Monday, January 30, 2012

The Smoking Hearts

THE SMOKING HEARTS’ new voiceBEN MILLS talks to Rachel Barnesabout the band’s fight for survival after their lead singer abandoned them.

After the departure of their original lead singer Rod Lethal, UK punks The Smoking Hearts refused to let their fire die out. The boys never actually got an explanation from Lethal as to why he left and have since taken it into their own hands to make a few up for him. For example – despite his sudden exodus, the band all wish him well with his new peacock farm. The peacock-less Smoking Hearts have pushed on without Lethal and have never felt stronger. Their new lead singer Ben Mills says that the change has only been good for the band, and that Lethal’s abandonment actually empowered them. “It got better, that’s for sure,” Mills laughs. “I think as a band we gelled so well and we all came together. We’re a unit, we’re a team, and it feels good.”

Reinforced and ready, The Smoking Hearts are getting set to release their much-anticipated second album, Victory! When Lethal departed, the band still had songs in their heads that they refused to let go of, so the album was born out of pure stubbornness. With only one song finished in full when Mills joined, the boys came together to produce the band’s best work yet. “A lot of hard work went into this album and a lot of tears have been shed over the fact that it might never have happened,” Mills says. “I think we all agree that we have done something brilliant here and we’re so proud of what we have done and we hope everyone else is proud too.”

Ready to share their new sound and new songs with the world, the boys are coming to Australia to play Soundwave and could not be more excited. Calvin Roffey is the only member to ever visit our shores, and needless to say the rest of the band is eager to set foot in the southern hemisphere. “I’m pre-tanning,” Mills jokes. “I can’t wait, it’s in my nature, I’m from Essex,” he says, sounding like a child at Christmas. “I might actually get to hug a Koala,” he laughs, “but I’ve already decided that I want to get a tattoo of a kangaroo with boxing gloves on while I’m in Australia ... I just need to find someone to do it.”

Despite the thrill of a new tattoo, Mills is more excited to hit the stage and show Australia just what The Smoking Hearts have been up to. Having to keep their notorious guitar smashing to a minimum due to a lack of access to new equipment while playing Soundwave, the boys promise their shows will still be just as exciting. “Audience participation is definitely something we like to get involved in, we like everyone to be singing along, clapping along, jumping up and down, and having a good time, and if you don’t look like you’re having a good time we will make you have a good time,” he laughs.

The band’s world domination continues past Australia as they are set to hit the U.S straight after our summer. Though they aren’t down here for very long, don’t worry, they’ll be back – Mills promises he won’t be starting a peacock farm of his own anytime soon.

THE SMOKING HEARTS play the sold out Soundwave Festival at the RNA Showgrounds on Saturday Feb 25. VICTORY! is out Feb 17 through 3Wise/Sony. See for more.

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