I wouldn’t go out on a limb if I say that Red Snapper is one of the most under-appreciated bands in contemporary music. They have been delivering their intense, unique, always fresh but instantly recognizable sound since the early 1990’s and have an amazingly dedicated fan base (which includes yours truly). And yet they seem to be almost ignored by glossy magazines and flashy entertainment news media. Probably because they care more about music itself than its promotion. I remember picking up Making Bones CD while going through “Trip-hop” section in a record store just because I liked the cover art and the name (had a “snap” to it 😛 ). And I was hooked instantly and happily stay hooked until this day and try to get everyone I know hooked as well. This is how they gain their fans and isn’t this the most honest and respectable way to get your music promoted? And something else – they absolutely despise the term “trip-hop” and don’t want anything to do with it. Yet, here they are, on the pages of this blog, that humbly tries to change peoples perspective of what trip-hop really is. Hopefully, listening to such music phenomena as Red Snapper will help. Richard Thair answers some questions for trippin’ the rift‘s readers.
tipkin – You have been around for almost two decades now. What are some of the favorite moments from the past years?
Richard Thair – When we released 3 EPs on my label Flaw Recordings and then in two months got signed to Warp Records/EMI Publishing and got to play Glastonbury Jazz stage. Supporting Björk, Massive Attack and The Prodigy. Writing music with my best friends. Koktebel Jazz Festival… hundreds of people on a beach going crazy to us. Funding our own album and not being dictated to by the music industry.
t. – When the first releases came out, your sound was so fresh, so different from everything else that was around that time. Is it easier for you now – since you are a known and respected project, or is it harder, since people expect the same level of freshness and since there are lots of bands out there (many of them influenced by you) that are playing in similar vein?
R.T. – Good question… As musicians, we are always aware that there is someone better, younger and more exciting than us… That makes the live show more passionate and exciting.
What is in our heads is still as fresh and bent as it was 15 years ago, it is about not caring and using technology to work for you. You are only as good as your last idea… What is in your head and heart is what matters, the blues and jazz musicians proved that years ago and musicians are still copying what they did.
t. – Your sound definitely doesn’t fit in any particular genre boundaries, but you have been often associated with trip-hop. How do you feel about that and what is trip-hop to you?
R.T. – Trip-hop was a lazy category invented by a lazy journalist, our music has nothing to do with that kind of music. Think about what it means to you and then listen to our music!
t. – What made you want to re-form Red Snapper in 2007? What was the reaction from the fans and do you keep working on projects you had been working on during those years when you were apart?
R.T. – We missed each other, wanted to make film soundtrack music and realised there was still a ‘band’ sound there… We should never have stopped making music for those years. Fans were elated. I have a new Toob album out, David [Ayers] continues to work with the BBC and Ali [Friend] is still modeling underwear.
t. – Let’s talk about the new album. I’m dying to find out what the Key opens! What should the fans expect?
R.T. – A step back to early Red Snapper… Rockabilly, surf music. Dark beats, real blues and sax… And of course twisted double bass. It’s about what we hear in our heads… Nothing too clever, just soul, passion and the coming together of four very unique musicians. The vocals are an added extra… The listener is the judge.
t. – You just returned from touring Ukraine and Russia and are getting ready to the European tour in May. How do people react to new material so far? Are you playing old stuff as well (I know fans want to hear their favorites)? I feel like you have a huge and dedicated fan base in Eastern Europe, particularly in Ukraine and Russia. What do you think is the reason for that? What are some of the best experiences from the tour?
R.T. – We are constantly shocked by the amazing support we get in Russia/Ukraine/Eastern Europe. As always the crowds are so passionate and supportive. I think we play 6-7 new tracks so far and they are all going down well… Some are already becoming classics… to us! It is wonderful performing tracks like “Architechtronic” with Ali singing and the crowds really getting behind us, it means so much to us. We still play plenty of old tracks – “Suckerpunch”, “Hotflush”, “Lagos Creepers”, “Get Some Sleep Tiger”… We love the way the crowd gets behind us with these tracks.
We have been really lucky to tour in Eastern Europe, I think we connect with the people in those countries because they are open, passionate and soulful, like our music. The Western approach is about over marketing and hype. All I can say is that our fans in Eastern Europe watch us and react to their hearts. Our music is immediate, simple and dark, maybe that appeals to peoples’ experience. Finally I would say that playing to these people has changed our lives in a fantastic way. Moscow, Ekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, Koktebel, Kiev, Kharkiv, Donetsk… the list goes on. 😉
t. – Are there any plans for an American tour? It’s weird but I feel like not that many music fans in the US are familiar with Red Snapper due to lack of promotion.
R.T. – No money but plenty of fans. ;(
Damn it, America! I demand Red Snapper!!!
When I asked to add whatever else they want to share (which basically my way of saying “Thank you for the interview, insert any promotional material here”), he said: “Just… Thank You to everyone that cares about us. We care about you!” I guess I’ll take promotion in my own hands and post their new video for “Loveboat”.
Red Snapper – “Loveboat”
You can preview the new album Key (I already did and it’s as good as you think it is) here and buy it on iTunes. And don’t forget to visit (and bookmark) their official website for more music, tour dates etc..