The Snuts have been garnering a massive following in the UK with their raw, rousing tracks, and chart-topping EP. We caught up with lead singer Jack Cochrane to talk writing, wedding-band similarities, and nostalgic choreography.
Though the lock-down has had a wide spectrum of reactions, Cochrane tells us “It’s actually been quite good. It’s nice to kind of get our breath back, do a bit of writing, even just spend time at home and stuff like that. Start preparing for whatever the future holds for live music.” Focusing on their music seems to have been a respite for them; “maybe a bit selfish”, Cochrane laughs, but it’s meant fans have had no shortage of new updates from the group.
“At first we joined the whole world’s fascination with zoom,” he continues. “I think everybody realised quite quickly how hard it was to make music purely over the internet. We had a few kind of lock-down covers and that, but I realised that was taking us down a dark path – like we were becoming a wedding band or something like that.” Anyone who’s been to a Snuts gig might think this a leap; their gigs are often the furthest thing form a civilized crowd you could wish for. Full of propulsive crowds and buoyant guitars, they boast one of the best atmospheres in modern music.
The new track is somewhat of a new direction for the group, and Cochrane explains the band are constantly trying to elevate their sound; push boundaries to their furthest points. Having found their feet over the years, they now challenge themselves “to release something different, and kind of challenge our genre almost. Hopefully kind of surprise people who already loved what we were doing.” The group have endless comparisons to Brit bands, but they firmly maintain “we never want to just be a copycat of music that we love.”
“We just want to see how creative we can be,” he concludes, and this is perhaps clearest in their latest video to hit track ‘Elephants’. “We managed to get down and film a big video, under like the strictest quarantine rules I’ve ever seen in my life. It was very intense, but good ’cause we’ve managed to have done something we really like, and done in a safe way.”
“Videos are actually something we really enjoy doing as a band,” Jack confesses – quite a rare stance for artists nowadays. “With the position we’re in at the moment we get to make a lot of creative decisions still which is really nice. Me and my girlfriend were watching very old fashioned classic videos with everybody dressed up and dancing and stuff like that, and I just thought how good would it be if we did that? I feel like nobody would ever expect us to do a full dance routine, and have a mechanic bull dress up as an elephant … and shockingly people seemed to just say let’s do it. People always make up their minds about bands before they probably know anything about them, really.”
“There were a couple of moments where we got to shine,” he laughs, “but for the most part we were deep into choreography. We were on zoom with a dance teacher and we’ve all got two left feet so it was just funny watching us in front of our webcams trying to learn this dance. It was just really lucky being able to focus on ridiculous things like that. And people just don’t seem to say no to me with videos, like for ‘All Your Friends’ when we actually built a giant microwave and played inside it. People were like, can’t be done, and we were going … pretty sure this can be done. And sure enough we played inside the world’s biggest microwave. So I just feel like we’ve got to carry on topping these now.”
Looking back to earlier demos, they laugh at the “horrific sounding recordings”. But, there are no regrets. “I think it’s really important to kind of just offer yourself up raw because before you know it it’s going to have to be a perfect representation of yourself. Social media allowed us to do quite a lot of demos on our own and stuff like that, but we try to make sure it’s not just a number one marketing tool. I think the more time you spend looking at yourself and the scene around you and what other people around you are doing is probably time you can spend on writing music or trying to further yourself”.
Though it’s hard to imagine the group being anything less than the confident instigators of frenzied crowds, perhaps best exemplified by their 2019 TRNSMT performance, they still seem to be coming to grips with their success. “It was actually a huge moment,” Jack confesses. “For the band but also for me personally. I was so terrified – because it was so close to home, it was the first show in Scotland we’d played in like 6 or 7 months, so many people showed up … I think it was our first mainstage or something like that.” The lesson is to ignore the pressure that comes with rising popularity; “I think I probably let the moment go by just being scared the whole time.” “Horrific,” is the word used to describe being the frontman – “I’d rather not be but somebody’s got to do it”.
Discussing the Mixtape EP, he reveals “it’s almost like a concept was written in reverse”. “We were over in LA recording and we just ended up with this big pile of songs. When we came back we were sitting on these songs and I was like these don’t really feel like they belong together, but they were songs I wanted people to hear. And I wanted it to be in that DIY sort of, could be listened all the way through, just had that really old classic mix tape EP kind of concept to it. All of the artwork we made sure was coming from us, and none of us are particularly talented with pencils, it was about trying to do something quite DIY, quite personal, from us.”
There’s a palatable buzz among their audience about gigs reopening; “Can’t wait,” is the simple stance of the group. “We’ve actually got these drive through shows coming up. We were presented with a list of dates just up and down the UK, 300 cars all socially distanced in front of a big festival stage. I think it’s gonna be great to bridge that gap – bring back that community, that togetherness. Just get to play music again.”
“The last tour we were on there were a couple of cities we missed deliberately because we played them quite a lot before. We always try to go places where people haven’t heard us as much, or places that bands tend to skip nowadays. Our new single will definitely be on the set list. There’s just a lot of new elements in that song that were excited to try out”. Cochrane concludes by reassuring fans that they’ll “try and keep the favourites in there for people that are used to jumping about”; The Snuts aren’t giving up their explosive setlists and audiences any time soon.