Photo by Charlie Simmonds
Just a little over a year ago Fort Wayne’s The Snarks dropped their first E.P., the ominous sounding Night At Crystal Beach. From the title it could’ve been a live action Disney flick from the 70s starring Ike Eisenmann and Betty Davis, or a Judy Blume book. It was neither. Night At Crystal Beach was a fun and full-throated bark of an album filled post-punk jabs and hardcore punches that you had to listen to at least three times in a row in order to get your fill. Well almost a year later The Snarks are back with their second EP titled It’s Like…Carpe YOLO, Man(say that three times fast.) This time around the band is tighter than ever, with an even great expanse of sound and style. The punk is more aggressive and the dreamier, atmospheric moments are even more lost in the ether.
I sat down to pick the band’s brain about the new EP and how their songwriting process works.
J. Hubner: So how are things going in the Snarks universe? How’s the last year been?
Dan Kinnaley: Things are going well. We’ve been busy playing shows locally and have spent some time on the road playing in Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, and Dayton. When we aren’t out playing shows we’re writing music.
J. Hubner: Tell me about the new EP, It’s Like…Carpe YOLO, Man. Where did you record it?
Dan Kinnaley: We recorded the new EP with Jason Davis at his place, Off The Cuff, here in Fort Wayne. His studio is all analog which suits our sound perfectly. Recording straight to tape forced us to really nail our parts, since it’s a lot harder to go back and “fix it” when computers aren’t part of the process.
Bart Helms: We’ve wanted to work with Jason since day one, and not just because of his gear. You get the sense that he cares as much about the sound and your performance as you do.
J. Hubner: I have to ask, where did you guys come up with the album title?
Kendra Johnson: The album title is the most annoying phrase I like to say all the time to agitate friends. Punctuating it properly to be said the way it was intended is the icing on the cake.
J. Hubner: And who did the artwork for the EP?
Kendra Johnson: The album artwork was done by Jennifer Story. After seeing her art at different shows and events over the years we thought she would be great at making her interpretation of a snark.
J. Hubner: Well the EP sounds great. The band sounds as tight as ever. How often do The Snarks get together to practice and write?
Dan Kinnaley: Thanks! We try to get together at least twice a week and most months play two or three shows so we get a lot of opportunities to play together. The sound on the record is a result of all the practice and shows, as well as the analog recording which really did make us focus on playing everything as tight as we could.
J. Hubner: Is the songwriting process similar to what it was with Night At Crystal Beach? What inspired the writing this time around?
Dan Kinnaley: The songwriting is still collaborative. We all bring ideas and jam on them making tweaks and changes to the arrangements as a group. On ‘Night at Crystal Beach’ we were writing songs inspired by our favorite punk, surf, and rock and roll records, most of them from the 70s. Those influences are still there on Carpe YOLO, but I think now that we’ve settled in as a band we are just writing Snarks songs.
Bart Helms: Yeah, we’ve reached the point where no matter how much a new riff sounds like The Damned in your head, once you bring it to practice it’s going to come out like The Snarks. It’s a weird process to view from the inside. People have said they can’t tell who plays which guitar part, for example, and to us that’s baffling. Listening to us individually, Zach and I couldn’t be more different, but when you blend it all together, it’s just The Snarks.
J. Hubner: The release show was back in February. How did that go? Who else played that night?
Dan Kinnaley: It was nice to see so many people come out to the Rail for the release show. We played the new EP from front to back, and followed it up with all new songs and a cover of Psycho Killer by The Talking Heads. Our friends Heaven’s Gateway Drugs and The Meatflowers shared the bill with us and they both played amazing sets.
J. Hubner: What’s the rest of 2016 hold for The Snarks?
Dan Kinnaley: We’re going to try and play out as much as we can, and are currently working on writing a full length.
Keep up with everything Snarks-related at thesnarks.com. And check them out live on April 9th at CS3 with Heaven’s Gateway Drugs.