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  • Jordan Swickard

    I’m here with one of the founders of BlankTV! How are you doing man?

  • Smitty Smith

    Wrapping up a ten hour shift of uploading videos to the channel and finally relaxing with a beer.

  • Jordan Swickard

    Nice, sounds pretty relaxing! So tell me, how did the idea of BlankTV come about and what motivated you to stick to it

  • Smitty Smith

    Back in 1999, I was in Hollywood, changing careers and want to see what was going on with the whole dot-com thing.

    I ended up working at an online media company with some friends, where we learned things about online video, encoding, etc.

    Once we had the skills, we started trading videos with friends back on the East Coast, so they could see wat bands we were seeing and vice-versa

    After a while, we started collecting them on a page.

    Then people started asking if they could get their bands on the page

    It started growing organicallly

    The stick-to-it part is because I’m a prick who won’t admit when it’s time to cut bait.

  • Jordan Swickard

    Dang! That’s pretty cool. Sounds like you guys came along way since 1999! What’s the best part about the job?

  • Smitty Smith

    The best part has to be the constant exposure to new music. I’ve been listening to punk and hardcore since the 80’s and you hear a lot of old-timers talking about how the scene sucks now, or no one is still making great music…and the thing is that there’s always new music and great music, but people my age tend to get caught up in other stuff, life, family, jobs, etc

  • Smitty Smith

    They no longer have the free time to find new music

    and that affects their perspective. It also might say something about my journey near adulthood that I still make that time

    Probably not the most responsible path.

  • Jordan Swickard

    That is a valid point my friend! I always love finding new artists and music! How many submissions do you guys get daily?

  • Smitty Smith

    It varies a bit over time, but these days, we’re probably getting a little over twenty-thirty videos a day to sort through and see if they’d work for the channel.

  • Jordan Swickard

    Damn that’s a lot! Does it get pretty boring sitting there sorting through them?

  • Smitty Smith

    It’s not boring, but there are times when you’re swamped and you find yourself looking through and glossing things over…like, make sure there’s no tits in this one, or no lyrics that we’d object to, editorially

    and sometimes you miss the big picture

    of the song

    But screening for elements like that, or copyrighted footage, etc. we have to do it.

    Three flags for content and YouTube can kick us out of the world

    So, our policy is to stay on top of it, so you’re never working with too much of a backlog, and you can give each artist their due.

    Which is not to say that some doesn’t suck out  loud and you know two seconds in that it isn’t going on the channel.

      It’s like busboy skills, you keep that shit for life.
  • Jordan Swickard

    That’s some scary stuff that you could lose the channel in a snap! At least you guys stay on top of it all while providing artist with exposure! Here’s a question, have any major labels ever submitted a video before?

  • Smitty Smith

    Oh yes, at the beginning, in the early 2000’s, we had great traffic, and majors had been signing indie bands by the boatload, as well as making fake indie labels to generate buzz on otherwise shitty bands.

    We didn’t mind taking some of them, because we had come up seeing these kids in hardcore or punk bands and it felt like a natural extension.

    Over time, it just didn’t work out. Majors (or fake indies owned by majors) would submit artists, we’d give them a launching pad, and they’d tally the results and kick them to the big time or shut them down. In either event, we’d be told to pull their content.

    So we stopped accepting them across the board, to the best of our ability.

    Then, way less problems with lawyers


    • Jordan Swickard

      That’s completely understandable. Better safe than sorry! What are 5 artists that you came across viewing the submissions that you fell in love with?

    • Smitty Smith

      oh my…


      I have to check my favorites page!

      But I would like to tell you that one of my favorite stories was meeting Ryan and the Off With Your Heads guys and hearing that BlankTV got them into punk rock in Minnesota

      We were the conduit.

      And I fucking love that, cause they’ve made some amazing music…I dig those guys

    • Smitty Smith

      And, back to the questions, it’s not just the new bands that amaze me, it’s meeting so many of my musical heroes over the years

      tracking down old footage, exposing new kids to older bands

      I look at the channel like an archive of some of the best music ever made

      we’ve been lucky enough to put a team together for Punk Rock Bowling for the last decade

      We’ve met so many great people through the channel, not just musicians, but writers, artists, directors, just a slew of creatives and tried to find ways we could work together to support a common cause.

    • Jordan Swickard

      That’s some deep stuff! I do use your channel to listen to music a lot though. Really good collection. What year did BlankTV really start to sky rocket?

    • Smitty Smith

      If it’s too deep, pour some Jager on it.

      We got a call in 2007 from a guy who had become the head of Google Video

      He was an old Detroit hardcore kid and loved what we were putting together. Offered us a platform on Google Video which we gladly accepted. Once Google bought YouTube, we migrated everything over onto that platform.

      The traffic exploded almost overnight

    • Jordan Swickard

      That’s awesome man! I did not know that!
      What future plans do you have to expand BlankTV?

    • Smitty Smith

      Currently, we’re working on a comedy/punk movie about the start of the channel, called Blank Nation.

      In time, we’d love to see someone pick it up as an actual TV channel, something that supports indie music and rivals any corporate alternatives.

      I’d rather watch the damn thing on TV, so I can stop looking at a computer screen once in a while.

    • Jordan Swickard

      I’m stoked about the movie man! I’m sure you guys will get there eventually!
      When you were younger did you ever see yourself working with music?

    • Smitty Smith

      I didn’t plan it at all. I’m a writer by heart and BlankTV is just a different way of telling a story that needs to be told.

      And I’m fucking lousy at computer stuff.

      I just fake it.

      With some really good helpers, like my tech manager, Toby Horton, and my wife, Donivee.

    • Jordan Swickard

      What story are you trying to tell?

    • Smitty Smith

      When I was coming up in the 80’s, I never felt like I belonged. It may sound cliche, but it’s true: punk rock and hardcore gave me a voice. It let me know that I wasn’t alone. I want other kids to know that feeling. I want them to start bands and write, paint, photograph, blog and generally stir shit up and know that they’re not alone and their efforts aren’t wasted. You have no idea what kind of art your kind of art might inspire.

    • Smitty Smith

      Corny, eh?

    • Jordan Swickard

      That’s really deep man and I love your outlook on this entire thing! Do you plan on keeping BlankTV for the rest of your life?

      • Smitty Smith

        I don’t know…I have a family now and that’s my a priority. I also have other scripts I’m working on…stories to tell. I’m sure I’ll always be involved with the channel, but, at some point, I’m sure we’ll need young blood to keep the fires burning. Especially if we ever go to TV. I’m a long, tall drink of retarded that probably doesn’t translate well to other mediums.

      • Jordan Swickard

        That’s true man! Well I think it’s time we wrapped this up, thanks so much for allowing me to interview you! Is there anything you would like to add?

      • Smitty Smith

        hehe..if possible, I’ll give you a read-through tomorrow and send along some of my favorites.

        Also, I’d love to know how you came to hear about the channel, how long you’ve been watching, etc.

      • Jordan Swickard

        Sounds good!
        Let me think how did I find the channel… Oh yeah! I remember, awhile ago my friend linked me a video that you guys uploaded and I enjoyed it, so I watched some of the suggested videos to the side (which they were all from BlankTV). I started my record label and I remember you guys took submissions so ever since I would always submit either a lyric video or a music video from the bands I work with or my band itself. You guys are doing good for the music world and I highly respect that.

      • Smitty Smith

        That is awesome. That’s the way I want this thing to be.

      • Jordan Swickard

        Thanks for the interview man

        Smitty Smith

        my pleasure, thanks for listening to my bullshit!