DREA SMITH: Tim (pictured above) is probably the most easiest person to work with because we have so much in common as far as genres go. It was an easy thing to go into because we had everything in common. I like where the music ended up. When we came into it, we didn’t have any kind of goal, we just started writing the songs and they kind of just happened. When things happen organically like that, you can’t help but love them. PYYRAMIDS is half my baby, it’s half my project. I’m excited that we’re going to do a full length [album]… which is going to sound great! [laughs]
All of the PYYRAMIDS music I’ve heard so far has been wonderful. It’s been on high rotation at my house since I got it so just know, someone in Australia is listening to and loving your music!
DS: That’s so rad! That makes me happy. Mano has been to Australia three times with Kanye and I’m like, I want to go so bad! Hopefully we’ll get over there.
PYYRAMIDS started with you and Tim corresponding via email and sending music back and forth. I read you comment in a He Say, She Say interview that you think you’re socially awkward; what was it like when you and Tim met in person for the first time?
DS: We met over drinks [laughs] so that helped a lot! I have a tendency to nervously ramble when I first met people or I just completely shut down and don’t talk. Lately I’ve just been rambling a lot, I hope people find some good in it [laughs]. Tim and I had talked over email so much that I felt like I kind of knew him already, we had everything in common as far as music goes. Also, I know that if I can make someone laugh we’re going to be friends. We both made each other laugh a lot so it worked out.
You recently relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles, what’s that transition been like for you?
DS: It’s still a transition! [laughs]. Chicago is more hustle and bustle. I guess the more natural transition for me would have been to move to New York. I haven’t actually driven a car in like five or six years, in Chicago you don’t need to the public transportation is so reliable but, in L.A. the public transportation is non-existent or you really have to plan. It’s been interesting.
PYYRAMIDS have been playing their first shows over the last few months, how’s the experience been so far?
DS: So far the first shows have been really, really great! I’ve been trying to find who Drea Smith is on stage with PYYRAMIDS because it’s very different from He Say, She Say – I did a lot of running around then and by the time I was finished the set I was so sweaty. PYYRAMIDS’ music is more moody and a controlled intensity, it’s really chill, so I’m learning to be intense without being outwardly intense on stage. Each show I get more comfortable. I’m liking who I am on stage with PYYRAMIDS. It’s a nice juxtaposition to He Say, She Say.
What one of your favourite tracks from PYYRAMIDS’ Human Beings EP?
DS: That Ain’t Right is my absolute favourite, in fact, when we were recording it I was like, holy shit! This is great! [laughs]. I write That Ain’t Right when I still lived in Chicago and demoed it up and sent it to Tim. I did like one verse and the hook and he was like, ‘Holy shit!’ I was like, I know, right! [laughs]. I wrote Don’t Go once I moved to L.A. and I really just wanted to write something that would tug at the heart strings. Everyone’s been through breakups they didn’t want to happen; I was trying to get that quiet emotion into that song. They’re my two favourites.
I’ve read that PYYRAMIDS would love to have their music in American Horror Story?
DS: Yeah I want our music in that show so bad. I love that show. It’s kind of campy, it reminds me of Twin Peaks. I want to be a part of it somehow. They use a lot of music that’s reverb heavy and well, we like reverb! [laughs]. Fingers crossed!
Let’s talk about style now, how would you describe yours?
DS: It varies day-to-day. I’m a tom boy but I love make-up. I love hair products. I really like menswear for women a lot. I like to mix it with feminine things. I love chambray button ups; brogues, creepers and Doc Martens. A tight pair of Levi’s like black or a dark colour. I love classic things but then I love dark red lipstick and smudgy black eyeliner and a thick string eyebrow. I’m not into the futuristic thing people are doing though we’re things are overly constructed, it doesn’t feel natural to me [laughs]. I love Givenchy and I love Chanel. I also like stuff I can find at a second hand store.
I totally hear you, a lot of my wardrobe is from thrift stores. I also really love the mix of masculine and feminine in dressing too. You had a killer pair of suede loafers on your blog recently.
DS: Oh god I need to get those! [laughs].
With PYYRAMIDS what do you wear on stage? It seems a little different to what you wore in He Say, She Say.
DS: Yeah it is actually. When I started He Say, She Say with Mano I was twenty-one, I’m twenty-six now, so that’s a big age jump. In He Say, She Say I would wear little boys tee shirts, plaid pants with Chucks so I could jump around on stage. It hasn’t changed too much, in that I still don’t like to wear heels on stage, it constricts your movement. I really like to wear button ups, a nice pair of jeans and Docs; that’s pretty much my uniform for a stage show. I don’t like to not have lipstick on because I don’t have the fullest lips [laughs]. I really like Ruby Woo lipstick by MAC, it’s my favourite.
Have you ever experienced sexism in the music industry?
DS: You know, I kind of have and kind of haven’t. I think I give off a bit of a bitchy vibe when I’m in an industry type of situation, not so much in PYYRAMIDS though. PYYRAMIDS have been smooth sailing since we started it but in He Say, She Say I dealt with it a couple of times. Just knowing that when you’re a woman in a room full of men you have to talk louder, swear more, be more assertive; that’s what I learned from being in He Say, She Say. It was kind of being ignored, it wasn’t overtly sexist, it was more just like what I said kind of got ignored. If my partner said the same thing it was brilliant. It was interesting [laughs]. He Say, She Say was a confusing project genre-wise for a lot of people, especially to black kids, doing something that was not necessarily categorised as urban music. Dealing with a lot of people in urban music not knowing how to properly market something like that, I definitely came across some sexism in that, dealing in the urban side of the music industry. I’m liking the more independent side I am dealing with now.
What projects are you currently working on?
DS: We’re working on the PYYRAMIDS full length album. I’m also working on a solo project with Doc McKinney. He produced an album for an artist named RES in the early 2000s that he wrote with Santi White, you know Santigold. He also did the two mixtapes for The Weeknd, if you haven’t listened to the Weeknd you should, he’s awesome! Doc is actually going to be in town this weekend and we’re going to get started on making my little solo project.
Anything else to add?
DS: I really appreciate all of the support that PYYRAMIDS have gotten so far being an independent band and all. It’s really cool when you go on YouTube and you see your video has had 7,000 views and that the single has had 9,000 plays. I really appreciate the support being given to the little guy.
I don’t think you’ll be the little guy for too long.
DS: [Laughs]. Thank you for saying that!
Share this with your friends!
*Photo credits: 1 by Tyler Curtis (Darkroomdemons.com)/ 2 by Clayton Hauck (Claytonhauck.com)/ 3