Drew Smith’s ‘Love Teeth’ Gives the Indie Collaborative Spirit Some Bite
Every now and again, That’s Funky Awesome comes across a project that helps to restore my faith in humanity. At least in the parts that like to sit down and create stuff. Cool stuff. And they do it because they have a song that needs to be sung or a story that needs to be told, and in the perfect world scenario the two get mashed together to form a tasteful little nugget of-dare I say-art?
Let’s face it-with all the whining and complaining as of late coming from major record labels and Top 40 chart toppers you would think the world was coming to an end. A horrible, painful, ‘I can only afford ten people in my inner circle’ kind of end. Maybe it’s because that back in the day, if you so much as hummed a few bars of a pop song while standing in front of a urinal drunkenly doing your business by the time you flushed there’d be a label accountant standing behind you holding the paper towels hostage until you paid them a royalty fee. It sucked, but that’s how the music business was run, so to speak.
Things are changing now, and through the change it’s the big labels that have fallen behind the times. They continue to lean on a business plan that can’t support the weight of the music industry, and as a result they find themselves more often than not falling face first into a great big pile of mud and getting their Sunday best all mucky and gross.
So who’s having success in the world of music these days, you might ask? Well, the good news is there are still a lot of artists out there doing their thing and coming out ahead of the game, the key is to think outside the box. Also, putting money aside for a second and thinking about what you want to create as part of the end reward helps, too.
Drew Smith, a Hamilton, Ontario based singer-songwriter whose songs are like Radiohead’s Thom Yorke dropping in on a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah session, has hit the hammer on the head of the new indie spirit with his latest single, Love Teeth, from the forthcoming album The Secret Languages. Like many independent artists, Smith’s music career has been funded by a day job, and in his case it was teaching English as a second language. Five years ago, one of Smith’s students was a South Korean named Sohee Jeon, who had aspirations of becoming an animator one day. Skip ahead a few years, and Smith and Jeon were still in touch, even with Jeon now living back in South Korea (and working in her dream field after completing her studies at the Vancouver Film School). With one album under his belt (2007’s Fossils), Smith contacted Jeon about an idea to have her create a music video for one of the tunes off of his newest collection of songs, The Secret Languages. Together, Smith and Jeon picked Love Teeth (a favourite track of Jeon’s). Jeon conceptualized, directed, and animated the entire video on her own, with no input from Smith. The idea was to allow the filmmaker to create their own vision of the songwriter’s ‘tale’, and Jeon’s finished story made an immediate impact on Smith.
“As the songwriter, it was quite the experience waiting to see how her visualization of the song would materialize. The result totally blew me away.”
All of this was done between two artists working together from opposite ends of the planet. No middle man, and what I can only assume was also a fairly ego-free collaboration. Wow…whodathunkit?
To top off today’s post, you can download Love Teeth for free at Smith’s website, www.drewsmith.ca. Look for The Secret Languages to land sometime in November.
Finally, here’s the Smith/Jeon nugget of art I’ve been raving about.