We’ve been crushing hard on the ethereal vibe and eclectic taste of LA-based DJ and mood curator Smiles Davis for a minute now, which is why we were dizzy with delight to discover that she is channeling her killer aesthetic and ear for the otherworldly into her own music. Masterfully merging an infectious old school sound with moody vocals flickering with slow-burning longing, her new single, “Not Too Late,” feels like an anthem for the languid days between summer and fall, a strange and silky-smooth daydream that swells with a sensual energy. It’s the kind of shimmering, shape-shifting song that feels serendipitous in any setting, whether you’re bumping it at a house party or grooving with the windows down on a breezy afternoon.
Bluesy vocals by songstress Mack infuse the song with a raw and sultry ache, textured with lyrics that pack a bittersweet punch, reminding us of the redemptive power of love in the face of the dark uncertainty of our current world. The freshly released music video is similarly intoxicating, a surreal and starry-eyed visual trip filled with shadows and rainbows and close up shots of plants, flower petals, fruit, and even a milky-white snake. It’s a vibrant ode to the lush and untamed sensuality of both nature and femininity that emulates a lazy day spent lost in your own longing. We recently caught up with Smiles, who was kind enough to answer a few of our burning questions about the song and video.
Keep an eye out for her forthcoming debut EP, “But She Did” which is scheduled to drop later this year.
Live FAST: Hi Smiles! What was the inspiration behind Not Too Late?
Smiles Davis: Mack and I were working together for the first time that day. We set a vibe right away. One of my gifts is curating a good mood so my collaborators feel free and safe to create on the spot. On that particular day we had the song complete in about three hours, so I’d say we were our own inspiration.
LF: What energy or ideas were you hoping to convey through the music video?
SD: I’m a highly sensual being. My visuals must speak to my femininity, otherwise, what’s the point? My good pal Dorian Tocker directed the video and we spoke early on about representing women correctly and how you can convey sensuality through textures. Like most creatives, we both wanted visuals which helped heighten all the senses: touch, smell, see and hear… In our case, we wanted viewers to hear the record more vibrantly than if they were simply streaming on Spotify.
LF: Mack’s moody vocals are the perfect companion to the track. How did you two decide to collaborate?
SD: A mutual friend of ours invited me to a session he was doing with her just because he knew how much I love to collaborate with women. We hit it off right away. First we’d just hit the town, girls being girls, drinking beers, being flirtatious. From that friendship, I put it out there like, “Hey, let’s work!”
LF: You’re an in-demand DJ, and your debut EP drops this summer. Why did you decide to start making your own music? What does this EP represent to you?
SD: My DJ career spans 10 years. You can only get so far in this industry having one skill; solely playing other people’s music is rather limiting. I ended up going back to school a few years ago for music composition, then for sound engineering. If this life has taught me anything, it’s that the more you know, the more you can do. Making music became an extension of my resume. I didn’t enjoy it as much then as I do now. It took a while for me to understand that I was a part of the culture and that what I was doing was important to inspire the generation that will proceed me, that I was giving emerging artists a platform, either by featuring them on my records or allowing them to perform showcases in my living room. That “a-ha” moment was really important for me because passion was always there right along with the struggle to get ahead of the learning curve. 10,000 hours and counting, right?! I get stronger through collaborations. My peers are strong and representing and they teach me a lot. My EP represents that.