Weekend // Smith Westerns

We recently had the chance to talk to Smith Westerns‘ frontman Cullen Omori about their new music video, where they came from, and where they are going.  If one thing is apparent about this band, it is their youth. In their songwriting and in their demeanor, Smith Westerns’ youthful cool is enough to make anyone born before them a little bit jealous. When asked to share their favorite websites, Omori responded, “Email. Porn. Porn.”

Since forming a few years back, the band has gone through six different drummers. “We’ve been friends since high school,” he explains, and the three have continued to play together beyond graduation. Listening to Smith Westerns, Omori’s influences are clear. “We listen to a lot of classic rock, like Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Van Halen, and a lot of 90s music like Smashing Pumpkins and Oasis. We all really love pop music, so whether it’s from past decades or from the current Top 40, we’ll listen to it.”

The Chicago-based band had an insanely busy past year, and Omori shared a few highlights: “Playing like 110 shows in 2010. Having James from MGMT come and play a song with us in Lisbon. Playing percussion on KIDS in Prague. Recording our album…” That album, Dye It Blonde, released on January 18, consists of “ten songs that took a really long time to develop. I think being exposed to new music on the road and just playing all the time sharpened our songwriting and musical ability.” He adds, “I think we wanted to make really timeless songs that unfolded to the listener.”

The video for “Weekend,” which follows Smith Westerns through a mall, oozes with the joie de vivre that automatically comes with being young. “We spent the music video budget, [so] the shoot was super low budget. We had our friend do it, so instead of trying to make some shitty set or whatever we went on a shopping spree at the mall.” At the end of the interview we asked Omori what 2011 has in store for Smith Westerns, to which he responded; “I don’t know. Not being 2010.” Touché, Mr. Omori, touché.

—Annick Mayer