By Lydia Wiener | December 22, 2022
When Kid Smoko takes the stage, one thing is clear: both the band and its fans are there to have pure, unadulterated fun. On a chilly December night in Bushwick, this was no exception. Clad in leather pants, trench coats, oversized sports jackets, and everything in between, the five-piece LA-based band brought high energy to the Sultan Room from the jump. Before the end of the first song, Matt Salort, half of the Kid Smoko vocalist duo, had jumped off the stage and moshed with the crowd, while Michael Burke, the other half of Kid Smoko’s pipes, had climbed to the top of both speakers. By the end of the first three songs, Sam Berkley, Declan Martins, and Michael Ferranti, the band’s two guitarists and drummer (respectively), had shed at least one of the many articles of clothing they brought onstage. Everyone in the room was dancing, everyone in the room was sweating, everyone in the room was having fun.
Being “super fun” is pinnacle to what Kid Smoko is trying to achieve, and they’re doing just that with their unique “punk pop, not pop punk” sound. “Utah,” the band’s newest single, as well as “Tommy Boy,” a Kid Smoko staple, utilize catchy guitar riffs and powerful vocals to captivate listeners and get the crowd moving.
100% of the Kid Smoko sound is authentic to the band. They do everything, including writing, composing, producing, mixing, and mastering, in house. If you spend time with the band, you can feel this collaborative fusion and the mutual love and respect it breeds. Kid Smoko’s visuals are also done in house, including music videos and cover art.
Despite currently having an LA address, Kid Smoko is composed of childhood friends from Maplewood, New Jersey. The Brooklyn show felt like a grand homecoming packed with old friends, new friends, and family alike. Each time a band member affectionately mentioned New Jersey, the room erupted; definitely not something you can find in LA.
We caught up with Kid Smoko before their December 17th show at the Sultan Room where they answered a few questions for the groovement:
Where are you all from?
New Jersey. Maplewood, New Jersey. We all grew up either across the street or within a couple block radius.
How did you first get started?
We were always friends, but didn’t start playing until two years through college. Some of us had dabbled as SoundCloud rappers and producers, and when Sam and Declan started learning guitar, we were like “Hey, we’re all friends. We all like music. Let’s make a band.”
How would you describe your music?
Super fun. In terms of aesthetic. In terms of just the energy, I think we kind of have a “who gives a fuck” attitude. It’s a very punkish approach to pop music. We’re trying to make it palatable and enjoyable. The thought process behind most of it is very punky by convention, but we also try to make songs that people want to sing. It’s not pop punk, it’s punk pop.
How would you describe your songwriting process?
Pretty much lyrically and musically, it’s all one fusion. Sometimes someone will have an idea, like with “Utah,” where Matt came in with the baseline and the lyrics, and then we expanded into other parts as a group. It depends though. It’s very collaborative.
What is your dream venue?
Madison Square Garden and the Super Bowl. Madison Square Garden is three of our first shows we attended, it would be a crazy full circle to perform there. Also any venue in Berlin. It would be awesome just to know that we made it out to Europe, and we’re playing in Berlin.
📸: shot by Nicholas McMillen