METROnome: Smoke Season debuts new dance sound at Valley Bar

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Smoke Season frontwoman Gabby Wortman described the band’s original sound as a kind of electronic soul packed with heart. (Lerman Montoya/DD)

Smoke Season began its 10-day tour of co-headlining with Armors across the west at the Valley Bar Wednesday night, debuting a slew of previously unheard songs and a slight change in its style.

“Fleetwood Mac with beats, that’s us in 4 words,” said Smoke Season frontwoman Gabby Wortman.

Wortman describes their original sound as very heady, a kind of electronic soul packed with heart. Based on events over the past year, they decided to go in a different direction.

“After the country went to s**t, Jay and I got together and said we need to write dancey-stuff, something fun,” said Wortman.

Wortman, alongside fellow band member Jason Rosen, spent the last year completely devoted to writing, coming up with over 30 songs. They hope to eventually release them all but when choosing the best ones to tour with, they noticed a similarity.

“All our favorites were bangers, we didn’t even plan it, it just ended up coming together as this accidental dance setlist,” Wortman said.

(Lerman Montoya/DD)

Fans welcomed the departure, myself included, as the dance floor seemed as vibrant as the colored lights flashing on stage. Wortman says Smoke Season’s constant evolution and refusal to define a distinct sound is what sets it apart from other bands.

“The industry cheapens lifetime artists by forcing them to rebrand,” said Wortman.

Wortman’s not about that. She says their previous style played well on her strengths, having a background with more heavy, melodic tunes while Rosen really gets the chance to shine now, putting his pop knowledge to work. Wortman says their future album is a bit different than what fans may be used to.

Good Days is a good jumping off point for what we’re about to throw at you,” Wortman said.
That’s not to say Smoke Season is unrecognizable though.

“A kernel is still there from our original sound, it still gets emotional, that’s why it’s still us,” said Rosen.

Wortman and Rosen met while sharing a rehearsal space during a time when they were each part of different bands. Wortman provided the vocals for Temp3st and Rosen played keyboard for Honor Society.

“From there, we just started writing some music together but never really considered it more than a side project,” Rosen said.

Eventually they realized their current bands weren’t the right fit and decided to start their own group.

You can find Smoke Season’s latest single, Good Days, online now. Their next release, Wolves, drops mid-October. Rosen says it has a sinister feeling to it just in time for Halloween.

Contact the reporter at arhassar@asu.edu.

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