Cane Hill's track by track guide to Smile

Cane Hill

As well as bringing nu metal back, Cane Hill have flooded social media with their 10 Commandments about how people should live. On debut album Smile, frontman and self-professed ‘new Jesus’ Elijah Witt uses the songs to set out their manifesto for religious freedom, gender equality and sexual liberation, drawing on his own personal relationships and experiences at Christian school. We asked him to talk us through his thoughts. Warning: these videos are very NSFW…


“Every aspect of your life, you walk into so completely oblivious of how it’s supposed to be, and you fuck up, because no-one ever teaches you how to handle any real-life situations. With relationships, you just fuck shit up over and over again, because you don’t know what you’re doing, and the other person doesn’t know what they’re doing. And then on top of that, America is the worst of it all, because everything is so taboo. Everyone is so afraid of sexuality. Why does it matter if a guy’s gonna stick his dick in another guy’s ass? You’ve been raised to be afraid of it.‘”

(The New) Jesus

“This is about how the Bible and all religious texts are such complete garbage, written for different times, and it’s time for something new. It’s like calling it out. You’ve got the way, the son and the prophecy, like good things, like that all sounds so good. But then plague, flood and hypocrisy. That’s all religion’s ever been. All saviours have ever been is hypocrisy and plagues and killing people, under this guise of love.”

True Love

“Having good sex, that’s all it’s about. And then the image of the lioness carrying the meat in her hands and eating it, the snake eating the mouse [in the video], it’s honestly all about just… you can have nutty sex. You can have crazy sex if you’re into fucking crazy sex, and you should be, because it’s way more fun. And anyone should be dominating anybody that wants to be fucking dominated, and anybody that doesn’t want to be dominated shouldn’t be getting dominated. It’s that simple. But it’s like… crazy sex is a thing for a reason, ha ha. Am I dominant or submissive? It depends on the day.”

St. Veronica

“This is my commentary as an intertextual feminist based off of relationships that I’ve seen and been in, where you have these girls being completely emotionally and mentally and spiritually beaten down, by the ideas of what they’re supposed to be. And you’ll see girls dye their hair, because they heard that their boyfriend prefers it that way. ‘I used to be an angel, now I’m angel dust’. It’s all from a first-person perspective, and it was so difficult to write because I didn’t want to get it wrong. I didn’t want to overstep any boundaries of someone reading it who might have been in that situation.”

Fountain Of Youth

“Die young. Live fast, die young. Being 70 with dementia and Alzheimer’s with your bones crumbling under you because the human body wasn’t meant to last that long, does that sound fun? Working a 9 to 5 job where you get to go home, and barely sleep because you have more work to do at home, because you have to take care of the house. And then you wake up at 6.30, drive to your shit job, and then finally retire, and you’re too old to physically do half the shit you wanted to do. You have a world that’s convinced you that living long is so amazing. But live for a certain amount of years, push yourself to the edge, and die doing it.”

Cream Pie

“Sexuality, censorship, why is everything… why are people nervous about curse words, and drugs, and sex. It’s like, you can shoot somebody in the face and it’s on YouTube and it’s fine, but no fucking nipples. No vaginas. No penises. Like, that’s it. The song is meant to be, like, just obnoxious. There’s a sample in there from a porn movie, of a very, very, very large woman, which was another thing we did on purpose. They probably don’t have sex, as far as you’re concerned, just based on how they look. But everybody likes sex, everybody likes swearing, most people like doing drugs or drinking, driving fast, other unsavoury taboos.”

You’re So Wonderful

“It’s about a shit relationship. It’s not a love song, in any way. It’s more, just, um… if you’re in a relationship or you’re doing anything you’re unhappy with, you shouldn’t. You should stop, move on. Do something that makes you happy, instead of torturing yourself with something else.”

Ugly Idol Mannequin

“We were in California when we were writing it, and you see a completely different kind of person out there. It’s superficial. Plastic, ugly, disgusting. You go to a bar, you don’t even get to drink peacefully, because somebody’s trying to tell you that you should sign them to this, or you should help them get a music licence for this, so they can do it with their company. Or, ‘I went to the arena last night to see Kanye West, yeah, my friend got me in, he works at blah blah blah.’ That’s all Los Angeles is. That ugly, mannequin shit. And people worship people there. Like, I don’t get it.”


Screwtape’s the old song. We actually got it from a C.S. Lewis book called Screwtape, so it’s the story of one of the demons. It’s literally, this is a story. This might not have any real-life application. But it does, I’m a lying sack of shit. You’re being pushed, literally being pushed to do all this bad shit that you’re not supposed to do, but you do it, and it’s probably pretty fucking fun, isn’t it. I do so much bad shit. I’m still a shitty person, I’m just way more respectful to women. I’m still not a good human, don’t get confused.”

Strange Candy

“It’s about smoking way too much pot. The whole song is a drug. You’ve done too much of the drug, and it’s like you don’t need so many material objects in your life, because you have this one thing, even if it’s a drug or something else, that just pushes you to the limit – something you love, the passion. For us, it was clearly drugs. But it’s like, grabbing a hold of you, and becoming dependent on it, like you have to have it to function. Do you love it? Do you like doing it? Fucking do it.”

Smile is out now, via Rise Records.

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Eleanor Goodman
Editor, Metal Hammer

Eleanor was promoted to the role of Editor at Metal Hammer magazine after over seven years with the company, having previously served as Deputy Editor and Features Editor. Prior to joining Metal Hammer, El spent three years as Production Editor at Kerrang! and four years as Production Editor and Deputy Editor at Bizarre. She has also written for the likes of Classic Rock, Prog, Rock Sound and Visit London amongst others, and was a regular presenter on the Metal Hammer Podcast.