Q&A w/ Wil of The Smith Street Band

Words: Jenna Samuel

One of our fave bands at the moment happens to be local… very local. The Smith Street Band are kicking off a tour early September, just days after they play the prestigious Reading & Leeds festivals in the UK and having just blown everyone away at Splendour In The Grass 2015. Check below for dates and your ticket links. Wil Wagner took a few minutes out of his busy touring schedule to chat to us about all things TSSB… >>>


1. When and why did you start playing music? 

I started playing guitar when I was five because my Dad played!

2. What are the 3 most influential musical events of your life? 

Being kicked out of a band because they didn’t like the way I played guitar and sang when I was 16, playing an open mic night at Lentil As Anything a few weeks later, talking to some guy called Bosma who liked my songs and asked if I wanted to play a show and has booked every show I’ve played since and is my best friend!

3. As a musician in an ever changing climate, how do you find the battle of negotiating rent/life etc and your career as an artist? 

It’s hard and we’re super lucky to be able to not have to work anymore. It took years and years to get to this point and we still spend a lot of money going overseas all the time. But also I get to go overseas all the time so it’s pretty hard to complain about!

4. Will we see any new material from the Smith Street Band anytime soon? 

Yes there’s something coming really soon actually!


5. What’s the best part about being a full-time touring musician? 

All of it except missing people back home!

6. What’s the worst part about being a full-time touring musician? 

Missing people back home!

7. Is difficult to balance your solo touring and work with The Smith Street Band? 

Yeah it is sometimes, I have a third project I’m working on now as well but that’s very different and has actually helped inspire new Smith St stuff as well! I don’t get to tour solo anywhere near as much as I’d like to but trying to go to Europe and America a couple times a year and do Australia as much as possible with one band is hard enough!

8. Who did you listen to growing up and how does this influence you today? 

Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg and Paul Kelly are my earliest memories of music, Dad loves the troubadour type and they are easily three of my biggest influences. But I listen to mainly hip hop now and that’s all from discovering Eminem and Nelly when I was about 13 and just becoming obsessed.




9. Favourite Melbourne band, Venue, & Record Store? 

Camp Cope (Camp Hype), The Old Bar & Poison City Records

10. Are you originally from Melbourne, and how do you think this city shapes you as an artist? 

Yes I am! From the mean streets of Box Hill South, haha! Growing up in Melbourne was super influential to me. It’s the music and arts capital of Australia and I was able to start going to and playing all ages shows from a really young age.

TSSB Cover 
Fri Sep 4 – Poison City Weekender @ 170 Russell, Melbourne º – SOLD OUT
Sun Sep 6 – Poison City Weekender @ Corner Hotel, Melbourne (U18) º
Wed Sep 9 – Manning Bar, Sydney
Thu Sep 10 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Fri Sep 11 – Magpies, Canberra (Lic. AA)
Sat Sep 12 – I Love Life @ Metro, Sydney º – SELLING FAST
Sun Sep 13 – I Love Life @ The Tivoli, Brisbane º – SELLING FAST
Wed Sep 16 – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
Thu Sep 17 – The Gov, Adelaide (Lic. AA)
Fri Sep 18 – Metro, Fremantle º^
Sat Sep 19 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Fri Sep 25 – Railway Club, Darwin *^
Sat Sep 26 – The Grand, Cairns *^
Sun Sep 27 – Flinders Social, Townsville *^
Thu Oct 1 – Sol Bar, Maroochydore *^
Fri Oct 2 – The Northern, Byron Bay *^
Sat Oct 3 – Yours & Owls Festival Weekender, Wollongong *
TSSB only
ºSugarcanes not appearing
^Support from Lucy Wilson solo

TSSB - Pic