INTERVIEW: Nicholas Smith talks about Great Floods and some of his favorite bands in Louisville

Photo By Jake Emberton

I’m not in my 20’s anymore, but I still enjoy a fair share of heavy fucking music.  And I understand that as I get older, I’m supposed to move on, get really jaded, and look down on you degenerate head-banging cavemen, and then only listen to music from artists like Tom Waits and The Velvet Underground.  People my age are supposed to grow up and leave that shit behind, right?  I’m sorry, but I still appreciate loud, abrasive hardcore-punk and thrash rock, and I don’t see that changing when I turn 40, 50, or even when I take that ever-so-anticipated eternal dirt nap. 

There are other reasonable people that share this notion, and one of them is Nicholas Smith, the bold and courageous dude that spends his priceless free time playing guitar in Louisville’s best new hardcore/thrash troupe Great Floods.  If you haven’t heard these guys, don’t waste another minute and do your self a favor by watching/listening to their new single “Limbs”:

Yeah, that’s fuckin’ awesome. Aside from playing in his band Nicholas also runs Keep Louisville Loud, a facebook community that serves as a resource for bands, venues, and promoters for Louisville and the surrounding region. So what makes this dude tick?  What bands make him do back-flips?  Where does he buy records in Louisville?  The only way to find out was to ask him personally, so that’s exactly what I did…

Never Nervous: First, talk about your band Great Floods. Who’s in the band, and how did it start?

Nicholas Smith: Great Floods is myself, Jamie, Matt, and Drew. Matt and I have been playing in technical metal bands since we were kids, and felt like we needed something cathartic and more focused on emotion over analysis. Great Floods is essentially a coping mechanism. We don’t worry about being clever or charming. We just create a stripped down foundation that allows us to engage and share in violent and aggressive performances with the people we love. Both in the band, and in attendance.

NN: The music I’ve heard from Great Floods reminds me of hardcore/thrash that was prevalent in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Am I on to something, or are the inspirations behind your tunes far and away from bands like Converge and/or Botch?

NS: I would like to think that we captured a lot of the urgency and angst from those bands. Botch and Converge are easily two of my favorites from that era and not because of the song writing or production, but because the raw emotion that they put into there music had such an immediate effect on me as a listener. And still does.

NN: I recently read that you guys signed with Little Heart Records. What exactly does this mean for the band going forward? An upcoming record?

NS: We are very fortunate to be working with Tom Curtis at Lot 49 on an EP that will be released on Little Heart. Tom is easily the best engineer in the city and Puckett (from Little Heart) is a work horse. We couldn’t ask for a better team to help us put together the record we have in mind. We also have a few surprise releases for later this year.

NN: Seriously though, did you guys actually “sign” anything?

NS: As seriously as everyone involved takes a handshake, there are legal documents to be signed. I fully intend to channel my inner Brendan Fraser and wipe my ass with it.

NN: Do you plan to tour, or are you content playing Louisville for the time being?

NS: We really believe that a band should always lay roots in its city first, and never abandon the people that support it. Some folks forget that. We are starting to lay regional groundwork in May and hopefully get enough attention and footing to tour this fall.

NN: What made you decide to create Keep Louisville Loud? And what exactly is the mission behind it?

NS: Keep Louisville Loud was put together as a private group for bands, venues, artists, & promoters to network and have access to the great talent that our city has to offer. While it has taken off in lots of promotional directions (and even a group for buying and selling musical equipment) its main goal is and always will be to help break apart clique culture, to help people get there foot in the door, and to try and help the artists in this city organize the most efficient and the highest quality productions that they are capable of. I also throw a few benefit shows a year, and Jared Wright runs KLL Radio on Crescent Hill Radio.

NN: Are there any bands in Louisville that you are particularly into lately?

NS: I have been involved in Louisville punk culture for over 15 years (holy shit, that is crazy to think about) but I have never seen such an incredible roster of bands than exists right now. Bird Zoo and Skull Avalanche are easily some of my favorite hip hop groups in the country, let alone the city, right now. The full stack, leather, metal scene is taking off thanks to Sons of Medusa, Gravemouth, Stagecoach Inferno, Stonecutters, (Ohlm), and Order of Leviathon. But my favorite sludgy, noisy, ugly and loud bands are easily Waxeater, Aphids, Temple of the Golden Dawn, Empiria Vultura, Greyhaven, Blood Planet, Dead Halos, and Savage Master. Every one of these bands is going to make a lot of noise this summer, so don’t sleep on it.

NN: Where do you buy your records in Louisville, and why? I’ve asked a lot of people this question, but continue to because I find every one’s answer interesting after consideration of the recent surge of record shops.

NS: Modern Cult Records is easily the best shop for my particular vinyl taste. I like everything from weird angular proto-punk like The Birthday Party and Suicide to epic sludge records from Electric Wizard and Shrinebuilder. Modern Cult is fucking perfect. I work at Derby City Chop Shop and some of my coworkers have been selling from their personal collections, so I am all over the OFF! live records and the Nation of Ulysses early pressings.

NN: Before you take off, talk about a few records that have been blowin’ your skirt up lately.

NS: Since I am recording, I have been listening to giant guitar records lately. WhoresRuiner, Monolith/Voyage of Slaves Beard Splitter, Love Sex MachineS/T, Erik LarsonThe Resounding, Pissed JeansHope for Men, ((Thorlock)) S/T.