Meet Smoke From All The Friction, an electronic pop band based in Raleighwood

The band aims to encourage a deeper, thought-provoking appreciation between the audience and the music

This up and coming group is attracting attention here in Raleigh and beyond. Smoke From All The Friction describe themselves as dynamic, vulnerable and dark.

Meet the Band

With two decades of experience in guitar and drums, Nick Cercone infuses every note with a passionate energy that reverberates through the audience.

Nicole Cates has been singing for a decade in chorus, musical theater, choir and individual performance. For her, singing is a way to cope with the worst of stressors.

Cam Gillette, formerly in Ambits and fresh off the 2017 national tour with award-winning Rookie of the Year, brings to the group an expertise not only in songwriting and rich vocals, but through keyboard, bass and guitar – a varied combination often unseen in a single performer.

We got the chance to ask lead singer Cam some questions about the band's origin and artistic motivations.

How did you come up with your name?

The word that has epitomized this project so far is tension, where two different forces pull to create an effect that would be unattainable otherwise. We're inspired by the ideas of tension and friction and want to explore what happens when we venture outside ourselves, past the abstract social constructs that create barriers between us.

What makes SFATF unique from other local bands?

NC is not really famous for being an artsy state, so in some ways we have a lot of extra work to get things moving, but at the same time, we’re able to create our own little culture because there are fewer preconceived ideas.

I think that most music both in its creation and consumption is used to escape from reality: a cathartic respite to grant the ability to ignore the world for a bit. With SFATF, we try to do a bit of the opposite, both with ourselves as we create, but to anyone consuming it, we want to facilitate a deeper examination of one's self. We try to be a small catalyst to grant permission to ask questions that most of us would try to ignore. We feel that the fruit from this deeper examination and acceptance of one's own faults and strengths is paramount to not only personal happiness but creating a successful community here in Raleigh.

What performance/venue has been your favorite so far and what made it memorable?

We absolutely love playing at Imurj in Raleigh! The venue is cozy but large enough for a crowd, and the staff is fantastic. We'll celebrating our first album's release there on May 11 with a huge party, free food for all, and over 50 giveaways.

What is your favorite song to perform live?

Currently it's "Schiz," about a guy I've been mentoring for the last few years who has some serious schizophrenic symptoms. The song has a pretty intense/manic feel musically that I think really compliments the lyrical subject matter.

Who usually writes your songs?

I write all of our songs.

What well-known musicians do you admire the most and why?

Trent Reznor heavily influences me. Many artists struggle with evolving as they get older. As a fan I've been able to grow behind Reznor as his music has progressively taken a more and more mature tone over time. He has such an amazing ability to combine really unique and strange sounds from synths and other gear and actually mix into a cohesive song. His ability to have a mastery of so many skills from songwriting, to performance to lyrics as well as his ability to create his albums basically by himself, is very inspirational.

As far as local Raleigh acts, we absolutely love playing with Retro Candy, Vaughn, Disqo Volante, and Rookie of the Year. We actually worked with Jade from Retro Candy, as well as Eric Scholz, as camio appearances on our upcoming first album, "Transience."

Where do you see the band in 5 years?

We're working hard to put ourselves in a position that we can evolve as culture changes. As an artist, I feel you have some responsibility to be aware of the cultural changes around you because you will inevitably be left less able to communicate if you can't understand why and how things are changing. So in 5 years, we will be in a place musically with a few releases under our belt and hopefully a growing community connected to that, and personally we each hope to be more self aware and humble individuals.

If you were to venture out of electronic pop, what genre would you like to experiment with?

There's been some more fringe bands popping up combining the musicality of punk, hip-hop and electronica with the aggression of late 90's urban hip-hop and punk vocal style. I really dig on the emotion and unhinged aspects of it, really contrasting with a lot of the more safe art we often surround ourselves with.

Join Smoke From All The Friction at their album release party May 11 at Imjur. If you're lucky, you might be able to get some eye makeup tips from Cam.

North Carolina State University