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Smile Empty Soul is an alternative rock band formed while its three members were still in different Santa Clarita high schools. The band originally consisted of Sean Danielsen (guitar and vocals), Ryan Martin (bass), and Derek Gledhill (drums). Derek Gledhill was replaced by Dominic Weir for their new album Anxiety, who has now been replaced by Jake Kilmer. He is supposedly a very good drummer and friend of Ryan.
After playing numerous hometown gigs, Smile Empty Soul began venturing to the Sunset Strip, and later passed a demo to Todd Parker of the Los Angeles indie ThroBack?. That later led to a record deal with Jason Flom's Lava Records imprint, which was expanding in the wake of early signee Kid Rock's success.
The trio hooked up with producer John Lewis Parker, who helped with their self-titled debut album, produced by Lava Records on May 27, 2003. The album went gold in March of 2005.