Introducing The Snuts: "It's Always Been A Step Up!"

Introducing The Snuts: "It's Always Been A Step Up!"

Get to know Scotland's latest indie stars...

The Snuts enjoy musical risk-taking and don’t want to let one genre define, nor limit, their output. Being stuck in an indie rut is not even an option for the four Whitburn, West Lothian based members, who are keen to grow and take this project as far as possible.

Staying focused on making the transition to fulltime musicians has been key to The Snuts’ - songwriting frontman Jack Cochrane, guitarist Joe McGillveray, bassist Callum Wilson and drummer Jordan Mackay – common goal. “It’s something we always made sure we would work towards”, Cochrane states.

“Being fulltime, we were tradesmen working every day, and practicing every night. But it’s important that people can hear our music and see us live. If you work hard, and what you do is good enough, then the rest should fall into place.”

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Being in a band with friends from childhood is a decent starting position. “We’ve known each other all our lives, it’s been good to do everything together”, he continues. “We’ve been all over the world already and not even put a record out, it’s been awesome. When growing up, you’re looking at other bands, you expect everybody to be best friends, but it’s not always like that, so we definitely appreciate what we have.”

It has been inspiring to see fellow Scottish artists do well. The experience of sharing the stage with Lewis Capaldi, they knew him from before as they attended the same school, was a cool moment. “In the last couple of years several bands have started to come out of here”, Cochrane observes. “Just seeing what Lewis is doing, seeing what other bands are up to and being inspired to play music. It’s homegrown stuff!”

Schedules are busy, and their lives are changing. On 13th March they released ‘Mixtape EP’, a propulsive and genre-bending five track release. Acknowledging their beloved Arctic Monkeys, it comes with renewed optimism, offering other pathways for indie music. Eclectic, fun and infectious, it shows the band’s dedicated work ethic, ambition and creativity.

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The stomping beats, and almost hip-hoppy vibe of ‘Fatboy Slim’ is a contrast to the quirky ‘Coffee & Cigarettes’. The depth and melancholy of ‘Boardwalk’ signify a return to previous ways of writing for Cochrane, “It’s the slowest, almost saddest song”, he admits.

“We were always in the studio, had stopped writing songs in the bedroom, but this song was totally bedroom-written, as if I was just a kid again. I took it into the studio and nothing felt like it needed to be changed or added, just subtle touches to make it special.”

Lyrically, he enjoys a free approach, taking some inspiration from classic songwriting, particularly admiring Bob Dylan and Peter Doherty. “Everybody writes lyrics differently, I’ve never heard anyone say they write in a similar fashion”, he reflects. “I hardly ever write anything down, I’m committed to memory, it’s one of these things where I mumble some words that spring to mind, it’s subconscious writing. Hopefully, it’s my own style. My dad writes poems, so I like to take some inspiration from him, but apart from that, I try not to think about it much, let stuff come out.”

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The ‘Mixtape EP’ provided an opportunity to write and record abroad, ‘Coffee & Cigarettes’ represents a fine collaboration with Los Angeles producer Inflo. Based on the idea of celebrating the simpler things in life, the anthemic old-school rock anthem takes inspiration from 50s dance hall and also aims to break down boundaries attached to songwriting. 

Being brought out of their comfort zone was key to looking ahead. “To be in the States and record in a new environment with a producer, who was different to anything we knew musically was great for us as a band”, he insists.

“It means that you open up about what you want to be rather than what people expect. We usually go in super-prepared with songs, but instead he asked us to write on the spot and come up with stuff, took away all our toys - pedals, amps and guitars – stripped everything back. I’m happy with the music that came out at the end of it.”

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The Snuts also enjoyed working on a couple of songs with Rich Costey, plus lately they collaborated with Tony Hoffer. “We’ve been lucky to work with him, it’s just been awesome, we absolutely love making music with him”, he enthuses. “It’s been good to bring together all we’ve learnt in the last year.”

As anticipated, a debut album is to follow the EP release, and The Snuts are looking to finalise it soon, “We’re polishing it off, we’ve been touring so much lately and throughout the year”, Cochrane says. “At every session we’ve been trying to mash everything together, and a recent one became the first time where we got a chance to sit down and work to get it finished. It’s pretty much there.”

The prospect of touring the new material on their upcoming European and UK live dates is one of excitement, “We’ve taken a lot of risks on this EP sound-wise, which people seem to be digging, and that’s always reassuring”, Cochrane concludes.

“Also looking forward to finishing off our album, putting our stamp on it. We’re always striving to do bigger, better venues every time, and it’s always been a step up rather than going backwards or staying the same, so more of that would work for us.”

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'Mixtape' EP is out now.

Words: Susan Hansen
Photo Credit: Charlie Cummings + Fabrice Bourgelle

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