- Harley-David Shea
Social Smokers Club releases The Woods w/No, It's Fine., Good Dear Good and
Friday, April 5, 10pm
The Seahorse Tavern, 2037 Gottingen Street
Social Smokers Club started off as a high school English project about a book. It's led to songs and booked shows around the Maritimes.
When guitarist William Robbins and bassist Jack Murtha were friends at Halifax West, the pair of musicians did a class project based on the book Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. "We were told we could be as creative with the project as we could, so we got together and wrote some songs for it," says Murtha, one of the band's four singers. The result: "Raven, Bear, Fish," now a song on the band's debut album The Woods. (And yes, they aced the assignment.)
While still in Grade 12 in 2016, they were joined by recent high school graduates Tyler Rafuse (guitars) and Andre Sautiere (drums), two friends they knew from playing shows together while in different bands. The members are from Prospect and play what they call "woods rock," a sound that draws on influences including Rush, Nirvana and Metallica.
"We were just influenced by nature a lot as well," sats Murtha. The Woods, out in March and getting its official release party Friday, was recorded in the forests of Prospect, where Rafuse lives. "And I think that's why Canadian music is a lot different than other music in ways—I think there might be a connection to nature."
The origin story comes from an English class, and there's continuity in the literary aspects of the band. During live shows, songs are like chapters and stories are told on stage to weave it all together. "I hate dead air on stage, so I started telling stories in between songs, just bantering...and then I realized I'm starting to tell a story and introduce the next song name," says Murtha. "And we realized it all works, it just fits the whole woods vibe. That's when it became woods rock."