As Their Friendship Blooms Warwick Smith's Music Continues To Provide Dance-Floor Joy

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Warwick Smith are a rock-pop group from Sydney. Warwick Smith are a rock-pop group from Sydney.

A couple of fun-wielding lads from Sydney, Warwick Smith's delectable flavoured pop-rock is a contagious affair with those affected reporting symptoms of dance-floor joy while constantly hitting repeat.

Their latest release is the effervescent, sparkly, cheerful bop that is 'Static On The Line' (their first original music since last year's single 'Vertigo') – it's a colourful, melody-rich romp married to a carnival-like electronic beat that demands random body twitches-punches.

"We hope you dance. We hope you sing-along. We hope it's enough," the pairing of Warwick Smith and Luke El-Sabbagh says.

The group's new single is 'Static On The Line'; the floor is yours – tell us how it came together, creative-sonic direction etc, expanding your roles within the group?
Warwick: Full disclosure, Luke did a good 90 per cent of the songwriting on this one whereas I wrote the drums and backing; there's a decent story behind it.

Luke: So we were rehearsing for an upcoming show and my power went out. Our set is very tech reliant, so we opened up the garage for some light, Warwick grabbed an acoustic guitar and I sat on the cajon and we just started to work on this chorus that he had thought up a couple nights before.

We basically had a demo verse in a day. The real meaning of the song is that I should stop spam messaging people though.

Warwick crossed paths with Twenty One Pilots and The Wiggles while recording 'Static On The Line'; that sounds like a pretty cool story to share, right?
Warwick: It was a pretty odd combination of input I can't lie – kind of a real 'pinch me' moment honestly.

I had first ran into Josh and Tyler from Twenty One Pilots back in 2018 when they toured here, but this year I got on a Zoom call with Josh specifically and he had some incredible insight on producing and writing drum tracks.

He had just come off their album the year before where he tracked all the drums and that turned out to be a huge success for him, so his input and feedback was almost like a dream for me.

As for The Wiggles, they came around for their OG tour just last month and I of course went, front row, decked out in merch. I saw Murray Cook, the Red Wiggle, after the show and he's a guitar legend and has worked with DZ Deathrays, and he's played with his own band The Soul Movers.

So I had to get some advice on the track since it's got that consistent disco guitar loop in it. He was unbelievably open about the songwriting process and that helped us fine-tune it a tonne.

You guys now live a two-minute drive from each other; how has that impacted the creative direction, work output of the group? And who cooks, who cleans?
Luke: The shortened distance between us basically means we can work on stuff in short bursts in person rather than having to plan a whole weekend where we both have to be free.

Now that Warwick lives nearby we can do a lot more, a lot easier and have less production sessions on laggy calls. The biggest change by far though is how frequent we've been able to rehearse and I think that's really shown in the way our set quality has gone up.

Warwick: So far, Luke has not invited me to a single dinner; that being said I made him spaghetti bolognese last Halloween at the new place, we watched 'Free Guy'. It was cute.

Although you haven't released any new music for a year or so (up until 'Static On The Line'), what are the plans for the remainder of 2022 in terms of releases?
Warwick: Publish or perish is the way to go. We played a tonne of new songs at our live shows and that's how we decide what comes next. We've got a few singles to pump out and then maybe something on a larger scale.

Luke: So come watch our live shows and you'll know what's coming next.

You recently did a Sydney show; how was that evening and are there plans for more Warwick Smith live action in 2022?
Warwick: It seemed so unsure up until the moment we actually hit the stage; this particular show had been rescheduled a few times and it was one of the more special shows for us since some of our music heroes had graced the same stage.

It felt euphoric and so natural, I remember at one point I got the crowd on their feet, jumping to a drop in a song. We didn't even rehearse that it just came to me. I'm sure we'll be doing a lot more live stuff now that the world permits it.

Luke: The show had been so up in the air that we even had a bit in our set acknowledging it could still be cancelled at any minute.

Speaking of the live show, the stage personas you've each been working on, fine-tuning; are you happy with the onstage presence of Warwick Smith?
Warwick: It's been tough honestly; you want to do a crazy set and jump around but you don't have that kind of confidence and it just kills it.

I started feeding off the crowd when we do shows and suddenly I've got the confidence and energy of ten men. I was standing up on the speakers and jumping around the side of the stage. At this point my stage persona is truly just a mix of insane and absolute king of cool.

Luke doesn't get as much freedom with it but I think he's done great with what he has to work with.

Luke: I hit drum. Drum make noise.

You two have begun consuming-watching comedy specials/ comedians together; was that a natural development and who are some of your shared favourites?
Luke: From the very beginning we'd spend our nights watching videos and specials we thought were funny; it's always been an integral part of our dynamic and we've gotten to a point where we can just take entire bits off the cuff and confuse the hell out of everyone else in the room.

I introduced Warwick to my favourite comedian James Acaster, who is a dry British comedian with over the top stories in his shows, and his absurdity in committing to bits that are so clearly false reminded me of the way we'd talk to each other.

Warwick: I've introduced Luke to musical comedian Bo Burnham, who's very introspective and has these bright, colourful, musical bursts in his routine which contrasted Luke's exposure to comedy really nicely.

We ended up getting Bo's blessing to do a cover of his song 'All Eyes On Me' from his latest special; we filmed a music video and everything over the 2021 lockdown. It was a lot of fun.

Do you find any aspects of a comedy show seeping into your own music?
Warwick: I don't think we could do music without a fair amount of comedy.

Going way back to 2020, having ad-libs from Luke and I on the debut album of short sketches we'd do; and then our shows now where we do entire dedicated routines halfway through to mix it up a bit. Comedy is, while not a focus, always going to be an important part of our music and shows.

Luke: Trying to put some funny stuff into our shows made me realise that people really don't like it when you cut off the 'Friends' theme midway. clap, clap, clap, clap

Last time we chatted, you lads were fairly confident in your frisbee skills but we're told you've 'retired' from that sport to take up rock climbing... what's the goss and do you pack a spare frisbee?
Warwick: Y'know it's funny, we do keep a frisbee in the 'tour car' and every couple of months we still give it a go, but we've gotten rusty.

Rock climbing has kind of taken over our lives a little bit; at one point we'd go three times a week for three hours which for us was borderline crippling. It made me realise though, Luke is a fit specimen.

Best piece of advice for any novice climbers looking to engage their inner mountain goat?
Luke: Just start; at first you will feel like you have some previously unknown arthritis in your fingers but I'm pretty sure that's normal. Most climbs are graded in difficulty so just keep doing the easier ones till you can do one slightly harder. Rinse and repeat.

Thanks for your time; anything else you'd like to add?
Warwick: We're both really excited to get our next release ready so we can come back here and update you on our sporting progress. I guess the music would be a decent factor too.

Luke: Look forward to the future. I think we've found our sounds and themes, and I can't wait to show that to more people. (Please don't sue us Twenty One Pilots, James Acaster, The Wiggles, Bo Burnham or Zoom.)



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