Breakout Band. Inspired Roadies. Valley Boys.
Written byErika Thomas
Pop/rock band Gunpowder Secrets got their start in May 2008, largely by accident. At the time, front man Mo Smesme and guitarist Greg Monty were roommates living in Granada Hills and students at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood.
One night, Mo ran into a buddy on the Sunset Strip. When asked if he’d be interested in playing an upcoming show at Studio City’s Aura Nightclub, the singer agreed. “Me and Greg had three songs written, but no real band to speak of. We only had a few weeks to find guys to fill in for us, so we just started asking around,” he says.
In what turned out to be a serendipitous move, the duo tapped guitarist Brandon Wood, bassist Nathan Hostetter and drummer J.D. Sakamoto. The group’s first gig led to more shows together for the band of 20-somethings, all of whom reside in the Valley. Greg lives in Van Nuys, J.D. in Burbank, and Mo, Nathan and Greg in Valley Village.
The band made some waves with their first CD, Something That’s Worth It, in 2009. The title track reached number two on KROQ’s renowned Local’s Only playlist and has gotten significant airtime on radio stations across the country. They also received KISS FM’s Top 5 Artist award.
And this past summer marked their first regional tour, Escape from LA. “Being on the road is inspiring. We feel like we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing when we’re out there,” Mo says. He adds, “Even though touring is a blast, we have a great LA-based scene. We love playing our regular venues like Woodland Hills’ Cobalt Cafe, The Viper Room, the Troubadour and House of Blues in Hollywood.”
Hoping to keep up the momentum, Gunpowder Secrets will release their next album, Sharks, in April. “The training wheels are off, and we have a more developed sound. We’re ready to hit on all cylinders now,” Mo claims.
The front man says the grand finale of the tour will undoubtedly be returning to the Valley for some local gigs, “blowing away” all their fans who were there from the very beginning.