We Interviewed the Snuts Ahead of Their Rough Trade Show

Photos: Gary Williamson
Interview: Faye Stacey
Friday 23 February 2024
reading time: min, words

We had the chance recently to have a lovely chat with the even lovelier Callum Wilson from Scottish indie band The Snuts to talk all things millennials, tours and being a happy artist...

Main Image (1)

The new album, Millennials is out on 23rd February, I’ve been listening to it and it's got a really upbeat feel.
So that was definitely the aim for the record. We’re kind of really focusing on just making something that kind of left people feeling just a little bit better about life. I feel like with the last record that we were almost too cynical and I think it kind of transferred to live shows. You know, people were really like they loved the songs and they loved, like bouncing and but it didn't feel as joyous when you were playing them. It felt like, you know, everything was a message, which there's always a place for and the time we were going through definitely needed some commentary, but it's just nice to kind of come out the back end of that. So to produce a record, that I personally feel that the overarching theme is joy and finding joy, be it mundane things or finding joy in situations and emotions you maybe couldn't process at the time. And then when you look back, you realise a situation that, maybe felt really bad at the time, actually carved you into the person that you are.  So yeah, it just felt really nice to kind of just have that behind us, have that feeling of joy and just let that seep through the music.

Yeah, definitely. I’m ready to be in a field with a beer in my hand jumping!
Definitely there was a feeling of touch and go in the music industry as well because it was such a, you know, it was such an industry that centred around mass gatherings of people, which at the time was obviously completely meant to be avoided. Then we found ourselves, because obviously artists have an urge to perform and fans have an urge to consume music. So we were doing a lot during lockdown just to kind of do anything we could to be playing.  We were going to do drive through shows. We done a gig with The Libertines. It was everybody on like individual scaffold podiums and it was really beautiful to see the resilience and the industry coming together and a way to soldier through such testing and unparalleled times. Ultimately, though, I can't lie, I'm so glad though that all that bullshit is done. I’m so glad we aren’t launching this album from scaffold podiums and I'm glad that we feel this release together and the energy can be in the room and everybody can just almost exist as one for the evening or however long that day, that festival, whatever you are at.  I'm so glad we are releasing that record now, because I think the energy of seeing crowds from this record will be like nothing you've ever seen before from The Snuts.

I have to admit, I’m new to The Snuts. My 16 year old son put me on to you and we are seeing you at Rough Trade next week. We’ve been listing to the new stuff and absolutely loving it!
You know, that's this is so nice that you say that because we've always kinda prided ourselves in having such a diverse fan base and like, you know, you see people, they'll be kids down the front, its a real mixed bag. So it's really good. Its great you and your son share that connection with our music and that's something you have and I take solace in knowing that when you create a track, when you make music, that you're not just making this three minute sound bite just to, like, exist on Spotify or whatever, you're making something to soundtrack people's memories to soundtrack people's lives and the fact you said that is so, so nice. 

Yeah there's nothing better than live music. Is there a tour planned? 
Yeah. So we've got to be over in the States in March and then we head straight from there to Australia and then we are back in Europe for the summer and we've got some UK festivals in the summer and then there’ll be a tour and it's just kind of getting stitched together right now towards the end of the year. So it will be like November, December, going to the end of the year.

Which festivals are you doing?
First of all Victorious, Truckfest, Tramlines, Ynot but then a big festival in Scotland, TRNSMT and we’ve really moved up the bill on that, so we're super excited. The main stage third from top, probably the biggest gig we’ve done. We are doing Kendal Calling too. Thats the first ever festival we ever played. We met our manager there. We met him like a few weeks before at a gig and he was like meet me at Kendal calling, he had all this information and was like you are definitely gonna want to join us. I remember we came off the stage like hot from our performance. It was a really full tent. It was just sheer adrenaline. So Kendal calling always have a place in our hearts

I saw the new album is now on the new label, Happy Artists what brought that change about?
Its  funny, the name Happy Artist actually comes from because the record label executive asked us once how we were feeling and we said we were quite happy. And he said, Well, there's nothing worse than a happy artist, because they are harder work, which is an interesting take. But it was just one of those sentences that really, really stuck with you.  Us and Warner were moving in totally different directions of what we wanted. Our goals, long term goal. Our strategy, every single thing. There was no argument, no shouting matches, we left the label super amicably. It reached the point that it was clear that the goals were never going align again. And then the label had a massive restructure and staff we had worked with no longer worked there, so it kind of got put to us, look this is that's just what's available, we understand it's a change in the terms.  So if you want to go your own way in your own way, if not, it's got to be in a while. But we had music and we had music sitting there for months before us and we were, you know, when you when you're sitting on a track, you're so desperate to release it.  But there's just so many things you need to line up. And they basically said they couldn't release again for however long. And we were like just imagine you've got your own marketing team. Imagine you were putting the record out yourself. Imagine you got an independent band that's what we need from you. And then when me and Jack got together, like, maybe we could just do this ourselves and then we took it to the boys. Jordan and Joe were both like, let's just leave them, let's go.

So we took it to them and we left. Then it wasn't like a big disaster. It wasn't really like a huge argument or shouting match, it was just kinda, they went one way, we went the other. But since just to shine a light on the kinda major label structure. Since we have released these tracks on our own, we have made more money from our music in six months than we made in four years with a major label, by a considerable amount. So It just kind of shows the structure if you're going to blow up and you're going be a massive pop star signing a major label and we were like, nah, not for us. That's got to be different. Unfortunately, unless you have that stratospheric range within a year or two, you are going to get churned up with the system. So you can leave for your own wellbeing or you can let the system strip you of everything. So we just decided it was time to leave. But yeah, super positive feeling good. We’re not quite ready to sign other artists yet, but we're hoping next year or the year after we've got a structure to the label and just really try and sign artists with the ethos of being a happy creative space, for people with kind of any thoughts and feelings openly any doubts or got a bit strategy or whatever. We hope to make that a space that is a bit honest. I imagine everybody wishes that at one point. I think every band try to start their own label. But you know, you've got to have that idea like dream that you kind of aim for or lifes just not worth it.

How long were you together as a band before you got signed in the first place? Was it quite a while or was it quite fast? 
Like ten years, I went to nursery with Joe and Jordan then met Jack when I was like 12, so we've known each other for years and we’ve been in a band since we were maybe like 15. Then we kind of stopped and started again. Then it wasn't until we released Glasgow on Demo that things started to heat up a bit. We got signed to Warner Records. Met them and they kind of came to a couple of rehearsals, realised they liked the songs and then from there signed. They always say that, you know, you have your full life to write your first record but then they want the next one in six months and they didn't really mess about when he told us he was like look when you put pen to paper, you've got to be ready to release two albums in 18 months. Basically we were like Yeah, we'll do that. And we done it. Done two albums in 18 months, and then almost as soon as we toured the second record, we started demoing again for the third record and then that, that kind of came together quite quickly. That was that was one of those classic we didn't really expect to make a record. Then there's half of a record there, then we parted ways with the label but they'd already told us that they thought the music was like the strongest music we've ever done. So that kind of gave us, not a bit of an ego, but it makes you back your own horse a bit, it makes you kind of believe in yourself a bit. So we had half that record in like eight months. 

I've been listening to the album this last week and I really love that. Very different to the other music!
That's good. I'm glad. The entire album was wrote with the intention I mean, all the good bits and none of the shite thrown in basically. So that was a huge, huge part of the record was, you know, trimming the fat, you know, adding sections and listening back over a couple of months, realising that you have to take them back out. So each song had that process so that you know, so in 2 minutes to three and a half minutes, then trimmed back down to two. So there was a lot that was quite nice about doing ourselves as well. That was no kinda deadlines to meet. It was everything was done on our own time with our own taste and just and amongst ourselves. It's just basically meant that the record's, in my opinion, is the purest form of, of us that you're going to get, hopefully, until we release the next one.

I was reading that you were recording it while you were in tour busses and dressing rooms and so forth. That must have been quite a nice thing just to sort of do your own pace while you were on tour without that pressure as well. 
Because we were on the road, you can hear the urgency in that record. You can hear a lot of the drums kind of came from samples sort of like loops, just top loops that so you can work in a lot faster beats than you were maybe used to, so just like moving out your comfort zone naturally makes the music move out of its comfort zone.  We got a good basis of the album written and recorded in Scotland. So there's actually a taste of home. Then we took it to Australia, Japan and America and down south as well, we were just we're just very active. And I think that you can really hear about in the record, you can really just hear like some friends having fun and just finding out about the world together.

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