Students of Concern have released a new album entitled Unprotected, and leader Greg Gordon Smith interviews here about the album, influences and where you can hear more:
W.E. What would you most like for fans to know about your music?
G.G.S. That I’m speaking to them, not around or beneath them. I like music that’s emotionally universal and human. That could be empathetic, or angry, or giddily happy. But it’s not esoteric or trite. Now more than ever, we need a reason to listen to a song, much less an album, all the way through. If there’s no emotional journey, we don’t have much reason to stick around and hear the songwriter out.
W.E. What was the process like of making your Unprotected album?
G.G.S. I’ve been writing songs all my life, but that part of me was my shadow personality; people associate me with other things. It took a particularly encouraging individual, a songwriter and vocalist named Mark Winkler, to convince me to make this album. I’ve written a lot of songs that I could hear other people doing – the idea of me doing them had never been real in my mind. So much of the process was selecting songs that both work for me vocally and work together as an album. During this some themes emerged, namely authority, learning, and the notion of being unteachable, or unable to conform to expectations – being a student of concern.
W.E. Who are your biggest musical influences?
G.G.S. Given my multiple musical personalities, my influences are all people who would probably want nothing to do with each other. David Byrne, Pink Floyd, Daft Punk, Donny Hathaway, Joni Mitchell. Leonard Cohen.
W.E. Where can readers go to learn more about your music and to listen to it?
G.G.S. They can visit www.studentsofconcern.com for info on a CD release show and other events. The record, Unprotected, is on iTunes and Amazon. You can even order a physical CD on the website, if you’re a purist! If you’re having a great time with SOC’s music, you might enjoy an album I did with some longtime collaborators, Eric Eisner and Jenny Iger, called the Aptics.