Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Writers' Block #1

In case you've been wondering how our writing process has been going since our last show, here's what you have to look forward to when we start playing again in the fall:

Also, if you missed our last show, here's a tad bit of what happened:

While we continue to write, we urge you to keep working on your Operation Kegger videos for us. We're going to start taking submissions on Monday, but you can turn them in at any time you want - even on the day that we tally up the views if you want.

We've heard a lot of huffing and puffing from people who feel limited by equipment needs but have a flurry of ideas. We've heard a lot of grumbling from people who have video cameras and time but nothing in the cranium to get them started. This is why we urge you guys to team up!

Also, anybody with a Mac will have iMovie (which is what we edit the SWAK videos with, ha!). There are also a number of PC programs that you can download for free off the internet to help you edit your masterpieces. You don't have to have the cinematic eye of Hitchcock to win this thing. Just tape one of your friends kicking a bunch of old men in the nuts in the mall and slap that over one of our songs. Whatever works for you. We literally spend 15 minutes shooting most of our videos and about the same amount of time editing them.

And in case you have no idea what we're talking about with this Operation Kegger thing, you can find a full description here:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Operation Kegger

We talked about Operation Kegger a lot before our Tipitina's show.
It was always in cryptic terms. Always shady.

Well today, we're here to clear all of the rumors. We're here to explain what your mission as part of Operation Kegger is. Before we get into the nitty gritty of this, here's a little video to cover the gist of what this is all about:

Okay, so now that we've got that out of the way, let's get into the details:

The Music
- You can use any song on How a Reign Comes to an End that you choose.
- If you don't own a copy of How a Reign Comes to an End, you can purchase the full album or whichever song you choose to use via Amazon
- If you don't own a copy of How a Reign Comes to an End, and you're too cheap to purchase a copy, please steal it from one of your friends
- Please do not use material from our This is What Happens When EP or anything of ours that pre-dates that release.
- Please do not alter our songs - especially please do not add any lyrics

The Video
- The video content should be all original material. Make sure that nobody else owns the copyright to it.
- You can use material from if you really need to use pre-fabricated video footage. Just make sure that the videos that you use from there are in public domain.
- Basically, don't use any copyrighted material besides the songs from How a Reign Comes to an End
- A note regarding decency: we won't accept anything overly violent, grotesque, or pornographic.

So you've picked your song, shot your video, edited it, and you're ready to submit. What now?
Send an email to with the subject line "Operation Kegger Submission."
Be sure to include your name, age, location, and a link to your video.
We'll need all of this information so that we can determine the plans for your party if you win.
You can post your video online whenever you want, but we won't start looking for it in our email box until June 1st.

Yes, you read that correctly: plans for your party.

If you get the most play counts by the time July 31st rolls around, we're going to do the following for you:
- Keg party (beer or root beer, depending on your age or preference) for you and 50 of your friends featuring a private performance
- Studio time with us to help record overdubs (crowd sounds, clapping, etc.)
- Guest list spots for the rest of 2009 and all of 2010 for EVERY show that we play. Each spot comes with a +1
- A copy of the new CD when it comes out. Yes, the one that you'll be on.
- Shirts, Stickers, Buttons, etc.
- Your video premiers as our Official Video for the song that you used at one of our Fall performances
- A video blog interview to be placed on our blog so that you can explain your concept, if you even had one

Sounds like a hell of a good time, right?
Well here's a few suggestions to help you on your way to partying like a low-rent rockstar:

- Make sure that whatever site you upload your video to keeps track of play count. We suggest YouTube. Myspace works as well; however, YouTube works on iPhones while Myspace does not.
- Vimeo has the best resolution on the web right now, but it doesn't keep track of play counts. If you would like to display your video on this site, we'd suggest holding off until after all of the plays are counted. Same with Facebook - they don't keep track of play counts either.

- If you work in teams, you will come up with better ideas, your video will get made faster, and you'll be able to spread it farther with more people behind it and pushing it.
-- Keep in mind, though, that if you work in groups, your guest list for the private party will still be 50 in total and not 50 per person.

- YouTube and Myspace both have areas for describing and tagging your video submissions. Once again, we recommend YouTube because they do not have a limit on the number of tags you can use while Myspace does.
- The more creative you get with your tags, the more searchable your video will become.

- Speaking of creativity, we suggest that you make your video incredibly creative. Come up with the most oddball concept you can think of.
- We also suggest that you make your video follow a story line that evokes a strong emotion. It seems like funny videos move up the ranks fastest, but your video doesn't have to be funny at all.

- The key to this is the get your video to move up the ranks. We will help you by posting links to your submissions on Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook, but we suggest that you take active steps to get your video noticed.
- Try submitting your video as a YouTube response to our video blog post.
- Email a link to the video to as many people as you can. See if you can get them to do the same for you.
- If you use Twitter, make sure that you build up some hype for your video on there.
- Create Facebook events inviting people to view your video.
- Submit your video as early as you can so that you'll have more time to let your play count rise.
- Pick a song from How a Reign Comes to an End that you think few others will use in their submissions. This may make your video stand out.
- Ultimately, you should try come up with a concept that will push itself. Remember that stupid "New Haircut" video on YouTube? It's hard to explain what that video has that makes people love it so much, but whatever it's got works.

Alright everybody - enough suggestions. We'll let you guys go on your merry way while we go off to write some more music for you!

Good luck everybody!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Keep it funky, Gucci

It's absolutely amazing to us how people can speak so clearly and sincerely through their instruments. Sometimes a collection of the English dictionary's finest and most appropriate words with all of their definitions and connotations in tow are not enough to describe thoughts, emotions, and attitudes. This is why the four of us in Smiley with a Knife want to carry the flag of instrumental indie rock to the ears of all who understand this sentiment and agree so rabidly.

One thing that we've noticed in our journey through the world of instrumental indie rock is that, much like spoken language itself, the same phrases said by one individual can hold a vastly different meaning when used by another in the same tone and timbre. People with an advanced grasp of what they are capable of doing with their instruments have no choice but to release their inner being and personality through their appointed tools. Conversation is key, and the friends that influence us along the way help us to reflect upon the subtleties of our unique phrasings and styles as we observe theirs with bliss.

With this philosophy in mind, it is our great honor to announce that this upcoming Thursday, during our last performance before we begin our arduous writing journey, we will be inviting our dear friend Chris Guccione on stage with us to help us close out what has been a rewarding show season.

He eats and sleeps this shit, son.

Guccione's light-hearted, funky personality shines through in his playing in a way that is uniquely New Orleanean. He will be joining us with his unparalleled swagger during "... and There was a Pig Involved," cramming bounce and flare into every nook and cranny and adding pep to your step all along the way.

Oh no. You don't want to miss this.
Bring your dancin' shoes.