With their new album ‘Moving Out Of Eden’ dropping at the end of the week, we caught up with The Snowdroppers to see what they have in store for us.
First up, who are The Snowdroppers and how did the band start off?
London(bass), Cougar (Drums), Johnny (vocals, banjo, harmonica), Pauly (guitar).London, Johnny and I (Pauly) all originally met at uni and we met Cougar when Johnny and I were involved in the same burlesque/variety shows as him which would have been in 2006 then we started theSnowdroppersin 2007.
The Snowdroppers is a pretty rad name – what inspired it?
It was from a book about old gangs in surry hills – a reference to cocaine originally. Then later we found out how it’s a word for stealing underwear as well.
Say somebody stumbles across you guys playing a live set. How are they going to describe your sound to their mates. What other comments might they make?
Loud/stripped back/punkish/blues-rock perhaps? I’d be glad if they used the decription “farken siiick mate” or similar. If it’s a woman she may comment on the handsomeness and general well-dressed look of the band. I’d like to think so. Depending on where the gig is they might comment that we look like a “farken bunch of poofs”. We’ve heard that too. From men and women. We’ve heard it all! Someone even had the audacity to call us a folk band once!
What do your record collections look like? Which bands have had the biggest influence on your sound?
I think its always going to be hard to judge your own influences from the inside out (unless you’re say wolfmother or airborne or someone). I think it’s a pretty mushy blend of where punk meets blues (Johnny or cougar would possibly nominate bands such as jim jones revue or the blues explosion, nick cave) and then also trying for a more classic radio pop/rock songwriting approach (we’re fans of billy joel, talking heads, the kinks, XTC, the police, huey lewis, etc). I think there’s an important distinction not all bands make between having a punk ethos and just being a lazy songwriter.
How do you compose your new songs? Do you rely on the same method, or do you mix it up?
A thousand different methods. Sometimes start with a riff, sometimes with a chord progression, sometimes with lyrics. A lot of the time I start with a drumbeat. Songwriting is fantastic and horrible, but I won’t go into that. I’ve always looked at it like fishing – you could sit there in the boat for days and not catch anything, but you have to put in the time to even have a chance of catching something. And then when you hook something, there’s no guarantee you’ll get it in the boat or that it won’t turn out to just be an old boot, or something. And then if you manage that, then you’ve got to take your fish to market, and make a big racket about why someone should buy your fish rather than the thousands of others that are out rotting in the sun, and maybe it turns out people don’t want to eat fish this week, they feel like hamburgers? And that’s why it took us three and a half years to get this new album done.
You guys were on the soundtrack for an ad for target (from memory – correct me if I’m wrong). What was it like to turn on the television and hear your music being played to people across the country?
We were on a Channel V ad and an ad in Norway for a business school. We were on a plane the other week and there was a McDonalds ad came on the TV and you could seeSnowdroppersposters on a wall in the background of the shot. Not a red cent for that one!
I wouldn’t mind if we had our music on a Target ad. People who are against bands using their music in commercials like to quote Bill Hicks, for instance, on a comment he made in the 80s, but I think people lost the right to judge how musicians try to make money right about when they started torrenting albums by the truckload. The only ad we’ve gotten money from so far was the Norwegian one, 100% of which went into paying off debts the band had accrued from touring and promo.
Your about to drop your second album, ‘Moving out of Eden’. How would you describe its sound, and what were the driving forces that really motivated the tracks we are going to hear?
I think it’s definitely a progression from the first album. These words are always bandied about for second albums, but, perhaps it’s more cohesive or mature. It still has our sense of humour, but we’ve moved from single entendres to doubles. The driving forces would be our last few years of touring, I think we became a louder, more aggressive band in some ways. A large chunk of it was written whilst I was broke and on the dole and not having much luck romantically so perhaps that came through as well. Although I disagree with the idea that you’ve got to necessarily “live” your art. What about having an imagination? Do you think that Brett Easton Ellis murdered a pile of prostitutes? Or Shakespeare was in a murder/suicide pact with his girlfriend? Or jesus actually did all those wacky things they wrote about in the bible? They used their imaginations!
You have some touring lined up to support the new album. Where are you playing, and are there any shows you’re particularly keen for?
We’re doing a short album launch tour on the east coast, also Bluesfest inByronBay(always keen for that one) and planning a big national tour later in the year. Here’s the details for the album launch gigs:
Friday March 22: The Standard, Darlinghurst NSW
with Little Bastard & The Pieter Van Den Hoogen Band
Friday April 5th: Northcote Social Club, Northcote VIC
with Little Bastard & The Stiffys
Saturday April 6th: Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine VIC
with Little Bastard
Friday April 12th: The Zoo, Brisbane
with Little Bastard & Moses Gunn Collective
Saturday April 13th: Woombye Pub, Woombye with Little Bastard & London Bureau
Aside from the new album and tour, what does 2013 and the future have in store for The Snowdroppers?
I guess it all depends how this album goes! Either way, we’ll just keep playing and writing and travelling around.