(Photo credit: Scott Chalmers)
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Simon Smith and I play guitar, teach on YouTube and write music (mainly Black Metal). I’m a bit obsessed with gear (guitars, amps, pedals etc), and I have a YouTube channel where I teach and demo equipment. I teach a lot of metal, and in particular Black Metal, but most other styles as well, from pop and funk to other types of metal music.
What is your musical journey, where and when did you start and how did you end up where you are today?
My musical journey started when I first heard Iron Maiden’s “No Prayer For The Dying” album in 1990. I was 15 and it changed my life. I used to play computer games round my friends house in the school holidays and it was on repeat for basically 6 weeks. I then had to beg, borrow, and steal to buy a cheap electric guitar (an Encore Strat copy) and the crappyest amp in the world. I had no idea what I was doing, but wanted to learn Iron Maiden songs. My uncle used to play guitar in the 50’s and 60’s so gave me some lessons. I then started having payed lessons and moved from teacher to teacher.
After school I went to music college but dropped out in order to fill shelves in a supermarket as I thought that money was more important than knowledge at that age (mistake). I joined my first band at around 17 years old (a death metal band called Embalmed). Then I discovered Black Metal and we got rid of the Death Metal tunes and started writing Black Metal in around 1993/94. We recorded a demo which found it’s way onto YouTube along with some photo’s of us in corpsepaint from 1993 (no idea who put these up as I didn’t even have copies of these photo’s).
After that band finished I just mainly wrote and practiced for a few years, then joined a metal band called SNUB in around 1996/7. We released an EP called 360 Degree Conviction, and then got signed to Copro Records. We recorded our album Memories In Richter in 2000 then completed several UK tours, playing all the dingy clubs. We had a lot of fun on the road. I left the band in around 2003, but we’ve played a few reunion gigs over the years.
I then decided to try something different so myself and a few mates started a band called Intrepid and wrote a couple of EP’s. I put the songs onto Spotify a few months ago as they’d never been previously released. It was Indie/Pop music in the vein of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. That was it for years.
I’ve always written consistently over the years and have hundreds of unreleased songs that I’ve written with different friends over the years (mainly my fellow guitarist and friend Martyn).
Last year I decided to write and release a Black Metal album as BM has always been my main love from a metal point of view. I wrote all guitars/bass/drums and my friend Andy recorded vocals for me. It came out exactly as I wanted it to. We’re starting to write a new album so that may be due early next year.
I’m also in another metal band called Lonely Waters. We’re just writing an album/ep at the moment and we recently supported Crowbar which was pretty awesome.
What are some of your musical highlights?
Recording and releasing our first album in SNUB was pretty cool. We had a lot of fun. The tours with Earthtone 9, Misery Loves Company, Seizure, and GF93 will always stay in my memory. Supporting Iron Monkey a couple of times and of course the Crowbar show was great fun. I suppose some of the best memories were walking around my home town of Bournemouth in Corpsepaint in the early/mid 90’s and causing havoc. Local shows in the early days were chaos and always eventful so I loved those early SNUB days. Lots of aggressive moshing going on!
Releasing my album last year was an achievement for me and something I’d always wanted to do. Modern technology makes life so much easier these days. One of my favourite things is the interaction I get from my YouTube subscribers. They’re an awesome bunch of loyal, funny people and I enjoy the banter I have with them.
Where can we hear/watch your works?
You can get my album (search for Kyteler – The Curse) on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play etc.
My YouTube channel is www.youtube.com/simonthedragon
What kind of musical tools do you use? (instruments, software, DAW, etc,this is the area for promotion)
Guitars – I have multiple. I do love PRS guitars the most though. They’re just so playable and excellent quality. Also, Crimson Guitars are incredible. Check them out.
Amps – Again, I have multiple amps as I’m a bit of a tone chaser but my current favourite is the Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister Deluxe 40. It’s insane for every genre.
Drums – I use KVLT drums. I have to say they’re my absolute favourite of all the drum programs I’ve heard. I’ve not used anything else since getting them. Being a fan of Black Metal (old school especially), I find that they deliver the lo-fi sound that I love. Easy to use, sound great, and reliable!!
Interface – I currently use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface
DAW – Logic Pro X. I’ve used logic exclusively since getting a computer so wouldn’t want to change to anything else.