5 Questions with Murphy Smith and the new single Pal

Pleased to help introduce Minnesota to a new-ish musical resident, Murphy Smith. He’s not new to music but he’s now finding grooves in the Twin Cities

Tell us about your musical background.

I grew up in Kansas City, my Dad had a home studio in the basement and was a songwriter in his own right. Whenever I wanted to learn a song on bass he would listen to it once and teach me how to play it. I kept working on music until I got a degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Kansas, after that I lived in New Orleans as a freelance musician until covid. Now I live in the Twin Cities and (in addition to freelance gigging and teaching) work on my own music and producing.

Pal has a teched-up retro feel to it and it’s so uplifting. How do you get that sound?

I’m glad it came across! Older music like The Beatles, Sly and the Family Stone, and Prince are huge influences of mine but I love modern production techniques. I like to make songs that are in the compositional style of older music such as this, while trying to think of how modern producers would approach a recording of the songs-for me it’s a matter of really listening intently to what certain production elements are used in different genres and decades and what particular feelings they elicit.

How long have you been in the Cities? Are you feeling any influence of the local music on your music?

I moved here in July 2020 when my girlfriend started law school, since then I’ve become more and more attached to the scene and I’ve been really enjoying it. Since I was in college, Prince has been a massive influence on me and gradually since then other “Minneapolis Sound” groups and artists have been a big influence. I’m a big fan of Dr. Mambo’s Combo at Bunkers as well, they play some of my favorite music and getting to hear a great band play that music so regularly has been a huge inspiration.

If you could bring something from your background from Kansas City or New Orleans to spread to the local music scene here, what would it be?

There are different things I love about each of those places, for me Kansas City has been a place that harbors some truly amazing improvisers in the jazz realm and otherwise. New Orleans has been my favorite place since I was 13, I love how important it is that music FEELS good there, as well as music being so participatory instead of a spectator sport. I’d like to think I could bring music that combines the grooves of New Orleans and Minneapolis, while incorporating the jazz background from my hometown.

What’s next for you? Or putting it out there in the world, are there places or people you’d like to play with?

This week I’m going to be recording a 4 track live band EP, It’ll be 3 of my original songs and a favorite song of my Dad’s from the 80’s. I’d love to play anywhere in the world that music could take me! I’ve been lucky (largely through my University) to be able to play in Europe multiple times and I’m figuring out how to play my original music in Germany soon. As far as who I’d like to play with, there are too many people to name, but I appreciate getting to meet and play with so many talented musicians everywhere and I’m excited for what the future holds!

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