The Smith Street Band at Groezrock

The Smith Street Band at Groezrock

Wil from The Smith Street Band was kind enough to have a little chat with us at Groezrock. He tried to explain why The Smith Street Band is selling out venues all over the world and what his personal life time achievement goal is. He also wants to move to Europe so for those of you who want to live in Australia now is your chance to swap houses...


Introduce yourself to our readers please.

Hi I am Wil from The Smith Street Band. I play guitar and sing.


You've only been a band for a few years but have released an album every year. Living life in the fast lane?

Yeah! We started a band. Our third or fourth show was already on a full tour and we haven't really stopped since. It is really fun, doing what we do. On this tour, we booked as much as we could. Fuck it, let's just keep doing this for as long as possible! So yes, we just want to put out records as soon as they are ready to put out and then come play it for you. Keep on going!


I walked on stage and was just like “YES”. We did it.

Wil Wagner, The Smith Street Band

So now you're playing Groezrock, do you feel that this is a reward for all the hard work you've been doing?

It's amazing, yeah. It's crazy! To be anywhere is great and to be in Europe is great. But playing to thousands of people in a field in Belgium... I never thought I could be doing this. I got off stage and texted my mum: “oh my god mum, you'll never believe what I just did”. There were a few moments last year where we have done things that I could never have imagined. I walked on stage and was just like “YES”. We did it. There have been a few things like that where I just have to pinch myself or start tearing up on stage. So happy. That said, this will keep me going for the next six months of playing in fucking Venray to 10 people. Every now and then we get to do shit like Groezrock and it is amazing.


That is what all the bands are saying; "We have to play crappy venues, but in the end we get rewarded by playing at Groezrock".

But I like playing crappy venues. I like playing shows. I always have the biggest smile on my face. I just enjoy it.


What do you think the crowd loves the most about The Smith Street Band?

I don't know. I think we are good at tricking people. I think people say to me most that they can connect with the lyrics because they are about real life. A lot of people try to write like “this is the break up song that defines all break ups”. But to me it is just that everyone is broke and everyone had shitty houses and shitty jobs and everyone is being dumped. I just write about what is happening. People come to me and say: “It happened to me too, cool that you wrote about it”. And we sing about what we think is important and people seem to relate to that. Some people sing that they are better than anyone and smarter than anyone. I don't have that much of an ego so I just write about what I'm doing.


How are fans in Australia compared to European crowds?

In Australia we do a lot of bigger venues and stuff but that is because we are touring there a lot. It is different, I prefer playing here. I love playing in Australia, really love it, as it is my home and the beaches and everything are just great, but we have done it so many times. I have toured the show probably twenty or thirty times. I have played solo and with the full band. I have been to every venue in every town. I have done it and I still love it. I still love playing but coming to Europe and everything is new. Even if I have been there before I have been there for just one day so there is still so much left to explore and so much left to see. And meeting new people is great. First time we heard a German say “Smith Street band” with his German accent it was so funny. I just like to experience new things and every day in Europe is just starting new and weird and brilliant.


Talking about venues, the Sydney Meyer Music bowl, is that the goal?

We were booked to play there but the festival fell through because no one bought tickets. Don't get me wrong, people bought tickets, but not 50,000 tickets. My goal is not that I want to sell that amount of tickets. My dream as a kid was to sell out this place called “The Corner Hotel” and now we have sold it out a couple of times. That is so cool. And someone from my favourite football team likes The Smith Street Band. I could drop dead tomorrow and I'll be so happy.


Is there a particular band that you would really want to play with?

Oh, Bruce Springsteen! I have seen him a few times when he played Australia. My dad was the first person to get through the gates of the Bruce Springsteen show. They opened the gates and my dad ran all the way to the front. And Descendents were one for a long time but today at Groezrock we kind of play together.


If you could promote one band only, who would it be and why?

There are a lot of Australian bands that I want to promote. Anyone on Poison City Records. Luca Brasi from Tazmania just released an album called By A Thread. I listened to it every day since I came to Europe. I think they might even play Europe maybe September or October. I am not sure but they have been saying that. Our best friends, The Bennies, have this party dancing band. Go on the internet, all we talk about are The Bennies. Anyone on Poison City Records really. Grim Fandango are doing phenomenal. Pinch Hitter, a two piece American football style emo band playing on banjos! I took them on my solo tour. And Courtney Barnett. She is smashing it. She is awesome.


And the plans for the rest of the year?

This tour is another 20 shows, 36 in total! That is long but our day off is tomorrow. Then we are going to play in Australia with a band called Violant Soho, who are awesome but do not need any of my promotion because they are blowing up. And then we are recording our next album. A new album will be out end of October, start of November. And we will be back here in Europe for the first weeks of October! The tour will be announced in a couple of days. And then Fest again, Australia again in November, back here again for a few weeks next year. We will be around. I want to move here. I want to live in the UK. I'm sick of Australia.



The Smith Street Band
The Smith Street Band (formerly Wil Wagner and the Smith Street Band) are an Australian rock band based in Melbourne, Victoria, in which the titular Smith Street can be found. The band currently...

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