English outfit The Smoking Hearts are preparing for their first Australian jaunt as part of Soundwave Festival later this month. They’ll also play Sydney and Melbourne shows alongside Underoath and Dream On, Dreamer while in town. The reason they are headed this way though, is the release of their new album ‘Victory!‘ which will hit stores on February 17th via 3Wise / Sony. Pre-Orders are in action now and you can grab one [Here]. We caught up with guitarist Simon Barker to tell us a bit more about the band via our Hotseat questions. Expand this post to check out his answers.

Name : Simon Barker
Band : The Smoking Hearts
Job In Band : Guitarist
Website Address : www.smokinghearts.com

Hometown : Shefford
Hometown is best known for : Not very much really, it’s a really sleepy little village in the arse-end of nowhere. Nothing really ever happens.
Best venue in your hometown : It’s so small it doesn’t even have one!
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Fucked Up played at a venue in Bedford, a nearby town, a couple years back, and we were lucky enough to support them. Great band.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : We actually played a show in one of the pubs in Shefford last Christmas time, it was great, proper lairy, the whole place went nuts. As far as I’m aware it was pretty much the only gig in Shefford ever.

How did the band first come to exist? Most of us have been friends since school, and had been in other bands together previously. No other bands in the area were doing anything we were interested in, it was all either emo or shit metal bands, where as we were listening to Zeke and Rocket From The Crypt, bands like that. So we decided to start a band influenced by the music that we liked.
How long has the band been going? Since about 2007 I think. But we’ve only been going about a year with the current line-up (the good line-up)
Any particular story behind the name? Not really, I just thought it up. Thought it sounded cool.
What’s the most recent release? Tell us a little about it… The new album is called ‘Victory!‘. We’d had a bit of a year from hell, with our old singer leaving the band, cancelling a tour and festival appearance. It was very nearly the end of us. So I guess triumph over adversity is a bit of a theme. However, theres are songs about all kinda stuff in there, something for everyone I like to think. We’re really proud of it, and we’re excited to see what everyone else makes of it.
Any particular standout achievement of your band to date? Signing to 3wise was a great achievement for us! And of course being on the bill for Soundwave 2012 so we can come rock out with all you Aussies!

What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? I guess it was when I first got into punk rock, listening to bands like Rancid and Nofx. I knew that was what I wanted to do.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? I’d say Descendents, in particular “Milo Goes To College”. Pretty much a flawless album in my opinion. And finally getting to see them play last year was amazing, never thought I’d get the chance.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? Me and Nobba (the other TSH guitarist) were in a pretty dreadful ska-punk band called Peanukle. I thought we were awesome at the time…
Most prized music related item you own? I got quite a few cool bits I’ve collected over the years. A Dimebag Darrell pick, an “Earth AD” vinyl signed by Jerry Only and a gnarly Rocket From The Crypt picture disc in the shape of a rocket. Pretty geeky stuff.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? I do a bit of tattooing, so when im not doing band stuff you can probably find drawing or tattooing.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… Everything really, hanging out with friends, forgetting about your job for a while, all the experiences you would never normally have, and the places you would never normally get to see.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… I dunno, I like it all really. I guess the only downside is being pretty broke the whole time, but I guess that’s all part and parcel of touring life. No biggie. 

When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? I would say water. Pretty boring I know, but in terms of staying alive, you gotta have water. Anything else is a bonus I guess.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? So far I would say Belgium. We’ve been over there a couple times now and it’s always been amazing, great shows and great people. Can’t wait for Australia though!
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? Groezrock last year was probably my most memorable show so far. It was our first outdoor festival performance and a blazing hot day. It was a proper rowdy show and most of the band ended up in the crowd by the end of the set. Quality!
Got a favourite song to play live? Definitely ‘Stomper’ of our new album. We’ve been finishing our set with it recently. It’s a total banger (if I do say so myself) and just gets us, and the crowd, fired up every time.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? Haha yeah loads. Theres a venue called The Purple Turtle in London with quite a high stage, we were playing and i fell off the front of the stage bringing one of the stage monitors crashing down after me. There was another incident at the same venue, a year later or whatever, when I fell down a hole in the stage haha. Yeah, im too clumsy to be in a band really.
Any pre-show rituals? Me, Nobba and Ben usually do a shot before we go onstage, that’s about it.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? To be honest, touring can be hard, but it’s also massively fun, so I believe you’ve just gotta be grateful for the opportunity, and not moan about it being hard.

Last song you listened to? ‘Get Outta My Room’ by The Donnas
Last album you acquired? ‘Radiosurgery’ by New Found Glory
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? ‘First Four EPs’ by OFF!
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? Aghast! are an amazing death metal from the UK, and dear friends of ours. You should check them out immediately!
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? Well our album “Victory!” is about to drop, it comes out in Australia through 3Wise Records on February 17th. Which ties in nicely with us coming over to play for you guys at Soundwave festival! Can’t wait!

You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ by Pantera. I’d need to take guitar lessons first though.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Kiss, so I could hear what our songs sounded like if they were sexy.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Queen. And Kid Dynamite.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? I do love the tiny sweaty shows, but i would love to play somewhere huge, like Wembley arena or somewhere like that.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? The bass player from ZZ Top, i was listening to Eliminator earlier, seems like that guy has a really easy job…it’s fine i’m sure he won’t read this.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. Queen and Kid Dynamite.

Got any final words? “Victory!” the fabulous new album by The Smoking Hearts is out in Australia on February 17th on 3Wise records, be sure to check it out. Also the single ‘Seatbelts’ off said album is coming out very soon. And don’t forget to come see us at Soundwave 2012. For news and stuff, swing by www.smokinghearts.com. Buy a t-shirt. Much Love!

Click to pre-order now!

Catch The Smoking Hearts playing Soundwave Festival nationally [View Playing Times]
25th – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane [AA] SOLD OUT
26th – Showgrounds, Sydney [AA] SOLD OUT
2nd – Showgrounds, Melbourne [AA] SOLD OUT
3rd – Bonython Park, Adelaide [AA]
5th – Claremont Showgrounds, Perth [AA]
—> Full details at www.soundwavefestival.com

Also supporting Underoath / Dream On, Dreamer on their headline shows
27th – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne [18+]
1st – Factory Theatre, Enmore [Lic/AA]

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