A few weeks before the release of their debut LP, Denim American, I was hosted by the peoples’ rockers, Snuff Redux, to indulge in what was to be my second EVER conversation (as Danger Doug). The staunchly Seattle based indie-rockers offered me a little peep through the lens with which they crafted Denim American. What I found was a world burning for nostalgia, a painstakingly honest chapter of their lives. They were kind enough to show me around.
The album itself feels like it bookmarks a monumental point in your life. It’s encompassing. It’s a vehicle built with old records, lost faces and laughter. A vehicle that’s going to cough and splutter through the next five years of your life. A vehicle you’re going to love, and one you’re going to hate. At the end of the day, the engine is always going to turn over and get you where you’re going. That’s the brash honesty Denim America offers.
From the tenderness of Freddy’s Potion to the frantic hook in Molly’s House, from the riling chorus in Denim America to the atmospheric moodiness of It Is What It Is, this album is sonically gripping. There is a mastery of craft on display here. The song Driveway embodies a pop sensibility married to a heavier rock n roll voicing, with the perfectly ambiguous and simple vocal hook, “Would you wait for me//In the driveway?” Through his intricate craft, Ford achieves a sense of energy without a need to fall back on heavy lead breaks.
Between the solemn cello that flags the beginning and end of the album, one deep breath, there is a world. As lead singer and songwriter Skyler Ford ponders, “Denim America is like a lost weekend.” I can’t help but agree. It feels like it is just another weekend, but there’s something insatiably significant about this one in particular that you just can’t put your finger on. It’s one that you’ll never forget.
Just before they embark on a country-wide tour next month, I took the opportunity to get to know Snuff Redux a little better. After a scenic stroll, we sat down to talk about the album, reminisce over simpler times and discover what’s at the heart of every good sandwich.
Danger Doug: Hey guys. So um… what is Snuff Redux? Like what does it mean?
Daniel Chesney: Death over birth, snuff it out. Light it up. It’s over and then it’s again. Can’t do it the same way twice but it keeps on flagging, coming again…
Skyler Ford: Flagging?
Daniel: Flagging. Slowing down, Stopping.
Skyler: Woah… that’s far out.
DD: That’s raw.
Skyler: Snuff Redux means… we don’t know.
Skyler: It’s out of our hands.
Ziggy Comer: It’s the short hand name for the music that we play, you know? So you can talk about it without having to explain it.
Dylan Arlick: Like what happened with Radiohead like that’s not a particularly cool phrase or even anything, but now when people say it, it’s like “oh yeah Radiohead…” The music attaches a meaning to the words. It’s also a test to see if people can pronounce French words.
Ziggy: It’s also not something you’ve heard that week.
Skyler: Yeah I wanted that “Led Zeppelin” kinda name, so people would hear it and just be like, “what the fuck who is that?” To be honest I’ve never used the word Redux in my life, but I mean, I’ve seen Apocalypse Now.
DD: I sure haven’t. Maybe that’s why I don’t get it. Maybe that’s why it works. Tell me about Denim American. What is Denim America?
Skyler: Denim America is…
Dylan: It’s what we’re all wearing.
DD: I like to think there’s something quintessentially American about denim is that kinda…
Dylan: I feel like yeah it goes back to the pioneers, like Levi Strauss, it feels like there is something distinctly American that is wrapped up in denim.
Ziggy: I like to think that our music could kind of be a progression on all of our influences I mean we listen to a lot of American music.
Daniel: We are the Pan-American band.
DD: yeah well classic American sounds are heard on the album for sure so I guess in terms of intention you guys are pretty fuckin’ spot on.
Skyler: After I graduated high school I wore the same denim jacket like all of summer and like onward, and denim really bears all the stories that go with it, you know? Like that jacket was wrecked. We all wear it too, you know? It’s like we’re all so different and we don’t really understand everyone else but we’re all wrapped up in our different stories and that’s something that binds us all.
DD: That’s really well put, man. I like the idea of something really simple being something that we all share, but at the same time is so uniquely us. Does the album bear any significance to your own story in that way? I mean the progression I can hear on this record from your old material is phenomenal. I know a lot of bands stress about their debut album, was there ever any doubt in the process of putting together Denim American?
Sky: well it’s taken a long time to get to today for sure, and now with the inclusion of Ziggy it’s kind of a redefinition of what the band is. It’s kinda just what we as artists or musicians are doing right now.
Daniel: I guess it’s like you said, I mean people kind of agonise over their debuts like, “is this our DEBUT? Is this what we SOUND LIKE??” but I think every song we write is a progression. I mean if we wrote ten more songs they would be far beyond the sound you hear on this album.
DD: So it’s just like a documentation of where you’re at?
Daniel: Yeah and that’s going to be like a continuous progression throughout Snuff is like ‘this is where we’re at.’
DD: It shows man, this is a very earnest album.
Daniel: It’s a place and a process you know, it’s not like the first conclusion.
Ziggy: It’s a trajectory too.
Daniel: I wouldn’t be surprised at all if people could already hear the next album in this one.
DD: How do you guys feel like your voice comes through like how do you contest in a world where every indie rocker and I guess every other Joe has a platform to get their voice heard?
Dylan: I think the album is kind of like nostalgic of a time before all that like phones and everything.
Daniel: Yeah going back to a time before everyone had a smart phone, and it meant your company was the immediate people. You’re really just around the people you’re around, like physically. People should just live in that, instead of worrying about what people are going to think about them tomorrow or the next day.
Dylan: I feel like music should be evocative, and made with a certain amount of intention. I feel like with the bombardment of information it gets to a point where it’s quantity over quality, you know? There are a ton of bands out there and the product is kind of weak…
Sky: It’s halfway.
Dylan: yeah and I mean like if I’m gonna be involved in making music it’s gonna be to make people shake their ass, to make them feel something or think something. I feel like if it doesn’t tick at least two of those three boxes it’s not done yet.
Sky: that’s why we took our time I feel like, our voice is constantly changing, MY voice is definitely always changing, so it took me a long time to be like this is how it’s gonna sound right now, where I’m comfortable with myself to like really, really say this.
DD: yeah and I guess you could almost say it’s like that is a big theme in the album with it being Denim America, that classic idea of just getting away from it all to get in touch with something essential like the roots of it all
Sky: yeah or recognising what the roots even are.
DD: Speaking of voices, uh, I wanted to ask about your twitter account, Skyler.
DD: What do you think that brings to the table in terms of what you guys have to say?
Sky: Sadness, sadness.
DD: ‘Cause I was looking through it last night and it’s so good.
Sky: it’s good?
DD: it’s really good!
DD: what you don’t think so?
Sky: I was gonna tweet today “everything I say is stupid. ”
Sky: I dunno, I feel like getting rid of it sometimes. If anything, I feel like I use it mostly to keep up with the local hip hop community.
DD: What are you talking about that’s great? Integration of different scenes is important. It’s also really funny like some of them are fucking gold.
Sky: Like what?
DD: Oh man, I was going through it the other night and one was like, “highku//taking greens, snoop dreams//wish you were here, by pink floyd//is the best song bro”
Sky: Hahaha. What else? Go on.
DD: And then there’s heaps of them just say “West Seattle.”
DD: See shit like that is gold. It’s like obviously such a stupid inside joke, and it humanises you.
Sky: Hahaaa see man I just straight up always wanna tweet, “Kanye West,” but shit he’s been making moves recently.
DD: What do you mean? You DID that! That’s a recent one!
Sky: Yeah, but I ALWAYS wanna tweet it bro.
DD: Hahahahaha, I’m pretty sure it had retweets as well, like someone saw it and they were just like “mhm, YES.”
Sky: That’s how it goes man, that’s how it goes! That’s all I think about bro. Keep your eyes peeled tonight I’m gonna post “West Seattle” AND “Kanye West.”
Dylan: And, “shoutout Australia”
Sky: And, “shouts out Danger Doug”
Dylan: hahaha Dangerous Douglas!
DD: Well that’s just about it, I’ve just got a couple of hot questions for you guys, you know, to show your lighter side, people love that shit, it really humanises you.
DD: Okay. So. In a game of streetball, who, out of the four of you, would be most likely to absolutely dunk on the others? Who can uh… bring the uh.. cheque home?
Skyler: I’m not tall enough.
Dylan: Daniel is super tall.
Daniel: I’m not good at basketball!
DD: Yeah people have always lumped me in with that and its bullshit, cause I always feel bad about being SO bad and ruining peoples’ expectations haha.
Daniel: I think Skyler would go hard.
Dylan: Let’s just say we’ll all sink threes.
Skyler: We’re all Larry Bird based. We’re taking three pointers, hook shots.
Ziggy: I’m not afraid to take a two.
Skyler: He’s taking penalties when he goes up, you know?
DD: The 2-percenters.
DD: Who’s the most annoying when you’re on the road?
Ziggy: I haven’t been on the road with these guys yet so I’m not too sure.
Dylan: It’s probably gonna be Ziggy.
Sky: It’s gonna be Ziggy… but I’m very close second.
Daniel: I just read a lot.
DD: You bastard.
Sky: Daniel makes a lot of weird noises, man.
Dylan: I just play Tame Impala over and over again.
Sky: Nah it’s all zen bro, we keep it zen. We respect each other and stuff, it’s important to keep it together on the road.
DD: Make or break ingredient/unsung hero of any sandwich?
Skyler: It’s Dijon mustard.
Dylan: Oh yeah, it’s Dijon.
DD: Is it unanimous?
Daniel: I think that’s unanimous!
Dylan: No, wait.
Dylan: Well I mean, mayo is pretty helpful across the board.
DD: Mayo’s not exactly unsung though; mayo is recognised, I feel.
Dylan: Oh unsung? Oh well then Dijon is pretty sung, I feel like.
Skyler: You think so?
Dylan: *sings* ~Dijooooooon~
DD: You know it’s like what would be the blue collar hero in the sandwich world?
Daniel: Yeah I mean everyone wants a little avocado or bacon on their sandwiches.
DD: Exactly it’s the 2-percenters again.
Dylan: NO. THE GOOD BREAD.
Everyone: *aggressively agrees*
Daniel: Oh shit, the good sourdough? For sure.
Ziggy: What about like a good peppered bacon?
Daniel: Again though, not unsung.
Dylan: I had Jimmy John’s yesterday it was the bomb. You know they changed the names of all their sandwiches?
Dylan: Yeah so you don’t get the Beach Club anymore you get the turkey and whatever
Skyler: Oh great now I gotta think of what’s in the sandwich? That’s the worst. The unsung hero of any sandwich is a fuckin’ clever name. The Club Lulu makes me think of turkey and bacon. NEXT QUESTION.
DD: Next question. Do you guys even notice when it starts to rain?
Dylan: Depends on the level of rain.
Daniel: Seattle is always in some state of rain, so like…
DD: It’s raining right now, isn’t it?
Daniel: It never really rains that hard here, is the thing.
Dylan: Yeah like in the Midwest it DUMPS we never really get that here. You don’t need to notice that it’s raining because it never really matters.
DD: Okay last one wrap it up: One word secret to a happy and healthy life?
Ziggy: Love-yourself. Wait that’s two words…
DD: I’ll hyphenate it for you man don’t worry. You can hyphenate any number of words, I’ll let you guys rack a sentence if you want to.
DD: Yeah well, fair enough hahaha
Skyler: Yeah I’ma say eatin’.
DD: okay guys, plug it. Tell everyone about the album, tell the folks where to find you over the next month. Any enemies you want to invite to a show to tousle with or long lost loves you wanna reconnect with on the road? Give me the denim American plug in a few words
Skyler: We’re Snuff Redux, June 7th we’re playing with Donormaal, Great Spiders and Salt Lick at Chop Suey. We’re goin on tour for a month, rollin’ a record!
Dylan: Buy our record on vinyl, it sounds better.
DD: Come to a fuckin’ show, buy the wax!
Skyler: We love you all, uh, what else do we say?
DD: Do you have like a tagline or anything?
Daniel: We’re the peoples’ rockers.
DD: Fuck yeah.
Daniel: We’re here to rock for the people.
Daniel: I dunno moms love us, dads love us.
Sky: Your mom likes our band.
Daniel: Oh your mom likes our band for sure.
Sky: On facebook haha
Daniel: We rock for your parents, we’re what they thought music would sound like, but had no idea EDM would take over.
DD: Snuff Redux: the traditional trajectory of music.
Skyler: We were never allowed to use a computer.
DD: This is being bounced straight to tape right now
Daniel: Hahaha, just come to a show.
DD: Hahaha, anything else you guys wanna say?
Skyler: PEACE AND LOVE.
Catch Snuff Redux kicking off their country-wide tour at Chop Suey on Thursday with Donormaal, Great Spiders and Salt Lick.
For information on where you can catch them over the next month, consult their social media pages (linked below).
Also while I have your time I heavily implore you go follow @snuffredux on twitter. If you don’t have a twitter that’s easily rectifiable. If you’re too cool for twitter that is too.
Lastly go check out the album (on Friday) or come to a show and buy the mf wax.