Also tentatively entitled “On why snowden is so good”
I have no idea what Atlanta-based Snowden (www.snowden.info) was expecting when they unleashed their debut album “Anti-Anti” into the world.
What they got though was a mad rush of praise from critics and a sudden surge of fans beyond their city’s limits.
This Wednesday night they return to DC, at the Rock and Roll Hotel,
to prove to us that power pop and rock music you can actually dance to doesn’t have to be friendly, saccharine or sh*tty.
I had a little heart-to-heart with a couple of the guys from the band to find out what makes their sound so effin good and why people just can’t put them down.
BYT: In grade 6, I was reading at grade 9 level (shameless plug) and knew Snowden to be the main character in Catch-22. Also, Radiohead is one of my all-time favorites (I need to stop this) and know the name to be derived from a Talking Heads song. Where does your Snowden come from?
Dave: Ours is named after the character from Catch-22.
BYT: Oh wait, before we continue, you guys have an assload of shows coming up, plus you just debuted a video-video for-for the single-single “Anti-Anti” and I know SXSW is on your calendars. What else is in the works for Snowden?
Dave: Working on new material and touring more. We just released a new EP of remixes as well, so hopefully our music will be blowing up even more dance floors.
Jordan: We’re trying to get over to tour Europe in the Spring. I finally got my own room in Atlanta after surfing couches for a year. I’m working on a very downtempo/moody album right now while I develop more songs for the next proper Snowden release.
BYT: “Anti-Anti” is an amazing album. You’ve created a tight journey of sorts that jumps, but effortlessly, from moody and somber to pissed off and violent to “come dance with me.” The songs are like therapy in the way of crack/cocaine or reruns of The Facts of Life. Did you leave any other songs out when you were putting this baby down; some singles to look forward to soon perhaps?
Jordan: Anti-Anti was the pick of the litter from about 30 or so songs that I’ve been working on since I started in 2003. There are a lot of songs, some I never want anyone to hear and some that need to be re-recorded. Plenty of B-sides for sure.
Dave: We have quite a few songs that have yet to see the light of day.
BYT: What city has been your favorite stop on your tour so far? Do you find that DC audiences receive you differently as compared to NYC or Atlanta, your hometown?
Chandler: My favorite stops have been Portland, Minneapolis, and Austin. DC has always been a blast as well. We know some great people there and the shows have always been very well received.
Dave: ATL & NYC seem to be our best cities, in terms of crowds and response. We’ve played those cities more than any other though. Our last DC show with iForward Russisa! was really great. It was the last show of our tour, so both bands just let loose and had fun and the crowd was great.
BYT: There’s something about your music to me that says, “go ahead and dance your ass off, cause we are blood-sweat-and-tearing it up here onstage, but listen to what I have to tell you, mofos”. Your lyrics are quite personal but your beats are universal. I have noticed that the critics and music pundits (DC loves this term) have often see-sawed between “genres” to describe your sound, from rock-blues, to post-punk, to dancey new-wave. What is it about your music that’s causing these bitches to throw all these words down?
Chandler: I’d say one thing is the rhythmic element of our sound. The heavy sound of the drums and the intricate repetitive patterns offer something that sets us apart from our contemporaries. I’m not just saying that because I’m the drummer. Jordan already had that element established before I joined the band; he has a great sense of rhythmic tension and suspense. Most of the bands that we are compared to don’t really have that heavy drum sound. We tend to mix the intensity of loud rock drumming with the aesthetic of sampled & sequenced beats. I’ve always liked the concept of contrasting bombastic drums to compliment moody, atmospheric music.
Dave: Critics have a job to do like everyone else. I guess our sound does span a few genres, making it hard to pin down. People are all different too. One person hears something completely different from another.
BYT: Whatever you guys are doing, it works, it works! Also, hooray for clapping in your songs! Clapping (especially syncopated) makes my heart flutter. It also adds another delicious layer to your music. Whose idea was that?
Chandler: That’s Jordan’s thing… and I love it as well. When I was listening to some of the ruff mixes of Anti-Anti I nearly lost it because the claps weren’t there. Claps definitely put everything into place. They complete the rhythm track.
BYT: Is there an actual “town that makes no sound”? That sh*t’s scary. Which is it?
Jordan: For me, Atlanta was the ‘town that makes no sound’, but I meant for that statement to appeal to anyone who feels stifled by their surroundings.
BYT: How am I doing so far for a first-time band interviewer? Usually I interview cult-leaders, 3-legged puppies and blind kids.
Dave: Your questions are more colorful than most.
BYT: So BYT loves you because I will it so, and also because your sound is seriously infectious, and lastly cause you’re f*cking good. There’s a buzz for Snowden in DC and we are looking forward to seeing you guys on Wednesday night. You surprised a lot of folks the last time you were here (Black Cat) who came to see Middle Distance Runner and ¡Forward, Russia! What should we expect from you this next time around at the RnR Hotel?
Chandler: Reckless abandon.
Dave: More of the same.
Jordan: I will crowd surf for the first time.
BYT: I hear some hints of New order, even a bit of Radiohead and you fearlessly tread musical ground that only larger, more-exposed bands have been able to successfully navigate, eg. Arcade Fire, yet your sound is refreshingly original. What bands/acts inspire you guys to make the music you’re making?
Chandler: Well, right now I’m addicted to Broadcast, Deerhunter, & Peter Bjorn & John to name a few.
Dave: I’m a fan of all the bands you mentioned. We just try to think of ways to twist it a little different and make it our own. We’re always listening to music and stuff in the van on tour. My latest obsessions are Beach House, Deerhunter, Someone Still Love You, Boris Yeltsin.
BYT: Props on having such collective balls (Corinne included) and conviction by the way.
BYT: It’s been colder than my ass last weekend walking home drunk from the Black Cat and falling into a puddle of muddy water. Are you guys all geared up for the weather this mad winter is bringing, you southerners, you?
Chandler: Weather can’t stop us. I have no fear.
BYT: Jordan, in your shows what’s your favorite song to sing, and why? Personally, I love the wailing in “Stop Your Bleeding”.
Jordan: My favorite song to sing is Victim Card. I always love the slow songs most.
BYT: So, as I said before, DC loves you and those who have not yet discovered the magic will. I have some serious space in my apartment that is coveted by my Adams Morgan neighbors, BYT contributors and her illustrious leading lady, Svet. Will you come back and see us?
Dave: By all means.
BYT: Looking forward to seeing you guys on Wednesday night. Before Snowden rocks your [insert body part or article of clothing here] check out openers, DC’s own The Vita Ruins and Malajube from Montreal.
see the show this wednesday. or cesar might cry.