Monday, July 26, 2010

Interview: Snakepit

Snakepit are a new local band with a self-released CD out. The band features former members of EVERYBODY’S ENEMY, TOTAL TRASH, IN TIME and BORED STIFF. We did an interview live on air on Sunday July 25th, 2010. Interview by Stephe Perry.

Introduce yourselves and tell us what you do in the band.
D’Arcy (D): I’m D’Arcy. My voice probably sounds familiar because I co-host this show but I do vocals in the band.
Connor (C): I’m Connor and I do bass.
Koty (K): I’m Koty. I play guitar.
And who is missing out of this mix?
C: Rob is our drummer, he had to work.
Were you guys in any previous bands prior to SNAKEPIT? Or maybe you currently moonlight in other bands?

K: I was in a band called EVERYBODY’S ENEMY in Japan. I was in the band for six years. I was the guitarist.

And EVERYBODY’S ENEMY has had a couple of releases out right?
K: Two albums and lots of compilations.
What about the rest of you?
C: I haven’t been in many bands. I was in a band called the VACCINES when I was 14. We got to open for GANG GREEN when they came through.
That was alright. They were actually okay then.
C: They played “Alcohol” four times.
It’s a good song.
C: Since then, I was in a band called HANG YOUR HEROES.
D: You are in TOTAL TRASH.
C: Oh yeah. TOTAL TRASH is with Andy who used to play in BORED STIFF with D’Arcy, and Alican and Spencer. It is a great band.
I am glad it didn’t slip your mind. And D’Arcy maybe you can tell us how many bands you have been kicked out of? Just kidding. I know you were in BORED STIFF.
D: I have been in a couple of bands when I was 14 or 15 that aren’t really worth mentioning. They played one or two shows before splitting up, but in terms of the hardcore punk world I sang for BORED STIFF. That was almost a year ago since we broke up. Then me and Connor started a couple of bands, but they never really amounted to much. Then I played guitar for BLACK FAXES who are still together and are still a wicked band. They already had a guitar player and I was the second guitar player and they were fine with just one but I played a small tour which was about four or five shows with them. And around the same time I also sang for another punk band called MINIMUM WAGE, formerly known as BIRTH DEFECT and we opened up for UNRULED when they were here. They were pretty awesome but no longer play. Splitting my time between SNAKEPIT and then, and both bands being fairly similar it was kind of weird to front both so right now, I have just got the one band.
And Koty, I wanted to ask you about how you came to Canada? And then how did you come to find the punk scene?
K: I just checked the EYE Weekly magazine and found out about a show.
What was one of the first shows that you went to see?
K: I think it was NEGATIVE APPROACH. It was a great show.
How did you guys come to meet each other?
D: We were both at IRON AGE at the Poor Alex and then Isabelle from PICKED ON tapped me on the shoulder and said this guy is looking for a band and that he just moved here from Japan. This was at the time when me and Connor had been jamming with a couple of projects and couldn’t get anything going.
C: We did that for a while and it never took off.
D: And people kept dropping off and being added on and we couldn’t get a solid thing going and then when Koty spoke to us and we were like ‘fine we will just start our own band’. Then we started looking for a drummer. But, Koty, when did you move to Canada?
K: End of August. I was able to get a VISA so I came.
Was there a reason why you wanted to come here?
K: To start up a band!
Mission accomplished.
D: Before Canada, you were living in Australia. You left EVERYBODY’S ENEMY and then you moved to Australia for a year and then went back to Japan, saved money, then came here with your guitar.
I wanted to ask you what the idea of the band was when you first started?
C: We wanted to do something fast and heavy and mix a lot of our influences.
D: Yeah. Me and Connor were open to a lot of ideas. When we were jamming we tried a whole bunch of different styles of music. We had jammed with a whole bunch of different people. There was a D-Beat band and there was a punk band and then ultimately him and I were just happy to do anything. We worked pretty well together. No matter what if Connor finds somebody he will get me to sing and if I find somebody I will get him to play bass. So when we met Koty we knew that Koty would be the captain of this ship. He is leading us in whatever direction. We have been able to incorporate all of our influences and stuff but ultimately it comes down to Koty’s guitar playing sound. When it came out of the amp the first time we heard it, it was different. It had it’s own unique sound and that was the SNAKEPIT sound. Since then we have been trying to incorporate a lot of different things but ultimately it is CAREER SUICIDE and a lot of Japanese influences. There was no set path it was just like lets make this a wicked band. Koty led us there. He is our main influence.
I agree with what you are saying and I don’t want to take away from Connor and Rob who also play excellently, but I do agree that there is a unique sound in Koty’s guitar. I have an idea of what it sounds like but I am curious to know what you hear. When I listen to it I think of the FEEDERZ and DEAD KENNEDYS without the emphasis on surf. I like that better because I would love to hear what the DEAD KENNEDYS would sound like without the surf end. You also play solos and they are really trebly and high end and the gnash chords so that there is a grit sound. I love how it sounds . Is that the idea? Am I missing the point?
C: No. I always have that same feeling from his tone. Koty will spend so much time trying to find a tone at the beginning of every show.
Koty, who are your influences?
K: I love rock and I love heavy metal and I have been inspired by that music. My sound comes from that.
Are there bands from Japan that you draw influences from?
K: Many bands. EVERYBODY’S ENEMY, LIP CREAM, VIVISICK, and many local bands.
You were telling me that LIP CREAM are doing a reunion show.
K: Yeah.
There seems to be a fascination in North America with LIP CREAM. What about the rest of you guys? Who do you credit as influences?
C: I am a huge BLACK FLAG nerd. I like Dukowski.
D: Probably my favourite vocalist is Chris Colohon who is now in BURNING LOVE and was in the CURSED and the SWARM and LEFT FOR DEAD. He has these really great primal and guttural tortured screams. They are really emotional. That is what I try to carry across in my vocal performances. Be as emotional as possible. Instead of just screaming the words be able to have feeling behind it. But our band doesn’t sound anything like CURSED or BURNING LOVE. We are a lot closer to a band like the SCHOOL JERKS or something. It is sort of a blend of both. Incorporate the lighter punk sound but my voice is a little bit deeper than that. I think it creates a unique sound.
If you had to limit your collection to five punk releases as a band what would they be? This is a reflection of your sound. If you were trying to describe your band to somebody who has never heard you.
C: First I would say CAREER SUICIDE just because it is the fast rock 'n' roll sound.
D: Being a local band that Connor and I grew up seeing every single one of their shows -They are a big influence.
D: Yeah the fast elements.
D: Kody loves metal. Not so much in our sound.
K: DS-13.
D: You were saying before in the zine that we sound like DS-13.
Yes. I said that.
D: I would say VIOLENT ARREST for me.
The reason why I said DS-13 is because one of your songs reminded me of a MINOR THREAT song.
D: That is an obvious one. Connor and I are MINOR THREAT fans.
Have you played many shows yet? If so who have you played with?
C: The last show we did was in Oshawa with a couple of local bands.
That’s one show. Last week we announced five or six.
C: The first couple of shows were not in venues. We played two kitchens, a basement, a ballet studio. The first show we did we played after the OMEGAS at Rancho. I took a stage dive and hit the floor and my whole face was swollen up. It was ridiculous. It was a fun show. I whipped an orange into the crowd.
D: And Rob Ferraz was there taking pictures. DEATH IN CUSTODY played that show with SICK ERROR, BAD SKIN, BIRTH DEFECT.
C: The next show was with BOTTOM FEEDER. That was at another house.
D: We played with the CHRONIC at the BroHaus. Then we played the Ballet Studio third.
Was there a show with a band from Montreal that tried to bogart the show?
D: It was our very first show and I forget who that was. Then we played Turdfest. My friend Danielle threw that at the Ballet Studio - That was great! Actually, that was the first show I ever played with MINIMUM WAGE too, We played with a bunch of great weird noise bands and the promoter Danielle’s band JOHN MILNER YOU’RE SO BOSS who were awesome. We played with INDUCED LABOUR, another female fronted noisey weird band. I think in total we have played eight shows now. We were supposed to play with LIBYANS at Siesta, but they couldn’t cross the border.
C: We just played with LAST LAUGH and KILLS AND THRILLS at Siesta. Both those bands were really, really good.
D: KILL AND THRILLS did “Ace of Spades”. And sometimes when a band pulls out a really famous song like that it is such a drag, but it was great. They nailed it. It was awesome.
How long has SNAKEPIT been together for?
C: We started jamming in November.
D: I met Koty on Thanksgiving weekend 2009 and we started jamming. Our first practice was around January 2010. We had a hard time finding a drummer at first. Then we found ....
Rob: I was eating with Ed and we were at Sadie’s Dinner and Rob was washing dishes and I talked to him because I remembered he played in IN TIME. That was in November. Then we played our first show in March.

So you also have a recording that you have done. A 7 song CD self-release, which has got incredible packaging. Can you tell us about when that was recorded? I am impressed with how quickly you guys have moved.
D: I think we are impressed with ourselves. Things are moving really fast.
C: We have been hustling. That recording we did with Jonah from FUCKED UP/CAREER SUICIDE. We did that in March, recorded before our first show, because we were trying to get CDs ready for our first show.
Well going into a studio often helps get the songs down so you must have been raging. You had been practicing in a studio for hours and hours on end. Punk bands don’t get the luxury to do lots of practicing.
C: I find that this band records fast. It is usually done in one take.
Except for when you recorded in Studio 3.
D: We did that 7 song EP in three days at the FUCKED UP / CAREER SUICIDE / ENDLESS BLOCKADE jam space with Jonah Falco.
How many did you make of this?
D: We made 25 copies and then we did another 50 later on. My brother did the layout.
How did this come together?
D: I was looking for a unique way of packaging the CD just so that it was more of a memorable release. When you buy a record, there is more to it. There is something to look at. There is a lyric sheet. It’s worth more for your money. You appreciate it a lot more than just a blank burned CD. So I wanted something like that, so I found this really nice way of making the cover. It was a you tube video for a homemade CD case. I copied the idea and changed it a little bit.
It is a self-contained piece.
D: It is one piece of paper and you put the CD in the middle of it and it folds around the paper and comes open on the other side.
It kind of opens like a flower.
D: Exactly. So we had the lyrics on the inside and the credits and the songs titles on the outside. Ryan Walker from RAH is a professional photographer and he is amazing and he did some promo shots for us. We put those on the outside cover. The artwork was done by Zukk Ozakai, drummer for the band ASPIRIN, who is Kody’s friend from Japan.
That is the artwork we see in full colour on your myspace site.
K: Yes.
It is black and white on the CD but it looks even more amazing on the site with full colour.
D: Yep. We did that, my brother put it together and it was 7 songs, 15 minutes. And actually now it is supposed to be pressed as a 7”. It will be out in a couple of weeks time.
Did you print the cover because they look like they are printed? And how did you cut those?
D: We hand cut those. That was a laborious process. I went to Staples and got that done.
It’s a bit like punk origami.
D: Yeah. Now it is coming out as a 7” on How Much Art Can You Take who did the HERPES 7” and a couple of other wicked records. It is a small label out of Dayton, Ohio. James from DAMAGES/VERMIN RITES runs it. He is also in a couple of other bands. The packaging will be in full colour. There is even a back cover to go with the front cover. Zukk also drew it. It is us hanging.
C: It was going to be people hanging from a pit of snakes and then D’Arcy had this idea that all the people hanging would look like us. I was like ‘that sounds stupid’. Then he did it and it turned out cool. It is tough to get their likeness but he did it. He is really good!
D: So the front we have got this guy fighting snakes in full brilliant colour, on the back is all of us hanging from rope dangling towards this pit of snakes who are about to eat us.
C: Koty is cutting his stomach with a samurai sword.
K: Traditional society in Japan.
D: He doesn’t want to die dishonourably.
K: I cry in the picture but we don’t cry!
C: Snakes never cry!
BORED STIFF reminded me a lot of SSD so it is appropriate that this comes out on a label called How Much Art. I don’t think that should be lost. I saw another connection to another label, No Contracts Just Trust.
C: That is Tory from the CHRONIC. He is a good buddy of ours. We have played shows with him. It’s his label.
D: He is putting out our full length.
Do you have a full length’s worth of material?
D: We are working on it.
You had seven songs on the CD and you recorded ten songs tonight. That is three more songs.
D: The original demo was never intended to be pressed as a 7”. That was a lucky fluke that he wanted to do that for us. Then we are doing a compilation with Chris Colohon’s label High Anxiety 416 with all the other Toronto bands on that.
C: Who else is on that?
C: We recorded one, and MOLESTED YOUTH is on it.
C: INEPSY is on it. This is a Montreal / Toronto comp.
D: The OMEGAS are on it.
C: It is pretty stacked.
D: URBAN BLIGHT is on it. SLOBS are on it. NAUGHTY GIRLS. There is an unreleased BAD CHOICE song on it.
Do you know the name of the comp?
D: City Limits.
Will it be on vinyl?
D: Yep. LP. One side is all Toronto bands. One side is all Montreal bands. Check out the High Anxiety blog -
I was going to ask you about song titles. You have some interesting song titles, like “Hipsterectomy”, which is a favourite of mine.
C: We are a big fan of puns.
You have a song called “Hogtown Blues”. “Snakes Never Sleep”. “Kill John Mayer”. Some interesting song titles so tell us about some of your songs.
D: “Hogtown Blues” of course Hogtown being Toronto. The song is all about living in Toronto and the things I hate about Toronto. The lyrics mention everything from the smell and the dirt and how shitty it is. The chorus is “piss, puke, blood and cum, rats, shit and yuppie scum”. The other half of the chorus is “One more condo, one more mall, hopeless, endless urban sprawl”. I mention that there is more Tim Horton’s than high schools. The “Hogtown Blues” is everything from gentrification to everything being dirty and smelly. I have lived here my whole life. You get sick of it, as much as it is home and you love it. “Kill John Mayer” is directly influenced by a Bill Hicks comedy routine. Bill Hicks is an amazing comedian. He has this bit where he goes “if you are going to kill somebody have some fuckin’ taste about it.” He said all the good men in the world were murdered, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus Christ and John Lennon and yet WHAM and NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK still exist. How come no one kills those assholes?
C: You would have to rank Bill Hicks and Indiana Jones up there with all our musical influences.
D: And “Ghostbusters”! Those are big external influences.” So “Kill John Mayer” was directly related to that.
That sample on the CD with the guy talking to his girlfriend about the records, was that from “Diner”?
D: Yes it is!
It’s good you use samples. It reminds me of the way SPAZZ used to do intros to their songs.
D: There might be a sample on the album.
C: They are going to be shorter!
D: They are not going to be on the 7”. That one that Rob is talking about from “Diner” is more than half the track! If you are watching a progress bar on a digital player, more than 3/4s of the song is the sample and the song is less than a minute! But the song is about Siesta Nouveaux and going to shows. The first line is “Saturday night in the pit. Loud as hell and smells like piss.” The whole thing is about going to shows and being a part of hardcore and how that is sort of my favourite thing to do. There is nothing I like better than being at a show and hanging with my friends and playing these songs. It is just about how much I like records and hardcore.
What is your favourite song from a lyrical standpoint and why do you like it?
D: Probably “Records”.
Just because it expresses your love for hardcore I suppose.
D: That song was written specifically with Siesta Nouveaux in mind. When we played our fourth show there and we played that song it was Saturday night. It was a cool moment because …
…you were living it.
D: Yeah. Other songs are about the economy collapsing and peak oil and what will happen when that industry collapses and we’ll be in a stone age and stuff. There is “Hipsterectomy” and “Kill John Mayer”, which is about how much I hate popular music and how I can’t stand people trying to actively be cool instead of being themselves. “Records” is my favourite song because its simple and it is the most true feeling of any of the songs. You can say Toronto sucks but it is also home. The other things are terrible but I am not directly connected to them. But “Records”, this is our life. This song is about being in a mosh pit, it’s about having fun with your friends. When people hear these songs that’s where you are. It is Saturday night and you are in the pit. It is loud as hell and smells like piss. “‘Out of tune but I don’t mind / I’ve seen the same band twenty times”. That’s why it is my favourite song.
What about the rest of you. Do you have a favourite song from a lyrical standpoint?
C: I like “Crossing the Rubicon”. I think you did a good job with that one.
Do you know what the song is about?
C: From what I gather it is about being broke and alone. I like it because it is different.
Is that the one where you start speaking at the beginning?
C: Yeah.
D: It is real slow. It is completely different from all the other songs. That one is also super honest. “Didn’t eat today didn’t sleep last night.” That came to mind because I went “Where am I right now, and what is going onto me right now?”. Well, I hadn’t eaten that day and I hadn’t slept the night, alright, start there and go forward!
K: My favourite is “Records” which is the same as D’Arcy because the lyrics are totally his life. It is his experience. It really cheers me up.
It is an expression of our life and mostly we don’t get to see our life of punk or hardcore is not represented in mainstream media or any kind of media. It is absent.
C: Or falsely represented.
D: Those punk hooligans wrecking everything!
So to have an honest expression of it is refreshing.
D: Not that I won’t write another 50 songs like this but there is a ton of songs about how much the world sucks. The other six songs on that recording are all about that. I haven’t heard a song about how awesome a moshpit is in a long time. Lets write a song about that. That’s where you are when you hear the song anyways. There is nothing better to sing about.
I wanted to ask you about the band’s plans for the next little while. What do you have coming up? There is some bigger plans in the future but also I think the band might expire soon.
D: The band will be together forever.
Tell us what your plans are for the next little bit because you are going to be going to the States this week.
K: Hopefully.
With or without a drummer. Maybe you need a drummer.
C: We need a temporary one week drummer. If you want to come to the States and have a lot of fun.
D: Rob, who is not here tonight, is stuck at work next week. We have all these shows planned and now we don’t have a drummer.
Maybe he should call in sick. Ed said maybe his grandmother just died.
D: Friday we are supposed to play Chicago. Saturday we are playing in Dekalb, Illinois. Sunday and Monday shows have been cancelled. We are still trying to scramble for a show in Michigan. The rest of the week is all confirmed and ready to go. Tuesday we are playing in Indiannapolis at the Hooserdome. It is a brand new venue. It is the first show they are having there. There is a vegan potluck. We are playing with INDIANNAPOLIS FOREVER and RELIGIOUS POLICE. Wednesday we are playing in Pittsburgh at the Mousetrap. Should be awesome. Search on google. There is wicked pictures of shows on there. Thursday we are playing in New Brunswick, New Jersey with GDP. It will be there tape release. Friday night we are playing in Brooklyn at the Stolen Sleeves house with five other bands who I can’t remember right now. Some of them are crusty and D-Beat heavy. It will be a good mix. And then Saturday we are driving home and playing in Welland. The venue is up in the air. It is the Hardcore Olympics summer fest. Every good band from the area is playing. BURINING LOVE and COLISEUM are on it. RAH’s first show in a long time. DESPERATE TIMES are playing. CAN’T STAND is playing. Shane who plays in SOUND ASLEEP had the show booked at his high school, but it has fallen through for some reason.
We have also talked about the records that you have coming out so we don’t need to go over that.
D: After tour we come back and play Toronto at the Smiling Buddha and the Bovine Sex Club with BLACK FAXES and LOATHESOME. After that we are finishing our album. The 7” will be out at the end of August. Then we will work on the LP. That is about half way finished now. That will be out on No Contracts Just Trust. We will have a record release show for that. Then in November…
K: …you are coming to Japan.
D: And who are we playing with in Japan?
K: November 20th we are playing with DAMMIT HONEY. They are planning the event. This show is in Tokyo at a place called the Flat. November 21st I am organizing the show. I have invited some great bands like VIVISICK and DEEP SLAUGHTER. They are amazing. GRIND SHAFT, EVERYBODY’S ENEMY, HORSE AND DEER, and someone else who the drummer used to play in Toronto about 8 years ago with the ENDLESS BLOCKADE.
I remember meeting him. He recorded on one of their EPs.
K: We might play in Nagoya on the 22nd and the 23rd in Osaka. I am asking a band called CxAxPx. No shows on the 24th or 25th. On the 26th we might play with TOTAL FURY, but we are not sure. On the 27th is A.O.W.. On the 28th I asked EVERYBODY’S ENEMY to do a show. AGGRESSIVE DOGS have been around for 25 years and they might be playing.
That’s a pretty big deal. That’s a lot of dates. You better save up your money because you are going to find sick records over there and then you are going to cry when you can’t afford them.
D: American tour Friday. When the 7” comes out we will do a party here. We will play some local shows. Work on the LP. Do an LP show before we go in October. Then we will play Japan. I don’t know what is happening after that!
I just wanted to get some of the details down about the Japanese tour because that is a pretty big deal. I don’t know too many bands from here who have gone to Japan.
C: It is an opportunity that you can’t say no to. How many bands have a guy from Japan who walks in and just starts playing guitar?
The ENDLESS BLOCKADE had a drummer and I don’t think they went to Japan. It doesn’t happen even if you got members from Japan.
D: We say it a lot but we also get compared a lot to CAREER SUICIDE because we are fast and fun and they went to Japan. I have their Japan tour T-shirt that they sold here in Canada. And Jonah recorded us. To have this connection to CAREER SUICICDE and then to go to Japan just like they did is kind of cool too. That is the only other band I can think of that went there from here.
What is the best way for people to get in touch with the band?
C: Myspace. We put up a blog today.
D: We just started a new blog that people can follow and read. It is going to be more personal an interactive and open then the facebook or the myspace page. The blog will be our main thing. It is So if you already have a tumblr blog you can follow us. Everything we post will show up in your feed. We will be writing a tour diary of every show we play next week. Every night from Dekalb to New York City. We will post up pictures. The myspace page is We have a facebook account that if you search snakepit you should find it.

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