© Hey-Smith. All rights reserved.
Updated 21st August 2019.
HEY-SMITH started in Osaka in 2006, getting “SMITH” from combining the initials from the original members and adding HEY. The current line-up consists of 猪狩秀平 [Igari Shūhei] (Guitar, Vocals), YUJI (Bass, Vocals), Task-n (Drums), 満 [Mitsuru] (Saxophone), かなす [Kanasu] (Trombone), and イイカワケン [Ikawaiken] (Trumpet). The band are signed to independent label CAFFEINE BOMB ORGANICS and in their career have released 5 albums and 2 EPs. The group pride themselves on their live shows and are often performing, putting on great shows. They have even started their own annual festival in Osaka called Haziketemazare, with other acts performing and they headline at the end. It is a shame on this note they are yet to bring the party to our shores.
It’s safe to say there is a strong Western influence, as the band would fit in with any Western alternative scene playlist. The core sound is Ska Punk, energetic fun provided from the mixture of punk rock added with brass. Where this is the core, over the years the band have developed a range ranging from a more pop rock to an alternative hardcore. Where the pop rock makes sense from the fun nature of Ska, I do find the more alternative style interesting. Particularly as these kinds of bands usually fail to pull it off HEY-SMITH actually do it quite well. By slightly turning the gain down, slowing the tempo but keeping the energy in the vocals and the melodic structure it doesn’t feel wrong or out-of-place. It’s also interesting as they also add screaming vocals to fit more with the hardcore sound, giving it an extra strength needs to strengthen the sound.
Still I think their best work is more in the energetic Ska genre. They really capture the fun vibe, and the energy is infectious. I find it had to sit still listening to them at home! The rock instruments have fast and simple, with the brass adding a nice extra boost to the riffs to either strengthen the chorus or add a nice melody of its own. I’ve already mentioned the vocals are energetic, cutting through the instrumental in all the right ways, making it a complete package. Even for us Westerners, there are songs we can sing along to as some of their tracks are in English! It’s clear from their videos, particularly the live, that is where they are most comfortable and can really deliver. It’s no wonder why they are so renowned for their live shows and started their own festival. Where I hope they bring their live shows to the UK, I myself am planning to go to their festival some point in the future!
My Top 5 Hits
- Let It Punk
- True Yourself
- Living In My Skin
- Not A TV Show
- Stop The War
Most of their discography is available digitally on iTunes, physical and the missing releases need to be imported.