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Erin Nicole Smith and Todd Dakin Making Musical Waves

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Xit 86 Release Debut Album Hit Da Road

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here aren’t many pop musicians that fit the classic California surfer girl persona more closely than Erin Nicole Smith. The smiling, sun-bleached blonde, 21-year-old Santa Barbara native grew up immersed in California surf culture. Her father, Davey Smith, is credited with performing the first surfing 360-degree aerial ever captured on film in the 1980s. He was also a revered surfboard sharper, sought after by some of contemporary surfing’s most legendary professional athletes. It was Erin’s father who was also instrumental in instilling a love of music in the innovative new songwriter. When Erin met musician Todd Dakin, her music took an evolutionary leap forward. Dakin, a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Sacramento, Calif., became the perfect partner to pair up with for a copacetic duo with a fresh new sound. I asked Erin to fill me in on her latest musical collaboration. DEEP: Can you tell me about your new recording and your collaboration with Todd Dakin? Erin Smith: Little did I know that trusting my intuition and dropping a note I had written on the back of a receipt into Todd Dakin’s tip jar at one of his gigs would change everything. Long story short, he got my note and texted me. We met a week or two later and played a show at House of Blues in Hollywood. About two weeks and a few meetings after that, “Todd and Erin” was officially formed as a duo, and within three weeks we wrote, recorded and released our e.p. “Save it for the Remix,” which is available on iTunes. It’s pretty cool when you have somebody else to chase your dreams with. DEEP: How did you guys get started in music? ES: I point-blank searched for it. I was determined to find my passion in life, and sure enough it was sitting in my hallway for 17 years waiting to be picked up … That being my dad’s guitar. Todd Dakin: I started piano lessons when I was 3, and haven’t really had a desire to do anything but play music since. I got my first guitar at the age of 12 and started my first band very shortly after that. DEEP: What kind of music do you like to listen to? Who are some of the biggest influences on your music? TD: I really like to listen to pop, because I like the escapism aspect of it. Specifically I like ’80s and ’90s pop ... I have a Peter Cetera station on Pandora if that answers the question. I grew up listening to the Beach Boys, Huey Lewis and the News and James Taylor. But I’m also a huge Elliott Smith fan. 

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Todd Dakin and Erin Nicole Smith.

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here are few bands more closely linked to the Rincon surf scene than Xit 86, named after the main Carpinteria exit off Highway 101. The band, which has been together since 2007, flirted with the name Xit 83—the The debut album cover was done by longtime surf artist Robert Heeley. Rincon off ramp—but, being born and bred right out of Carpinteria High School, it decided Xit 86 was more appropriate. The band plays classic beach music with influences from local bands like The Upbeat and Cornerstone and national bands like Sublime and Slightly Stoopid. Still, the Carpinteria trio’s debut album “Hit Da Road” encompasses a broader range of musical genres than its influences. The group switches effortlessly from reggae and ska beats to funk, rock and punk rhythms. Lead guitarist and singer David Morgan and bass player Todd “T-Roll” Roll both shaped, glassed and sanded boards for Channel Islands Surfboards and are longtime Carpinteria locals. They’re joined by 25-year-old drummer Nancy Dowdall, who also played with the Rat Pack, Bad Neighbor and RKL. Whether the trio is offering up melodic reggae tunes or abruptly changing into heavy metal or mosh pit modes, the songs on the new album are full of high energy perfect for the California beach culture from which it sprang. Check out the new album and upcoming dates to see the band live. Xit 86 will head out on a CD release tour starting on Friday, January 24 at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara; Friday, February 7 at Whiskey Richards in Santa Barbara; and Saturday, February 8th at San Souci in Ventura. Follow them on Facebook (Exit 86) for more dates. CD is available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/xit86.com.

DEEP: What is your songwriting process, and what inspires you guys to write? ES: If we didn’t have songwriting, we would probably be miserable sick people! Being a “duo,” it’s obviously a team effort to write our songs. Typically Todd will come up with something during the week, record it and email it over to me, and then I’ll record some vocals and email it back. Then on the weekend we’ll get together and let our ideas take shape! DEEP: Do you have any live shows planned? ES: Right now we are in the middle of recording a new album for a release in February, so that’s been our main focus, but there will be shows added soon. You can check our website www. toddanderinmusic.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/Todd and Erin to be kept up to date! DEEPZINE.com

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Profile for DEEP Surf Magazine

DEEP Surf Magazine January / February 2014  

Our January/February issue features an annual Rincon Classic Program, Travel Feature to Russia, Brandon DiPierri Photo Essay and Big Wave Ri...

DEEP Surf Magazine January / February 2014  

Our January/February issue features an annual Rincon Classic Program, Travel Feature to Russia, Brandon DiPierri Photo Essay and Big Wave Ri...

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