job that taught me the most was my role as Rubina Jafari on “Covert Affairs.” I was working with Sendhil Ramamurthy, who was fresh off of “Heroes.” He was so generous with not only his performance but he really took the time to guide me through how to have a longstanding career. He was the first person to encourage me to get my working papers to the USA and offered to help me through that process. He also was my first on-screen kiss, which I was incredibly nervous about! He walked me through it and really respected my space. He taught me that being a lead wasn’t just about the performance you bring, but also about how you conduct yourself on set – the energy you bring to the table. I never had a chance to properly thank him. Sooooo, if somewhere in the internet ethers he reads this… THANK YOU!!!

TrunkSpace: As you look forward, what type of career do you hope to have when all is said and done? If you could pave your exact path the rest of the way, what would that path look like?
Drepaul: Another great question. I think immediately in the vision of my mind I would be working on a Netflix, Hulu, Apple or Amazon series that is a mystery, thriller or fantasy. I’ve always had a pull to the mysteries of this universe as a person, so naturally I think that a show in this genre would be wonderful for me. Personally I have a heart for the underdog, and always willing to lend a hand to help others see their light. Currently I have started posting my own quotes (on my Instagram) called “Driven” and started to work on a way to launch a platform for young people to help them achieve success in a meaningful, lasting way. Long term I would be working on a cool mystery, thriller show, become an author of a book and have a platform for the youth.

TrunkSpace: That being said, if we had a time machine and gave you the keys to take it for a spin, would you take the journey ahead 10 years to see what your career would look like a decade from now, and if not, why?
Drepaul: (Laughter) If you had asked me this question six months ago, I would say yes. But now… no. I want to be surprised by all the twists and turns. I want to learn the lessons, experience the highs and lows. There is magic in not knowing what lies ahead. But I do know with certainty that the future is very bright

TrunkSpace: Finally, Andrea, our wives give us a difficult time because they say our Jensen Ackles man crush is not normal. Having now worked with Jensen yourself, come to our rescue here… he’s worth every ounce of our unbridled bromancing attention, right?
Drepaul: (Laughter) Yes, he is. He’s actually more handsome in real life.

Supernatural” airs Thursdays on The CW.

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Just Another $@!#*? Column

Celebrating National Lumpy Rug Day

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Everyone’s got a TOP WHATEVER column. You know the type… a list of arbitrary best ofs, worst ofs, or does it really matter ofs. Well, TrunkSpace didn’t want to be left out, so we decided to come up with our own JUST ANOTHER $@!#*? LIST COLUMN. Whereas other lists on other sites may have a point, rest assured, ours will have none.

This time out we’re celebrating National Lumpy Rug Day with a list entitled…

THE TOP FIVE VERY UNHAPPY LUMPY RUG SITTERS!

A NAPPING BLOBFISH

A MOOSE IN A CABOOSE

A WEREWOLF WITH INSOMNIA

A FRUMPY RUG ON A LUMPY RUG

RICK MORANIS GONE GOZER

A very special thanks to Dustin Evans for indulging our lumpy rug art needs!

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