The Snowdroppers are a new four piece from Sydney. Taking their name from the 1920’s slang term for cocaine addicts they bring out a blend of 1920s blues with elements of jazz, punk rock and grunge to produce their very own lively and raw sound! They have recently put out their latest single Run you down, showing the video to fans through a special peep show. We caught up with Pauly K the band’s guitarist to ask some questions.
What inspired you to use the 1920’s slang term for cocaine addicts as your band name?
Someone found it in a book about the razor-gangs in Sydney at the time and we thought it was a cool name for the style of the band.
Where did you get the idea to show the video to your latest single Run you down via an online Peepshow?
Well we filmed that video almost two years ago I think(!) so I guess we needed some sort of gimmick to distract people from the lack of my beard and Johnny’s tattoos. I don’t exactly know why it ended up being called a peep show to be honest. It’s basically a mailing list type deal for fans who sign up. So don’t sue us if there’s less nudity than you were hoping.
Will you be premiering any future singles though a Peepshow?
No plans to do so at the moment. We usually just do things as a one off without repeating them. Except when it comes to chord progressions. Then all bets are off.
You delve into some dark themes in your music, where do you get your lyrical inspirations from?
Life and death, love and loss, rock and roll, the usual standards. I guess amongst the band members there’s fans of singers like Tom Waits and Nick Cave and John Darnielle and those kind of darker lyrics which still have a playful or humorous side to them. Then on the other hand a lot of our lyrics are just about girls and drinking.
What was it like to play gigs around the USA?
It was amazing, we got to play at South by Southwest in Austin, saw snow in New York City and went to a circus themed titty bar in Hollywood. One of the best parts I guess was there was far less driving involved than when we travel around Australia. We had a blast.
Your music infuses various elements of blues, soul and punk rock, is it hard to make the various elements fit together?
I guess like anything in music, it’s not exceptionally hard to fit them together, as they’re all based on the same sort of thing, but it’s hard to get them to fit together well, and get a good song out of it that doesn’t sound like a train wreck. Its something we’re constantly trying to figure out. But it’s a fun process.
Despite only starting a few years you’ve already gained a lot of acclaim, does this make you feel any pressure going forward?
I guess in some ways it does, but it’s not something we really think about that much to be honest. I mean we’ve just kind of been on the road non-stop since we started, so its just a case of keeping on, making sure you’re getting out there playing shows and putting in the hard yards. And trying to write good songs. Acclaim in itself doesn’t pay any bills.
As part of your band’s merchandise you have Showdroppers to do list underwear. Are they a big seller?
Snowdroppers underwear. They were selling quite well, yeah. We haven’t had any around to sell for a while at the gigs lately, for some reason or other. Maybe there was a strike at the undie factory. There’s probably a song in that. Probably not a very good one though.
About a year ago you pledged a challenge to do weird things if people requested your music, will we get to see these things done soon?
No, I think it’s important the public learns sooner rather than later that the Snowdroppers are not a band that can be relied upon to come good with their word. We’ve disappointed our parents, girlfriends, employees, countless times over the years, why should our fans expect any different? Also I don’t want to eat the eggs. So there.
What are your live shows like?
Usually both the audience and the band are reasonably alcohol fuelled (we can’t afford anything else at the moment) and ready for a good time. We have some great fans, truly. We also pride ourselves on putting together a decent line-up of bands if we’re the ones putting the show on. So at least if you end up vomiting incoherently on the lawn of Coogee Diggers or Bumfuck Leagues club whilst we’re playing, you’ve hopefully seen someone or something you like.
What advice would you give to any up and coming banjo players?
PRO TIP: If you leave your banjo in the passenger seat of your car you can legally park in the disabled persons parking spots.
Do you listen to your own music?
Usually when something’s recorded, I’ll listen to it a whole lot at first, and then put it away for quite a while. But we hear it all live hundreds of times a year at gigs and rehearsals! We put the album on in the van a while back for curiosity’s sake. I think we almost made it all the way through.
What music do you listen to?
Me personally, I listen to a whole lot of different stuff; whilst writing this I’ve got Sabbath’s greatest hits on. The Wizard just came on. We were actually thinking of covering that at one point cos of the harmonica/guitar riff thing. I like to go see a lot of local bands, anything from metal to indie-pop to surf rock, it’s all good, if it’s good.
You’ve been likened to bands such the Stray Cats and the Squirl Nut Zippers, do you think that is a fair call?
They’re both great bands, but I wouldn’t really consider us very much like either of them, except at a fairly superficial level. That was by one guy on his blog after seeing us at SXSW, so I can see how someone who hadn’t see too much of our kind of music before would use that as a reference point. He actually said we were “a little” like them but much more “punk rock”. Which is pretty cool.
What is planned for The Snowdroppers next?
Well, we’ve had a couple of months off traveling after we got back from overseas and Bluesfest, so we’ll getting back into it. We’ve got an extensive national tour in the works for later in the year. Record out second album. Playing at Blood Sweat and Beers at the Annandale is our next gig which should be a big messy weekend!