Snowman – ‘Smokes and Mirrors’
Inspired by my post on Snowman a few weeks back I chatted to multi-tasking band member Joe McKee about what to expect from their debut full-length album, released on September 23rd. By chat, I mean via email, because real life is such a chore for me these days. Though not for Snowman, it would seem. Their album sounds like it’ll be kind of something… “It takes what we do live and feeds it with acid” (Joe McKee, Q&A with Sophie Braham, Who The Bloody Hell Are They? September 2006) would be the obvious contender for a press release. They’ve also heroically offered us their new single for a listen, which has been tearing up the airwaves on local sydney radio stations FBi, 2SER and national broadcaster Triple J.
How is this album different to your last one? You all played quite an array of instruments on you last album, have you picked up any more this time round?
Yeah…we like to attempt to play with all sorts of toys… trumpets, string quartets, sax, theremin, pianos/keys, toys (literally), violin, guitars, noises, harmonica, lots of percussion. The album differs from our first EP because the songs are far better and the sounds are more full… there are more colours in the sounds, they have more depth. This is partly to do with the chap we recorded with, Mr Dave Parkin. Basically, it is a completely different kettle of fish to the EP. It takes what we do live and feeds it with acid.
I reckon your music would make a great soundtrack to a horror flick. Do you watch a lot of movies?
I think that film is kind of the ultimate form of creation because so many art forms go into it, but it doesn’t really leave much to the imagination for the viewer like music does. We like the way sound complements imagery and we certainly take that on board to a degree when writing. As for horror flicks: I can’t really be bothered with them anymore… that was the ‘zombies…’ EP for us. The new album is vast in scope and covers more ground than the EP.
Have you made any video clips?
Yes, we have just completed shooting a video clip for ‘Smoke and Mirrors’. Lots of shadows and lamp lighting and smoke has been used. Keep an eye out.
Are there some other Australian bands you’re getting excited about at the moment?
Well… we like bands that don’t necessarily influence us. It’s a bit difficult to pinpoint what artists are influencing us… from this to that to whatever. I think we are currently more influenced by ourselves. As for new stuff: I think the new Liars record is good. And the new Wolf & Cub. I still get excited about the Dirty Three also.
Do you feel far away from the rest of Australia in Perth? Do you like the isolation?
I think the isolation has been a benefit for us… it gave us a lot of time to work on our sound before some bigwig fatcat purchased our soul!!!
Have you guys toured at all outside of Australia? Where would you love to go?
We have never played outside Australia. There are vague plans to do so next year. We would like to tour every corner… we are very keen on the idea of getting to Japan and playing. We like playing to virginal snowman audiences and getting a confused response.
The people who makeup your band hail from all across the globe [Snowman are pretty much the UN, with band members from England, Iceland and Indonesia] , has this had any impact on your sound or the way your band works?
Yes I think it has… we have been exposed to different cultures from a very early age so different sounds have been drilled into our heads… abnormal experiences in general…these things would contribute to our ‘other worldly’ sound perhaps. I can’t imagine what it would be like if we all came from a farming town in WA… actually I can, and it scares me.