The music scene like an ecosystem. It takes many different types of people and things working individually on their
own things, serving in at least some small way to keep everything flowing and thriving. Musicians, promoters, fans,
music stores, social media, venues, etc.
Nowadays, the metal scene in particular has been largely ignored and many in the “mainstream” calling it a dying
scene.
But it doesn’t take much to find that despite what the mainstream wants everyone to think, the metal scene is alive
and well. It may be changing, but it has a strong heartbeat and a strong pulse worldwide.
There are a few kinds of people in the metal ecosystem that we at Metal Meat like to focus on more than most of the
other inner workings of the ebb and flow of it all, and that is the musician, the fan and the promoter.
These people are the life blood that keep it alive. None would do very well without the other, but there are those who
are all three.
In this interview, our own Trish Watkins (who is a promoter and founder of the event “Trish Stock in upstate New
York) talks to a band called SMITE who are more than a band. They are also promoters of their own events in New
York and Pennsylvania, and they are also supporters and fans of the scene all around.
Members:


Shawn McCallus
lead vocals


Hunter Murray
guitar, backup vocals,
keys


Brian Belcher
bass


Matt Huff
drums and percussion
When did Smite first form and how did the name come about?

SMITE originally formed in late 1999/early 2000. The name was known as a
biblical term meaning to hit or strike hard and to affect powerfully. I believe it was
brought about by the first singer, a guy named Courtney.

How would you describe your type of original music?  

Bildo always said SMITE was part of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.
But I would describe the music as a part of The New Wave of American Heavy
Rock, if there was such a thing. Borderline metal with many huge metal influences,
but also a very prominent heavy rhythmic groove, with rap/rock style lyrics that
also mixes in beautiful serenades and vicious screams. I always described the
band as a modern day Black Sabbath before I was in it.   A beautiful, experimental,
dark, strong, sexy, slutty, and sophisticated party.

On the song 7

It's supposed to be interpreted by everyone one an individual level. For me it
means that the keys to life and happiness are all around. The 777 jackpot has
been given to all of us, we just have to open our minds, open our souls, and be.


What message would you like to share with your fans?

The message that SMITE has always sent is LOVE and UNITY.
For me it has always been a place I could go and take all of my pain, frustration, and hate that life puts into me and
positively release it back into the world. Where people from every walk of life can come together, unleash their own unique
beasts, and then hug, love, and appreciate each other, then go back to their lives refreshed and released of their demons,
and ready to help themselves and others to make a positive impact on this world.
What is the current lineup for Smite and
what experience have they had in the
past?

The current lineup is Hunter Murray on
guitar and Vox, Matty Huff on drums, Brian
"Pickles" Belcher on bass, and myself on
lead Vox. Hunter is a founding member of
Smite and has been doing it for 18 years or
so in Smite and a couple other projects he's
been a part of along the way. Matty and
Pickles have been grooving together for
almost a decade together in Lowkey, and
are now SMITE'S rhythm section going on a
year now. I met Smite in 2004 and basically became a roadie. I supported them in any way I could, which
eventually got me the opportunity in 2007 to get asked to try out for the bass position when Bildo respectively
bowed out. Even though I had no idea how to really play music I learned how to play SMITE and I got the job.
We toured immediately for close to 3 years straight. Then after last year, Scotty bowed out and so did Mike, but Hunter and I
didn't feel like quitting yet. Matty joined the band in early 2015 and Pickles in late 2015. We were looking for a new singer, but
in the meantime Hunter was going to take over most of the vocals, and I was moving to rhythm guitar and gonna do a bunch of
backing vocals. At our 1st practice, Hunter and Matty basically told me to put down the guitar (probably because I was not a
good rhythm guitar player) and just sing. I've done 3 shows now, 2 pretty good, and one not so much! :) But I am loving the
opportunity, the direction we are moving, and love being in a band with those three.
Tell me a bit about your Smitefest Winter Wonderland.

This will be the 2nd "Smitefest Winter Wonderland". It is an indoor music
festival at a very old iconic hotel in Williamsport called the Genetti. This
is a hotel with tons of history. Many celebrities and even a few presidents
have stayed there. Last year we had 450 people and 30 bands in the
feel that we all have grown to love. This year's will be February 24th and
25th with 34 acts. There will also be a pre party show at the cellblock in
Williamsport on Thursday February 23rd, with a handful of bands that will
be playing at the festival.

What prompted you to do SMITEFEST?

We always talked about "The Gathering". We wanted to travel to
different state parks all over and have big festivals. In 2005 when we went to our 1st Nikstock we knew we were on the
right path. Nikstock is definitely the biggest influence on Smitefest. In 2008 or so we got invited to a battle of the bands
near my hometown Williamsport (which we won!) for a Red Cross benefit. We had our late sister Sara Thrasher with us
who had an RV, so she found the Susquehanna Campground online and rented a space there. The owner, Tom
Macpherson, took a liking to us as we partied our faces off for a few days there. We got to talking about having a
gathering there and he was crazy enough to say "Let's do it!" So in 2011, I moved home and saved up enough money to
put on our first Smitefest
Interview by Trish Watkins

Oh yeah! Clearly they'd be called Stunner, the world's only all - instrumental hardcore beatdown band... and by beatdown we mean brutally injuring people in the mosh pit.
Nothing but breakdowns and broken bones lol - Matt