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Rising rock act to perform next month at Rev Room

Submitted by Alexis Williams on October 23, 2013 – 5:00 pm2 Comments

California hard-rock band “Smile Empty Soul” will be playing Nov. 3 at the Revolution Music Room. To spread the word at UALR of the upcoming show, drummer Jake Kilmer spoke to The Forum on Friday, Oct. 18.

Smile Empty Soul formed in 1998 in San Clarita, California by members Sean Danielsen (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Ryan Martin (bass), and former drummer Derek Gledhill. Jake Kilmer (drums, backing vocals) officially joined the band in 2006, just in time to contribute to the creation and release of their third album, “Vultures,” and has been with them ever since.

The band is currently on their “’Merican Chemicals Tour” to promote their latest album “Chemicals”, released on Oct. 1. Joining them are rising groups ACIDIC and First Decree.

Fans will find “Chemicals” measures up quite well to its predecessors: it manages to sound fresh while still being mindful of the band’s roots. “The Front Row Report” even gives the album an 8.5/10 rating.

“['Chemicals'] is really raw and organic-sounding, “ Kilmer said. “The songs all sound great together. We did it the right way, you know?”

In fact, the drummer is so pleased with their latest album that he considers all of the songs to be in his first or second-place slots.

“I like the first nine tracks. The tenth and eleventh are a close second. But the third [“Chemicals”] is my favorite. It’s just cool the way it all grooves, and I like the way the song flows.”

Kilmer also noted his love-love relationship with music is not limited to Chemicals.

“Well, of course I really liked ‘Vultures’ because it was my first time participating in something like this. But each time we put out a new record and get radio play, we all feel pretty good…so I guess I’m pretty proud of all of them.”

The drummer revealed the band’s creative process is less of some magical formula and more of a musical phenomenon. “For us, it’s just the same old thing. [Their preceding album] was kind of heavy, so we thought ‘Maybe [our fans] don’t want something heavy this time’. So Sean wrote his ass off, he got the tunes together, and we started jamming.”

“Smile Empty Soul is a pretty hardworking band,” Kilmer said. “That’s why we’ve lasted for so long. It takes all three of us working together to make albums. But when we’re not on tour, we’re pretty much just relaxing.”

The band’s upcoming show at the Rev Room will not be the first time it’s played in our city.  Smile Empty Soul has played three times in the past year alone, with Hurt in December and again with two local bands at Downtown Music in April.

At the April concert, the setlist was written on a piece of paper and taped to the floor (which some girl happily ripped from the floor and took home that night). Kilmer said that is because the setlist is a very organic decision. “We practice all the songs, and about an hour or two before we go on, we get a handful of songs in mind. But sometimes in the middle of a set, one of us’ll start playing a different song, so we’ll go with that song. We like to mix it up a little for you guys.”

For students who may not be familiar with the band’s music, Kilmer said those students could count on a few great things at the Nov. 3 show.

“It’ll be like going to a concert with three guys actually playing music. You’re gonna hear ‘precise playing,” Kilmer said. “Actually, no. You’re not gonna hear ‘precise playing’. You’re gonna see fireworks.”

Students can catch Smile Empty Soul live on Nov. 3 at the Revolution Music Room. For tickets, call (501) 823-0090 or visit