For Nick Maas, queer songwriter and singer for Smokes, the past several years has been the most challenging and ultimately revealing of his life to date. As he has worked to transform his own mind into an ally and unite a fractured identity, so too has his band become a sleek vessel for communication. The dark and delightful art rock perpetrated by Smokes is a heady mix of post-punk and weirdo pop, but the truth can be found just below the surface if you care to look. So often, the qualities we find repulsive in others can be found in our own hearts, dormant or otherwise obscured by ego. It is our duty to unearth these buried truths, and to surrender to them. Ambivalence and neglect kill just as surely as a knife.

Smokes has performed at festivals such as Pop Montreal, NXNE, Canadian Music Week, Sled Island, and the Flourish Festival, and they’ve shared the stage with acts such as Car Seat Headrest, PS I Love You, Frog Eyes, Honus Honus, NOBUNNY, Tyvek, No Joy, Doldrums, FRIGS, Fake Palms, Walrus, Mauno and more.