Inspirer.nu gets to know Pandit!
Rising and humble musician Lance Smith tells INSPIRER.nu all about Pandit and his recent album release, “Eternity Spin”.
Referencing my dictionary, Pandit means
“a man in India esteemed for his wisdom or learning: often used as a title of respect.” A glorious name for the music you’re contributing. Why “Pandit”?
LS- "Pandit" was the name of my great grandfather who originally originated from India in the early 1900's. Aside from the the dictionary reference, he was also a close friend of Gandhi and a prince/spokesman for his village. He gave up his fortune and rights of royalty so he could marry my great grandmother and start a new life in America. His legacy is quite remarkable and impressive. I found no better name to represent my work than his own. My mother has this book about my family history and it tells all about him and his life. I really wish someone would write an entire book about him and have it published. I honestly believe it would inspire and motivate others like it did for me.
The name also refers to someone who is skilled in various things, including music. My great grandfather was a musician so I tend to like to think that that's where I got it from.
In your recent album "Eternity Spin" there are two songs that particularly caught my attention, Kathryn my love and Pack your bags. Can you tell me a little about the significance behind each?
LS- Kathryn, My Love was a song that I wrote very very fast. And one that I can truly say is my most favorite work to date. The overall feeling I get from that song makes me really proud of what I was able to achieve in such a small amount of time. I think so many artists tend to struggle or obsess over trying to make a song sound a certain way or whatever. That track in particular just happened so effortlessly and I've never had that to really happen before. It gave way to entering a new "realm" I suppose of where I was able to write and where I could go when I just don't think about things so much and just go with the flow. I most certainly know that all the newer material that I've written and recorded has the same vibe to it. I'm really excited for everyone to hear that. But to answer your question, the song's real meaning is about my parents and the love I've seen them show one another throughout their lives. Its also about hanging on to one another, even when the going gets tough sometimes and you feel like you need to break lose from someone. My parents just celebrated their 40th anniversary and it just absolutely floors me that two people could possibly stay together that long. It definitely makes me hopeful for my own future.
Pack Your Bags was written quite a while back regarding an ex that I had. We were together for a little over five years..high school sweethearts I suppose. We were in the process of being married and I realized that she wasn't who I needed to be with. I didn't feel like she was the one, so I ended everything and wrote that song pretty soon after. I was also going through a stage where I felt like it wasn't time for me to settle down just yet. I still had so much to see and explore. I just knew that something like getting married and the responsibilities tied to it weren't going to allow me to do any of that. It's still to this day, the only song I've actually wrote about a girl who I've known. I hear a lot of people say that Pack Your Bags is one of the most blunt and "asshole-ish" songs that they've ever heard in their life. And I must admit some truth to that claim. As much as music can help people and get them through whatever they might be going through, it can also be a wrecking ball of hurtful truth that I don't think anyone wants to hear. Its tough being so truthful and honest sometimes through my writing that I tend to overshadow a lot of my lyrics in my songs with a lot of reverb or layers so you never quite hear what I say. I guess in the past I was never fully confident in exposing what it was that I was wanting for others to hear..but I think these days its the complete opposite. I want for people to hear what I have to say.
I read your recent blog post about saying goodbye to Pandit for a little while. Why is that? Things are just now starting to get good!
LS- A part of me was really tired and fed up with trying to do music. I've spent the better half of my life writing and playing and trying to get myself noticed. I just became really exhausted and overall finished with it and the idea of doing it. When your life revolves around one thing and one thing only it just so happens to bleed you dry...really without you even noticing. That may not be everything in general, but I most definitely felt that way regarding music. Over the last five or six years I've sacrificed everything I had and everyone I loved just about to get to where I thought I wanted to be. That idea or perception doesn't seem to hold any water with me anymore.
I also come from a very conservative family. A very common sense, very logical family. Pushing twenty-five, I began thinking solely on my future and where it was that I wanted to be when I was my parents age. I began to think of everything I lost and everything I wanted to gain with this life I was given and I didn't want to be someone who was chasing a dream that I might not ever be able to have. I still intend to write and make music, but I also don't see myself partaking in the very things that drove me down a path of no friends and no meaning. I know what else is out there for me and I know that I want to be apart of everyone and everything that I was so distant and closed off from for so long. Its a very rewarding feeling being able to know exactly what you want and still being able to do the things that you know you can't live without. Which for me, is making music. I know I could never stray from it. But at the same time, it doesn't consume all of me like it used to.
“Kathryn, my love” was featured in the famous MTV show Skins, which is extremely rad, what was your reaction when you first heard about the offer?
LS- I remembered being really, really stoked about it all when I was given the offer. I must admit, I've never seen the show and probably never will. But just knowing that I had a song that I wrote on a hit TV show made me feel like I had achieved something not too many other people can say they've ever done before. Hopefully in the future I might have more opportunities like that. Any way possible that my work can be exposed to others..I'm totally down for. That is all I ever wanted to begin with, was for people to hear what it is that I do. If you don't like it, then so be it. Not everyone is going to like Bob Dylan or The Beatles when they listen to them. But at least people have that opportunity to hear it and make up their own mind whether or not its something they want to keep listening to.
Also, "Pack Your Bags" is being used in an upcoming episode of the UK Skins. Really excited about that as well!
When you first started this project, what did you envision Pandit would become?
LS- I mostly envisioned the project to be ever changing and to not stop from growing. Sure, I felt like I also wanted to be "famous" in a way..who doesn't? But I think I just wanted/still want the overall sound of everything to become different and a lot more worldly and organic. For it to be mine and mine alone. I also hope that the music that is made will live on and be picked up and valued in some sort of way for years to come. I would like to leave something that allows for others to be inspired by and to help keep them pushing forward and feel innovative with.
Talk to me about your most recent album “Eternity Spin”, your thoughts, inspirations, motives etc.
LS- "Eternity Spin" was written and recorded in a pretty short time frame. When I first signed to the label who put it out, I only had one song written for it and that was Artichoke. I didn't necessarily rush myself in regards to getting the album finished quickly, but I also think that I didn't have a whole lot of time to really find my "sound" or where it was that I was most comfortable at. I think I was just so eager to have something out and actually distributed through a real record label. Although, I did have a ton of learning experience from the whole thing and I was really able to dive pretty deep into experimenting and finding sort of a barrier as to where I knew how far I could write and what my abilities were at that time. It’s still to this day one of the greatest experiences of my life.
I still really enjoy the album, although after hearing it as much as I have anyone would get tired of it. I've cut myself off from the whole electronic side of things and have gotten a lot more back to my roots with traditional instruments. At the time "Eternity Spin" was being made, I was just then really getting into synth's and drum machines. I was really into them at that time and felt like I just absolutely had to use them. Since then, it’s become the complete opposite.
The motives and inspirations that I have for this new album are mostly about what I explained earlier regarding my take and place on where I'm at with music. It’s become really effortless and less thought out. I don't keep constantly reminding myself that I have to be doing it or working on it. It'll come when it comes and I'm so ever grateful when it does. Its an amazing thing when inspiration takes hold and you aren't really there when you're doing it. Your body is, but your mind is out somewhere in space, giving you some sort of magical power that'll only be there for a short time. I think that is when you are at your best as a musician, when that feeling or whatever takes place. I know for certain it doesn't stay around for very long, but its wise to use it to your advantage and take from it what you can. I know the older I get it becomes less and less and doesn't happen as often as it might have used to. But when it does, you just feel like you're on Cloud 9. Like nothing can come close to what you've just done. That's what I lacked so much of during "Eternity Spin" that was used on this new album. I'm really proud of that and hope that others will hear and feel that as well.
As a talented musician with a handful of accomplishments under your belt, what advice can you give to those striving in music or any creative industry at that?
LS- Just stay true to yourself and don't stress out. I've spent many countless nights wide awake wondering and contemplating about everything in general. Whether or not I'm going to get noticed or be appreciated. Its all meaningless in the end. Once you get pass the idea of all of that, you'll sleep like a baby. You'll become more in tune with what you really want and it'll allow you to become much more motivated and determined towards getting it. Be appreciative of what you have and use what you have to the best of your ability. And never stop learning.
What genre would you say Pandit falls under exactly?
LS- That I cannot answer. I for one have no idea. I would like to say "Alternative"..but then again, that isn't right either. I've read a lot where people say I'm not cohesive enough or that what I create is all over the place and not contained. I write what I write and however it might come out, that is what will be released. I have to make myself happy first and foremost. If others happen to like it and become involved with it, than that's the added benefit.
If you could describe yourself in 3 words they would be…
LS- Passionate, prideful & very very loyal
If you could describe Pandit in 3 words they would be…
LS- Dynamic, Sporadic & Growing