Hello Music lovers! My name is Kyle David Smith and I play in a solo acoustic outfit known as PAY THE MAN. I hail from the sunny town of Bridgend, South Wales and I’ve been playing under this moniker for nearly 3 years. Although my set live is mostly an acoustic set, I don’t identify my project as solely an acoustic one as I record with other instruments and sometimes a full band to give a different perspective. This is also achieved through my online presence as I work with an Illustrator (Emma Fairbrother) to show animation and illustration of a character I created called the “Coin Kid”. What started out as a cool T-shirt design became a logo representing what Pay The Man is. Ever since, its been a recognisable trait to the project.
Picking three records, was not an easy task as music is a universal thing to me. I love a lot of different genres and am open to broadening my ears as well as my tastes. So for this, I wanted to choose the three records that made me want to pursue as PAY THE MAN.
Muse – Origin Of Symmetry
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a huge Muse fan. The band are literally the reason why I picked up the guitar and pursued music in the first place. “Showbiz” would’ve been an album to pick as it was their debut, but Origin was a different kind of monster. Yes, this is the album where “Plug In Baby”, “Bliss” and “New Born” came from, but form this was the true form of sheer energy, raw sound and classical emotion that gave the band its bigger audiences. Matthew Bellamy’s style of playing, his musical background whether it was classical or punk rock and disregard for his equipment was a huge eye opener to me. The best track that stuck with me from this album was “Micro Cuts”. That song was the best of all worlds this album took you to, classical arpeggios, falsetto singing, heavy distorted guitars, fast paced riffs and a messy stabbing ending to throw the song away in a dumpster out of angst. I truly believe that this album was a defining moment for their sound. “Showbiz”is a great debut album, but this album was something else!
I was lucky enough to meet Chris (Bassist) from the band on my birthday when they played Newport Centre and tell him how much that album changed my life and got me into music, and earlier this year I was able to go to Mansons’ guitar shop in Devon and see the guitar Matt had performed with while touring the album. Truly great moments for me.
Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker
I first got into Ryan Adams by listening to his most popular release “Rock n’ Roll” which had a major label release and was promoted by his single “So Alive”. I wanted to know more about the artist and started with his debut album “Heartbreaker”. Ryan Adams is more associated with country music than classic rock so this album at first listen was a huge step away from what I was used to. Not to sound cliché on this, but I started listening to this album just after getting out of a bad relationship, it had been heavily regarded as a “Break-up” album however I figured it was so much more than that. The album starts off with an argument with Ryan and his musicians about which “Morrissey” song was on “Viva Hate” and then happily counts in to the opening track which is a beautiful raw blues jam. The whole album is raw in its sound which can be typical in great country rock albums, and with slow heartfelt songs like “Oh my Sweet Carolina”, and “Come Pick Me up” it’s just a cool smooth package of songs to listen to.
The album isn’t ground-breaking by any means, but it definitely opened my eyes to new horizons in music and song writing through a tough time in my life and was a key influence to pursue a solo project.
Say Anything – …Is A Real Boy
Max Bemis is pretty much one of my all-time favourite lyricists. The man is just crazy and so poetic with his words that I consider him the “Alan Moore of Music”. My interest in the band first stemmed in the same way my other favourite bands did, by listening to their latest album and going backwards. With Say Anything it was their Self Titled album. They aren’t really a band tied to one genre and there’s a certain conceptual style to that that got me hooked on them . I loved what Max was doing, and wanted to see how far back I could go. “Is a Real Boy” isn’t their debut album but I consider it to be their best album. Bemis’ lyrics are somewhat cynical and pessimistic to listen to and I just love how much he feels as though there is so much to tell about his anger, his alcohol and drug abuse as well as his mental health. But for all that top be played in either rebellious rock, punk, rap or even a feel good swing sound just made me love this album. Say Anything are not afraid to do what they want in terms of music and I love that in a band, not being tied to one genre.
I had a chance to meet Max Bemis at Slam Dunk fest but as I was following some mates to a backstage area, I had to tie my shoe and sure enough, my group was gone….I had missed out on seeing him just because of my shoe lace!. I was devastated, so I went home after the fest and played this album again! Haha!