Smiles Only are a duo from Vancouver Canada consisting of Noah Clarke and Chandler Paulis. With the goal of captivating storytelling, Smiles Only was born. The duo formed in 2017 while working on solo projects for Emengy Records. After playing numerous shows together the two decided to join forces. Since then, Smiles Only has been driven by bringing a new combination of styles, genres, and sounds together to create something fresh and unique to the EDM scene. Their brand aims to tie their releases together with a futuristic, digital theme including melodic and bass elements.
Hi Smiles Only! How are you doing? Also, where did the moniker come from?
We’re doing great, currently still buzzing off of our EP release and in the works of planning what’s to come next. Honestly the name came up during the time when the idea of becoming a group was being discussed. At the time we were both still working on our solo projects and the placeholder name for the project was “The Mechanics“, until Chandler brought up “Smiles Only” and to think about how it resonates. Since that, we decided to keep the name and build our brand around it.
Take us back to the beginning, how did you find your passion into producing electronic music?
Chandler: When I was 14/15 I went to a show put on by a bunch of students from the Centre of Arts & Technology in Kelowna. They had a bunch of bands and DJ’s playing, one of the DJ’s being my soon to be amazing friend, Arun (AKA Chaosphere). It was my first time hearing electronic music Like that and it completely blew me away. When the show ended I got to meet him and a few of the other DJ’s that played and started to go to as many of their shows as I could. After a while I started building friendships with the DJ’s I was always seeing play, including Arun, who became a mentor to me. After a while I started to realize how much I loved going to raves and that I wanted to learn how to make music and perform it to a crowd. I brought it up to Arun and he offered to give me one on one lessons. It didn’t take long until I was thinking to myself “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life” and from then on, I haven’t stopped and kept on following my passion for music.
Noah: I was about 13 when one of my school friends showed me deadmau5 which introduced me to EDM as a whole. The first couple times I listened to the songs on his “4×4=12” album I had a hard time enjoying it, but I found myself continuously going back and listening until I eventually found myself falling in love with it. Over the year I started expanding my taste with artists like Feed Me, Kill The Noise, Skrillex, and Knife Party, until I stumbled upon Monstercat. I started to really dive into all of the artists on the record label and found myself watching videos of some of them producing. That Christmas I got a new laptop with FL studios installed on it for me and started to figure out the program and dove deep into music theory and sound design with the dream of getting signed to Monstercat. During high school making music is the main way I would spend my free time, but I mostly did it as a hobby. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I met the Emengy crew, and decided to take producing a lot more seriously. They really welcomed me into the group and over the years, really went above and beyond to have my back and best interests. It’s been super inspiring watching a lot of my close friends part of Emengy reach their goals and succeed.
You have almost 5 years’ experience of working with electronic dance music. What are your favorite elements within your recent releases that still call back to/is heavily drawn from the original inspiration behind the Smiles Only project?
The initial goal for the sound of Smiles Only was to create a texture/style that could be placed on any genre of EDM and have it be distinguishable as us. Over time that sound developed towards using digital and bit-crushed synths and effects. Our latest couple releases we’ve been really happy that we’ve leaned into using those kinds of sounds into both melodic and bass music.
You released an EP called “New Era” through the Emengy label. Could you share the creative process behind this EP? Any concepts behind it?
Absolutely! We started the EP about 2 years ago as a background project. We knew we wanted the EP to be a major stepping stone towards our sound and storytelling. With that, another goal for the EP was to combine uplifting melodic aspects with heavy bass in our own way. The New Era EP as a whole is about the struggle of finding individual happiness and looking forward to a better future. With this idea in mind, it helped guide each song into a specific theme and feeling to create a full story about a futuristic society that’s conditioned humanity to become shells without souls and the struggle to break free from that.
“New Era” EP includes collaborations with Magmag and Mully and Robbie Rosen. How did you end up working with these names?
All the collaborations ended up being the last editions to the EP before finishing it.
Digital Bliss was one of the first tracks we started writing for the EP, so it got to sit for a long time to let us think about what we wanted to do with it. We decided that we wanted to see if Mully wanted to hop on the project because of his experience writing house. Shortly after that, all of us passed around the idea of getting a vocalist for Digital Bliss because we had a monologue beforehand but all thought that it made the track feel stiff and not as uplifting. We managed to get in touch with Robbie and he wrote his vocals based around the message of the monologue we had and we all really loved how it pulled the song together.
Killjoy was the last song that we wrote for the EP and was rewritten multiple times. It took a couple of tries but finally we settled with an idea. While we were writing the verse section, we took inspiration from the intro of Pendulum’s track, “Slam”, and thought about having a rapper come in during that part to bring up the energy. We sent the song over to MagMag and he was thrilled to get on the track and absolutely killed it.
How is it being part of the Emengy family and who would you most love to collaborate with over the next year?
Being a part of the Emengy crew has been a dream. Emengy has always been incredibly supportive of us and have helped push us towards our goals. We’re incredibly grateful for the people we’ve worked with and friends we’ve made through Emengy.
There’s so many artists on our bucket list that we would love to work with. To name a few: Roy Knox, Felmax, Subshock & Evangelos, Layz, Achilles, Frantik, and Skellytn, to name a few. Would be an absolute pleasure to get the chance with them.
This quarantine period has been hard for the music industry, so now it’s time to support and support some more. Any interesting new producers you would recommend to follow? Any rising artists you’ve got your eye on?
Absolutely! There’s so much underground talent that deserve the spotlight right now. Artists like: Demoneyez, Quackson, Future Twist, DOIL, Paper Skies, Frantik, and Crimson Child. They’ve all been absolutely crushing it and making some top-tier music.
How have you been staying productive during the quarantine period?
We’ve been really putting our heads down, trying to learn as much as possible about music production. Even though quarantine has been hard, it gave us a chance to really make progress in our skills and learn new things. We also built a home studio with some of the extra time that we had, and we’re immensely proud of how it turned out!
Would you like to share something with the followers of Let the Bass Get You? Anything coming up you can fill us in with?
Honestly, after the EP we just released we didn’t plan much afterwards, mainly to take a break after months of working hard on music, and because we wanted to have a clean slate to be creative. Our goal with 2022 is to start a lot of collabs with our favourite upcoming artists and to dial in our sound further.
The only thing we can mention however is that we do have some things lined up for New Era, including some merch and maybe…some remixes!
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