Hailing from Scotland, The Snuts are hitting Australian shores in August!
Ahead of their arrival down under, we caught up with their bass player Callum Wilson about the gear used live and on their new record, as well as how a Snuts song comes to be!
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You’re here in Australia for a headline tour in August – are you guys running reasonably slimmed down flight rigs for touring? Or do you go all out and fly with/hire backline everywhere?
Yeah we’re super excited! We’ve only done Aus once before & it was incredible! Just before the second record we actually made the switch to a digital set up, so we run everything through 3 Kemper [Profiling Amplifiers]. We’ve found this a god send when travelling as each of us just have a little hard case with a whole world of sounds in it. We were hesitant at first because we all used to love having amps on stage but the Kempers have blown our minds.
I’ve seen you guys with an array of guitars live – have you got a ‘Number 1’ or do you have specific guitars for different sections of the set?
I think the funny thing with guitars is, sometimes you fall completely out of love with them, only for that love to be reignited years later! They all do different jobs and mean something different to you. I still have the first guitar we got as we started the band so you could say I’m a bit of a hoarder.. What guitar comes where in the set is dictated entirely by sound!
I only have 3 I tour, a Fender Jazz that’s been with me since the start, a 50s P[recision] & a short scale Gibson. These cover all the tones I need across 3 records.
Jack uses a Fender Marauder & Strat, Gibson SG, Martin acoustic & a nylon string he picked up for a 5er from a charity shop.
Joe tours a Fender Strat, Tele, a couple D’Angelicos & a Gretsch hollow body!
How does your live performance vary to recording and studio stuff? Do The Snuts record as a band and then overdub or is it a very isolated process?
I would definitely say at a live show everything is about the energy, if you don’t quite hit a part right it’s gone in a second and you’re into the next section with the crowd carrying you… but on record you need to live with it forever. So I would definitely say more care is taken during the recording process.
A lot of the time we are writing parts as the song itself is being written, so you smash a take down knowing full well that by tomorrow you’re gonna hate it & it’ll get redone.
Some tracks demand that live energy to get them off the ground, so in songs like “Glasgow”, or “Rodeo”, those were recorded the four of us in a room smashing it out, with at points overdubs being recorded. You have tracks like “Hallelujah Moment” or “Knuckles” that were in part recorded at our studio in Glasgow, then brought to Angelic [Residential Recording Studio], or Abbey Road and picked to pieces and rebuilt kinda thing.
Then you have other tracks like “Gloria” that just kind of settles into place, it could’ve been recorded either way and still sounds massive!
A lot of the time you work all day and you just end up back where you started… with the first thing you play ending up being the best… probably a lesson to learn in that.
How complete are songs when you enter the studio?
Totally varies track to track! A lot of writing for Burn the Empire and our new record (almost finished!) happened while we were in the studio. This always feels super exciting to us because every new idea can spawn a new part or vice versa!
It can be frustrating as we all need to work at same pace, and you feel a lot of pressure when it comes to your part as you don’t wanna be the person holding up the process, we seem to work better under a little pressure though!
Is there any equipment you’ve used in the studio that’s ended up being on the road with you? Specific models are great here!
We had a Kemper set up in the control room that modelled a lot of amps for us. Scotty Anderson, who we collaborated with on this 3rd record has an [Teenage Engineering] OP-1 which is like an insane mini synthesiser with literally unlimited sounds, which is pretty sick.
Some Earthquaker Devices pedals, POGs, coupla nice choruses. I’m terrible with names so I’m just listing off the top of my head! Live amp-wise we used a Roland Jazz Chorus.
The new single ‘Gloria’ has a driving rhythm coupled with (for lack of a better word) sunny sounding guitars. How does a song like this start? A few chords on an acoustic and some lyrics? Or a digital/DAW based start?
It started as a demo we recorded in Jack’s living room with some acoustics on a rainy afternoon, then when we arrived at the studio – the sunshine seemed to bless the track. It changed from a super dark commentary about the state of the UK into this beautiful tale of ordinary love, and general celebration of the mundane side of life.
The idea of a character emerged who the song could centre around, and with the help of a Buster Keaton silent movie, “Gloria” became a character, but also a feeling. We storyboarded a couple’s life with each other around a piano and the song seemed to start to take life. This was the first track we recorded for our upcoming 3rd record, and it set the bar going forward in the session.
Is there a ‘normal’ way a Snuts song starts?
If it sounds like something we haven’t done before… we usually start there.
Where to from here? Where can you see the sound of The Snuts heading? Any influences you hope to bring into the band in the future?
It’s always been super important for us to continue to adapt musically. We draw from so many genres and styles of music I can’t even predict what’s gonna come next. The new record is such a feel good vibe, which I hope will feel like a new dawn of The Snuts, especially from our last politically charged and aggressive sound… it’s gonna be big beats and plenty grooves to move your feet to.
I know this is cliché… but it’s our best work yet.
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