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 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 to discuss his side project Cemetery Crows, advice for new artists and more.
Where did you get your start as a musician?
Gideon: Hello and how are you? I jammed with friends I had over the years, forming my own band in 1996. I grew up loving what most people now call classic rock. I always liked blues and swampy music but also was into metal and psychedelic rock from the sixties and seventies. I really dig the groups who can transport you to another world when you listen to them like Zeppelin and The Doors. I listened to all kinds of music and still do from reggae to metal to blues rock. I have three albums so far on Detroit based label Small Stone Recordings and more to come in the future. My music is really diverse so I would say just start with any one song and take what you find in what form appeals to you.
What advice would you give a musician who is just starting out?
Gideon: First and foremost have fun with it, but also keep a strong standard of professionalism in how you handle your band: the musicians you play with, how you deal with people on all levels. Whatever style you like, make it the absolute best quality you can. From songwriting to production, artwork, everything included. Don’t waste your time around negative people or toxic energy that can come with the business. Cut ‘em loose and keep moving. Play music styles that make you happy and the work of it will become a joy, because you love what you do. Don’t keep up with trends and worry about them. Just be yourself and focus on your instrument, songwriting and always put your best foot forward. Put yourself out there and drive hard, but have fun with it too. Adapt to circumstances and situations, minimize your weaknesses and maximize your strengths. Even if your style is raw, make it great. In the end it’s good songs that will make an artist stand out. Essentially people want quality and appreciate artists who are awesome on record, in person and on stage. You’ll succeed and be respected if you carry yourself with dignity and give people quality in any area of life.
You are a voracious reader. Do you have any favorite books?
Gideon: I read all the time. I am constantly surrounded by books and I often carry a few with me when I leave my house. I think books, albums, films can be like old friends, they stay with you and keep opening up as the years go by. I like to read about ancient history, world religions, Asian philosophy, anthropology, books about positive thinking. I rarely read fiction. Pretty much everything I read is for knowledge, inspiration or affirmation. But when it comes to films, of course I watch fictional movies all the time, but with books I usually read non fiction but I have big praise for the Harry Potter books and I love comic books, I’m a big Tolkien fan. The modern mythology for these generations are things like Star Wars, Harry Potter, it’s healthy for readers. Classic themes with heroes and villans, love stories, friends on adventures for a higher purpose.
.In the last year we have lost so many great musicians, what affect did their passing have on you?
Gideon: It is so true, so many great and talented musicians passed away in the last few years. I would hesitate to say one was more talented or greater than another, they were all great in their own ways and loved by their fans. All of them had a big impact on rock history. I think all of them should be honored, but to me David Bowie was other worldly, such a brilliant artist. Lemmy was a bad ass for sure. I never thought David Bowie would die at all, it was like he would just move into another dimension and that’s probably what happened. Lemmy was like a world reknown pirate king, the real thing, irreplaceable. Prince was a brilliant musician and creative force. It is a tragedy to music that so many moved on from this world, but their music and the impression they made on people’s lives will live forever.
5.Do you have any future plans or news for your audience?
Gideon: I am always writing and recording, but sporadically these days. I have a side project called Cemetery Crows which is doom metal. It’s also very psychedelic, gothic, sludge core. It sounds like Sabbath with old school death metal vocals and psychedelic touches. There was a Cemetery Crows demo EP called “Wolves of Desire” and the next one will be sometime next year. I will get back to my usual music eventually and have several other side bands in the works.
What are some of your hobbies non musical?
Gideon: I love archery, yoga, skateboards, boxing and martial arts. When I get moving I usually go at whatever I’m doing like a lion on the charge, but when I’m chilled, I’m very withdrawn and just pursue whatever makes me happy. I enjoy spending time with people who enrich my life.
7.Gideon thank you for the interview. How can your audience contact you or follow your work?
Gideon: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me friend. People can keep up with me on my website which is gideonsmith.net. Much respect to all the people who support what I do. Follow your dreams and believe in yourself, let no man or woman tell you otherwise. Life is about drive, but love gives life meaning. Be brave, give your love and keep your eyes on a good today and amazing tomorrow.