Smith is now working on debut Dare album that’s due out later this year. A few days after Freakquencies, I meet him at a recording studio near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He had spent the afternoon re-recording the lyrics to “Sex.” “This song has been a huge pain in the ass,” he says. It’s difficult, it turns out, to make a song that includes the line “I want to call your mom, and tell her you’re the bomb,” not sound just a hair too ridiculous. “The earlier version was too forced and theatrical,” Smith says. The version he played me, he says, “is more laid back.”
Smith also has a Detroit techno-style track in the bag, and another that sounds like a twisted Justin Timberlake dance hit. In the last year, he’s gotten enough filthy DMs on Instagram to write a song, called “Open Up,” about one particular unsolicited exchange (the title is as on-the-nose as his others). “I should probably tell her before I put it out,” he says with a grin. But Smith tells me he doesn’t want the album to just be lascivious bangers. He’s just finished another track called “All Night” that sounds more like LCD Soundsystem’s late night anthems, like “All My Friends,” which laid bare an ambivalence to the hedonistic excess of the original aughts-indie era.
Now that he’s a downtown celebrity and burgeoning rock star, Smith’s been thinking a lot about where he’ll be when the lights turn on at the end of the night. “I do wonder what my life is going to be like in a year,” he tells me. “Because right now, the worlds of Harrison and The Dare are blurred, but they’re not overlapping completely. There’s definitely a lot of separation. But I do wonder if, in a year or two’s time, that separation is going to get more and more hazy.”
Not that it would keep him away from the party. Following a stretch of sold-out shows in NYC and LA, Smith plans to keep throwing Freakquencies every week, he tells me as he roots around on the studio’s computer for a few more demos. Well before The Dare had begun to take shape at 2 am in his bedroom studio, his aspiration, Smith explains, was to write songs that made people want to go out, start bands, and play shows. To get off their phones and go to the club. “I like songs,” he says, “that feel like it’s us against the world.”