Not to many people have heard of Hotel Books. Spoken word project lead by Cameron Smith, Hotel Books has been imprinting it’s mark on the music scene throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. I was able to interview Cameron, who is the self-acclaimed Dwayne Johnson of the spoken word genre (I am pretty sure he is being a little sarcastic), and found out what it is like to be a “member” of this project.
Keith: What exactly is Hotel Books? What do they stand for? Besides an over abundance of t-shirts?
How dd you get your start?
Cam: The members of Silence O Israel encouraged me to try spoken word. I had a rough time in high school struggling with depression, suicide and teen angst. I started Hotel Books as a way to express to others that they are not alone in struggle. Teddy Ramirez booked our first show at CLC Basement in Paso Robles, CA with See the Light and Parley. That was day one of what became a ten day tour through California.
You seem to be on tour quite a bit. How long have you taken your act on the road?
Cam: Well, like I said, our first show was our first tour date. We now tour about five to six months a year since 2011. I am a full time college student so I basically structure my life to where I am either in school or on the road.
Where are some places that you have gone?
Cam: We have toured the west coast many times and have hit the midwest and the south a little bit as well. This summer we did a small run in the west coast, a three week midwest run, and then we did a few weeks in Australia visiting some major cities on the east coast immediately followed by a central European tour, visiting Czech Republic, Belgium, France, Germany and more.
How many albums have you released? And when are we going to be hearing something new?
Cam: Too many. We basically record all of our music on the road so we end up with a lot of material. We released a full-length entitled ‘Call Me Human’ when we first began, then last November we released a b-side EP called ‘Amid the Beautiful Devastation.’ This year, we released a four song EP called ‘Found Out I’m Not so Brave’ as well as three songs on a split EP with Brave Coast called ‘Finding Home for the First Time.’ We have four official releases out but most of them only containing three or four songs. We are currently recording two new songs for a split EP with Endure from Cape Cod, Massachusetts but do not have an official release date. That will be our final release for quite awhile due to other project we are writing for.
What is the message you want to portray through this project?
Cam: Hotel Books is my best attempt to share my story with others and let them know that they are loved. I went through awful times in my life where I felt nobody loved me, and I want to do my best to assure others do not feel that way. I often write about social issues I see that are holding people back from feeling the Love they deserve. The new split is called “The Spirit is Willing / The Body is Weak” and it focuses on different issues in which people feel like they cannot fix what has been done, when Love is capable of fixing and overcoming any struggle.
You’re big single has been “Ghost Can’t Love” right?
Cam: Yes. Ghosts is definitely the most requested/played song but ‘I Always Thought That I Would Be Okay’ is not too far behind.
How many times have you played that song?
Cam: I have performed Ghosts Can’t Love about 150 times at least.
It’s a good jam
Cam: Thanks.. We have a new single called “Empty Courage / Empty Heart” that we have begun playing live that we hope will move up with Ghosts.
You have played with some amazing bands in the past few years, who have been some of your favorites to play with?
Cam: Well, there are two ways to answer that. We have played with some bigger bands which was an awesome feeling but we have also played with some friends who are just pure fun to share the stage with. Playing with Pianos Become the Teeth will always be a memory for me. Touche Amore, Code Orange Kids, Xerxes and Trash Talk were all great as well. We once played with Whitechapel and Napalm Death, that was weird. I once did a ten minute set at a MellowHype show, that was also a memory. We have played and toured with tons of amazing friends as well though such as Brave Coast, See the Light, My Iron Lung, Being as an Ocean, Capsize, The Parousia, Promise of Restoration, Dependence and Papertowns. We did tour with Silent Planet in 2012. That was fun.
The Parousia? Never heard of them.
Cam: Picture if Thrice forgot how to play music and you basically have The Parousia.
If there is one thing you want to accomplish with Hotel Books, what would that be?
Cam: Milestone wise, we would love to play with The Chariot and Pax217 but The Chariot just announced their break up and Pax has been done for years. Realistically, I just want to share my life with as many people as possible and turn our five to six month touring schedule into an eight to ten month touring schedule. We’re just trying to be the first spoken-word band on Psychopathic Records or Roadrunner Records or the first spoken-word artist to win American Idol. Either one of those would work too.
Any last words my friend?
Cam: Yeah, we will be recording a new split and then Nick from Brave Coast and I are releasing some music we have been working on lately. Hotel Books tour wise, Canada, were coming to you next! Thank you to everyone who read this and who listens to Hotel Books, it’s amazing. You are the pulse to this project. Also, keep your eyes open for Kevin’s solo EP that he is working on. You are loved.