Eloise Adger | 23/03/2021
Jack from The Snuts joined us to talk about the band, their upcoming debut album, career highlights, mental health awareness, and everything in between.
We kicked off by asking him to sum up The Snuts for new listeners. “We’ve always stayed true to what we said at the start; that our style of music is for everybody. There were no brackets on our music, and it wasn’t one particular kind of trend, scene or clique. If you come to one of our shows, there are people like sexy sixty-year-old couples at the back and then there are people down the front and it’s their first show ever. So I think it’s just modern rock and roll for everybody, it doesn’t sound that cool - it sounds like Jesus rock group”.
After being in an on/off lockdown for almost a year, its become a habit to ask people what they have been doing with their time (and hopefully a question we won’t have to ask much longer)
“We’re doing ok, sometimes you feel a bit bad when you say you’re ok during a global pandemic. It’s a nice thing for us to recharge and just try and be a better band for when it all comes back.”
During the first lockdown The Snuts shacked up together to finish their upcoming record, but since heading back home they have struggled, like most of us, to be apart from one another. “We grew up together, we’ve known each other since we were like, toddlers basically. So I think having that time apart was pretty intense for us.”
Their latest single ‘Somebody Loves You’ was released on February 4th and pushes through a positive message and feel-good vibe we could all do with right now. “I think there’s something about this track that we’ve never done before, it has a real positive message and a feel-good thing going on. I just moved to Glasgow at the start of lockdown and I spent a lot of time by myself. I’d seen somebody spray-painted ‘somebody loves you’ those three words all over the city, I couldn’t avoid seeing it wherever I went. So the idea of the song started there. I noticed that everybody was checking up on each other and it took the pandemic for everybody to make sure the people they cared about were okay”.
The song is all about people coming together and helping one another out, a message The Snuts took further with the accompanying music video.
“We managed to record it, and from there our record label said we can make whatever type of video you want for this amount of money. So we decided to work with the Refugee Council here in Glasgow and have it centred on us, our families, or people here settled in Glasgow who’d be up for taking part in a music video. We ended up with a nice handful of people who wanted to take part. The brief was really simple, to show what the song means to you, and find the things and people that you care about and see if we can make a video out of it. It turned out nice and we donated the budget to them (Refugee Council). We’re just going to continue working with them and it’s just really nice. We got content that we weren’t expecting and it summarised the song for us without us having to say it. It felt like the right moment in time to put a song like that out”.
‘Somebody Loves You’ is the first single released from their upcoming debut albumW.L so we asked if it was a good indication of the vibe the album would take. “I would say it’s more like a collection of everything we’ve done so far. We’ve been conscious to push ourselves with the styles and the genres that we like to play in. I think this album is a lottery of stuff that people kind of fell in love with originally. We were conscious not to leave out any songs that we knew that people who supported from the start would really appreciate. Some of the songs are just really simple to try and tell the story with a guitar and vocal, or a guitar and a cello, there’s quite a bit of that on the record. So it’s just everything put together. And trying not to put a bracket around the type of music that we make, then people will never be disappointed”.
Fans and Journalists alike have often incorrectly assumed W.L stands for West Lothian, the area of Scotland from which the boys hail. But Jack tells us it actually stands for ‘Whitburn Loopy’. “ I don’t know if you have them in England, but every town has got a young team, basically like their gang and that was the one from our town”.
“I think making this record for us has been a journey from being kids playing the guitar, to where we are now. The first track on the record, for example, I wrote the first verse and chorus when I was like, 15, or 16 like 10 years ago. The album is just time stamping that journey from growing up to what we are now. It’s good to document it with something that was important to us in our youth”.
When lockdowns began to ease in places last summer artists began to play socially distanced gigs. I don’t think any of us realised how short-lived that glimmer of hope would be. The Snuts last gig was a socially distanced show in August where they opened for The Libertines, a stark difference to the sweaty moshing crowd both bands were used to pulling in.
“It was actually quite a beautiful experience for us. They always say never meet your heroes, it is generally true, but with The Libertines they were just absolute gentlemen. It was an afternoon show and a nighttime show, and they watched every song in our set for both shows, which is unheard of in this game. Playing to a socially distanced crowd was quite nice because I felt like everybody was there for the same reason. People were missing music and we were missing playing, there was a certain kind of aspect of togetherness. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but there was a nice vibe in the air being able to do that again.”
The bands next live gigs are scheduled for April, and even with such uncertainty, Jack remains positive that it won’t be long till they can play again. “We’re feeling quite positive, but it changes every day what’s going on, so nobody really knows! I’m not writing them off, I feel good. Everybody really knows what they miss now about live music, and I think when it comes back, it’s gonna be such a celebration, whenever it does it will be well worth the wait”.
COVID has had a huge impact on the live music sector with small independent venues being hit the hardest. The lack of funding and delays in government support has caused a lot of our beloved local haunts to close their doors for good, a story shared across the home nations.
“I think the big wake-up call has been a lot of these venues were struggling anyway, before this all hit, so I think it’s a shame that it has taken this for people to only notice these venues now. Sneaky Petes in Edinburgh for example, was one of these places where we cut our teeth and where we’ve seen some of our favourite bands where they were cutting their teeth. I just hope there’s going to be some sort of recovery. But that comes with legislation, it comes with government support, and that’s absolutely dormant at the moment.”
Despite some early optimistic ticket buyers getting in on the Reading and Leeds sales, the thought of going to a Festival this summer still seems incomprehensible. Being surrounded by thousands and thousands of people seems like such a faraway fantasy we are forgiven for getting dragged into daydreams of line-ups gone by.
“We played at Benicàssim two years ago, it was our first European festival and the first time we played live abroad. We were clashing with The Killers, on at like 3 in the morning, we were like what chance do we have here? And then as we walked out the tent was full, and people sang along the whole way. It’s just one of those moments, you’re like, I’m never gonna forget this. I think that was my top festival moment. The thing is a year before that, we went to that festival and we’d stopped playing as a band and we never really started taking it seriously, as we do now. We sat the Festival at Benicàssim and said we’re gonna fucking play this next year if we get the band back together, it was a nice moment for us”.
Here at Head Above the Clouds, mental health awareness is at the heart of what we do. Jack spoke about how the upcoming record touches on mental health and wellbeing. “We’ve tried to comment on our own experiences of mental health and our struggles as much as possible. ‘Boardwalk’, is about being at your lowest, searching for the things that keep you positive and keep you looking forward to better days, so there’s quite a lot to talk of that. There’s also commentary throughout the record kind of summing up the drug culture, and just the culture in general in Scotland, in tracks like ‘Top Deck’ and ‘All Your Friends’. We almost educate a little bit about the effects of excess in your younger days and how it can affect you mentally, as you get older. I think we feel a certain amount of responsibility to try and talk about some of that stuff and put it in a place where it can help”.
We asked what the was most challenging thing for him being in a band and going on tour, and what habits has he adopted to keep those negative thoughts at bay. “Going on stage, I’m terrified before going on every time like beyond belief and it never gets any better until I’m up there. When we’re on the road I make sure to exercise every day, even if it’s a walk in the morning, or a run or a cycle whatever you do. If you’re under any sort of pressure at all, it’s important to do something like that every day I would say”.
Always on the hunt for the best new music, we couldn’t say goodbye without asking Jack for his current recommendations. “I’d say a Scottish band called Wraucces. When we were on tour and came back to Scotland to play, we asked for people to submit their music to us directly, and we’d choose 3 people to play in these shows with us. But we got something like 350 submissions just for Scotland alone, so we chose 9 young bands and artists and they were one of them. They’ve just brought out their first EP, I was listening to it this morning, I think it’s glorious. When they played with us they’d never even been on stage, and a year later released music, so it’s probably a good time to tell people about them.”
The Snut’s debut album W.L. is out on April 2nd
Words: Eloise Adger