Interview with Highly Talented and Experienced Musician, Gideon Smith

Gideon Smith is a North Carolina based musician who began singing in rock bands in 1989.Growing up Smith spent parts of his youth in Japan, Indonesia, France and Quebec. In 1996, he formed Gideon Smith a new group and recorded a self-titled ep distributed by doom metal label Game Two Records. Smith signed to Small Stone Records in 1999 and the “Southern Gentlemen” album was released in 2000.

A few ep releases and compilation cd appearances later, Gideon returned with the second album “South Side Of The Moon” in 2008. Both albums have been called classics in their genre and received great international acclaim. Gideon Smith’s music has been featured on such hit television series as The Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy, Dog The Bounty Hunter, Dudesons in America, Nitro Circus and more. Gideon’s underground cult icon status has grown to such proportions that in 2010 a tribute album was released that has seventeen artists from around the world covering his musical works. Classic Rock Magazine featured Gideon as one of the best newcomers in their “150 Greatest Debut Albums” issue and included a song on the magazine’s cd. The full length album “30 Weight” was released on Small Stone Records in 2011. Mixing gothic rock, psychedelic biker blues and more “30 Weight” is perhaps the most successful and highly acclaimed album to date. In 2016, Gideon is writing material and recording various side projects in new musical styles. Today we had the opportunity to sit down for an interview.

How did you get your start in music?
In the early days I jammed with my friends and we had a few bands that played various styles. We had fun and I appreciate the good things about those times. I wanted to play guitar and sing in a rock band like many people wish to do so, I think I became most motivated when I was told I would never succeed. I wanted to prove all the people who gave me grief wrong. All these years later, it seems like a distant memory, but really such motivation is one dimensional and shallow. Once you use it up you burn out on it and you have to keep going from there. People who tried to hold me back just gave me more fuel to the fire of my motivation. But once I really started doing it all, around the mid 90’s, it was of course motivated by what it had been all along: by true love for music and wanting to be part of it, and soul expression from my heart. In the bigger picture of it all, I had music to give, so I wanted to give it and celebrate the beauty and power of music. Play music because you love it, you’re flowing to get it out and live it and love it. Be in command of your art, you are in control and choose what form of expression you wish you use as a tool of communication. I write from a heart and spirit full of love and passion and fire.

What inspires you to write songs?
I write about life experiences and from the heart. I just tell people to be real and write about what they have lived or they truly feel. I never write about politics, news, anything like that. I write about universal themes which are from the soul and are timeless. Songs anyone really could relate to. Music is without walls. It belongs to us all and is a higher form of communication spiritually. So I’m inspired by whatever is going on inside of me, in my heart and then I pour it out in words and music. Don’t look outside yourself and write songs, the most pure music comes from looking deep within.

What are some of your favourite groups and artists?
I love all kinds of music. Gangster rap, death metal, Buddhist chants, metal, rock, stoner rock and reggae. Lately, mostly I listen to reggae, rap and older metal. I’m mostly a classic rock fan so I love Zeppelin, The Stones, The Doors, The Cult, mostly sixties and seventies rock. Gothic rock, doom metal, etc. Good songs are good songs be it Gordon Lightfoot or Getto Boys. I love Krishna Das, Morbid Angel and that Finnish band Jonne, their version of “The Boxer” is great. I love the Wardruna stuff.

If you were not a musician what would you do with your life?
Ah, so many ways to answer that question. I have done a lot with my life outside of music, so there would be many things that call me. I love yoga, martial arts, boxing, archery, anthropology, world religions. I don’t know, I think maybe I’d be a monk (not Christian), a boxer or a pagan spiritual counselor. But I have much music to give, so I doubt it will ever stop calling me to keep giving music.

You have three albums so far, what do each represent in your musical history?
The first album is swamp southern rock, the second is space rock, biker rock, psychedelic. The third is more gothic rock, psychedelic and doom metal rock. All my music is different really so I don’t really label it anything, it’s more from song to song. Start anywhere if you want to hear some and hope you enjoy.

You have been working on side project bands in the last year. Any news for your audience?
I have a side band called Cemetery Crows which is doom metal, gothic rock, death metal, psychedelic sounding. It is the heaviest music I have done. It sounds like Sabbath meets early death metal vocals, then trippy psychedelia touches. There are a few others in the works but too early to talk about for now. Fun with friends and it’s a gift to explore different things awhile.

You have been compared to people like Jim Morrison of the Doors, Ian Astbury and others. How do you feel about that?
All of those artists are amazing great figures in rock history, being compared to them is an honor. I relate most to the guys who built up the ceremonial fires big and made their music deep and passionate, wild and primal. Again, I listen to all kinds of music and I don’t limit what I do. I will always love those bands you mentioned, if anyone out there ever sees me in that light I’m really thankful.

Do you have any shows coming up?
No, these days I am just recording sporadically when I can. I hope to return to shows in the coming year or two. I have had some health challenges and not performed live for several years. I am okay and eventually I will be back onstage when the hands of the Gods above sway the stars to make it so. All a man can do is navigate the misty roads of the mountains ahead. When the time is right to perform again I’ll be there and it will be a high holiday.

Thank you and any words for your audience?
Big respect to everyone who supports what I do. Be brave, follow your heart, don’t apologize for being yourself. Laugh at your enemies and keep on going, the adventure is yours to define. Love the people who are good to you and hold them high. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me and wishing you well friend.

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