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Smirk's Nick Vicario Reflects on Moving Out East and Saying Goodbye to Old Self-Destructive Tendencies on New Single "Bad Behavior"

Since 2021, Smirk has been an essential force of sharp and catchy songwriting across of the web of punk rock in the truest sense. Nick Vicario's (Public Eye, Crisis Man) sonic vision has brought us great releases like Material, LP (Feel It Records), EP (Total Punk), and last year's 7" (Under The Gun). Now with a new single and an East Coast tour around the corner, I caught up with Vicario to talk all about his project's past releases, traversing Europe, and the joyful gimmick of naming conventions.

Hi Nick! What have you been up to lately? What have you been listening to, reading, or spending a lot of time doing?

Nick Vicario: Smirk went on a European tour last October and since I've been back, I moved from L.A. to S.W. Connecticut. It's been pretty crazy moving across the country, but now that I'm settled, I've been mostly trying to work on the new record. Been getting a lot of influence from different books, records, and movies. The new Crushed EP, Glas Nost singles, and Marbled Eye have been on constant rotation lately. And I'm always throwing on Hellhammer's Apocalyptic Raids EP, of course.

Can you tell us more about Europe? Any stories from the road?

It was a great trip! We played something like 16 shows and they were all pretty good. There were 7 of us in this tiny van so that was a bit wild, but I don't think I would have changed a thing. My favorite show was probably in London at The Waiting Room. Shout out to EEL MEN and MORREADORAS who played with us at that one!

And now you're back on the East Coast! You have a really impressive roster of local acts on each bill, is there anyone in particular you're excited to play with?

Honestly I am pretty hyped for all of the bands we're playing with! Some highlights though are Pyrex, The Follies, and Who Pays in Brooklyn, Chipped Teeth in Troy, and Mesh in Philly. Also, we will be doing a live session at WFMU that I am really excited about. 

Last year's 7" was such an exciting burst of garage punk brilliance. What can you say about the making of the release?

Thank you! Those 4 songs were leftovers from the Material LP sessions. I always liked these songs, but I didn't feel that they really fit with the rest of the material on… Material. All 4 songs are pretty different but I thought It might be a good approximation of what Smirk sounds like past, present, and future. 

I especially love the backing vocals on "Bored By Everything." Can you tell us about the production on that one?

So that song started as me trying to write a Riffs ripoff. The Riffs were a '77 street punk band from Portland, OR that I was buddies with growing up there. As I added more to the song, it got way poppier for some reason. Those backup vocals are actually my voice pitched up to be a counter vocal to my normal singing voice. The backups obviously came later in tracking and are definitely indebted to "Chinese Takeaway" by The Adicts. 

The last time we caught up with you back in 2022 you described Smirk's origin as "a quarantine boredom project." How do you think its evolved since then?

Pretty much since the first show in July 2021, Smirk developed into as much of a live band as a recording project. We definitely have a rotating cast for live shows but the staples are always lead guitarist Bee Wright (Acrylics, Crisis Man) and drummer Blaine Patrick (Toner, Violent Change, Skin Like Iron). They also have been contributing to the recordings as of late. 

Material was one of our favorite records of 2022! What are your thoughts now looking back on that album?

I am really proud of that record. It's Smirk's first real full-length and I think it's a pretty good summary of where my songwriting was at the time. I am still relatively new to writing by myself and I am gratified that I managed to produce those songs during that time in my life. I was definitely going through some dark personal shit at the time and I think Material helped me reckon with some of that. 

Today you're back with the new single "Bad Behavior" which also comes with a new music video. What can you tell us about this one?

"Bad Behavior" was written after my recent cross-country move. I sort of see it as a goodbye and acknowledgement of my old self-destructive tendencies. Musically, it's influenced by bands like The Cleaners From Venus and Television Personalities. The video was done by Nate Kahn with claymation by Carson Brom and I filmed my parts on a crappy greenscreen at my place back in Connecticut. Also, all proceeds from the single will be donated to HEAL Palestine (

You've gotten in the habit of naming your releases after the format they're on (with a few exceptions). Do you think you'll keep up this convention in the future? Is 12" on the way?

I was just thinking about this the other day. Since I've done Cassette, LP, EP, and 7", I think that gimmick has been fully explored. Unless I decide to do an 8-Track or LaserDisc soon.

Aside from this new single, what else is on the horizon for Smirk?

I am about halfway finished with the new record right now and aside from this East Coast tour, we're playing a show in L.A. on May 24th at Permanent Records Roadhouse, which should be fun.

"Bad Behavior" is out now. You can catch Smirk at the following East Coast dates below.


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