The Smoking Hearts
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The Smoking Hearts

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Even still, Mills feels it necessary to clarify his side of events from that fateful evening. “Well I wasn’t stumbling,” he says reached on the phone from his home. “But I did bump into the drummer from Placebo’s baby’s push cart.”

Mills feels fortunate to have met the rest of the band and evidently, it was something of a match made in heaven. “We spent our first few days just sharing all of the craziest, stupidest stories. We just thought back to all the stupid things that we’d done. And after that we just naturally became best friends. I’d missed out on the first few years in the band, so I had to catch up very quickly.”

The band quickly took to the studio, formulating their brand of raucous punk rock with their new singer.
“There were no words in the original songs,” says Mills. “We were just trying to figure out what kind of melodies we could put together. So we just went into the studio and hashed out as much as we could.”

The result speaks for itself. The recently released Victory! not only speaks to the band’s knack for writing relentless hardcore punk, but also to their ear for coming together on classic gang-vocal led choruses. Not a band for the fate of heart, Mills’ throaty growl cements their footing as an up and comer in the hardcore scene to keep an eye on.

“It’s quite natural,” says Mills of the balance between their catchy choruses and raging verses. “The catchy choruses always just come out of nowhere. We could be working on something totally different and these choruses will just come up when we’re jamming. I don’t think we’re on our way towards a pop record or anything, but it’s always just what’s on our mind at the time.”

How Victory! will ultimately manifest itself is in a live setting. The music of The Smoking Hearts certainly lends itself to losing one’s inhibitions. Yet Mills insists that their fans don’t necessarily need to tie one on in order to enjoy their live show.

“We all have regular jobs that we go to everyday. Drinking and partying and what not do go along with being in a band, but I’d like to think when people hear The Smoking Hearts they jacked up by the music. We wouldn’t be doing our job if people weren’t getting excited and having a good time. It’s not often that our crowd starts off standing still. But by the end they’re always going crazy.”

“The line between stage and audience definitely becomes blurred by the end of the show,” he continues. We believe in one big party. People on stage and band members in the crowd.”

When asked about how his time spent in The Takeover has influenced his work in The Smoking Hearts, Mills is quick to admit that his time working hard to get a crowd on their side has begun to pay dividends.

“I spent a lot of time learning how to win a crowd over. We were a pretty good band, but for whatever reasons, when we’d show up somewhere to play a show, people hadn’t often heard a lot about us. And very often you’d get a lot of people just standing there with their arms crosses. I had to get people to stand up and listen.”

“There’s just this level of cool in the UK,” says Mills. “They’re always trying to stick it to you and be too cool for school. People want to enjoy themselves, but they don’t want to necessarily look like they are. It’s quite hard actually to break those barriers down. But once you get past that, people will get into you. It’s just these barriers of cool.”

There are simply no more barriers for The Smoking Hearts. With vocalist Ben Mills in tow and Victory! making waves in the world of punk and hardcore, the band is open to opportunity. There’s no end in sight for a band that continues to evolve.

“There’s definitely been an evolution from the metal band that we once were. I think we’re evolving into a band that’s much more talented, musically. The evolution of this band will continue as well. But who knows. Really, who knows what the future holds?”

BY JOSHUA KLOKE