IT turns out you're never too young to become a fan of the Smith Street Band.
The two-year-old daughter of Smith Street Band guitarist and founding member Lee Hartney has become quite the fan of the Melbourne folk-punks' video for their single Everybody Is Lying To You For Money.
The video depicts the band crashing on Earth after their spaceship runs out of fuel before they're chased by an evil genie that pretends to grant their individual wishes.
Sure, it sounds weird, but it's been a hit in the Hartney household.
"When we released the video Everyone Is Lying To You For Money we were doing silly stuff on the green screen and she was going bonkers for it," Hartney laughs.
"I've played that so many times. Just constantly in the car. Because we're running in the video she just calls it, 'Daddy running'. I've probably listened to that song on Spotify more than anybody."
Of course, Hartney's toddler isn't alone. The Smith Street Band's gradual ascent in the alternative music scene has been happening since the release of their debut album No One Gets Lost Anymore in 2011.
In April 2020 they scored their first ARIA No.1 with their fifth album Don't Waste Your Anger. This was despite allegations of harassment and emotional abuse being levelled at frontman Wil Wagner in 2019 by Camp Cope's Georgia Maq.
While Don't Waste Your Anger displayed elements of synths and greater ambience, album No.6 Life After Football steers The Smithies wholeheartedly back to their roots of crunching guitars and anthemic choruses.
"The last album Don't Waste Your Anger, I feel like we went a bit more grand, and we thought why don't we get back to the room together and just play and record it pretty much live," Hartney says.
"We added a few little things extra afterwards, but in general, it was pretty much just us in the room. Let's make it more a guitar and drums album."
Sonically Life After Football sounds closer to the simplistic intensity of The Smith Street Band's 2014 breakthrough album Throw Me In The River.
Why did The Smithies look backwards rather than continue the progression of Don't Waste Your Anger?
"Like anything in life [there was no reason] in particular, it just felt right," Hartney says.
"It was, 'why don't we do that?' You get to a point where you want to always be changing and evolving and even if that's going back to your roots - kind of devolving a little - but I felt it was time to go back to feeling how we did 10 years ago.
"You wanna feel a bit younger in your old age. Who knows what the next one will be? We might do the complete opposite and do an electro album."
Naturally COVID was a major influence on Wagner's lyrics. That's most clear on the lead single I Don't Want To Do Nothing Forever and the title track, Life After Football, which uses the footy season as a metaphor for the pandemic.
"What do you after the footy season ends? Like what do I have now?," Hartney says.
"We've gone two years stuck in this weird world and you come out now and things have basically opened up and are normal now and it's like you have to start reassessing what do I have in life? What am I gonna do now?"
Hartney and Wagner are founding members, with Michael Fitzgerald (bass) joining in 2012, before Matt Bodiam (drums) and Jess Locke (guitar, backing vocals) came on board in 2017.
There's been numerous of highs and lows together and endless miles on the road.
What The Smith Street Band weren't ever going to do was fold under the pressure of the 2019 backlash, which led to Kiwi band The Beths and Brisbane's Sweater Curse pulling out of a tour supporting The Smithies.
Wagner always had his bandmates support.
That's what helps us all get through everything, playing music. It's a big part of what helps us all.- Lee Hartney, Smith Street Band guitarist
Wagner has been open and honest about his mental health struggles and even revealed in 2019 that he attempted suicide earlier that year when the allegations surfaced.
"Anyone being in a band, it's a family," Hartney says.
"You can't tour with other people without them becoming brothers and sisters to you, because you spend so much time together.
"You know everyone in and out. Like any family you have arguments and you make up and you always love each other no matter what you're going through.
"The music is a lot of the support, because that's what we do together. That's what helps us all get through everything, playing music. It's a big part of what helps us all. If we get together and play music you know you're gonna be alright."
The Smith Street Band's Life After Football is released on Friday.
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