Smoke is nostalgic, colorful art pop, often loose, imperfect, and ambiguous. It was recorded in Cleveland, Cincinnati, New York, and San Francisco over the last two years, using a laptop and a small selection of studio equipment. The album title describes the lyrics, which fade in and out of logic the same way that smoke diffuses into the air. Joe Williams, the rowdy 23-year-old behind White Williams, started playing piano at a young age, and was scolded by his mean German piano teacher for screwing around with the pedals and making his own sounds without ever practicing. At 15, his first project, drumming for a noisy screaming band, played their first show opening for Black Dice and the Rapture in 1999. DIY venues exposed Williams to a wild party lifestyle of fires, noise bands, art and performance. As his interest in electronic music grew, he took the band in another direction, incorporating more electronics, sampling, triggered drums, and machines. With no knowledge of studio recording or the basics of sound synthesis, he used the computer to recreate and evolve the sounds the band had been creating. In 2001 he became close with Gregg Gillis, who had just started Girl Talk.