Interview: Curt Smith from ‘Psych’

We recently got to talk to Curt Smith from the band Tears for Fears, who discussed his guest role on this week’s episode of Psych, “Shawn 2.0”. Smith talked about what it was like to act, the prospect of future cameos, and what is next for his band.

Now that you’ve done a little bit of acting, do you think that this is something you want to do again? Do you think you’d maybe want to make a cameo in another series or two?

Curt Smith: It depends if I ever get asked. I mean the joy of doing the Psych thing I have to say, is that I’d met them beforehand, James and Tim specifically. I met Dule when I got up there. But they’re just, you know, a nice bunch of people.

So it actually makes the whole experience easy and enjoyable. And in that sense I didn’t find it particularly hard especially as you say, playing myself. But playing other people, who can tell? I’m kind of game for things.

Now so many years removed from the ’80s in what ways can you hear the impact of Tears for Fears in today’s music?

Curt Smith: Well I mean you hear it from newer bands. You obviously – I mean I can hear our influences over certain newer music. But, you know, it’s not something I’m sort of conscious of all the time. When you’re continuing to make music you don’t really think of, you know, the mark you’ve left.

You’re really looking for the next thing. So I’m not really one for looking back that much and seeing if we’ve left an indelible mark on the music industry. I’d rather move on and keep doing what I do.

Psych is really a show that puts so much of their writing talent into trying to create this sort of homage to the 1980s and the music, the films. How comfortable was it for you going into this kind of setting where you already knew your music was loved, respected and you were basically surrounded by people who looked up to you?

Curt Smith: Yeah, I mean I think that made it enjoyable. I don’t mind my ego being rubbed now and again. They were a nice bunch of people as well. So filming it was really easy.

You know, I think also what sort of helps is with all of the people on the show, you know, maybe apart from Tim to a certain degree because he does play a character that’s not exactly like him but, you know, what you see on the show is pretty much the way these people are off the show.

That made the whole experience a lot easier for me. I wasn’t dealing with, you know, seeing a bunch of actors act and then discovering they’re completely different people off the set. They’re really not. They’re pretty much the way you think they are.

Were there any surprises or things that you didn’t expect to experience while you were there?

Curt Smith: I think the main one was having to film the little trailer thing for the Comic Con.

The Comic Con trailer when I’m supposed to be acting all cool and I didn’t quite know what James and Dule were going to get up to and at the end of it Dule is humming the back of my chair and I’m supposed to be keeping a straight face, was probably the hardest – one of the hardest things I’ve done.

How different was this from just making a music video for you?

Curt Smith: Well you have to talk. That’s the biggest difference. You know, you don’t realize – and the thing is I think that, obviously not being an actor. What’s hard is that you’re talking someone else’s lines. Someone else has written them for you.

Luckily in my case I could – because that bit’s so small that I can say well do you mind if I say it the way I would actually say it because it will be easier for me? But I can, you know, to try and put yourself in – and I was playing myself so that’s not a stretch.

Was this something you did just for fun or will you be pursuing acting?

Curt Smith: Who can tell? I mean I did it for fun. We’ll see what people think. I won’t be watching but – I might but I don’t normally like to see myself talking because I’m used to seeing myself sing. I think I do that okay. The talking side I’m not – I guess it’s the same for anyone.

You know, if you ever listen to your voice on an answering machine everyone thinks we sound dreadful. That’s sort of the way I think when I hear myself speak. But – so and then – and in that sense I don’t know. But, you know, we’ll see. We’ll see how it goes and what the response is.

And I mean I did enjoy the experience I have to say. So if it means doing other things and never watching them then maybe that’s a route to go.

What does acting do for you that music doesn’t?

Curt Smith: Well it’s just a chance to do something different. I mean I think the, you know, one of the other joys of social media is that a lot of these things come up. People, you know, get to you because they have direct contact with you and ask you to do things that are pretty much outside of your comfort zone.

And I think that for me I sit there and look and go well why not? Why not try it? You know, I mean I did – in LA a (Tedex) Hollywood Talk and, you know, me actually giving a talk with, you know, in front of a whole bunch of people as opposed to playing music, it was very alien to me.

But it was enjoyable because it’s something different. So I look at the sort of appearance on Psych tomorrow as the same kind of thing where it’s outside of my comfort zone but, you know, why not try it.

A lot of the time when celebrities play themselves they end up playing these sort of very exaggerated like larger than life kind of versions. So is that what you’re going to do or is it more of a down-key “true to you” act?

Curt Smith: I’m kind of playing more of a shrunken, smaller than life version of me. Because in real life I’m incredibly outgoing as you can tell. But in the show I’m kind of demure and quiet. No, I mean I think it’s, you know, I think that it’s a relatively fair representation of me I suppose.

But no, I mean I – the exaggerating and the sort of overt acting I don’t think I’d be so good at. I think the whole point of playing yourself is to try and be yourself, you know, otherwise it just kind of looks a bit strained. And hopefully I didn’t do that. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow night.

What does the rest of the year hold for you and Tears for Fears?

Curt Smith: Well we’re just finishing up this tour which ends next Sunday. And then I’m back to LA. I actually have a Web show that’s on every Wednesday night starting again next Wednesday called Stripped Down Live. It’s a music show that I host. So I’ll be doing that every week.

And I’ve got some solo things in LA. But that’s, you know, I’m probably going to be pretty much based back in Los Angeles for the rest of the year, until we probably go out on tour again next year.