Not many people are familiar with the name Todd Smith, but those who are familiar with the avant garde and sometimes offbeat rock band, Dog Fashion Disco know exactly who he is. Todd is a writer, singer, songwriter and creator of projects like Dog Fashion Disco, The Alter Boys, Polkadot Cadaver, El Creepo and Knives Out.
Todd’s latest project, Knives Out has just released their debut album, he’s keeping busy touring heavily with Polkadot Cadaver, recently wrapping up a tour as the opening act for Wayne Static’s solo project and has plans for a second El Creepo album. So what keeps him going, what goes on inside his head? Well, here’s a quick glimpse of what’s happened, what’s going on and what is yet to come.
So first things first, let’s start off talking about Dog Fashion Disco, the band formed, broke up, got back together, and then called it quits again, or at the very least took a “hiatus”. What were the events that led up to the Dog Fashion Disco break in 2007? Were there creative differences, or was it just more of an “it’s time to move on and do something new” sort of thing?
Todd: Actually, DFD only broke up once and we only reunite to play reunion shows every few years. While DFD had great records in my opinion, we didn’t (in 2007) have the management and booking agent to take us further. With the management and agent we have now, DFD could have flourished very nicely.
Any more DFD Reunion shows in the future?
Todd: Possibly in 2013
So, with Dog Fashion Disco in the rear view mirror, what was it you were you looking for in your next project? By that point you had already worked on the “Alter Boys” side project in 2005, but what other musical ideas were kicking around in your skull?
Todd: I honestly didn’t think there would be a “next project”. Jasan and I started sharing ideas back and forth in 2008 which later became Polkadot Cadaver.
So just taking a wild guess that one of those ideas that were getting kicked about was the concept for what is now Polkadot Cadaver, since that was announced shortly after the break up of DFD. Where did your inspiration for the sound for the Polkadot Cadaver project come from?
Todd: Yes! Your guess was right! Our inspiration came from being on hiatus for a little while, trying to figure out the next move. When music is in your blood, ideas just present themselves and we acted on those ideas and started piecing together the songs that would eventually be on the first Polkadot record ‘Purgatory Dance Party”.
Polkadot Cadaver Bring Me The Head of Andy Warhol
Listening to the first P-dot album, “Purgatory Dance Party”, you can hear two distinct styles of music being blended together, the more psychedelic, like “Chloroform Girl”, “Haunted Holiday” and “Brainwash” colliding with harder tracks more guitar driven metal tracks like “A Wolf in Jesus Skin” and “Bring Me the Head of Andy Warhol”, was that intended or was it just because the band was still in its infant stages?
Todd: Nothing was intended, we just wrote songs that we like and thought sounded interesting and….voila!
After the first, Polkadot Cadaver album, you then moved on to the El Creepo project in 2009, did those songs come from a specific idea or were they just sort of leftover ideas from the first P-Dot album, seeing as a few of them could have easily fit on the P-Dot album?
Todd: They were by no means leftovers. They were songs that I had worked on alone and that I felt should have their own fresh moniker.
Now, with the first P-Dot album and the El Creepo project behind you, what ideas did you have when you approached creating the second P-Dot album? Did you intend to take a harder edge with the “Sex Offender” album, or was that just how things shaped up?
Todd: For the most part nothing is ever intended. We wrote on our own, and together, then merged our different ideas together.
So let’s talk a bit about the new additions to your collection, which of course I am talking about the formation of yet another band, AND your own record label. Tell me about how the Knives Out project came about? Any plans to tour after the debut album comes out in February?
Todd: DFD had toured with Nothingface in 2000 and I had been friends with those guys ever since. Once Nothingface and DFD split, I had been in talks with Tommy Sickles and Tom Maxwell for several years about doing a heavy band/project/record together. We got together and wrote the songs that eventually became the album “Black Mass Hysteria”. If we do tour at some point, we will have to find a touring drummer to take Tommy Sickles place, because he is unable to tour for extended periods of time. Tom Maxwell is busy with his Hellyeah obligations and will not be joining us for any live Knives Out shows.
Another big step that you’ve taken this year has been the formation of Razor to Wrist, your own record label. What brought you to that decision? Was it for reasons of keeping more artistic control in your hands, or was it just a more financially viable situation?
Todd: If you have enough capital to fund the recording of a record, we figured why not do it on our own. The record labels I’ve worked with throughout the years have done nothing more for us that we can already do for ourselves. We figured why split the profit with labels that really don’t do much at all to further the band or record sales. Dealing with outside labels is absolutely no fun and from this point forward we will put out our own records and tour to increase awareness and sales.
Right now, the Razor to Wrist label represents bands that you are involved in, any aspirations to expand the label and bring new acts into the fold?
Todd: I’m not opposed to bringing other acts in, but that won’t be for several years down the road and any band we sign would have to be mind-blowingly awesome for us to invest in.
Written By Christina Lawler