Drea Smith (Formerly Of He Say/She Say) - Sound In The Signals Interview

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The big news around the blogosphere is that He Say, She Say will no longer be a duo. DJ Mano released a new track a few days ago and the reception was really good. Can you tell me a little about why the group parted ways? Do you know how much of the material you and Mano plan to release to blogs and sites?

Mano and I decided to part ways due to creative differences, I know you're probably thinking that's a stock answer, but it's the truth. We had different ideas about how things should feel, sound, etc. We're still great friends though. As for how much material we plan to leak, I think we got about four songs into the second project so we're probably going to release just those songs.

One thing that is always odd to me is the control labels have over artists & music once an artist signs. Obviously you and Mano have had an interesting experience with He Say, She Say. Ultimately what did you take out from that experience that you will take on with you for the rest of your musical career?

I learned that you really have to communicate with your band mates, the lines of communication HAVE to be open otherwise there's room for labels to come in and pull you apart. Take care of whose closest first, that's who matters .And don't listen to the label heads, they're wrong 90% of the time anyways haha...

“With Out Me” is a really great song and it showcases your vocal ability really well. How did that song come together and where you pleased with the response the track has gotten so far?

It started out with just the piano. It was really cool, when Mano was making the track , it was snowing out. The movement of the song matched the snowfall. Kinda sad but beautiful all at once. I'm super happy with how the song was received , I didn't really expect it to be so positive, it was a great surprise.

I really like the lyrics you wrote for “With Out Me”. Can you tell me lyrically where your head was at when you wrote that song?

Well most of what I write is an exaggeration of the truth... I was pretty heartbroken at the time , so I kind of just used the track to purge. Felt good to get that all out ...

I hear you are currently working on a solo project. Can you tell me how that will differ from He Say, She Say? What should listeners expect from your solo material?

Yeah, I'm working with Doc Mckinney on my solo project. He produced Res' "How I Do" and Esthero's "Breath from Another". He's one of my favorite producers. My solo project is a lot different from HSSS in that it's a lot more downtempo, drawing a lot from post-punk and trip-hop.The writing is still pretty honest though, maybe a little more vulnerable...

Ideally when can fans expect you to release some of your solo music? Do you have a planned single that you’d like fans to hear first? Would you like to release the new project DIY or are you looking for a label to release it?

I don't want to release it until it's perfect haha, probably next summer. There's a song called "Your So" that I'm excited for everyone to hear, so that will more than likely be released first. I think more than anything I just want to make good music and I want people to actually get to hear it, so no to the label thing. I rather just release it myself so I can get some shows going.

Do you think it could be possible at some point in your solo career for Mano and you to work together again?

It's very possible, like I said , we're still very good friends.

I was reading on your blog and another interview you did about the different aspects of being a musician and the way a musician is perceived. What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions people have when they hear an up and coming artists has “made it”?

That they have money!!! haha, the music business is not lucrative when you start. It's a lot of smoke and mirrors. Imaging and all that stuff. Most of the time what you see is not what you get.

One thing I really liked that you brought up a while ago on your blog and it was in reference to the music industry was about just being yourself and not trying to look a certain way. I really like the stance you took. What advice would you give to women (or men) who are new artists about being true to themselves?

Listen to your gut. Sound obvious, but it's sooo important to listen to yourself. You're going to have a lot of people in your ear claiming to have your best interest at heart . Also remember that the music is THE most important thing , be great at your art. Too many people neglect being great , the music is sub - par but the imaging is immaculate. It's super disappointing when you go to see your favorite band only to find out no one can really play their instruments and the lead singer can't carry a note, but her outfit is cute...

People started taking notice of He Say She Say around the time other acts from Chicago like Kid Sister, Hollywood Holt, The Cool Kids and Kidz In The Hall really getting a lot of attention. You’ve been placed into a group with those acts from Chicago since you’ve broken out, but I noticed in interviews it seems like you tend to be heavily influenced by more punk and rock artists like BJork, X-Ray Spex, Siouxsie Sioux, etc. What do you think are some of the biggest differences musically between artists like that you get compared to and yourself?

I've never done hip hop music. I love it, don't get me wrong, it's just not my area of expertise. I love those artists approach to hip hop ,it's new and innovative. That being said I consider myself more of a singer- songwriter. A lot of my influences are post-punk , alternative, jazz , and rock musicians and I feel like you can hear elements of that in my approach to songwriting as well vocal arrangements.

I guess that about wraps it up thanks again for taking the time to answer the questions. I really appreciate it. Do you have any closing comments you’d like to make?

I appreciate all of your questions, they were all really good :)

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