Billboard’s Battle of the Bands: After The Smoke

After scouting the U.S. to find the most promising unsigned bands, Billboard has found three of the southeast’s best. Scroll down to read about each of the groups, check out a video and listen to a song from each. Then cast your vote (and also enter for your own chance to win a trip to the 2012 Billboard Music Awards). Voting is over March 27, 2012, but come back toBillboard.com/battle on April 10 to find out which bands made it to the next round!

Billboard is holding the 2012 Battle of the Bands this year in Las Vegas, Nevada. Three groups from each of the following regions — Northwest, West, Midwest, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast — have been chosen to stand toe-to-toe through the first round of voting, which ends March 27th. Out of the initial eighteen, six will move on to the second phase of the “battle.”

I had the opportunity to sit down and have a nice phone call with a group, from the Southeast region, who go by the name After The Smoke. The duo, Anthony x² and Rob Coin, are based out of Tallahassee, Florida and have been making quite the noise throughout the blogosphere since last year. Their tumblr has a cool 55k unique fans… Take your time and go through all one-hundred-fifty some-odd pages, as I did, you won’t be disappointed.

“Other then our own, the tumblr’s we really fuck with are ‘pushthemovement’and ‘illroots’. They both post shit that makes us really think, makes us try to figure out the meaning behind the posts” said Anthony x², “It keeps us in a ‘progressive’ mindset.” This became the basis of our conversation. Rob Coin, the other half of After The Smoke, followed this up by saying “Our fans don’t like to be “spoon fed”. The want to try and decipher what we are thinking, through our music and our tumblr.”

Many artists simply want to put out music, that explains itself, and leave it at that. The key to longevity in the music industry is creating a fan base that will always yearn for more. After The Smoke released a new track titled “Garcus Marvey”, the meaning behind the title is up for discussion, as they expressed, while we discussed it ourselves. Within the first 7-days of it’s release the record has reached nearly 30,000 plays via their SoundCloud. Check out the track, and more, below:

A fan favorite, “One In A Million,” has received the most feedback; positive and negative. In the tail-end of 2011, After The Smoke had a small issue with Universal Music Group. Long story short, the instrumental used on the record “One In A Million” was claimed to be owned by UMG; for Yelawolf. However, this was not the case, the instrumental truly belonged to After The Smoke, as they owned the copyright for the record. YouTube initially made After The Smoke take down the video for “One In A Million”, which didn’t sit well with their fans, and after an exchange of emails the video was reposted. This was a small step for man, but a giant leap for independent artists. As this was truly the first “David and Goliath” battle that was won by the independent artists.

“I’d really love to work with a scientist in the future, Dr. Ramachandran, he is a Neuroscientist.” Anthony x² continued, “He studies what music does to the brain. I’m reading his book right now, it’s called ‘The tell-tale brain.’ I think it would be dope to work with a scientist when making music in the future, why not?” Rob Coin, the visual artist of the group, wants to work with someone a little more conventional. “I’ve never really thought of a ‘dream collaboration’,” Rob continued, “I guess it would have to be Peter Bryant.”

“We are always thinking progressively.” – After The Smoke

Head on over to Billboard to cast your vote, but hurry, voting ends March 27th!

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Written by Brian Farmer

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