Todd and Erin: The Infectious Sounds of Santa Barbara
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A favorite here at Progressive Man, Erin Nicole Smith has set off on her latest music adventure, a collaboration with the talented Todd Dakin. What started as a chance encounter has turned into a collaboration that seems to be made for the long haul. Venturing off from her acoustic style, Todd and Erin have created their debut pop EP, released August 6th and called “Save It For The Remix.” Progressive Man is ecstatic to be speaking with both Todd and Erin and learning all about their latest project.
Erin, it’s so great to speak with you again! I see you now have a musical partner-in-crime, Todd Dakin. So how did this all begin? How did the two of you first begin collaborating?
Erin- Stoked to be back!! Todd and I actually met when I was watching him play in Santa Barbara, I had a strong feeling that I shouldn’t leave without introducing myself, I wrote a note on the back of a receipt with my number/website and asked if he would be interested in collaborating or working together. I dropped the note in his tip jar, and yes I put 1 whole dollar in there too haha. A few hours later I got a text, and the rest is history!
Todd- Yeah, Erin tells that story better than I could I guess…but I was in between sets at this gig when I realized she had dropped a note in our tip jar. I googled her name while I was up there on stage, and after seeing evidence of her hard work online, decided I wanted to work with her. It’s so important to find people whose work ethic aligns with your own, and she puts so much of herself into what she does.
Erin, we know all about your musical background from the last time we chatted with you. Todd, can you tell us a little about your background and how you first got into music?
Todd- I actually began playing music at the age of three. I remember little of it obviously, but I know my sister who’s older had begun taking piano lessons, and I think I was jealous of the attention she was getting, so I started banging on the keys until my parents decided to get me into lessons. So I guess it all started with a desperate need for attention. Not much has changed. Kidding, but anyway, at the age of 12 I began playing guitar and drums as well, and it’s always been a huge part of my life.
Todd you’re originally from Sacramento but the two of you met in Santa Barbara. How is it that you came to be in Santa Barbara? The world might have missed out on your beautiful collaboration if you hadn’t been in Santa Barbara!
Todd- That’s an interesting story actually…and kind of a long one. I don’t want to be cryptic, but I don’t think we have the space to give the full version. The short version is, it was time for a change in my life, and in 2011 I moved down to Santa Barbara. It’s been an amazing two years, and I’ve met some incredible musicians since. I’m very lucky to have met Erin!
What was it like collaborating with another artist for a full EP? Did you find the songwriting process to be drastically different from when you were writing music on your own?
Erin- I was so used to writing alone in my own head that I was a tad nervous writing with someone else, but as soon as we sat down I was comfortable with him and knew we would be just fine. We wrote our first song called “White Lies” and its a pretty sick song, so we were like “Hey!! I think we can do this!!” Todd’s an incredible writer, so i’m learning a lot! Writing alone you kinda let yourself believe you’re the best at it, which is not true haha. Songs can always be improved, so co-writing and bringing two brains together with good ideas can make up for some sweet music!
Todd- Erin said it well…if you know how to collaborate, great things can come from it. I can get stuck in my head and be convinced that there is no solution to the problem I’m facing with a song. But then if I mention that to Erin, she’ll immediately have a solution I would never have thought of. It’s pretty incredible really…I don’t think I’ve ever had a writing partner I’ve felt so comfortable with.
Todd, you have been a part of a wide range of projects, everything from acoustic to metal. How easy, or hard, was it to meld your influences together with Erin? Did you two just happen to click right off the bat or was there a significant learning curve involved in working together?
Todd- We did click pretty much right off the bat…I grew up playing classical music, then gravitated toward heavier stuff…but honestly my heart has always been in pop. Erin absolutely has those same pop sensibilities, and our strengths arise not in how we are the same, but how we are different. When I want to do one thing, and she wants to do something else, we don’t argue over which is better, we just do them both, and it always ends up being awesome. Ha.
The song of yours that we’re featuring off your new EP is called “Don’t Walk Away.” Whereas your solo music was acoustic with some pop influences, the new EP is pretty much a complete pop experience, this song being no exception. Are you finding pop songwriting to be similar to what you were doing before or does it present its own challenges?
Erin- My solo album “Crying Butterflies” is more acoustic, but like you said there is pop influence in it as well. With songs most of the basics are there and usually have the same sort of outline so you just kind of cater to the song you want to write, a huge part of it as well is the production of the song, thankfully Todd is awesome at that part and has a way with bringing songs to life.
Tell us a little bit about “Don’t Walk Away.” What does the song mean to the two of you and how did it come about?
Erin- “Don’t Walk Away” was really the song that both of our ideas just worked out and meshed well together in. It’s super fun in my opinion, young teenage love I guess is what its about. This one started as a joke actually, the lyrics were really dumb and silly so we did some minor plastic surgery on it and came up with something fun!
Todd-Yeah, this song was the second one we wrote together, and the first one on which we considered using my voice. I think it’s a super fun song…it might be my favorite one we’ve written so far actually.
You just released your EP, called “Save It For The Remix,” on August 6th. Do you have show dates currently lined up to promote the release?
We are playing Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara on Saturday August 10th, so that should be fun! We also have some things up in the air at the moment. You can check out our site for updates!
I think everybody would love to know if the two of you are going to continue to collaborate or if you’re going to go back to your solo projects? Honestly, we’re such fans of you at Progressive Man that we hope you keep collaborating and releasing solo music too! The more the better!
Todd and I are in it for the haul. Were giving 100% and only hope that our hard work pays off and people will enjoy and listen to our music! Lots of songs to be written so were very excited!
As always, it’s absolutely a pleasure to speak with you Erin and you as well Todd. Where can Progressive Man readers go to find your new EP, “Save It For The Remix”?
“Save it for the Remix” by Todd and Erin will be available on iTunes, Amazon, and many more online distributors on August 6th. You can also check out our website at toddanderinmusic.com find as on Facebook: Todd and Erin music , and follow us on instagram- toddanderinmusic
Thank you guys for having us its always fun and a pleasure!