- Dark Alternative Electronic Industrial Dance
In this episode we hear from Sydney group [SNUFF]. Firstly, here is a link to hear and download a free copy of their track "Count the Dead" which is featured on the "S.I.N.G.E.D. 2" compilation album. There are links to more songs further below.
Interview by DJ Robot Citizen:
Question: If you suddenly woke up in an alien craft and they say: "[SNUFF]? Tell us about the [SNUFF] and we let you go!" ... What would you say?
[SNUFF]: "We’re a band. We make noises. Now, uhhh, please let us go?"
Robot: Fingers crossed they do!... What's behind the band name? And is there a guiding aesthetic/philosophy/theme for what you do?
[SNUFF]: SNUFF has a few meanings, really. To ‘snuff something out’ is to take the light away – leaving a new dark lens on which to view the world. We’re writing about our experiences from this altered place, as darker versions of ourselves. It’s definitely a fun way to dance with your inner demons.
Musically, we’re trying to do something primal. We want people to lose themselves in their desires – to dance, to grind, to scream, to connect. We want to bypass the inhibitions of the brain and take you somewhere safe but slightly uncomfortable at the same time.
Basically, we’re music to fuck to.
And black clothes? We wear a lot of black… I suppose that’s a thing too.
Robot: :) Please tell us something about who is involved with the project and what they do.
[SNUFF]: We’re a two-piece. Live, The Tormentor takes care of the music and She does the singing, but the writing and recording process is actually very collaborative. People may not know that The Tormentor has written some of the lyrics and melodies on our EP and that She has been really active in the production side of things.
We also have a ‘family’ of sorts that help us with our live show, ranging from our incredible lighting technician Calum (if you’ve ever been blinded by a strobe at our show, you can thank him) to Pauly, our newly recruited sound guy who really knows how to chase the faders and follow She’s dynamic range.
Then there’s all the other wonderful behind the scenes collaborators and conspirators – from the awesome photographers and designers we’ve worked with to the kickarse merch and door people who’ve tirelessly helped us out. So while it might be just the two of us onstage, there are actually loads of wonderful, beautiful people in ‘House SNUFF,’ who help us out immensely.
Robot: How did [SNUFF] come in existence? What led you to this project?
[SNUFF]: We were both in different projects and feeling pretty unfulfilled. The Tormentor was on the verge of quitting music and She was slogging away at a solo project when the two of us met. When we heard each other’s music we were both really excited, but it took some time and dancing around the subject before we started working together. It’s funny to think how close we both came to giving up on our music when these days we hardly go a day without it.
Robot: Regards your recent debut release, the 2014 self-titled EP - what's your experience been like with that?
[SNUFF]: It’s surely been an adventure. Neither of us expected the EP to take off like it has. We can definitely thank Pete Crane and Blind Mice Productions for taking us under their wing, they’ve helped us out so much. The EP’s opened some doors and exposed our music to a much wider audience. And it’s the little things that still blow us away, like mailing a shirt off to a fan in Germany (hi Sev!) or having to translate a review into English so we can read it.
Robot: I've seen you've been doing live shows in Sydney and surrounding regions - is there a particular personal highlight gig from the last year? ... And where would you like to perform in the next year?
[SNUFF]: Psyfari was a massive highlight. We ended up in minus degree weather, inside one of the world’s biggest valleys, playing at the peak of the witching hour. We’ll never forget it. It’s really got us excited about travelling further and playing more festivals. So, to anyone out there reading, get in touch or hassle your local promoters if you want SNUFF to hit a stage near you.
Robot: What are some of the joys and challenges of playing live?
[SNUFF]: It’s interesting because the challenges are joys and the joys are challenging too. We always try to take our recorded music to the next level when playing live and want to give our audience something more when they come to see us.
The biggest joy is when we connect with our audience and the show becomes a shared experience. There are gigs where it feels like we’re feeding the crowd and the crowd’s feeding us – like a positive feedback loop. They’re the best moments and what we always chase as a band.
Robot: Regards releases, what can the public expect next? Another EP, a single or perhaps an album?
[SNUFF]: There’s definitely an album in the works. We can’t say much, but it’s basically all the things we enjoyed most about our EP turned up to 11. We have our heart set on releasing this album and putting out some videos.
Robot: Delving in to the murky past: what or who inspired you to create music early on?
SHE: I started writing music at around 14, mainly angsty singer/songwriter stuff about unrequited love, Feminism and politics. I think I wanted to be the next Tori Amos, but I didn’t quite realize how much piano practice that would take, and even if I had, I certainly didn’t have the discipline for it at the time. Still, I had a lot of fun bashing out chords at a piano.
THE TORMENTOR: My parents were lighting/audio technicians and were constantly on the road, so I was submerged in the live environment from an early age. I’d say that’s where my fascination with music started. Nick Skitz, Vengaboys and Eiffel 65 are to blame for my early interest in electronic genres. It wasn’t until my teen years that everything really started to kick off (and I got better taste in music).
Robot: And what/who has been inspiring you to create music recently?
THE TORMENTOR: Recent developments in software and hardware have redefined being a producer and it’s a really exciting time for electronic music. Artists like Noisia, DJ Antention, Huoratron and Röyksopp are definite game changers in my view. Their lush and innovative sounds really keep me inspired.
SHE: I’ve been listening to loads of The Deftones lately. Chino is such a versatile, visceral singer and I really admire his style. I’ve also been loving Health’s new album and following the awesome juggernaut that is 3Teeth. I love their aesthetic and lyrical content and I’m so inspired by how hard they work.
Robot: Anything you'd like to say about other music projects you've been involved with?
[SNUFF]: We’re both DJs in our own right, which we love doing. Other than that, we’re keeping our other projects, past and present, on the down low.
Robot: In regards to performing live: how do you go about this as an electronic-based act? Do you seek to emulate the studio recordings or pursue something different?
[SNUFF]: I think we treat playing live like most bands do – we want to bring something extra to our live show that you may not have heard on the recordings. It keeps things exciting for us and provides something fresh for the audience.
Robot: What do you feel are some specific challenges that independent/underground musicians face in recent times?
[SNUFF]: In Sydney, we’re seeing more and more venues closing down and great iconic nights folding or fading away. The lock out laws definitely aren’t helping much either. I think this has got a lot of Sydney promoters and artists feeling less inclined to take bold chances and risks when it comes to putting on events and gigs. There’s still people doing great things but there’s less spaces for these people now and that definitely makes things harder.
Robot: What are some potential solutions or developments?... Is there anything you'd like to see happen, or is happening in this regard, that you're excited about?
[SNUFF]: There are loads of benefits right now to being an independent artist as there are so many opportunities to share your music online and sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud make things easier than ever to be your own promoter. And while it’s true what we said about the Sydney scene, exciting things are happening in warehouses, raves in the sticks and alternate venues all over Sydney, which are aided and promoted by social media. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to stop the aspiring artist from doing what they do, it just means they’re forced to forge new ground, which is exciting to witness.
Robot: Anything else you'd like to add eg. your website links?
[SNUFF]: If you want to stalk us or have a chat, here are the links:
And for The Tormentor:
Robot: :-) Thank-you to SHE and The TORMENTOR of [SNUFF]. We're looking forward to hearing and seeing more in the near future.