Five & Five: Sean Danielsen of Smile Empty Soul
It seems that bands come and go these days in the ever changing landscape of the music industry with few bands staying relevant. One such band that has stood the test of time is Smile Empty Soul and lead singer/guitarist Sean Danielsen is living proof that a true artist isn’t defined by the clothing they wear, the brand of equipment they use, or what label represents them . A true musician stays true to their craft and follows their heart while others blend in with the crowd. It’s always a pleasure to speak with great bands, but this interview with Sean is uniquely special because Sean is a rare breed of musician that honestly loves what he does for a living and I was fortunate to interview such a wonderful talent that is rarely seen in today’s music scene. PART I KC: What artist/bands/songs/albums influenced you? SD: We were influenced by a very wide range of Rock music from different era’s. We grew up on grunge music, but we love all types at this point in our lives. KC: What are you currently listening to right now? SD: I’ve been listening to a lot of Karnivool and Fair to Midland lately, but I can’t speak for the other guys. KC: You’ve had a long career of live performances but which show/performance has been your favorite? SD: That’s a tough one. It was pretty surreal when we got to play at The Gorge in Seattle. There’s an amazing view at that place!!! KC: What made you decide to become a singer/writer? SD: I never made a decision to start writing songs, it just started happening when I was around 11 or 12. As far as singing goes, I never wanted to be a singer, I just stepped in at one point because we didn’t have one. It just kind of stuck. KC: If you want people to remember you one song from you it would be? SD: That’s an interesting question because my favorite song is constantly changing. Right now it’s probably, “Wrecking Ball”, from our new album, “3’s”. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAG64PU1Vec PART II KC: It’s been a long road for you and Smile Empty Soul. Can you explain how the band came to be and what events molded the bands? SD: Ryan and I started playing together in 1998 doing the Hollywood rock club scene. We played out and recorded until we got the attention of a producer that signed us to a production deal. Then we made our first album and signed a deal with Lava Records. Our first record came out in 2003 and the rest is pretty well documented. Jake joined in 2006 and we’ve been solid ever since. KC: After countless albums, you have proved yourself to be a great live musician and as well as a powerful writer. Where do you get your inspiration from and how has it made you a better writer over the years? SD: My inspiration is life, and I think it’s made me a better writer, as well as a person because writing makes me watch people and situations with a certain detail. I feel like writing songs has made me become a student of life. KC: Many bands have come and gone since the incarnation of Smile Empty Soul, but your band has stood the test of time. Please explain in detail how has being in Smile Empty Soul changed you not only as a musician, but as a person. SD: I have dedicated myself to Smile Empty Soul for the last 14 years and I have no idea who I’d be without that. I’m too deep to even imagine myself on any other path, and that’s why we’ve managed to continue doing what we do. Smile Empty Soul isn’t what we do, it’s who we are. KC: You recently did a cover of Alice In Chains’, “No Excuses”, with the band HURT. Can you give our viewers the back story of how this all came to be? SD: We’re on tour with HURT at the moment. We had a day off in Flint, MI and a local studio offered us the day. We had no idea what to do, but quickly came up with the idea of doing a collaborative effort instead of the standard acoustic versions of our own singles. We chose the song the on the spot, figured all the parts out, and recorded it. It was great too because each member of both bands was playing something, and I think J’s voice (singer for HURT) works really well with mine. KC: What is next for you and the band in the upcoming year? SD: We have some very deep plans but can’t really announce anything yet. Keep up with us at www.smileemptysoul.com, and pick up a copy of our newest record, “3’s”!!!!