About two years ago SNUFF released their self-titled debut EP via Blind Mice Productions and I went absolutely mad over it. The combination of industrial dance, trip-hop, and all out noise made what I called at the time of release, "...one of the most drinkable industrial-based smoothies that I've had the pleasure of downing in quite some time." But, putting smoothie comparisons aside, SNUFF has been busy. They've recruited a new drummer, they are self-releasing their new EP, are going on tour with Amelia Arsenic across Australia, and are protesting Sydney's lock-out laws. With all that said, I talked with Alicia and Joey of SNUFF to learn more about all that mentioned above. And don't forget to click that little play button for the title track of the new EP as you read along.
It's been a little over two years since your self-titled debut EP released and caught audiences by storm and there has been a lot of developments in SNUFF. I think we'll start off with your new drummer, Ellis Silverman. Who is Ellis, how did you guys meet, and why did you choose him to be your drummer?
Alicia: Ah, Ellis...he’s a tough man to sum up. But I can tell you how we met and how he joined SNUFF. Ellis was finishing off his music degree and needed a vocalist to sing some Portishead for his final exam. A mutual friend recommended me, passed my details on and Ellis gave me a call. Session singing’s not something I normally I do, but Portishead are one of my favorite bands and I couldn’t resist the idea of singing those tracks live.
I invited Joey along to the exam and as soon as I came off stage, the first thing Joey said to me was "I want that drummer." I’ve learned over the years to trust Joey’s hunches, so although Ellis may not have known it at the time, he was basically a member of SNUFF from that moment.
Joey: Alicia and I had always floated the idea of a live drummer when the right person came by. It only took one rehearsal to convince us that the right person was Ellis.
Now, I understand that having an acoustic drummer will change the sound for SNUFF, but will Silverman be taking part in any studio recordings for the band? And how does he help shape the sound for the band?
Alicia: INTRAVENUS was a collection of songs that Joey and I wrote as a duo. We wanted the recordings to reflect that, so everything you hear is just the two of us. But we’re already plotting our next release and can’t wait to see what happens when we write and record as a trio.
His reveal, of course, is coming courtesy of your Australian tour with Amelia Arsenic. Obviously you've played gigs elsewhere in the past, but is this tour the biggest moment you've had for SNUFF as far as live shows go?
Alicia: Headlining the Factory Theatre for the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball recently is going to be a really hard show to top, but this tour is definitely the biggest thing we’ve attempted so far.
Joey: I agree. Alicia and I have wanted to hit the road properly since our debut EP and it’s really exciting to finally be able to!
I'm a huge fan of Amelia Arsenic's work and, as such, I'm quite sour that I don't live in Australia right now so I can't experience you both on stage at the same time. Do you think you and Arsenic will perform any songs together on stage? Do you have any surprises in store for audiences?
Alicia: We might. But if we told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise…
Alongside the tour, SNUFF will be releasing your next EP INTRAVENUS. I've read that you've played a couple of these songs at shows in the past. Do you think the reaction to the new tracks were better than your previous songs?
Joey: The newer music is definitely a step up, production wise. We’ve both learned a lot about writing and recording in the past two years and it’s been awesome to get such an enthusiastic response to our new music. But to keep the older tracks still kicking just as hard, we’ve reimagined and polished up our old favorites for the live shows.
How has your sound evolved in the past two years? Do you think you've matured musically?
Alicia: One of the things I love about working with Joey is how often we push each other out of our respective comfort zones. He encourages me to be more fearless with my lyrics, to censor myself less and always likes to tease out new sounds from my voice. Meanwhile, I gleefully pick over his musical ideas and create all sorts of mad challenges for him. I’ve gotten a bit easier to work with since I learned how to use Ableton. It’s been a massive improvement to our workflow. I can now get my hands dirty in our mixes and try ideas myself instead of hovering over Joey and making requests.
Joey: INTRAVENUS is really special to us because we chose to release it independently. We wanted to know what would happen if we did as much of the process as possible on our own. We recorded and mixed it ourselves in Alicia’s studio, we made the art ourselves. Now we’re going on the road to promote it and we couldn’t be more excited! The lack of a safety net, or outside influence has really helped us grow. It might have driven us a little mad in the process, but it’s genuinely been one of the most intense and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.
INTRAVENUS explores intimacy and the effects people can have on you once you expose your vulnerable side to them. Does the lyrics, themes, and overall concept of INTRAVENUS come from personal experiences you've had?
Alicia: Absolutely. The title track was actually my first deliberate attempt to write a love song for someone but, like most things I have a hand in, the idea ended up a little twisted and strange. It went from love, to my fear of codependency, and then onto musing about parasitic organisms. And I guess that’s a pretty standard process for me. Not the parasitic organisms bit, but definitely the process of writing from a place of truth, then taking the concept somewhere a little fantastical. Sometimes I leave breadcrumbs or personal clues for the poor souls that make it into a song, like messages in bottles. It’s often so personal, that I hope people don’t put two and two together, but I really can’t help myself. That level of honesty and vulnerability is a thrill I love in songwriting.
Joey: Musically, INTRAVENUS is a reflection of my experiences over the past few years. They have been rough but rewarding for the music. An ounce of flesh to pay for the demons to go away, I’d say! One to share with everyone out there, something that I hope people who are listening to our music can relate to and know that they are not alone out there.
Out of the five tracks on the EP, which one is your favorite and why?
Joey: While they’re all pretty special to me, Blood Milk stands out as a great example of what future SNUFF has to offer. It’s our first track to blend acoustic and electronic instruments, something I can’t wait to do more of. It was also the last track we made for the EP and it symbolized a close of a great chapter for SNUFF.
Alicia: I’m gonna go with ‘Gaslight.’ While it still sounds like SNUFF, I feel that Gaslight is the biggest departure from the sound of our first EP. It was also the first song we wrote for INTRAVENUS, so it’s a little dear to me for that reason. I still remember listening back to the chorus after we wrote it and thinking excitedly ‘we might be onto something here.’
This tour will be starting in Sydney on November 4th at Hermann's Bar and will end in Brisbane on November 19th at the New Globe Theatre. Which venue are you looking forward to being at the most?
Joey: While the venues we have lined up are very cool, we’re more excited to meet everyone at the gigs and personally thank all those lovely people that have been involved in making this tour happen.
You've been a part of a couple of street protests against the NSW government's lock-out-laws. What exactly do the lock-out-laws prevent? How does it effect the music scene? And what is being done to fight against it?
Alicia: The lockout laws were supposedly meant to reduce street violence in certain areas of Sydney. The laws impose restrictions on venues in those areas – including, but not limited to, locking people out from entering venues after 1:30pm. While these laws have had the most minimal impact on street violence in the specific areas they target, they’re really only displacing people (and therefore, the chance of street violence) to other suburbs. What they are definitely succeeding at doing, is closing down small business in the ‘lock-out’ zone that depend on night trade, and shutting down many iconic clubs and venues that support live music.
If you want to know more, please check out http://www.keepsydneyopen.com and look up ‘Reclaim the Streets.’ Both organizations put on great, positive live music events, festivals and hold street marches to protest these laws and call for a better solution to street safety.
This is a question of curiosity, but I always like knowing what bands I listen to are personally digging into. So, have you come across any album or artists lately that have kept you completely addicted to their music? If so who?
Alicia: We adore HEALTH’s Death Magic. It’s such an inspiring album! We’re also massively into the new DOOM soundtrack. Mick Gordon is an absolute genius. I’ve got no doubt that his influence is going to make its way into our next release. Closer to home, I love Melbourne’s Deja. I’ve become pretty addicted to their Infinite Ecstatic EP.
Joey: I’m always a huge fan of Chris Corner’s work. I’ve been enveloped in his earlier works with Sneaker Pimps. The album Splinter has me hooked right now and I’m completely immersed in it!
So what's next after this tour? Have you and gigs, shows, or other music in the works?
Joey: The next release is already taking shape, and we’re pretty keen to put some video to one or two songs on INTRAVENUS. We also have some very exciting things happening next year with shows, but that’s all we are allowed to say right now!
Lastly, I'd like to thank you for your time and I leave the space below free for any final words you may have. Cheers!
Joey: We’d just like to thank everyone who has been with us over the years, coming out to shows, buying our merch and sharing our music around. We love you all and can’t wait to see you all on the road!
SNUFF's Intravenus can be pre-ordered HERE. For the full tour dates, check out the poster below!
SNUFF's Intravenus can be pre-ordered HERE. For the full tour dates, check out the poster below!
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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