Scottish alt-rockers Schnarff Schnarff have a lot to be excited about right now; the band are on the verge of releasing their debut album ‘The evil that we do…’ to the world, a record that has been years in the making since their formation in 2012.
Since then, the five-piece have been constantly making music and playing live shows, gaining a reputation for their varied sound and captivating energy. Drawing from a number of influences, such as Biffy Clyro, Taking Back Sunday and At the Drive-In, they are able to bring meaty grungy riffs together with pop-laden choruses, as they show an undeniable knack for melody over their hard-hitting instrumentals. There’s an underlying complexity there too though, as they use elements of pop-punk, grunge, metal and emo to create their unique sound. Produced by Paul Savage, who has previously worked with the likes of The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Mogwai, ‘The evil that we do…’ promises to be an ambitious and hard-hitting album that will make listeners sit up and take notice.
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The album is out on 9th September via Black Dug Records, with a launch night being held the following week at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on 16th September
Hey guys, how’s your summer and festival season been so far?
It has been mint! We had one of our favourite gigs at Brew at the Bog Festival… it was incredible….and then shortly after played to a packed tent at Belladrum Festival even though we had a pretty tough 1200 slot when the crowd could’ve easily been hungover zombies. The summer has been hectic too as we build up to our debut album release in September. We have been dotting festivals and gigs in amongst religiously improving our set and practising in our wee lock up in Dalmarnock. This King Tuts gig in September 16th is a massive deal for us as it all started there so we have been focussing on that. We are just so excited to release our debut album in a venue we love and so this summer has been generally focussed on doing that right, ahead of a busy winter. After September 16th it will be all systems go. Tours, more videos…full throttle.
How does it feel to have the debut album finally coming out?
It’s just the best feeling ever! We all grew up hoping to someday be developed enough and confident enough in what we produce to stick it on one solid record. We have dozens and dozens of songs, many of which have never seen the light of day, so to refine the list and be truly happy with the end product is a gift and we will never forget it. What we have built will stay with us for life….whether the rest of the public love it as much as we do…we need to sit tight and hope BUT we absolutely love what we have created…it’s our baby…and thankfully the reviews have been good so far.
What can fans expect?
They can expect a lot of creepy dark vibes with waves of hooks throughout. We are all pretty into dark, heavier and perhaps grabbing music which makes you feel something and I think that record has that feeling throughout. Even in the songs that are basically outlining the morbid reality, there are hooks and moments of light for people to connect with. Gothic waltz (a track on said album) is like that…it is sad, dark, grim but then will pull you into a chorus like a pop track….at least we feel that way!
We definitely have a realism throughout the record and there is most certainly an atheism spine to the lyrics BUT there is enough light in shade to keep you up beat and energised, as well as connecting with the more depressed branch of listeners. We are a band that have peaks and troughs of emotion and I think the album has waves of that. The energised peaks of This Is How We Get Some, Mario 1-2 & Urrrgh will be separated by Gothic Waltz, Islands 1-3 & Wolves. That’s the way we like it. Life is amazing and shitty at times and the album soundtracks our feelings.
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You have a varied sound which draws from many influences… Is that something you deliberately set out to do? Who would you say are your big musical influences?
Wish we could say we have a plan but we don’t. We get together and the 5 minds in a room add the elements they want to add. We argue, we fight and we laugh over this shit but when making music, we all add a component in some way and eventually get on well enough to complete a song. We are rather blunt with each other which helps control the music moving in a way we don’t want. If someone’s influence is not in keeping with Schnarff Schnarff and it starts to show, we will aggressively say so. We are all pals so it makes writing honest and the lack of “bullshit” clarifies what we want. That being said, we are open-minded and that is why Schnarff Schnarff is unpredictable….we are 5 guys with completely different tastes. Richard loves his pop punk and 00s rock like Brand New, Coheed, early Blink, Alkaline. I love Deftones, Taking Back Sunday, Nirvana, Otis, Twilight Sad (the latest album) and loads of other stuff from ABBA to early Korn. Turtle loves Fleetwood Mac, Pixies, QOTSA and so much more. Jamie is a massive SOAD fan but also has a love for Tool, 80s Matchbox and a rake of 90s rock/ indie. Finally, Thunder (who joined the band in 2015) is into everything from the Pogues to folk to rock. It’s a mash up of all sorts of stuff but together it makes Schnarff Schnarff and the process is organic.
What was it like working with Paul Savage?
Paul is a genius in our eyes. He takes a song that you love and protect, tells you to change elements of it and he will drag you kicking and screaming from complete denial (“THIS DOESN’T NEED CHANGED”) to sitting there in awe at what he has managed to develop from the original. He is the most chilled laid back guy too. He gets what he wants and ultimately we get what we want without ever feeling conflict or tension. He is a cool cat and if you ever get a chance to work with him….take it! BUT if you do, practice, practice, practice as he is about what YOU can do as a band and does not over produce. It is about nailing live takes which ultimately should be what it is all about…..sounding like your records! He has not only helped us create a debut record that we love but he has changed the whole way we think about music. Paul Savage…we salute you!
Finally, what else is coming up for Schnarff Schnarff?
Aside from the big launch night, we are gearing up for a tour at the end of the year, starting to write more music so we can have more music to pick from next year and in the meantime patiently waiting to unleash our brand new video (this can be watched below), directed by our pal based in Iran. He is unreal and we cannot wait to show everyone the art that he has produced to backdrop our music. We love the presentation of music and take pride in our videos but this is truly our favourite and we will be embarking on more film projects in 2017 too.
Describe 2016 for the band in three words.
The real beginning…
This Schnarff Schnarff article was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor