Waiting For Smith is the stage name for singer/songwriter Harry Lloyd. After a near-fatal accident in the French Alps, Lloyd wrote the song “Long Life” – a single that has become even more relevant in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Long Life” glistens with an effervescent, toe-tapping rhythm, and genuine lyrics oozing with sincerity, narrating the comforting message that everything is going to be ok. The video features ordinary people living their ordinary lives and evokes a sense of comforting nostalgia in these currently isolating times.
As one of those tracks that you just can’t help but smile at, “Long Life” does more than just make you feel good – it showcases Waiting For Smith’s ability to craft poignant lyrics against their meticulously crafted soundscape of warm guitars and traditional folk sounds. Highly impressed by the music and visuals of this group, we were eager to hear more about the evolution of Waiting For Smith and the new music. Lloyd was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of our burning questions covering everything from the start of the band, his death-defying accident, what “Long Life” means to him, and what fans can expect next.
Where did you come up with the name ‘Waiting For Smith’?
Harry Lloyd: “I started my first band, Jester, when I was 11, with three school friends. They were all guitarists and I was the drummer. But I was also the co-songwriter and lead singer. So, unusually, I sang from behind the kit. By the time we reformed about ten years later, I’d learned piano and guitar, so we needed a drummer to fill in. We made lists and lists of possible names but no one seemed right. Then a friend suggested a guy called Smith. He was a great drummer, but he was consistently late or never turned up at all. We spent hours hanging around asking ourselves ‘Why the hell are we always waiting for Smith?’ Then one day someone said, ‘That’s a great name for a band, you know…’ and it stuck. He still hasn’t shown up. Guess I’ll be Waiting For Smith for the rest of my life.”
Where did the song idea come from for “Long Life”?
“‘Long Life’ was written to cheer myself up after breaking my back in a skiing accident and spending a year in bed recovering. It became my upbeat little theme tune for dealing with my sudden change in circumstances. I’d narrowly escaped paralysis, nearly fallen out of the helicopter, had two fits from an allergic reaction to morphine, and died for 5 minutes. It felt like something out of that Simpson’s episode – you know, the one where he falls out of the ambulance down a cliff. But I knew I was incredibly lucky to be alive and I was keen not to waste a minute. So I surrounded myself with good books, poetry, and films and learned to play the guitar. ‘Long Life’ just tumbled out of me one morning – as if someone else was singing to me saying, ‘Don’t worry, it’s all gonna be fine.’”
What’s your favorite lyrical line in the track?
“I find it hard to choose because they all helped me at different times during that year in bed. But one that I come back to a lot is: ‘Happiness a charm is more complex than your palm. Everybody yearns for some, but nobody’s calm.’ The idea here is that the pursuit of happiness is futile. We can all learn to be happy without doing anything at all, if we want to be. To be grateful for what we have; to just be who we are. It’s the want for more that makes us feel empty. I think about that often when I feel my career isn’t moving forward fast enough.”
Now that the world has been experiencing quarantine and isolation, what is the message that your music video is conveying to fans? How has the message of the song changed during these times?
“The situation has changed, but the message is still the same. Try and find out what it is you love to do because money comes and goes, but everyone gets older (if they’re lucky). You’ll never regret doing what makes you happy or being a bit kinder. I’ve always felt that, even when I was 5 years old. If I hadn’t done music, I’d probably have left for Tibet and become a monk. The hours are about the same…you never stop.”
What do you hope fans experience when they listen to your music?
“Sometimes a bit of smile, sometimes sadness. Maybe even share my reckless craziness. But mainly hope…a sense that somehow, however shit things get, it’ll all be all right in the end.”
What’s next for Waiting for Smith?
“A bunch of online festivals. Ha. Never thought I’d say that in an interview. We were meant to be playing at Wilderness on one of the big stages. Fingers crossed there’ll be a few real-life festivals later this summer. For now, I’m live streaming every Wednesday at 6:30 pm on my Instagram @waitingforsmith. I’m also launching ‘Long Life’ into South Asia and answering loads of really nice messages from fans saying the music is helping them to feel better. The next big thing I’m really looking forward to for Waiting For Smith is a proper pizza. Margarita Di Bufala drizzled with extra virgin olive oil – it makes me so happy.