Before their Saturday Night debut at the Casbah, Annie Shaw of new local indie-psych band Smiling caught up with ListenSD about her music genesis and recording process behind their vinyl “Devour”.

ListenSD: What originally inspired you to become a musician?

Annie from Smiling: I can trace it back to a childhood video of myself discovering what music is. It involves a harmonica, laughter, and dancing. I was really little…barely talking. My parents kept saying “music” and then I’d play the harmonica dancing and say it back to them best I could. I looked like a tiny inquisitive alien realizing there was this thing so powerful it could literally move my body and that thing is called “music.”

ListenSD: Smiling is hitting the San Diego music scene by storm and recently opened for ListenSD favorites Frankie & the Witch Fingers at Whistle Stop and killed it! How did the show go from your eyes/ears and what was it like to perform with Frankie & the Witch Fingers?

Annie from Smiling: Thanks so much! It’s always great to play with friends, especially at a sold out show. People were really feeling it and letting loose, and so were we!! I met Frankie and the Witch Fingers at a music festival we were both playing years ago. Josh Menashe, one of the band’s founding members and I also have a project together called Premium Destiny. All to say, the show was most definitely a family affair, and I loved it!

ListenSD: Who are the current members of Smiling and how did y’all start playing music together?

Annie from Smiling: Chan Jenuine and John Heger. I found Heggie on Craigy. I guess the internet gods were smiling on Smiling that day because we love the guy, and he’s an incredible drummer. Chan I’ve known for a long time. He’s an old friend of my sweetheart Shayla. We’ll likely add a fourth member because even though Chan shreds bass we want him on guitar and synth. Also, I play in the band and my name is Annie Shaw!

ListenSD: What bands (current or past) inspire the musical and visual vibe of Smiling?

Annie from Smiling: There’s a lot of inspiration across the board. I grew up playing in punk bands and was super into stuff like The Germs, Nirvana and Zeppelin. I also listen to a lot of hip hop, folk and pretty much everything all the way to classical. One thing I love about music is it’s ability to move emotion through frequency and poetry combined.

ListenSD: “Lighthouse” is such an incredible song and recorded with such panache and a flare for the 90s Grunge aesthetic but with a modern twist. How did the seeds for “Lighthouse” come about and what was the recording process like?

Annie from Smiling: We did all the basic tracking for the album “Devour” live to tape at the now defunct Dock Studios in Sacramento where Ty Segal and Oh Sees tracked a lot of their output. The recording process was incredible, I love working with John Baccigaluppi.  He’s one of the heads of Tape Op Magazine and also engineered and helped produce the album. The seed of Lighthouse is the idea that we should follow our intuition. It’s a GPS built right into our bodies, and it knows best. 

ListenSD: Mystery Bonus Question #6: If you had to cover any song at your next show, what song would it be and why? 

Annie from Smiling: The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) because I’m feelin groovy! Come to Casbah Saturday night and I’ll play it at the after party 🙂

Grab your tickets for Smiling at The Casbah this Saturday, October 9th opening for Quicksands!

Interview by: Craig Schreiber