Tuk Smith, frontman of Biters, is a striking figure. Hair a shade of jet black with the occasional shimmer of mystique blue, piercing eyes, and the kind of spirit one wishes to bottle up and wear as a talisman of fortitude. Musically intoxicated by the likes of the aesthetically exquisite David Bowie, it is clear that Smith places emphasis on wearing his music as much as he plays it. “I’ve always been attracted to both the audio and visual of rock’n’roll, so having a look has been important to me”, Smith affirms. “Art, symbolism, aesthetic; that visual, it ties into everything. I’m very interested in that. I’d probably dress this way no matter what. It’s not a gimmick, that’s just what [Biters] have.” But such a distinct semblance is not without its pitfalls. “[The look] is not necessarily working for us. I get called Noel Fielding all the time because people don’t know where this haircut originated.”
In concordance with his prominent rock’n’roll style are Smith’s attitudinal convictions. “People get to me, but I really don’t give a fuck what people are thinking. If you give up too much, you’ll get eaten alive as a frontman”, asserts Smith, with the sort of delicious forceful emphasis on “fuck” that makes your mouth water with audacity. However, Smith’s bad boy bravado melts into the shadows for a moment in an endearing glimmer of vulnerability one may not expect from this seemingly natural frontman. “I don’t know how I got here, I would never have thought that I would be a frontman. It’s a thankless job, and a lot of pressure”, sighs Smith. “I used to play guitar in a band. I didn’t have to worry about the vortex of 2,500 energies on you at one time, trying to suck the life force out of you. You’re just fucking battling the whole time. Some days you’re a human being, you don’t feel like it.” It may be a thankless job, but someone’s gotta do it, and Smith certainly has the battle cries and war faces to contend with it.
One of Smith’s most well-known battle cries voices “take me back in time to 1975” in Biters’ track 1975. Whilst Smith impatiently awaits his time machine, however, he’s busy combating 2017, an era inhospitable to the kind of blood, sweat and tears style of rock’n’roll emitted by Biters. “Straight up rock’n’roll has taken a back seat unless you’re talkin’ about heritage acts. People are always gonna love Led Zeppelin and the Stones and KISS. But as far as a newer rock’n’roll vibe, there really hasn’t been one. So it’s making it really difficult for us to find a home,” Smith laments.
Meanwhile, the 21st-century sea of social media proves to be both a sweet and sour concoction for rock musicians such as Smith. “Social media has taken out all the mysteriousness from rock’n’roll. The larger than life aspect has gone. I am expected to be online and entertain people and take selfies. I could never imagine Bon Scott taking a selfie”, muses Smith. “It’s also been used for a lot of good because we were discovered through Spotify – a company I hate that rips off artists, that’s how we were discovered. I mean it’s definitely got its ups and downs. But I would probably rather live in the 70s.”
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We chatted quite a bit more with Smith, but you’ll get have to get yourself a HEAVY Digi-Magazine subscription to read all about it.
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