XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Ben: We are very excited to be returning to Europe for a two week tour covering the UK, Belgium, France, Germany and the Czech Republic starting on April 23rd! We are fortunate enough to cap the tour off with playing Deserfest in London. When we get back to the states we will be releasing a split 7″ with our friends Aseethe on Hand Of Death records. We should have vinyl copies of that ready for the Doomed & Stoned festival in Chicago on June 1st, which is very exciting. Following that we head back into the studio to record our second full-length.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Ben: We’ve been playing shows and releasing records for 3 years as Snow Burial. We’ve all been in a million projects before this.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Ben: We’re all passionate about playing music and a loud metal band is our favorite way of doing that. We’ve all been in bands since we were kids and we would love to keep playing well into “retirement”. This particular band was born out of a collective hunger to play shows and make records we were really proud of. Separately we had been in projects around Chicago that couldn’t keep the ball rolling for one reason or another.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Ben: I cut my teeth on a diet of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and delta blues as a child. As I grew older the Melvins, Ministry and (of all things) Dave Brubeck had a big impact on how I wanted to write music. Then along came Napster and the whole crazy world opened up…
Brandon: I grew up around a lot of Clapton, Springsteen, Paul Simon, Elton John and Motown. In high school, I got really into bands whose drummers I was a fan of (Ben will touch upon that later). When I first heard Russian Circles’ EP and Isis’ Panopticon, I realized metal could be slow and beautiful, and have been chasing that ever since.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Ben: A world in which beauty is menacing. That said we can’t take ourselves too seriously. Between embracing someone on Reddit calling us “hipster doom” and calling ourselves “party sludge” I wrote that previous line with a smirk. We all love creating haunting, pretty and crushing metal but we’re undeniably having fun.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
Ben: Book the next big tour, get onto more awesome festivals and release our new record with a label that really embraces our music. Keep playing with kick-ass bands like Aseethe, The Gorge, Druids, Scientist, Primitive Man, and Inter Arma 🙂
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Ben: We are working to make music our full-time gig in whatever way we can. Right now we all have careers that thankfully work well with being in a band but we are most passionate about making and performing music.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Ben: Really it’s both. If I just wanted to play for a live audience I could scratch together a living as gigging musician, but my heart is really in performing the music that I write.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Ben: The last record was about living through an apocalypse and and using that metaphor to convey what we thought was coming for the world. Sadly it seems like a lot of that (and a LOT of satirical writing *Orwell*) came true and the last couple of songs have been about exploitation. I am more comfortable writing relatively abstract lyrics but the past two years have been hard to live through and not become more direct.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Ben: Last year we managed to find time between shows to make a pilgrimage to Stonehenge, because Spinal Tap. While there we were all pretty giddy about seeing the ancient and mysterious structure and asked someone to take a picture of us as a band. They agreed on the condition that we would do a dance for them. Of course we said “yes” and only later did we ask what it was for. Turns out it was for a state-sponsored tourism video for Singapore. They had sent a very nice young woman to England to make a video about touring the country and she was getting people to do a silly dance all over the place. So somewhere in Singapore when their citizens are learning about England three goofs from Chicago do a dance in front of Stonehenge.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Ben: One fan asked Andrew to do scissor kicks on stage once
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Ben: Luckily, yes.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Ben: Eve was one of the first songs we wrote together and it’s stuck with us. We play that one a lot live. It’s fun to play and the crowds react well to it.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Ben: When I was a child my mom was in a Swedish folk singing group and my dad’s best friend is a touring blues musician (Chris Smither) so I grew up around live music and just always wanted to be a part of it.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Ben: Right now it’d probably be with the Melvins and Russian Circles. They’re both amazing to watch live.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Ben: Getting back to Europe for a second tour. Prior to that it was getting over there a first time.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Ben: I currently work in IT when I’m not playing shows, working on making “the cloud” an actual usable thing.
Brandon: I currently work in the Emergency Department. Much like a rock band, it’s also very exciting and rewarding.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Ben: The two pieces of gear I cannot live without are my Electrical Guitar Company baritone guitar and my Fuzzrocious Demon pedal. I have changed pretty much everything else out at one point or another, or had to borrow gear, etc but if I have those two I can put on a crushing show pretty much anywhere. If it’s working my ’73 Orange OR120 is my dream amp.
Brandon: Big cymbals and big drums. Currently a Ludwig Bonham vistalite kit.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Ben: In Chicago there is a huge amount of talented bands who do not get enough love and attention. Metal just doesn’t seem to be as cool with the kids as it used to be. That said, when bands start to get rolling there can be some great results if they keep it up. We’ve been lucky enough to play with some absolutely incredible musicians in dive bars all over the US and UK whether it’s in front of a packed house or just the other bands and the bartender. It’s very inspiring.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Ben: Our drummer absolutely LOVES Dave Mathews Band.
Brandon: Carter Beauford is an amazing drummer, that’s all I’ll say about that…oh and Under The Table and Dreaming and Crash are amazing records 😉
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Ben: Melodic, rhythmic, and brutal. Somewhere between Neurosis, Cult of Luna, Mastodon.
Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Come see us in Europe at Deserfest or at the Doomed and Stoned Fest!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!
Ben: Of course!
Snow Burial Is: