On the new record, what drew you to its retro, ragtime sound?
My writing just took a different turn. It wasn’t really a conscious effort. My first album is a lot more pop/rock. Then I wrote “Wow and Flutter.” After that, my writing sort of changed a bit and I just went with it.
What’s your songwriting process like?
It’s a little bit different for each song. I tend to start out with a line; and then I sort of build the song around that. It all depends on what the song is about. And the flow of the lyric, whether it works better with a fast song or with a slower number is key too. For the most part, typically I start out with one line in my head and it kind of snowballs from there. With the exception of a couple songs that it's like they write themselves because they’re written so fast. Unfortunately that doesn’t come too often.
The last song on the album, “Stop Wondering,” sounds a little like “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?” when it starts.
[Laughs] That was one that basically wrote itself. I wrote that so quickly. I just thought it’d be a funny, little interlude with the [line], “Bitch, please!” And that’s the one we get the biggest reaction from at shows; people just go nuts for it.
How do you see yourself evolving as a songwriter in the future?
I’m not sure, because my influences haven’t really changed much. I’ve always been a fan of big band and swing and early, turn-of-the-twentieth-century pop. And I feel like that just came out more on this album. I do like the feeling of that retro-pop with a swing to it, but I couldn’t see myself writing a song like “Wow and Flutter” before I wrote it. So I’m interested in what’ll happen in the next year or so. Maybe it’ll be a totally different style or maybe it’ll hang here for a little while.
Please visit the official website of April Smith and The Big Picture Show for more information, including tour dates and the 2/23 release of Songs For A Sinking Ship.