Service with a Smile: the band that doesn’t want fame

How five musicians are using music as an emotional outlet.

Isabelle Greenberg

From Alice in Chains to Pearl Jam, Seattle has spawned hundreds of musical artists, and as the new generation of artists grow up in the music hub of the West Coast, so do their bands.

Service with a Smile is an upcoming band in the greater Seattle area. It, much like its predecessors – Aurora Ave and THEM – was created by individuals with a love for music. However, this band says it is focusing more on having a creative outlet than fame.

“We didn’t do anything for a year but call ourselves a band, and then we realized we could just do shows at WSHS and that kind of galvanized us,” said guitarist Callan Barth.

That seems to be their trademark; after sitting down with three of the band’s members, I now understand that they have a unique understanding of what it feels like to do something out of pure joy and interest.

“That’s what I think a lot of people miss with bands. A lot of times it’s for money or expressing a hobby to a bigger audience, but it really should just be for fun,” said newest band member Roy Keller.

Coined an “overnight meme” by WSHS confessions Instagram page, Keller has created a name for himself as a comedian, bringing a sophisticated take on class clown.

Playing music allows him to show a different side of himself, usually hidden behind the façade of jokes. He calls the band the “best group project outside of school.”

Ricky Shearer

Since its start in May of 2022, Service with a Smile has focused solely on making their individual music meld together.

Lead vocalist, Mollie Slatkin, said, “We’re all kind of into our own music. We definitely have overlap, but because there are different things we like, it makes our unique sound.”

The credit for this collaboration was given to Barth, who feels as though he is constantly trying to impress four wildly different musicians. “I feel like this helps me coalesce into more interesting ideas and weirder ideas,” he said.

While Barth takes the reigns in the creation process, the band gave drummer Wade Beeler credit for keeping them in rhythm on stage.
Keller said, “We saw that we can work like a well-oiled machine and create a product that people really like.”

Now, Service with a Smile is finding ways to keep this incredible group project alive through zoom calls and texts as two of their members went off to college this past July, creating, as Keller puts it, a “close but distant relationship.”

Slatkin said she trusts her band mates when they are together to make creative decisions, but separately they all have very different artistic directions.

Slatkin described how scheduling and creative signals were crossed in the summer of 2022 as the group began living their lives away from West Seattle. The band has done a lot for her music, but she is making sure she has other ways of expressing her music as she collaborates on songs with band members of Aurora Ave.

Keller calls the bands current relationship “close but distant,” seeming unconcerned with the band’s geographical distance.

Regardless of the future, Service with a Smile has brought together a group of deeply driven people, who have a talent for doing what they adore.