For the past decade, you’ve appreciated his music as the driving force behind underrated hard rockers Smile Empty Soul, but for the next few months, he’ll be spotlighting his solo effort.
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Sean Danielsen, the primary writer and guitarist/vocalist for Smile has just wrapped his second solo EP “Food Chain” which hits the streets on November 4th. The new EP is a full-band offering, unlike his previous solo effort, which was an acoustic selection. The shows, however, will be solo acoustic efforts.
“I’m really excited to be releasing my own solo music and doing my own shows,” said Danielsen. “It’s a nice change of pace for me, and a challenge that I’m looking forward to.” We’ve caught Smile Empty Soul a few times, and Danielsen is a solid front man, who seems to be more comfortable in the spotlight in recent years. He’s a super talented singer and guitarist, and I suspect he will shine during these acoustic offerings.
10/31 – Houston, TX @ BFE Club
11/01 – San Leon, TX @ 12th St. Pier
11/02 – Tyler, TX @ Clicks
11/06 – Tulsa, OK @ Downtown Lounge
11/07 – Sioux, City IA @ The Chesterfield
11/09 – Des Moines, IA @ House Of Bricks
11/10 – Algona, IA @ Afterlife Lounge
11/11 – Waterloo, IA @ Spicoli’s
11/12 – Bloomington, IL @ Castle Theater
11/13 – Lafayette, IN @ Hideaway
11/14 – Battle Creek, MI @ Warehouse
11/15 – Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
11/17 – Akron, OH @ Rippers Rock House
11/18 – Mogantown, WV @ Schmitt’s Saloon
11/19 – Louisville, KY @ Diamonds Pub
11/20 – St. Louis, MO @ Mad Magician
11/21 – Joplin, MO @ Rock 3405
11/22 – Cape Girardeau, MO @ Pitter’s
Over the weekend, we caught them on the second of four Florida dates, as they wrapped up the East Coast leg of their headlining tour, before picking their way through the South on their way back home. On this night, it was a stop at Bombshell’s Tavern in Orlando, a venue we had not previously visited.
The line-up on this tour is quite diverse, with the post-hardcore stylings of Saint Ridley; not my preferred type of rock, but they were into their set. Super bob was up next, and they were a fantastic surprise. Not sure how to characterize their music, but it’s a high energy, visually captivating spectacle, and the band sounds great. It was damn good, and worth the ticket price alone.
But, the headliners did not disappoint either. Smile Empty Soul took the stage and delivered an hour long set packed with their biggest prior hits, and nicely featuring a half dozen tracks off of their excellent new album.
Lead singer Sean Danielson sounded great, and his guitar was fantastic throughout the set. In addition, he was also a bit more chatty with the crowd than I remember from previous shows. Jake Kilmer with a permanent smile plastered on his face was the powerful force behind the songs. Bass player Ryan Martin was not playing, but his replacement did a nice job on his five stringed bass.
The 13 song set (see the full setlist below) was bracketed with rousing drum-driven tracks off of Chemicals, starting with an energetic “Black And Blue” (Kilmer’s favorite song to play live as noted in a recent interview with us) and the title track, “Chemicals.” Other stand out offerings included a tender version of “Sitting Ducks,” featuring pristine guitar work from Danielson, and a powerful version of “False Alarm.”
“Bottom Of A Bottle,” their 2003 mega-hit was a hugely popular with the crowd, but the highlight of the night was an excellent rendition of “Silhouettes” that had half the crowd singing along.
For more on Smile Empty Soul, check out the following two interviews:
The venue, Bombshell’s Tavern has recently begun booking more national touring acts, and is a welcome addition to the local Orlando music scene. We interacted with a handful of staff members, and they were all great, highlighted by Linda, the super-friendly bartender in the venue room. It’s not a big place, but it definitely boasts a blue collar rock ‘n roll vibe, and was a nice room to see a show in. We’ll be back…
After a recent show in Central Florida, we caught up with Smile Empty Soul’s talented drummer Jake Kilmer, and share a RARA’s Six PAck. For those of you new to the website, our six packs, are six quick fun interview questions, and once in awhile (like this time) share with a drink in our hand.
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We got together on a beautiful Spring night in Jacksonville just before the sun set over the St. Johns River. Kilmer, sipping his Bud was a friendly, fun guy. Check it out for yourself.
Cretin: Who were your influences as a drummer? Jake Kilmer: (without hesitation) Dave Grohl Cretin: How about his current drummer, Taylor Hawkins? Jake Kilmer: He’s a bad ass. Before Taylor Hawkins, Grohl locked me into wanting to wanting to be a rocker. Before that I liked Ringo Starr. I loved the drumming from the Beatles, but when you hear “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” you just want to (go crazy). And, Ringo Starr was a great drummer for The Beatles. He sang as well, but he had some great drum parts.
Cretin: If you could tour with any one band, which band would it be? Jake Kilmer: Deftones. They’re a good group. Saw them with Alice In Chains.
Cretin: If you weren’t a drummer, what would you be doing with your life? Jake Kilmer: Engineering? I don’t know, I like technical stuff.
Cretin: Favorite city to play? Jake Kilmer: Besides Jacksonville? I don’t have one. The United States is bad ass; there are great people in clubs all over the place.
Cretin: What’s your favorite cover song? Jake Kilmer: “Aneurysm” by Nirvana. We cover that one and you can find it on-line, it’s a great one.
Check it out – it’s worth a Google search. Jake’s drums are killer and Sean Danielsen (Guitar) and Ryan Martin (bass) tear it up, too.
Cretin: What’s your favorite song to play live? Jake Kilmer: “Black ‘n Blue” off of our new record, track one.
A decade ago, three brash young Californians exploded onto the Alt-Rock scene with a smashing breakthrough single “Bottom of the Bottle.” Their first release peaked inside the Top 10 and they were on everyone’s list of band’s to watch. But then, they seemed to slip off the Alt-Rock radar.
Were they a one-hit wonder bereft of potential? No, far from it. The rock music business is a fickle one, record companies are unpredictable, and radio stations schizophrenic. While the trio still churned out excellent music, they lost some of their presence. But, fortunes are changing, and the trio is again on the cusp of big things.
We recently caught up with talented drummer Jake Kilmer after a rousing set in front of a few thousand rabid fans at hard rock’s premier music festival, Welcome To Rockville in Jacksonville. The band symbolically kicked off the set with “Black and Blue,” the title track off of their latest release; then powered through a nice sampling of their past decade of music, both new and old.
We took a few moments to chat about the band’s latest project, and their plans for this summer, shortly after they left the stage.
RARAsFarm: So, you guys had a big crowd out there. What did you think of the Jacksonville fans during your set? Jake Kilmer: I thought they were into it. There was some good energy there. I got an awesome picture with the guys in it and the crowd in the background, we had a lot of fun.
RARAsFarm – here’s the photo Jake referenced, and it is pretty damn good (we’ll provide our link to their show photos below)
RARAsFarm: You’ve been together for about ten years now, and just released your sixth album, Chemicals, how’s it doing? Jake Kilmer: It’s going good and fans dig it. They know more and more songs each day. Our second single “Chemicals” is out on Sirius XM’s Octane and it’s being picked up on radio stations all around the country.
RARAsFarm: You mention Octane, and truthfully there’s parts of Florida with no good rock stations, so Octane is where I hear most of these Welcome To Rockville bands. Has it become an important station for a band’s success these days? Jake Kilmer: Now it is, sure; Sirius XM’s Octane is bad ass, because it’s nationwide. If you’re on there, you are doing something right because you’re pleasing them.
RARAsFarm: What are your plans for the summer? Jake Kilmer: We’ll be touring. We just put a shitload of dates on our SmileEmptySoul.com site. We’re going all over.
RARAsFarm: Are you guys just focused on touring, or making new music now? Jake Kilmer: We’re just focused on touring. Sean’s always been writing. Collectively we all work on the tunes together to put them together, but he’s the songwriter. I’m sure he’s been writing a bunch. It’s never been hard for Smile to get together and produce new material; it’s only been hard to get the right label team who aren’t douchebags, to become a part of the team and support us.
RARAsFarm: It sounds like you have a lot of company. A bunch of bands I speak to are facing the same challenges. Jake Kilmer: That’s why it’s bad ass that we’re doing our own thing label-wise. We’re in control and that’s why we didn’t come back so fast. We got off that label because they didn’t do shit. We found a new opportunity with a friend of ours willing to invest. We put together this team, found a great radio team and publicist, and we’ve been working hard at it. And, we’re not going anywhere.
RARAsFarm: Well, the new stuff sounded great today and it was nice to hear, and you guys killed it live. Hopefully we’ll see you again soon on the East Coast. Jake Kilmer: Cheers. Thank you.
Check out the latest Smile Empty Soul album below. It’s jammed with solid straight-forward American alt-rock, and some of their best stuff in years.
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