Glasgow based “staccato grunge rock” quintet, Schnarff Schnarff – Myles Bonnar, Jamies Douglas, Richard Douglas, Andrew MacLean & Paul Tracey – talk about their forthcoming album ‘The evil that we do…’ – out on 9th September via Black Dug Records – a collection of undeniably convincing and electrifying merge of pop-punk and grunge vibes. Here’s standout tune ‘Flip The Cross’.
Hi Schnarff Schnarff, how are you?
Very well, thanks.
How would you describe your sound?
Staccato Grunge Rock
Your album ‘The evil that we do…’ showcases a diverse range of influences and ideas, was this a conscious effort or something that occurred organically?
The album is definitely organic. Some songs were written as early as 2013 but have developed into songs that fit with this record. These were never written to fit but just have managed to do so. We have so many influences that range from folk to metal to rock to grunge to hip hop to emo….it is so much that we cannot really make music any way but organically. We play in a room and write until it makes sense to the 5 of us which can be a long process when we are so individual when it comes to musical taste. Our system works for us and organic is what we love. “The evil that we do…” is really just the product of 5 guys in a room adding their vibe to a record.
You worked with producer Paul Savage (The Twilight Sad, Mogwai, We Were Promised Jetpacks). How was the experience collaborating together?
Just unreal! He is a great guy…so chilled and calming but also so knowledgeable that even when you feel like you are breaking something you love (like an original song) it will turn out alright! Paul will get us to change songs…we will dismantle it, he will show us alternative routes to go down and we both end up building the track back up to something better. He takes what we create and refines it. He is a great producer and we just loved every second of working with him. Plus, he has amazing coffee so that’s a bonus. We had about 5 cups a day…each.
Basically, we had a tonne of respect for Paul and his past works BUT by the end of the process we were just in awe of him. You’re originally from Inverness and now based in Glasgow, how do the two music scenes compare?
Very different feel but Inverness has got a good thing going. Glasgow is a bit of a music leviathan and we have always loved it. It was our regular destination for travelling to gigs when we were kids growing up in Inverness. However, Inverness has come a long way and the strongholds of XPONorth and Belladrum have made Inverness a must-go on the Scottish music map. There are some great bands starting up back home and the actual established scene is vibrant. The scene might be smaller but the quality is there.
Glasgow has a bigger rock scene, I would say, and I think it is a great home for us BUT we just love travelling back to Inverness and playing. Especially at the events mentioned above (Bella and XPO)…we just gaze out of the stage and realise that Inverness has come so far from when we were in bands playing venues that were falling apart next to a sports centre. That being said, playing the crumbled venues of Downtown USA, The Beaufort & The Portland (old school Inverness venues that don’t exist now) back in the early 00s made us into the musicians we are today and I think we have benefited from roughing it. We loved those places BUT are definitely delighted to be able to have the best of both worlds now…an established new and vibrant Inverness scene and a music mecca beast in Glasgow as our two homes. There are a number of great Scottish bands coming through at the moment do you find that it’s a competitive environment to grow within?
Nah….there may be a general quest to all make it in music but I don’t feel like there are rivals and we everyone is out to get each other. I think it is a chilled, friendly environment and though we may be in competition for gigs, fans, record sales…whatever….we never feel threatened, never feel angered by others and generally just keep our heads down and work like everyone else. It’s a friendly scene and everyone helps each other, generally. There will be some pricks for sure but that is just life….there are pricks everywhere….but very few here….not in Glasgow.
Are there any bands from back home you would recommend to us?
Yeah….a band that you should check out (no longer going now) is Findo Gask. They were class back in the day. There was a big screamo, emo scene then and them (as well as Richard, Myles & Jamie’s old band) and Curio were around at that time. Findo are worth a listen to hear what was going back in the 00s in Inverness. Nowadays, Lional are a band who are a great watch. They are kind of like an Interpol-esque, white lies, arctic monkeys sound. Check them out. There are some quality lads in Searching for Donkeys too…they are like rock with a bit of folk in there. Give them a listen. Neither would be particularly in keeping with our sound but that is just how diverse the scene is.
For those who haven’t seen you perform, what’s a Schnarff Schnarff live show like?
Aggressive, energetic, intensiveness! Myles tends to stare out the crowd while the rest of the band fall into their own worlds with the music. It big, load and rocky with minimal speaking! haha
It’s something we suggest everyone should experience and it is the aspect of our band we work on the most…..our performance.
If you could support one band in the world who would it be and why?
Deftones!!!! They are kings!!!!
What does the rest of 2016 hold for Schnarff Schnarff?
A brand new video coming out ASAP! Loads of gigs, a tour and more vids. We cannot wait it get out and see more potential fans. In the more pressing future, we will headline King Tuts (Glasgow) for our debut album launch on the 16th september. That is going to be insane! We cannot wait. Finally, we keep writing to expect more coming from us in 2017.