Interview/Music: Snazzback

Photo by James Koch.

New wave dancefloor instrumentalists Snazzback make an explosive return with upbeat new single ‘Reading’, combining a fusion of sounds from across the spectrum of jazz, electronica and afro-Latin. This is the first track to be taken from their forthcoming stunning second album ‘In The Place’ on Bristol-based label Worm Discs.

Snazzback says “‘Reading’ started out from an intense sense of being lost in time, being a tiny dot in an impossibly large space, being able to look forwards and backwards but being driven on by the march of time. It tries to express looking up at the stars and feeling adrift, but being ok with it too.”

The 12-track album features contributions from China Bowls, Solomon OB, Bethany Stenning aka STANLÆY, and Soss.

Watch the visual for the track which was filmed on location at Avon Gorge, Bristol below.

‘In The Place’ is released on 23rd July. We find out more about the band and the record ahead of its arrival. 

Who are Snazzback, and what’s the story behind your name?

Snazzback is a coming together of people who want to make deep, swirling grooves and be weird together. The band name began with Myke, our percussionist, floating around the word ‘Snazzy’ at us to describe our music at the time. The ‘back’ was to imply we were bringing the Snazz-back then it just kind of stuck.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming album? How long has it been in the works?

The new album has been something we’ve been working on for over 2 years, pretty much ever since our first release came out. A lot of the ideas of the album are things we’ve been playing at shows, twisting and developing and honing in the studio for a long time, alongside China Bowls for much of it too. We initially recorded a bunch in our small self-built studio then we got involved with Worm Discs who have supported us so much through the process, we injected some fresh material into the record during the pandemic as everything changed in a flash and the time away was an opportunity to explore some fresh ideas and new collaborations. Ultimately the record represents a kind of sonic scrapbook of the last few years of our lives together in this band, through the ups and downs and it’s so exciting that it’s going to be shared with the world before long.

Did being in lockdown changed the way you approach music?

Being in lockdown made us change the way we approach music in the sense that we don’t take for granted anymore the opportunity to play with other people, it’s such a lucky thing to be able to do.

‘Reading’ is a brilliant track; could you tell us about the creative process that went into making the track?

The initial kernel of the tune came about after a late-night anime binge, Dave and Eli came up with the beginnings of a melody and chords while living together. Once it got brought to the group and put through the process of jamming, recording, re-recording, splicing and doing it all again ‘Reading’ transformed from something delicate into the cosmic roller that’s on the album. Together we developed the driving rhythm and structure and it all fell into place.

Your music covers a wide range of styles; if you had to pick five artists, who are your biggest influences?

That’s a difficult one, we all listen to and love quite different music across the band but at a push, the big 5 might look something like:

Butcher Brown
Portico Quartet
Tortoise
Flying Lotus
Medeski, Martin & Wood

How has Bristol shaped your sound?

There was a craving to create something honest and authentic to us that didn’t necessarily try to fit into the live sound here in Bristol. The amazing creative energy here seeds really supportive environments like The Gallimaufry where we are encouraged to experiment and explore as musicians and we have an audience here that is receptive to something different. We feel like this is what we have to thank Bristol for.

The Bristol jazz scene is super vibrant at the moment with bands like yourselves, Ishmael Ensemble and Run Logan Run; who else should we be listening to?

This is another really tough one as there’s a whole host of exciting things going on, our collaborators on the album China Bowls, Stanlæy, Soss and Solomon OB are all doing great things with their own stuff. But it’s definitely worth getting to know Waldo’s Gift, Hippo, DunDunDun and Holysseus Fly.

Big thanks to the guys! If you want to stay updated on the latest from Snazzback, give them a follow on Facebook or their website.

Pre-order ‘In The Place’ here.

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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