The Obelisk Questionnaire: Bailey Smith of Youngblood Supercult

Bailey Smith of Youngblood Supercult

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Bailey Smith of Youngblood Supercult

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I’m a creator. I love to experiment with melodies and harmonies, and put them together in a fashion that is both familiar and different. I sometimes feel more like my credits should read “conductor/composer” rather than “guitarist.” That’s not to say that others didn’t play very important roles in Youngblood Supercult. I guess I was just more of a mother figure or the composer. That’s not an easy role, because of the fact that you have to exert a certain level of control. I suppose some of the guys came to resent that, haha. I really just always wanted to make music, for as long as I can remember. I have always wanted to write fiction or prose – I went to college for it. And I’ve always had a passion for cinematography. I guess in a weird way, all these things come together in my mind, and a song or concept or storyline or album comes out of it.

Describe your first musical memory.

My parents singing and playing records for me – styles ranging from Wynonna Judd to the Beatles to CSNY to Mozart.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

When David joined Youngblood Supercult and we debuted most of the material for High Plains at a small show in KC. People lost their minds. It was very surreal. Getting pressed on vinyl for the first time was a huge deal, especially as a 2LP. I will always be grateful for DHU’s Robert Black for doing that for us. Also hanging out with Steve Moss (The Midnight Ghost Train – Topeka) and listening to the debut of Buffalo before it was released and just bullshitting. He was a great mentor to me and I tried to soak up everything he said to me.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Don’t work with friends. Creative criticism is something that many folks don’t have the the stomach for anymore. I think many of our fans ate up The Great American Death Rattle when it was produced and mixed so poorly. The friend we had who recorded it and mixed it initially wanted to master it. This was not a guinea pig project, and when I brought up the fact that it sounded too over-produced and not, well, “right” — that friend pouted and claimed to not be able to remove any of the mastering/mixing plugins, essentially sabotaging the mix.

Compare High Plains and TGADR — same person at the mixing booth. I was berated as a megalomaniac and control freak for protesting the sound. The resulting remixes and masters sounded so muddy and horrible, and we just had to roll with it. We were so disappointed with the resulting sound and had Joel Nanos try to clean it up for us, to not much avail. We were so disappointed as a group on how that album sounded and I caught the flack for it for “ruffling feathers.” But I guess people appreciated the content enough to ignore the sound quality. That was very much a catalyst for the end of the group. Some of us started drinking more because of it, and fighting. It was depressing and an accomplishment at the same time. Which is a hard thing to reconcile.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

To new but familiar spaces. You have to explore sound but I think fans come to expect a certain vibe from a group’s sound. To stay within a certain confine of what people expect your band to sound like, but exploring new and different musical territories can be a very difficult task. Even leading to the breakup of a group.

How do you define success?

When people connect with the music. When you have someone pop up in your DMs and say, “Thank you for this music, it really helped me get through a difficult time.” That’s my definition of success.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

The cancel culture and personal destruction of individuals that is currently en vogue and permeating our society, and the underground musical scene in particular. We have become so enamored with spinning tales against each other; whether for personal gain, scene clout, victimized treatment, etc., that we have become the very thing we write most of our songs about.

And nobody ever questions it, and that’s the sad and disgusting part of it. There is so much vitriol in our world as it is – do things within this scene have to be that way as well? Not saying I’m perfect. I have definitely done my share of badmouthing when things would’ve really been best left unsaid.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

More music. I’m not done by any means.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Let it breathe. Explore space. Don’t be afraid to do something weird. Because you’re inspiring young people and young musicians. It’s a teaching moment, for sure. That’s the goal – to inspire and encourage.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Every new day is something I look forward to, whether it’s musical or not. I’m looking forward to seeing what my son is going to be like as the years progress. His passions, personality, and of course, how he feels about art and music.

Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle (2017)

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11 Responses to “The Obelisk Questionnaire: Bailey Smith of Youngblood Supercult”

  1. swspiers says:

    Great insight into why the band broke up, I’d love more detail on the effect of the recording/mastering process. Love the questions!

  2. Jane Doe says:

    You little rotten lyin ass hoe! The band broke up cause you couldn’t keep your legs closed. PERIOT

    • John Doe says:

      Yeah, I don’t think you were there? If you were, you’d use your real name.

    • Morris Code says:

      I was there. I can verify that everything Bailey said is fact and that is why the band broke up. It had nothing to do with any of our personal business. Go troll somewhere else.

  3. This woman shot her hand and blamed it on the band.

  4. B.F. Skinner says:

    Take a shot every time you read ‘me’ or ‘I’. Textbook psychopath.

    • JJ Koczan says:

      I don’t understand this at all. What exactly is your complaint here, and why do you have the band’s email listed as yours? I don’t get it.

  5. BF Skinner says:

    It is a comment; not a complaint. I just wanted to express a thought.

  6. y531ly5 says:

    I just can’t forgive she tried to steal money from some of us by pretending to have some LPs for sale online.
    After sending payment, no answers to all our questions on why we never have any news about shipping or some delay… no signs of life…
    We had to ask PayPal for a refund.

  7. Carl Jung says:

    She mentions herself 62 times…

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