Sitting down over the phone with The Snuts‘ lead singer, Jack Cochrane, it was easy to tell how passionate about stepping up the game in his music he is. Discussing the band’s recent livestream show, where they performed at Glasgow’s The Tall Ship, and what’s in store for The Snuts in the next year, Cochrane demonstrates why the band should definitely be on your radar.
So your latest EP, Mixtape EP, was released earlier this year, what were your aims with this EP, and do you feel like you achieved them?
How we set out to do it was kind of like a collection of songs we recorded, in lots of different places, and over quite a big space of time. That didn’t really have a home anywhere, so we wanted to put together something that was like an oldschool mixtape. [One] that you could carry and could play it all the way through […] with the intention that people would listen to it from start to finish, like people used to. Well, certainly we were pretty happy with how it all looked and how people received it, if that makes any sense!
Your newest single ‘Elephants’ has been a big hit and has gotten the attention of quite a few well-known stations, like Radio 1. When listening to it, I found that it has a bit more of a mainstream/pop vibe to it than some of your older stuff (which isn’t a bad thing at all!). Is this something you planned to happen, or do you think there was a natural change in your songwriting processes?
When we get in a studio, we’re always trying to develop ourselves as artists and our music, and we’re always conscious to try not to be one of those bands that every song kind of sounds the same. Even if we’ve had a bit of success with a certain song we are always cousciously trying to recreate that.
I think ‘Elephants’ is definitely something, production-wise, that we were pushing to almost surprise people, who already liked us, and also surprise people who maybe tended to critique what we had done before.
Was your first time playing ‘Elephants’ live at the broadcasted performance you guys shared last week?
Yes, I think so actually.
Was it a bit daunting, playing it for the first time live?
Definitely! Definitely, it’s kind of a funny situation. Obviously lately when you’re just kind of putting out music during a global pandemic, not being able to fucking play them. So we kind of forgot how good that feeling is actually playing your music when you’ve spent so much time obviously not playing it.
Did you find it difficult to perform live without the normal audience reaction you’d get at a regular live gig?
I think so, I think it was something we were cautious of, and our livestream was something we put a lot of work into, with the editing format and for people to be able to watch it, and by taking out that element of a live crowd. Again, it was something that you should play all the way through and had some different flavours and different stuff going on. Production-wise, with the lights, and trying to just do something that adapts ourselves to the current situation, if that makes any sense!
Was the fan response to the live-stream anything that you expected? Were you scrolling through the comments throughout?
A little bit, to start with. We spent so much time on it, I was just hoping people would come together, with friends or family or partners or whoever you’d usually enjoy live music with. That was my main intention really, to see if people could come together and enjoy live music, obviously not in the ideal format, but in a way that was still kind of true to what we do.
What’s your personal favourite song to perform live?
Ummm, it’s always a tough one. I think it always depends on which area of the country you’re in. I think sometimes it always changes my judgement a little bit. This year we’ve opened with a song called ‘All Your Friends’, and we always try and go big for our first song as it always sets the tone, it sets the mood of the room, and you can tell how well the gig’s going to go. So I think song number 1 is always going to be our favourite, it’s all downhill from there!!
Obviously live music can’t happen in its usual capacity this year, so did you guys ever struggle to maintain fan engagement with the lack of live gigs?
I suppose it’s kind of hard to say. We tried our best and we got on that train of what everybody’s doing on social media, so I feel like we put a lot of work into stuff that we feel like other people aren’t doing, but it’s hard to tell. It’s hard to tell how much of that goes noticed. I don’t think it’s something we ever let get us down. We make sure that we manage to stay creative and we treat this as like a real full-time job. So as long as we are working and being creative and that, we’re trying not to take too much notice.
I know you’ve done quite a few covers over lockdown, including Bon Iver’s ‘Hey Ma’ (which you did an amazing job on by the way!). Which was your personal favourite cover to do?
Ah, thanks so much. I did enjoy that one. I think that was the first one. It’s a funny thing, especially at the start of lockdown [with]all these musicians you’d see and everybody was kind of saying, “right how do we make music from home?” It’s actually quite difficult, to be honest, I think that that one went down quite well. As a song, we love it, and I think taking a Bon Iver song could almost be an impossible task, so I’m glad you liked it!
Would you say that lockdown, and this period of this year, has inspired or hindered your writing?
I’d say 50/50, if I’m being absolutely honest. I think what’s important for me when I’m writing is to be experiencing different stuff and different emotions and be put out of my comfort zone, as much as I can be. I think the pandemic has kind of gotten a bit stale and mundane, so everybody’s been feeling the same way for a long time, and I’m not exempt from that. So I’d say certainly it’s 50/50, I think it’s something that’ll definitely be a positive outcome writing-wise for a lot of people.
Are you most excited to see a show or to play a show?
Well we actually played last weekend, with the Libertines in Newcastle, in one of those socially distanced shows. It’s a funny question, because we actually never really get to see gigs anymore, it’s one of those things you try not to complain too much about doing this, but it’s one of the big things that we never get to see shows, it’s always my own. So what was really nice about that was we got to play a show, on our little platform or whatever, and just watch The Libertines with the rest of the boys, and that’s like our favourite band of all time. It was a really special thing after so long, just away from the whole community, it was lovely.
If you had to pick just one thing, what have you missed most about live music over the past 6 months?
It’s probably quite a cliché answer, but I think there’s a real lack of adrenaline and music during this lockdown period. You can do your covers at home, and you can spend time on Instagram to try and stay connected with people, but I think there’s just a whole magic [missing], which was quite nice we managed to get that at our lockdown stream. We’ve obviously got our energy up and we’re all sweating and stuff like that, we could feel the performance was really starting to shine and have that connection with each other, so definitely that. That’s the magic of live music is, as cliché as it maybe is, definitely the one thing that I miss the most.
What can fans expect from The Snuts in the next year?
Well, we’re going to be releasing our debut record. I mean everytime we do it, and again, everybody’s the same, just so consciously putting out anything, or really planning anything, without any real fucking indication on when things are going to be back to normal. So we’re certainly going to be putting out a record. I mean, we put out the Mixtape and never got to tour it, so we’re so conscious of putting out our debut record and not being able to do it. So, certainly, there’s going to be lots of new music, and we have all our shows booked, they’re the biggest shows we’ve ever played. We like to think that we’re constantly trying to step it up and do more and go that extra mile, so just hopefully more of that, but you never know!
Buy tickets for The Snuts’ upcoming tour here, and listen to ‘Elephants’ below.