I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada to the sound of my mother's vinyl record collection and my father's hobby of Model A Ford restoration. I grew up in downtown Las Vegas and worked for a private ambulance company as a EMT for four years. I have also worked at a production art studio, as a phlebotomist, and as direct-care-staff for the mentally handicapped. I recently graduated from medical school in Phoenix, which limits the amount that I can record and tour.
I have played music since childhood and began releasing music semi-commercially in 2003. My first proper album was a self-released CD called Animal Diseases. This album contains 15 lo-fi tracks, many of them legitimately about animal diseases!! This album is now available again on Bandcamp (see “Music” link to order).Animal Diseases was recorded at home, in mono, on my brother's computer with a primitive USB-interface, over the period of 10 months or so. I played all the parts on the album and designed the album art. I made several hundred copies and distributed them freely to friends and anyone who was interested.
Some friends who enjoyed the album were just starting a label based out of Los Angeles, called Not Not Fun Records. NNF released my second album called Full Grown & Talking About Fountains, which came out in 2004. A companion 7" followed several months later, which fulfilled my curiosity about what my music would sound like on vinyl. Until this point I had only given my music away and I had not played more than a few live shows. I began playing live shows in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and then went on a West coast tour with two other bands on the NNF label.
In July of 2006 I released an album of found sound called Eavesdrop: a wealth of found sound, which is a collection of anonymous recordings found at thrift stores, yard sales, and in trash bins over a four year period. These largely-unaltered tracks come from audio or micro-cassettes, 8-Tracks and home-recorded records. Many of the clips are segments from audio diaries, tape-letters, the sound of road trips, fights, crying, family moments, telephone conversations/messages, or the amusements of children or the mentally handicapped. A minimum of editing or manipulation was used in the making of this album. I did not add music to the tracks (or mash them up), but instead served as preservationist (or curator) to present the listener with the most powerful recordings in their natural state. Some are funny, some are ridiculous, others make no sense. A few are so perfect I cant believe I actually found them.
Eavesdrop is a scattered documentation of what I call "the golden age of personal recording (1965-1986)." It is about the wonder that is putting our experiences, feelings, and lives down on tape. The album's ~80 minutes is spread over 40 tracks. The album includes 28 pages of track notes, transcripts, background information, and additional resources. Album art is a collage of found photos collected over two years, and each CD comes with unique "found scraps." In addition to this, six of the album's tracks spawn whole other albums that are available as hand decorated CD-Rs.
In 2007 I released an album of music called New Mexico, which combines song writing, field recordings, spoken word, and personal research to celebrate (and tell the story of) my family's mountain retreat: a run-down adobe cabin. Though the album is a trip through the montage memories of childhood, it is ultimately about growing up. The CD's first pressing is housed in a hand-airbrushed and ink-stamped digi-pak with extensive liner notes.
In 2008 I embarked on a Summer tour with the amazing Las Vegas musical collective *Las Vegas Club*, for which I released a special found sound CD called Band Nerd Love. BNL is a full-length love letter cassette (recorded sometime in 1985) that I found at a thrift store in Las Vegas, NV in 2006. It was authored by Martin, a know-it-all music nerd who loves to hear himself talk. BNL is an amazing artifact from the life of an American teenager, steeped in the type of egoism, self-loathing, and suffering that typifies teenage existence. Guaranteed to make you cringe… I still play bits of it live so it may never die.
In 2009 my brother and I finally formalized what had been years of artistic collaboration by forming a real side project called The Smigel Brothers. Our first digital single, I Stayed Up All Night (see “Music” link to order), was inspired by our hard working one-time neighbors: Jason and Eddie Wallace. The song is an admittedly bizarre pitch-shifted rap song about the Wallace Brother's blue-collar adventures, and how they were able to work such long hours: by drinking coffee through a beer bong!! This song is amazingly fun to perform live as no one ever seems to expect us to do something like this on stage.
In 2009 I returned to my hobby of music making with Hope This Passes The Secretary..., a rarities collection featuring 14 tracks from singles and compilation albums, as well as found sound, live, and previously unreleased tracks. The artwork was designed by my friend Sergio Martinez. The album also includes a hefty booklet of detailed track notes (as has become my tradition).