I’m not going to lie. When I first heard that Steve Snere, the vocalist of two of my favorite bands of all time, had formed a new electronic band, I groaned. In Kill Sadie and These Arms Are Snakes, Snere played a role in creating some terrific post-hardcore albums, so I expected the worse.
However, his new project Crypts (with Nick Bartoletti and Bryce Brown) absolutely shreds. A harrowing jaunt into Snere’s dark world, the self-titled Crypts comes out today on Sargent House. I caught up with the Seattle-based Snere via email for the following interview.
Geek: Crypts is a bit of a departure from These Arms are Snakes and Kill Sadie in terms of sound. Can you talk about what led you toward electronics?
Steve Snere: I have been playing in loud rock bands since I was 15. At the end of Snakes I knew I needed a change. In fact I think all the guys needed a change, which was a lot to do with us putting the brakes on the group. I either wanted to do something a bit more garage-y and loose or I wanted to do something more in the vein of Suicide. I guess it went more Suicide. It has been very liberating to work in the electronic realm because it gives me a lot more hands-on musical input then the guitar-based groups I have been in. I play drums but I have never been too good at melodic instruments such as the guitar I have tried. I have always had a large influence on all my bands with ideas, mood and structure and whatnot, but now I get to have the same input but directly affect the song with noise, samples and synths.
Mood-wise, Crypts does have a lot of similarities between your former bands. What draws you toward the dark side of music?
I think you can feel my presence in Crypts. I think the same gloom is felt in Crypts that has been in all my music. In fact it is probably a bit more in the forefront this time. I am super influenced by noir films and horror movies. David Lynch and more specifically Twin Peaks has always been a very big influence on me. Those kind of dark uneasy feelings just come natural. I think there is a lot of room to work in that “dark” element if you don’t pigeonhole yourself by being so blatant and over-the-top with it. Like (in) Twin Peaks there is room for sensuality, humor, terror and fear that can be played with. It also sounds way cooler.
I know you dabbled with light shows with These Arms Are Snakes. Can you talk about the aesthetic element Nick Bartoletti brings to the band?
Nick is an extremely talented person. Besides Crypts he is always doing art installations around town and working on videos and all sorts of other weird shit. The visuals we use are a mix between modern tools and the tools modern media has left in the dust. Nick has an analog modular synth that effects the visual patterns and color as well as computers, old 80′s VHS camcorders, TV monitors, surveillance cameras etc . It is also always evolving. We like to change things up and do different things depending on the environment we are playing in. For example we played with Crystal Castles at this 3,000 cap venue with a huge stage. So we went over the fucking top with it. We brought in three other visual artists and had giant screens set up. Nick and our other cohort Ben designed these 3D animated images that moved to the music. My favorite was the giant skeleton that puked more and more psychedelics the louder we got. On a side note Nick is also very involved musically. He plays synth and all sorts of other weird shit. He is not just a visual guy.
How has your songwriting evolved working with Bryce rather than a traditional guitar/bass/drums setup?
Crypts is more about mood then chops. The 3 of us usually just jam out for a while till we catch the right vibe then take it from there. Once a song is more or less written Bryce then spend 37 hours a day fine-tuning drum patterns and all sorts of other thing that I totally stay out of. Bryce is constantly working on shit. People always have something negative to say when it comes to electronic music but I for one can tell you that making music like we do takes a lot more time then tuning a guitar.
It’s kind of difficult to find any interviews with Crypts online. Have you been avoiding press until the album drops?
Not necessarily. We are a new band and haven’t been asked much for interviews. I have done a million of them with my last band so I suppose I am being a bit more picky about which ones I agree to do. Sometime they just get so monotonous that you feel like you are writing the article yourself. Not all interviews have such well thought out and informed questions as yours. Thanks for the good one!
Check out the track “Fancy” from Crypts here: