The Blackout have always been one of my favourite bands. And my heart has never recovered from their separation in 2015 ! I know it sounds intense. One my biggest goal as a journalist was to interview Sean Smith, their lead singer. So when I got the opportunity to go to Wales, I asked Sean if he would accept to have a chat with me and because he is such an amazing guy, he said yes !
When we started the interview, I obviously mentioned The Blackout and asked him what was his state of mind four years ago when they took the hard decision to split up :
Sean Smith : When we split up, I was the only one who wanted to carry on. I just miss it. I miss it every day. What I’ve seen with my new band is that I’ve still got the love for it. I don’t care if anybody is there or not. That’s kind of how it always was with The Blackout as well. It didn’t matter to us if we were playing for two people or two hundred thousand.
What is your reaction when you see that what you guys did with The Blackout still has an influence on people ? I mean, they keep quoting your lyrics on instagram and stuff, they keep saying that your music truely helped them to get through the hardest moments of their lives. How does it feel to know that ?
Sean Smith : It means the world to us. It blows our minds. When we started the band, we just thought… We just started the band to play locally. And then to go on… For you to say something as lovely as that… That’s amazing. It makes everything we’ve been through worthwhile. And over the years, I’ve had people messaging me saying they were gonna kill themselves, prior to it. And then, I had spoken to them and they decided not to. That’s mad. I’m just an idiot from Mertyr Tidfyl. So don’t ask me for advices, I don’t know what I’m doing.
A few years ago you started another video podcast. You interviewed some people from Lostprophets and Young Guns, you also worked for Kerrang! and Rock Sound and now you have your own podcast with Sappenin’. It seems like being a journalist was another one of your goals ?
Sean Smith : No. You’re a journalist, you can talk a lot, you’ve got questions written down, you know what you’re gonna talk about. I haven’t got a clue. My podcast is literally me trying to get the best stories I can out of people I know or people who are in bands. Trying to break down the wall between fans and bands. So people realise it’s not all glitz and glamour. We’re not millionaire, we’re struggling. I did an interview with As It Is on Saturday and the venue we were at had holes in the ceiling, the dressing room was just a big room, the door was broken in half, there was no windows. People don’t see that, people just think “Oh you’re backstage and it must all be glamorous!”.
Have your heard their last record? (As It Is )
Sean Smith : I like it. I very much like where they’ve gone. It’s another band talking about mental health. They’ve got The Great Depression album. We spoke about it. That band knows the demographics, they know there are younger kids into their band. They’re very careful of what they say and that’s very clever of them. I appreciate that. Coming from me, the shock… But there are so many people going out there and saying adult stuff to children. I commend As It Is for being able to pull it back and restrain it. Yeah, good band, nice guys!
Speaking about the Sappenin’ Podcast, how did everything start?
Sean Smith : Originally, I just thought I’d start a podcast, just do it on my own, just talk rubbish on my own and hopefully someone would listen. So I got in touch with Morgan, who is now the co-host, because he works for Radio Cardiff. I thought “He’ll have an idea, he’ll have all the gear, it should be easy”. I said “Do you wanna do a podcast?” He said “Yes!” I said “Cool. I’ll come around your house to record it” and he was like “I don’t have any gear”. I was like “Okay, what do we need?” and he went “I don’t know” and I went “Oh, the whole reason I called you…”. But it turns out he’s a journalist, whereas I’m no journalist. He’s into a lot of the bands we speak to. And he’s always got questions lined up, whereas I would just go off and ramble about rubbish for an hour. He always tries to drag me back and ask me stuff. Which sometimes drives me mad “Stop it Morg’!”.
What other kind of podcasts do you listen to ?
Sean Smith : I like the way you discover stuff about the people. I listen to a lot of wrestling podcasts and sometimes I haven’t got a clue who the person is or what they look like, but I just listen to their story and I’m on board with them. I listen to a lot of Joe Rogan ones, wrestling ones, comedy ones… I like comedy ones a lot. There was one called “Ten minutes podcast” which was ten minutes long. It was three comedians and they just made stuff up for ten minutes. That was really good but that has come down recently. I’m interested in a bit of everything. Oh, there’s a good Irish comedian called Blindboy Boatclub. He’s part of a rock duo called The Rubber Bandits and they wear plastic bags on their heads. But if you listen to his podcasts, he’s a very very intelligent man. He does stuff about psychotherapy. I’ve learned a lot from that. And he was the guy who originally told me that I should do a podcast as well.
Now let’s talk about Raiders. How did this happen?
Sean Smith : Me and Bob, who used to be in The Blackout. James… Bob isn’t his real name or any of his names, so I don’t know what really calling him. Bob is easy. Me and Bob were just bored, I called him up and said “Have you got any riffs” and he said “You know me, of course I have” and he did. He’s non stop turning them out. I was hanging out with my friend Chris at the time, who’s a drummer, and I said “Bob just sent me a song”, I played it to him, he loved it and I said “Why don’t you come play drums!”, he said yes. So me, Bob and Chris were always the core members. And then, for ages, we tried to get a bassist. We had three bassists that were meant to turn up, they had three weeks to learn the songs. They all cancelled on the day before they were meant to turn up. Nobody wants to be in a band with me. I don’t know what the other members of The Blackout have been telling people but it’s not true! We’ve got a bassist now and he’s great.
Here is the French AUDIO version of this interview included Sean’s Playlist : x
You can listen to Sappenin’ Podcast on Spotify, Applepodcast and all other platforms.
Raiders have released their first single Wasting Away, listen to it right below .