‘BLEEDER’ ARE A ALT TRIO FROM VIRGINIA AND SHELBY SMOAK CHATS TO ME ABOUT THEIR SINGLE ‘IF YOU’ AND DEBUT ALBUM ‘

What are your names?
Shelby Smoak
Chuck Campbell
Drew Speziale

 

 

What is your genre of music?

Indie-Alternative

 

How did you come up with the bands name?

BLEEDER is an extension of my memoir which was published in 2013 by Michigan State Univ Press. I debated about using my name, but I felt Bleeder best encapsulated what the project was about.

 

 

Give us a little bio about you as a band and individuals.
Shelby spent the 2000s playing music in numerous bands as part of the Chapel Hill, NC music scene. He then moved to Washington, DC where he concentrated on his writing, but continued music in a solo fashion. After the book was accepted and published, and once the book tour and public appearances slowed, he returned to music. He shared his home demos with friends Chuck and Drew, and together they decided to flush them out with a band and then to record the songs. There Bleeder was started. In his spare time, Shelby reads and writes and has begun a historical novel about the Donner party.
Drew Speziale is leader of scream-o band Circle Takes the Square. He has been on national tours with Caspian and has been a touring member of Junius. He is a recent father and spends his time making chocolate for his business Immortal Mountain.
Chuck Campbell is a long-time DC-area musician. He spends time with his wife and two children and raises chickens, and is presently engaged in restoring a 1970s-era Scottie RV-trailer.
Chuck & Shelby are neighbors. Drew lives 3 miles away. All live on Blue Mountain in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virgina.

 

 

Are you a signed?

We are not signed to a label. We are part of the Chapel Hill based collective Potluck Foundation Records. Formed by friends of Shelby’s, Potluck brings together talented artists and bands with ties to the Chapel Hill scene, much in the way Elephant 6 may have serviced bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Apples in Stereo. There are no contracts, but just a desire to share and promote good music together.

 

 

Your new single ‘If You’ is out , tell us more about that.
“If You” was born out of my frustrations as a hemophiliac. As I recall, it came after a stretch of pretty bad bleeds and at a time I was also battling with Hep C, which came to me, like HIV, through tainted blood infusions. In those low times, you wish you were “somebody new,” somebody without all those complications. That explains the verse, but the chorus is the psychological acceptance that serves as an answer to the verse which seeks to shed things. I suppose it’s a song of coping. You wish things were different and you could be somebody new; but you can’t be; so you must accept it and consider the strengths and fortitude that position gives you.

 

 

What message are you trying to tell your fans?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I write the songs because it’s how I cope with my life. It’s how I shed and process my hemophilia, my HIV. I do share that process with my community and speak to how important music has become in my life. But I’m not sure the process of coping is captured in the songs. I believe the songs capture the emotion of a moment and I hope that the sharing of that might bring a certain similar catharsis to the listener, as it has done for me. But I’m not sure that is a message exactly?? Tough question. I write the songs because it’s how I’ve learned to live, but I haven’t deeply considered the message those songs contain save that I concentrate on the feeling they hold. I suppose that is what I value then—the feeling in a song.

 

 

Your also set to release a new album, what can you tell us about it?
The album is out! It was a great process of discovery. When we began fleshing out the parts in my basement and then began recording them, I don’t think any of us were certain what we’d do with the tracks. For starters, given I decided to do all the recording, I wasn’t sure the material would be releasable beyond a few burned copies to share with friends. But once we got into a few tracks, a feeling emerged that we could consider releasing this to a larger audience. And so we continued working out the tracks for the next year or so. Originally, I imagined I would mix the record myself, but I felt having another, more professional ear involved at that point would best serve the songs, so I called up Al Weatherhead whom I had worked with on previous projects. We always hit it off and I had a deep respect for his talents. He really gave my recordings the polish they needed. And then I went to Nashville for Tom King at ex nihlo studios to do mastering. Tom has mastered every record I’ve been involved with. A friend since high school, Tom encourage these songs into a totally cohesive record.

 

 

Describe each track in two words.
Happiness: Sadness
Little Souvenir: Growing Old
If You: Coping
The Past: Moving On
Sideways: Growing Old
Fate: Trying to Understand
Satisfied: Artistic Doubt
Hanging On: Living
Hold Your Tongue: Don’t Fight

 

 

Do you have any gigs or festivals coming up?
Not at present. Though we do live shows and have some planned for early fall, I always envisioned Bleeder as more a recording project.

 

What made you go in to music?
Necessity. I don’t know how else I would have endured HIV, hemophilia, Hep C.

How do you cope with things like that? I had to find a way to process trauma. It started with just listening deeply to music and letting it move you and help you, but then that wasn’t enough. I had to be part of the process. So I started participating.

 

 

Do you play any instruments?
Yes. I play guitar and sing. I also play bass and did all the bass on the Bleeder album. I play keys too. Drew plays guitar. Chuck plays drums.

 

 

Who are your influences?
The Jesus & Mary Chain. The Cure. Joy Division. The National. Wilco. Guided by Voices. The Stone Roses. The Beatles. Neil Young. The Ocean Blue.

 

 

How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I play guitar every day. It’s my therapy! When a particular melody recycles itself frequently, I start to feel it may want lyrics and I go from there.

 

Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
In my basement, recording another song.

 

When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I read. I write. As I said, I’m working on a novel about the Donner party. I have about 3 notebooks of notes now and have about 50 pages written.

 

If you could collaborate with one UK Artist or band who would it be and why?
The Jesus & Mary Chain. I’ve always admired their guitar melodies and use of reverb, and have especially admired the pop sensibility in their songwriting.

 

if you could collaborate with one US artist or band who would it be?
The National. I truly love their use space in their songs, and their ability to build songs is remarkable. And their songs of chocked full of emotion!

 

What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
I think The Stone Roses record really drew me into music in a big way, but one song on that record would be hard to pin down. The whole record just spoke to me. A specific song would be “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. That song was released at the same time I found out I was HIV positive and it hit me in a big way. I understood then how powerful music could be.

 

What’s the best advice you have ever been given? Don’t listen to others’ advice.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Having music in your life is a great way to live. It’s fulfilling and rewarding and it just never lets you down if you’re just in it to play and make music. If, well, your ambitions are otherwise, the experience can be far different.
What quote or saying do you always stick by? I don’t really have anything.

 

Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
Website

Facebook

Twitter

Youtube

Bandcamp

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