In The Middle with The Snuts

Scottish band The Snuts are determined to redefine how to succeed in the indie scene with a unique mindset that allows for continual growth and lots of fun. The band will be playing Leeds East Airport on the 22nd August at a specially devised drive in gig which will allow fans to experience their music in a new way. Jack Cochrane – the band’s frontman – gave us some insight on how the band see these trying circumstances as an opportunity to bring people together. He commented on the general confusion and negativity people feel towards the have idea of a drive in, “for us it’s a good challenge, people are missing that normal social interaction and music can bridge that gap. Obviously, it won’t be rubbing shoulder to shoulder with eachother, but it’ll be nice for us to bring strangers together again with our music”. He was adamant of the work the boys have been putting in to ensure it stands the test against their usual live music performances. 

Often the band like to put emphasis on the expansion of their gigs “as the venues start getting bigger, we want to make sure we’re delivering a really worthwhile experience for people, so it’s always about upgrading production, our lights and our sound – just bringing more creative people into our shows. It’s great just having four guys or girls bashing away at guitars, but it needs to be more than that in this day and age”. The drive in almost feels like a natural progression for the boys, to test their limits and push their boundaries.

Jack began talking about how the foursome are constantly questioning how they can be more than the music, more than just the performance, how can they impact who these things affect. They aim to use their talents to create an environment that is entirely inclusive. Too often live music can be a space that people are afraid to enter, “we found that a lot of the scenes we were working at on the outskirts, they were designed for one sort of person, one social structure”. Instead of adhering to that norm the band decided that “for us, it was about focusing on if you were a sixty-year-old and you wanted to come, you’re more than welcome. You don’t really hear people speak about it much, but it’s nice to have that inclusion”. Jack joked about how he loves to look over and see people with their children during the band’s live shows. This being a mindset that has been the centre of the band since the very beginning.

Maybe this interesting perspective comes from the humble beginnings that many bands face – “when we started off it was just a big group of friends; it was a reason for them to come together. Like those people who don’t have a great social life or are struggling with one thing or another, it was a great thing to just get people out and be involved in it”. However, The Snuts seemed to have grasped the importance of those around them “at the beginning your band is so much more than your band, you really rely on that fifty people who were there from the start”. For them it was about building something, a community they were – and still are proud of.

This foundation now only fuels the fire that the band have under them, driving them to strive for continual evolution across all boards of their artistry. “Every release we’ve put out we’ve kind of challenged ourselves, and challenged listeners most of the time”, this being “because of the mundane indie scene that you see at the moment”. It is harder for bands who play it safe to stand out, elaborating with the fact “there’s probably less opportunities for bands who are scared to take risks and step out of their comfort zone. I think to get anywhere and make people listen you do have to take those risks”. 

Risks remain of the upmost importance with the release of new single in June ‘Elephants’, boasting a new lyrical style and genre experiments. “I think it’s quite hard to make your mark as a band. So with every release we kind of do something a little bit different, just to see how far we can push ourselves. We don’t try and keep it in one lane”. One problem that can stem from constantly switching up your sound is fan backlash seething with toxicity and expectation for the new art to be just like the piece before it – “If you find a route that works for you then you get a lot of fans, and stay on that path you, that’s all you’ll ever have”. Jack had an interesting perspective on how The Snuts have avoided this – “the more risks you take early on with your music, the more it feels people are willing to put up with a different side of you, the more people are willing to come on the journey”. Interestingly he stated that they welcome fan pressure; if you weave change into the core of your creativity you will not be met with much push back, rather excitement for what is to come.

Whilst risks are important, the band also want to have fun with their ideas, evident in the accompanying video of the single Elephants’, which sees the boys doing dance routines with a retro gameshow backdrop. This may seem left field for artists in the genre but “stuff like that is great because we can take an idea that you would probably consider ridiculous and see it right through, people can see another side to you”. Aspects outside of just the music have always lured the band’s attention. Jack mentioned that in particular he likes album artwork design – “I love doing that and getting to work with lots of creative people – that’s the best bit about doing this, you get to work on the whole package”. The band tend to keep an eye on designs they like whilst they’re on the road or in the studio, finding this aspect of social media a refreshing break from its usual negativity. Once they find an artist, they “start at the bottom with a small idea and try to let it develop, make sure it’s different from all the things around at the moment and from anything that we’ve done”. The process is a long one, “it’s intense and you just get one wee square out of it, but I like being able to develop pieces of art because ultimately that’s what we’re trying to make as well”. When looking at the array of single covers from the band’s discography you’re hit with a plethora of colour and themes, each vastly different from the next – “It’s nice to identify whatever the piece of artwork is with the music, make something that leaves a lasting impression, I think that’s what we’re always trying to achieve”.

Back when the band were starting off they were all working different trades but still were dedicated to the music, making time for their passion, “I think especially in the arts world it’s dedication that helps so much, we’d finish work at five o’clock and then by half past five we’d be rehearsing all night. We still practised every day”. A lot can be said for this mindset as The Snuts have rocketed to mainstream success and are still rapidly growing. “You always will get better, we started off and we were horrific, we were so bad, I couldn’t sing, no one else could do anything on their instruments. I think it’s one of those things if you want to be better, there’s a good chance you probably will be” – no truer statement could be spoken about this four piece.

They are eagerly awaiting their entire upcoming drive in tour, with Leeds being an exciting prospect as “we never actually got to play Leeds last time around, but we love it there, so we were really looking forward to it. I’m glad we’ve got this, so we can go back and play a Leeds show, I think it’ll be great”. Tickets for the show can be found on their website and ticket vendors, with their new single available on all streaming platforms.

All photos by Charlie Cummings.