INTERVIEW with Bryan Lee of avant-garde synth-pop duo Snuttock

INTERVIEW with Bryan Lee of avant-garde synth-pop duo Snuttock

Meet Snuttock; the avant-garde synth-pop duo made up of Bryan Lee and Christopher Lee Simmonds. Describing their sound, Snuttock says, “Playing the alchemist, the band melds the darker edges of synth-pop with industrial rhythms and the occasional ambient interlude to produce a diverse pathology of electronics.”

XS Noize caught up with Bryan Lee (vocals, piano, synthesizer) to find out more about how Snuttock got together, the source of the band’s unusual name, their musical influences, and the “wonderfully addictive drug” known as creativity.

How did Snuttock get together?

A purchase at Guitar Center! I walked in looking to buy a hard disk recorder, the sales guy told me to wait, and he'd go get “this guy who knows everything about this stuff,” that was Chris. Not knowing much of anything about recording (still don't), I talked him into stopping over and helping me get familiar with the (now prehistoric) Roland VS-2400 he had just sold me. We hit it off, and everything went from there. It wasn't until later that I found out he'd toured the US in the opening band (Thought Industry) for Skinny Puppy's Last Rights tour, played the percussion on Filter's platinum album Title of Record...

Who is in the band, and which instruments do they play?

That would be me (Vocals, Piano, Synthesizer) and Chris (Guitar, Bass, Drums, Synthesizer). Thanks to David Andler / Morphius Records, we were lucky enough to have guest musicians Ed Neenan (Guitar), Reggie Love (Trumpet), and Michele Bowman (vocals) perform on “Stay (Robot Mix)” as well.

Where did the name Snuttock come from?

Nothing exciting, I wanted a name that we'd have no trouble keeping. Our music attorney suggested we make up a name, so I combined two words I find amusing, Snafu and Futtock, and surprisingly, nobody had claimed that domain name yet!

Who is your favourite music artist?

Not sure I can answer that question; far too many to narrow down to just one; however, had you asked, “What is your favourite song?” that would be easier...” The Working Hour” by Tears For Fears.

Which musicians influenced you the most?

Other than a myriad of 80's artists, Chopin and Debussy for the emotion and colours in their music. I remember learning “La fille aux Cheveux de lin” in college and playing it repeatedly. I loved the chord voicing.

Which artists are you listening to right now?

Lately, it's been a hodgepodge of styles: Prefab Sprout, Chris Botti, Cocteau Twins, Lana Del Rey, ohGr...

What is your songwriting process?

I don't think I have one; sometimes the lyrics come first, and other times the music. One constant, though, for me, our best material germinates when I turn off all the synths and flesh out the song on a piano.

What was the inspiration for the remix of “Stay?”

Too many ideas to fit into one version. There's a third version (instrumental), with the Trumpet taking over the vocal melody that we're wrapping up now. That will be the third (and final) version.

What do you want people to take away from the music video?

We hope they enjoy it. Whether the music or music video, I try not to say much about the storyline or concept. That's for the listeners/viewers to decide for themselves.

How are you handling the coronavirus situation?

I've been very fortunate, and God blessed me with a job that transitioned seamlessly to work at home. The one puzzling part of working from home is that there seems to be less time for creativity. Musically, we've been working remotely with our engineer to rework a bit of unreleased material that will likely end up on our next EP.

Looking to the future, what’s next for Snuttock?

More music...more music videos...like a Hamster on a wheel, over and over. Creativity is a wonderfully addictive drug; ask any musician! Lastly, we want to say “Thank You!” to XS Noize for the interview opportunity.

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