Charles Desrochers / Asst. Lifestyles Editor
The summer is coming and like most Central students, Chris Barone will be looking for a job.
Barone doesn’t call them jobs though. He calls them gigs, and he won’t be alone. He’ll be with his band The Smyrk.
A friend of the band Mathew Morgan labeled their band as Motown Metal, since the bands eclectic mix of soul and rock left them scratching their heads when fans would asked them what their genre was.
“We have trouble finding bands that fit our genre in Connecticut theirs like a handful outside and it’s just weird,” said Barone, drummer for The Smyrk.
Last March The Smyrk’s Doron Monk Flake, Ari Sadowitz, Barone and Alex Marans won CAN’s ‘Battle of the Bands’ at Central Connecticut State University. By winning, the band also earned the opportunity to play at the Spring Week concert.
Almost immediately after The Battle, The Smyrk boarded a plane and headed to Austin, Texas for the festival South By Southwest, starting what they hope to be a busy summer as a part of Afro Punk, a group that promotes multicultural bands and audiences.
“We met a lot of different people like The Matches, The Hard as Lions,” said Barone. “We played a lot of great shows and met a lot of different people, did a lot of promoting. I lost about 12 pounds in one week just from all the walking.”
Taking time for the group is nothing new for him. Barone, now in his fourth year at CCSU, has been balancing the band and school since ’02. He’s even taken time off to go on self-promoted tours, eventually ending up in California.
The band is even considering a show in Maryland in May that would be on a Thursday. “I got three classes on Friday,” said Barone. “It’s gonna be hard because you either don’t take the show or we have to drive 5 or 6 hours. It’s not a problem but it’s a bit of pressure.”
“[SXSW] was a week before spring break. So my professors weren’t too happy with me,” said Barone. “We’re all in it a hundred percent. Me, Ari and Doron, we all want this so much. Alex comes in on the train every time and that’s expensive. He’s been showing his commitment since January.”
Practicing for up to eight hours each session, the band thinks of each other as family.
They are all equally committed to making The Smyrk work and be one of the few bands to come out of Connecticut. Barone said he speaks for the entire band when he says their breaking point isn’t in the near future.
“The music scene here is not that big, but that’s even more incentive to keep going. We want to be one of those few bands that come out of Connecticut,” said Barone.
“What I really want to do is go overseas we get emails in our inbox and on Myspace from, like, UK and Brazil. We have people listening. I think that if we went overseas we would get a good response, but we don’t have any money yet,” said Barone.
After Spring Weekend and the end of school, Barone says that once school ends it’s constant gigging throughout the summer.
“Our goal is to work with bigger bands and travel with them,” he said.
Already the band has recorded with Incubus’ Ben Kennedy and a producer who worked with Missy Elliot.
Recording a new album isn’t what The Smyrk is focusing on right now.
“You have to get people to listen to your album first,” Barone said.
So that’s what they will try to do, get fans to listen.