The Smyrk
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The Smyrk

New Haven, Connecticut, United States

New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Band Rock R&B


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Monsters on Maple Street review"

The Smyrk color outside the lines. I have never heard rock and roll like this before and after the first couple tracks I was becoming weary of whether the longevity of something so atypical—something that sits heavily on the boundaries of alternative and rock n’ soul. Diverting and recreating the core ingredients to rock is a grand endeavor. But every once in a while, I will hear a band that takes a risk with the limits of rock and roll—and, oh is it good. This New Haven pack have a sound that is comparable to Incubus minus the DJ meets Monty minus the horns—fast-paced rock with a continuous beat to impress.

With that being said, I am a sucker for piano interludes and solos, so when The Smyrk open Monsters on Maple Street with a short piano ensemble (think Snow Patrol), my attention is easily caught. And like a full-circle ending, these Ivy League rockers end with an even sweeter and longer piano ballad. Kudos boys.

Hooooooooooooottttt! Minnetonka is hot! I lost my mind with Minnetonka!

New Haven’s The Smyrk—lead singer Doron Flake, drummer Chris Barone and dueling guitarists/bassists Nick Logan and Ari Sadowitz—deliver a dynamite performance on songs like “That Ain’t Lake Minnetonka” (a pop music deliverance with impulsive tempo changes and praiseworthy drumming) and “Shot and Buried: Sudan” (where the band dials all amps up to 11 and the tempo drives the album to a rambunctious end). Other tracks valuable for their lyrical quality are “Sweeter Cyanide” and “Cope Aesthetic” that aid the album through dealing with matters of revolution, reform and adoration.

The only drawbacks on the album are that listeners might be hesitant to the new vocals parceled in this new sound, (but I think the vocals play a large role in how the instruments react to the vocals), the length of the album shows only a glimpse into what else The Smyrk could do, and even though producer Eric Rachel (The Starting Line, Saves the Day) had a hand in the production. it isn’t as resilient as it could be. One song I could not stick my fork into was “It’s Not Love”—generic and predictable riffs from the guitars.

At the very least, Monsters on Maple Street should get The Smyrk out of the New England area soon enough—showing that they can compete against the norms of theatrical rock and aiding the scene with truly new music.

-Gabe Gross -

"The Smyrk -"

Every band is dying to be different. Every band is dying to convince you that they are in fact different. In reality, few are different and most are derivative. But when a band comes along that actually sounds different, it makes people pay attention and makes people curious to hear more. One such band is New Haven, Connecticut’s The Smyrk.

What distinguishes The Smyrk from the rest of the heap is not the music–that’s your typical emo rock sound–but rather frontman Doron Flake’s vocals. Flake has soul. Flake has groove. And Flake’s in a rock band. The way his vocals stand out is reminiscent of Gatsbys American Dream...simply a sound that is different and striking. Although the focal point of The Smyrk is hands down the vocals, that shouldn’t detract from the quality of the music. The band’s sound also reminds me a bit of Gatsbys (particularly on “Sweeter Cyanide”), just a diverse rock sound that is both rich with instrumentation and catchy as hell at the same time. The slightly heavier “Shot and Buried: Sudan” stands as the best of the six tracks (though the hidden piano instrumental would technically make that seven tracks), followed by “Cope Aesthetic” in second.

Thanks to Doron Flake, The Smyrk have captured a sound that is indeed different and incredibly fun to listen to. I predict it’s only going to be a matter of time before these guys get snatched up by some prominent indie. Place your bets.

Leah Weinberg


"The Smyrk - New Haven Advocate"

All four Smyrkers are out of high school now, and (as one would hope) their songwriting's maturing, with unorthodox song structures, catchier guitar licks, and sophisticated chord progressions. The band's injected new spark and muscle into its aesthetic--punk-influenced riffs, cool backing vocals, guitar squalls that suggest– well, that someone's been listening to At the Drive In or something. Real surprises, in other words, for those who considered the Smyrk essentially a funkified alt-rock band. Which is not to say they've gone totally post-hardcore--the rhythm section swings in a way that's uncommon for driving rock music, jazz chords abound, the guitar part in "Sweeter Cyanide" kicks in like a funk record at 78 rpm, and Doron Flake's heart-on-sleeve soul-man vocals own. The way the record's mixed, it sounds like Doron's voice is fighting with the guitars, which adds urgency. The Smyrk's moving forward. Good for them and good for us.

--Brian G. LaRue


"New Fiction review"

I suppose most of you reading this review out of curiosity wouldn't mind hearing a pop-rock/Minus the Bear hybrid fronted by a vocalist that sounds as full and rich as, let's say, Seal. Some of you already in the know may be beginning to grin because you know I'm dead on in describing Connecticut's The Smyrk. Very few times before have I been as impressed with an EP as this time around. New Fiction, produced by Incubus's Ben Kenney, is an infectious ride the entire way through.

Displaying not only a knack at keeping their praiseworthy rhythm section as an integral aspect to each song and constantly maintaining a flashy, yet refined, style in the guitar work, The Smyrk have easily the most unique vocalist you're likely to come across anytime soon. Doron Flake not only brings a sort of R&B rhythm to each song, most notably "My Weakness", he exhibits an unsurpassed full-bodied range that begs for you take notice. This instinctive flavor his voice carries with him naturally gives the backing band an extra bounce to it.

Songs like "Dial V For Venom" are almost pure ecstasy at certain points and will undoubtedly get stuck in your head in some form or function. Not only because of Doron, but because of the almost Prince-like funk that just feels so fresh. You'll really set aside the fact that you've heard nothing like this and welcome these new grooves with open arms. Chris Barone on the drums is a force all his own; never going over the top, he manages to delve into giddy cymbal exchanges and exciting snare beats while keeping his exceptional touch an innate aspect to the band as a whole. Ari Sadowitz and Nick Logan switch from bass to guitar and back throughout the EP. While you may not notice the different patterns between the two through the course of the six songs, the sentiment lies in that these guys are more talented than they get credit for. The latter is highlighted well courtesy of Ben Kenney, who oversaw the production. Being the bassist of the renown Incubus, its refreshing that Ben stepped out of the mainstream and noticed some fascinating new talent out of reach from the major labels. Ben must have an ear for funky (Fungus Amongus anyone?) because its exemplified extraordinarily here and really becomes the defining facet of The Smyrk.

A call to all label execs or otherwise still reading: get interested in these guys. Already nabbing spots as far down the east coast as Georgia, there's really no reason someone can say this band doesn't have drive. If New Fiction is any sort of sign of things to come, I wouldn't be surprised to see these guys being brought along on nationwide tours as early as next year. Sporting one of the most obviously naturally talented vocalists this reviewer has set ears on with a killer backup band to boot, The Smyrk have made my summer a whole lot better.

-Scott Irvine -

"September '07 Feature"

"The Smyrk is that kind of band you don't just hear in passing. Real music with edge, appeal and a unique blend of personality." - Urban Mainstream Magazine

"URB Magazine Next 1000"

Finally, a pop rock band that is not all whiny and emo-y. The Smyrk add a bit of R&B flavor to make their music a tasty and refreshing treat. They're impressively tight. Doron Flake's vocals ride the turbulent breakdowns with a bit of Prince's old swagger, softening the edge of the band's sound and making it palatable. Without distribution, they've sold 5000 copies of each of their EPs and earned a top 4 spot on MTV2's Dew Circuit Breakout. Just wait and see what happens once they get signed. - URB Magazine

"Lizz Wright and The Smyrk"

Later than evening, went to the Afropunk show at the Delancey, to see Game Rebellion again and check out The Smyrk, a bunch of moptop kids who just might be Connecticut's answer to Hootie and the Blowfish. Not that lead singer Doron Flake sounds much like Darius Rucker -- vocally he hews closer to Corey Glover and, oddly, John Legend. But he shares Rucker's appeal: swaggering, silly confidence. Picked up the new EP to listen further ... expect great things. -- TN

- Bluegum

"Brooklyn Academy of Music"

Formed in 2004, this Connecticut-based rock band offers a taste for nuance married perfectly with the all-out aggression of power chord rock. At the core of it is guitar work, which trades tired licks for thoughtful ornament, cliché for relentless riffs dispensed with digital precision. With a studio sound honed to perfection by bassist/producer Ben Kenney (The Roots/Incubus), The Smyrk deliver a live show that is all that and more. - Brooklyn Academy of Music

"Smyrkin' At Philly"

New Haven band The Smyrk just moved here- let's give 'em our best Philadelphia welcome.

It's not too often that a young, unsigned band packs up their gear and moves to another city four hours away to start fresh. That's a huge decision and it takes a lot of commitment and drive. It's even more surprising when that band actually has talent. That's why we Philadelphians should count our lucky stars that a bunch of guys like The Smyrk should want to cohabitate with us and grace us with a whole new kind of music that will keep our city, as singer Doron Flake puts it, "shaking their tailfeathers."

Yes, indeed, kids, New Haven-based rockers The Smyrk are here in Philly to stay, and it's about time you learned their faces and tunes, 'cause this band isn't like anything you've ever heard before. Besides, it's the neighborly thing to do, right?

The band, made up of singer Doron Flake, guitarists/bassists Nick Logan and Ari Sadowitz, and drummer Chris Barone, first formed in Connecticut about two and a half years ago.

"Ari, Chris and I used to play as an instrumental trio," Logan says. "When we met Doron, we were playing at an arts and music festival in New Haven."

"I was interning at a radio station," Flake chimes in, "and I came out of work and they were outside playing. I was in an R&B group at the time, and I was thinking about how I wanted to change what I was doing musically. Then Ari said on the mic, 'Hi, we're the Canine Smyrk [the band's former name], and we need a singer.' I thought, 'Oh, well, then!' I came to audition and we pretty much wrote a song on the spot."

The music, the boys say, is best described as rock - but it's not just rock.

"It's rock," Logan says, "but our singer sounds more like John Legend than a rock singer usually does. The instrumental stuff we try to keep fresh and exciting."

"It is rock," Flake agrees, "with a good amount of R&B influence. I don't want to say 'soul rock,' because that'll blow us into a category with Nickelback and Creed, and that's not us. A lot of people come up to us and say, 'I don't even like rock, but I like y'all.'"

What won't surprise you, though, are the bands that the guys cite as their most significant musical influences.

"It spans a lot," Logan says. "Right now, we're listening to a lot of Refuse, and our singer is obsessed with Prince. Two of us are obsessed with the Beatles, and it kind of stands out."

"I am a big fan of Prince," Flake admits, laughing. "But the other guys like his music now, too."

As for the band's name, Logan says that there's no profound meaning behind it - it's just a name.

"The name used to be Canine Smyrk, and that was extra bad," he laughs. "We thought we'd make it a little less lame. I thought 'smirk' was spelled with a 'y' and it stuck."

The Smyrk hasn't recorded any full-length albums yet, but they've already put out two EPs with two major producers.

"The first one we did with producer Eric Rachel [Saves the Day, Dilinger Escape Plan] in New Jersey, and it has a heavier feel. We finished our newest EP, called New Fiction, and we released it last month. We recorded it with [Incubus bassist and former Roots guitarist] Ben Kenney in California. The two EPs have different sounds, but I really like the new one," Logan says.

Although the boys have recorded with some big names, they're not signed onto a record label yet - and for now, that's ok with them.

"We're completely independent. If I were running a record label, I'd steer clear of us, because we kinda have a weird thing that isn't that marketable," Logan laughs. (Sorry, guys, but we disagree.) "We're waiting for the right fit."

Watch The Smyrk do their thing live, and you'll be blown away with the full-out intensity and power they bring to whatever stage they happen to be standing on.

"We're pretty wild and crazy," says Flake. "Last night [at our show], we had a dance competition and I was breakdancing a little bit - very poorly, but I was breakdancing."

"We try to be as crazy as we can be without messing up," Logan adds. "When we go apeshit, we play terribly. I think we've found the right balance now. I really like short and sweet sets; we try to keep our set around 30 to 35 minutes."

But now for the reeeeeally important stuff - like why a Connecticut band would go to the trouble of moving all the way to Pennsylvania (not that we blame them). According to The Smyrk, it wasn't as laborious or spontaneous as one might think.

"We were on tour in Nashville, Tenn. and we stayed with this girl - it sounds really sketchy and it's not as sketchy as it sounds, I promise - and her mom was a real estate agent in Philadelphia who said, 'Hey, if you move to Philly, we can get you a place for really cheap,'" Logan explains. "So we went home and talked about it, and we decided to go for it. I've always loved Philadelphia, and it seemed like a good fit."

"We all just decided that we needed to branch out and get somewhere where there are more people and a progressive music scene," Flake adds. "It's more central to the East Coast, so we could do a lot more stuff."

The four boys made the move about three months ago, and so far, they say, it's smooth sailing.

"We're living in Manayunk," Logan says. "We all live in a tiny little townhouse, and it's working out really well. It's good for creative stuff; we can't really hide anything from each other because we're living so close. The writing has really stepped up a notch."

He adds that the transition wasn't even a very difficult one: "It's always good to change your location a little bit and get out of your comfort zone. It makes things a little healthier. So far we love it; it's great. I think our drummer got into a fistfight somewhere, but uh, other than that..."

If you're wondering why you haven't seen their name on concert bills much - if at all - lately, it's because they've been touring a bit around the East Coast and making a visit to their old stomping grounds in New Haven. But the two shows that they did recently play in Philadelphia went really well.

"We played at the Trocadero Balcony, and we recently played at the First Unitarian Church which was surprisingly cool - it's down in the basement and they have great sound," Logan says. "We attract an all-ages audience, so these 21+ bars are not really good for us. We're trying to find as many all-ages venues as we can."

Logan and Flake believe that their music brings something new to Philly - something the city hasn't ever seen before. We'll leave it up to you to decide, but we do believe that they've got something that's pretty special.

"I'd like to think that we don't have a really normal indie rock sound, which so many bands have these days," Logan says, "but we also don't make music just to make it 'weird.' We try to do what comes naturally to us. I just always like watching a band that is different, who has a lot of energy, but who isn't trying too hard. There's a clear difference between when it comes naturally and when it's forced."

"I haven't run across a band that sounds like us around here... or anywhere, to be honest with you," says Flake.

It looks like it's full speed ahead for these creative rockers; we're pretty sure they've got quite a future ahead of them in our fine city.

"A few years down the road, hopefully we'll be doing more tours and we'll have found a band we can tour with who kinda fits our style. We really want to record a full-length record soon. We just want to play as much as possible," Logan says.

But in the not-so-distant future, they've got a lot going on, too.

"We're scheduling a tour for late July, early August, and we're going to be playing a bunch of regional college shows in October," says Logan. "We're also writing some material for our first full-length."

And not to worry - according to Logan, they'll be playing in Philly again soon.

"We're going to be announcing some [local shows] in the next few weeks," he says.

Keep an eye out and an ear open for The Smyrk; we know that it won't be long before they win the hearts of Philadelphia. After all, we are the "City of Brotherly Love", right? And we sure do like good music.

"It would be cool for Philly to get on board with us," Flake says. "We'd really appreciate that."

-Rachel Perry - Play Magazine (Philadelphia)

"Smile Like You Mean It"

The Smyrk have been playing in and around New Haven since 2003 when singer Doron Flake joined up with guitarist Nick Logan, bassist Ari Sadowitz, and drummer Chris Barone.

The band stunned everyone they played in front of including Incubus bassist Ben Kenney, eventually signing with his distribution imprint. The band recorded their striking debut, Monster on Maple Street, with Eric Rachel (Saves The Day, Dillinger Escape Plan) and then pulled a seemingly leftfield coup, packing their things to move out to Philadelphia.

But we forgive them as they are coming back home to debut their new material from the Kenney recorded New Fiction this Friday at The Space.
So what gives?

PLAY sat down with the band to grill them kindly...

PLAY: Hello Connecticut-based band The Smyrk. What the fuck are you guys doing living in Philadelphia?

Nick: It's healthy to switch things up once and a while and get out of your comfort zone. We all live in this tiny townhouse so we're really forced to listen to each other and get in each other's way, which is
great for writing. Philadelphia is an amazing city with a great scene. We're also huge fans of the Liberty Bell.

Ari: We just realized it was time for a change, and that as much as we love New Haven, we had to try something new. It also gave us an opportunity to live together and start writing some new music. Unfortunately we have to practice in Chris' bedroom.

PLAY: Let's talk a little about your history. You formed in 2003. How did everyone meet?

Nick: Ari, Chris and I had been playing as this odd funk trio under the name Canine Smyrk for a while around New Haven. We were playing outdoors behind The Shubert at The Arts and Ideas festival when Doron walked up and started listening. We noticed him right away because he upped the crowd number from two to three, and he had a serious fro.

Ari: We actually played a show as Canine Smyrk on the same bill as Doron's old group, On Point. We had no idea who they were, but they made us look like true amateurs. Chris and I had been in a pop punk band called Zerosum way before any of this happened.

PLAY: You guys seem to like EPs. Monsters On Maple Street was just an EP right?

Nick: Yes. We love EPs. Short and sweet is a good mindset in the entertainment world I think. We really want to wait until the right time to put out a full length. It seems like if you botch your first full record, it's harder to make the second one big.

Ari: Also, we can only afford EPs, plus we've never had enough songs for a full length.

PLAY: You worked with Eric Rachel on that one. He produced Dillinger Escape Plan. That band is brutal and scary [and from Philadelphia]. Were you fans beforehand?

Ari: I was a fan of some of the stuff that came out of Eric's studio, Trax East, like Snapcase and Saves the Day, but Dillinger is a whole other level of musicianship. They're insane.

Nick: I never really got into them. Dillinger is definitely one of those bands that even if you don't like the music; you have to give it up to them for being such ridiculous players. Plus they have a sweet

PLAY: And New Fiction is an EP too, right?

Nick: Yessir. EP lifestyle.

Ari: We found ourselves with six songs again, and when we got the opportunity to record, we had to take it.

PLAY: How did you hook up with Ben Kenney?

Nick: The wonders of MySpace. We were huge fans of The Roots, Incubus, and Ben as a solo artist.

We sent him a friend request and he was nice enough to write us back saying he liked the songs. That summer we did a national DIY tour and met up with him in Los Angeles where he cooked us veggie burgers, and told us to stop flailing around the stage like a bunch of idiots. I think after he decided he liked us as people, he made it clear he wanted to record us.

Ari: Those burgers were amazing. I think there was salmon, too.

Nick: And cheese that wasn't really cheese.

PLAY: So are you officially signed to his label, Ghetto Crush?

Ari: It's both official and unofficial. We're officially putting out the record on Ghetto Crush, but it operates more like an artist community rather than a label. At the end of the day, we're currently a Ghetto Crush band and we're really excited about it.

PLAY: So what do you miss most about living in Connecticut?

Nick: Friends and fam. Not being threatened by angry neighbors when we practice. Houses that don't smell like four boys.

Ari: The Pantry and Modern.

Nick: Mmmmm ... French toast.

PLAY: Your release show is at the Space in Hamden. How important is it to support local all-ages venues?

Nick: It's very very important. All-ages shows are way more fun to play and attend for people who either don't want to get smashed, or can't. And that's a lot of people. The Space is such a unique venue because it's really the only all ages music room that is small enough to have a cozy feel, but big enough to bring through some great medium sized tours. It's the polar opposite of a dark, smelly bar with drunk dudes yelling at you to play Lynyrd Skynyrd. Steve Rodgers stepped up to the plate, and instead of complaining about there being no good all ages venues with real shows, he built one. Smaller coffee shop sized
places are great too, but they can't really bring louder rock bands in.

Ari: We love playing The Space, it's become our home base for Connecticut shows and we always look forward to coming back. The sad fact is that there aren't enough all-ages venues anywhere, and although hall shows still exist under the radar, they're hard to set up. If there were more spots like The Space, bands and audiences would have a lot more fun.

PLAY: What should we expect to see as 2007 unfolds? Any big plans?

Nick: We're going to play behind New Fiction and Monsters for as many people as possible, which means more touring. Hopefully we'll be playing some college shows too. It's the only way I'll get to see the inside of one.

Ari: Season 3 of Lost on dvd and writing some new music. I've always wanted to have a whole batch of songs on the back burner, since it's something we've never done.

PLAY: When your band blows up this year can we still claim you as our own?

Nick: Well that would be a tough call because we'd be so wounded from the blast; we wouldn't know who's who! Yes, we will always be a New Haven group.

Ari: Disregard everything he ever says.

Chris:That was horrendous.

-David Lewis - Play Magazine (New Haven)


"2008 Exclusive" digital-only single (prod. Bryan Russell, 2008)
"New Fiction" EP (prod. Ben Kenney, 2007)
"Monsters on Maple Street" EP (prod. Eric Rachel, 2005)



After a brief hiatus in late 2008, The Smyrk returned to the national scene with a bang at the annual SXSW music festival in Austin, TX. The band, based in New Haven, CT, made waves in 2007 with an EP produced by Incubus bassist and former Roots guitarist Ben Kenney. With a loyal international following, two CMJ showcases under their belt, airtime on MTV, and a current single produced by Bryan Russell (Envy on the Coast, Straylight Run, Coldplay), The Smyrk is back and better than ever and planning to record new material this year.


- SXSW showcasing artist (2009)
- 4 self-booked full U.S. tours
- Top 4 finalist out of 4,000+ bands in 2007’s MTV2’s Dew Circuit Breakout (including airtime on MTV)
- CMJ showcasing artist (2006, 2007)
- Featured artist, Afro-punk Festival (2007, 2008) along with Noisettes, Earl Greyhound, The Exit, etc.
- Over 5,000 physical copies of both EPs sold with no distribution
- Average of 150 songs sold per month on iTunes