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Mallbangs Interview

(Photo by Kasie Gleason)


Rapid-fire Questions

1. What have you been listening to lately?

I’ve probably listened to royal screw up by soccer mommy over 200 times in the past week. Been listening to a lot of arca, 125 rue montmartre, slow pulp, snail mail… I could keep going but the list would be too long. I don’t stop listening to music. It might be a problem lol

2. Who would win in a fight? Ronald Mcdonald or Liam Gallagher?

Geez that’s easy. Ronald Mcdonald just clowns around. Liam Gallagher scares me. So, Liam Gallagher.

4. Make me cry.

Everyone and everything you know will cease to exist one day. (that in the arms of an angel abused animal commercial)

5. What did you listen to growing up?

Radio pop music, 70s/80s punk, nirvana, nine inch nails, H.I.M, elliott smith, atlanta trap music. Weird to type that out lol

6. What is the worst advice you can give me?

If you’re lost in the woods at night and you see a bright light run towards it.

7. First concert you ever attended?

Avril Lavinge and I think Dashboard Confessional ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

8. Explain NFTs to me in 5 words.

Easy way to launder money.

9. What would you be doing right now if you weren’t answering these dumb questions?

Finishing that show DARK on netflix

10. Any local Atlanta bands that we should check out?

Hmm bands that I can think of off the top of my head? Lunar Vacation, Kibi James, Sword II, girlpuppy, messing… There's a lot to list. I feel like Atlanta has something really special going on right now.


To start things off, can you introduce yourself?

(Photo by Kasie Gleason)

My name is Josh Smith, I’m nonbinary and I go by Mallbangs. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, and I’ve been writing songs for the majority of my life.

Can you give us some of your musical background?

If by musical background you mean what do I play and my upbringing? I primarily play guitar, but I also play piano and mess around with production and stuff on the computer. I grew up around instruments so if you put something in front of me I’m definitely going to learn how to play it and write something with it.

Was there anyone or anything that motivated you to start writing and recording music?

Honestly, it was probably the moment I was introduced to 70s/80s punk, nirvana, the album “The Downward Spiral”. Before hearing that type of music, I was into radio pop music like any other kid which I very much still enjoy and listen to. But, it was such an intense form of expression that I felt it resonated with me. I was always an artistic kid but it made me want to pick up a guitar and make music as cliche as that is.

Your EP is coming out soon! What does it mean to finally be able to share that with the world?

It means I’ve made a huge step personally. I’ve put out stuff before, but this is something I’m really proud of. It’s exciting and it’s nerve wracking.

What was the process of making the EP like?

The process very much felt like being at home in the sense of comfortability like I’m behind my computer making demos. Daniel Gleason (who produced) and TJ Elias (who engineered) made it feel very natural which is what you want, I believe. The process was inspiring and hilarious.

You had a ton of amazing people help work on the EP! You have Daniel Gleason (grouplove) on piano and synth, Marshall Vore (Phoebe Bridgers) on drums, and Grace Repasky (Lunar Vacation) on bass. How did everyone come together to work on the project? Did you all meet in the Atlanta music scene?

Well, Daniel co-owns the studio with TJ, Big Trouble Recordings, where we made this EP. What I think happened was (lol) TJ heard a demo I had made, showed it to Daniel, and then they both reached out to me and were like we should make a record.

Along the way, TJ is friends with Marshall and reached out to him, showed him some songs, and asked him if he wanted to play drums on a couple songs. He said he was down, so we flew out to Pasadena for like two days and worked with Marshall at his place.

Grace lives in Atlanta. Daniel and TJ did a record with Lunar Vacation and it was just another situation where they liked the song and were down to write something. So, a little done in Pasadena and the majority done in Atlanta.

How would you describe the Atlanta music scene?

The Atlanta scene is like microcosms of different scenes happening all at once where they all interweave at some point. Very communal.

My favorite track off the EP is probably “Forget Me Nots” can you give us some background on what inspired that song? (While working on the interview I think my favorite song may have changed to Takebacks. Just thought you should know)

Forget Me Nots was inspired by the death of my grandmother (on my mother’s side) at a time where I was really starting to question a lot of things. And, not ‘questioning things’ from an inquisitive stance but, more so, from an existential stance that I have found, for me, really is exacerbated in the event of dealing with grief.

I find it interesting that Takebacks may be your favorite. It’s definitely a more unique one on the EP.

Which track has the best story behind it?

I don’t know if I can say that one single song has the best story. They all kind of play around the same themes. “Tongue In Cheek” maybe? Just because it’s relevant and personal for me at the moment.

Do you have a favorite lyric, or a lyric that means the most to you?

My favorite lyrics change so often because my favorite song of the moment changes just as much but because I have to choose:

“Everybody is the same in this long no-win game”

Do you have a specific approach to creating music, or do you just kind of feel it out?

(Photo by Kasie Gleason)

I am that person who just feels it out; don’t really take it too seriously or go in with the goal that I’m going to write a song. (But I do also sit down and try to write songs sometimes, and take it seriously to where I become a perfectionist lol) I like to put the tv on, or just background noise of some sort like music and just start playing the guitar, piano or just humming. Sometimes something happens. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Is there anything that you want your listeners to take away from the album?

Whatever they take away from it is what I want. Everyone listens to music for different reasons. If it means something to them or if they just enjoy it. That’s all I could ask for.

While doing research for this interview, I came across a few tweets that I think need further explanation.

LMAO tell me why hawkeyes family shouldn't.

Literally means nothing lol I am curious about why they call it horseradish though.

Longstory, but I volunteered at a wildlife rehab for a little while and made a stupid mistake that resulted in me getting bit lol

Ideally, what would mallbangs be known for? (besides hating Hakeye’s family)

Lol hating hawkeyes family. Jk. I would hope to be known for good songs, good writing, feeling authentic. I love music for many reasons. Good writing always hits me in a profound way. I guess, I hope that it ends up hitting people that way. But if it doesn't, that's okay.

What can we expect to see from you in the near future?

You can expect more music being released for sure. Hopefully to start playing shows. Everyone and their mother is probably trying to play shows now lol

And to wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?

What’s your current fav song/album/movie/tv show/book?

I've been listening to "Fuentes de Ortiz" by Ed Maverick nonstop. I know I'm a couple of years late, but I've been obsessed with him.


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