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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Burn The Empire is out now!

Image: Edward Cooke.

Scottish indie-rockers The Snuts recently shared their sophomore album, Burn The Empire. We caught up with guitarist Joe McGillveray to chat about the release, the evolution of their artistry, leaning into new sonic influences and so much more!

Arriving eighteen months after their acclaimed UK number one selling debut album W.L, the politically driven body of work sees frontman Jack Cochrane discusses the lack of mental health services across Britain and presents his thoughts on the impacts of corporate greed, poverty and the influence of social media. Thought-provoking lyricism runs rampant throughout, above blistering guitar melodies and driving percussion. The album also sees the four-piece expand their sonic palette, delving deeper into their indie-rock roots whilst introducing new sounds and influences.

Earlier this year, The Snuts brought their live show to Australia, taking to the stage at Splendour In The Grass. The band also hosted headline shows in Sydney and Melbourne, whilst also supporting Louis Tomlinson on the Sydney leg of his Australian tour.

Your new album Burn The Empire arrives seven years into The Snuts career. How do you think your artistry and approach to creating has evolved over this period into what we hear on the new album?

We’re always trying to get better as musicians and broaden our horizons, but yeah back at the start we would just play music in the room until it worked as a song. Nowadays we definitely have a more cohesive approach. I think we all try and take inspiration anywhere we can find it.

The record is quite a powerful body of work thematically, touching on themes of corporate greed, poverty, the negative impacts of social media, and the lack of mental health services across Britain. What prompted you to document these themes within your music and how important was it for you to do so?

It was never intentional, I think these conversations were just happening all around us when we were recording and it would have been more dishonest to avoid speaking about them. I don’t think we necessarily have the answers, but it’s hard not to talk about something that’s right on your doorstep.

You also push up against the sonic boundaries of your previous releases, introducing new sounds into the palette. How did you arrive at the sonic realm Burn The Empire exists within?

I think we used to be quite particular about the kind of sounds we would have on a record, these days though I think we’re more open to trying things. Also, sometimes chasing that perfect guitar tone or whatever can kill the momentum in a room. Sometimes it’s just best to ride the vibe and see what happens.

Which three songs off the record would you choose to play to someone who had never heard your music and why?

Pigeons - big drums, big guitar lines, massive vocals

Hallelujah Moment - riff heavy but with a bit of modern flavour

Yesterday - super intimate and personal, honestly one of my favourite vocals I’ve ever heard Jack do.

What’s one line, lyric or musical motif from the album you find at times can be stuck in your head, or one that you’re most proud of?

At the risk of being obvious, probably “Burn The Empire”. It was one of those one that, once it had been said, it was hard to move past. It’s just a powerful and evocative statement. It’s exciting and hopeful.

How did the album evolve throughout its creation? And did you undertake a particular process during writing sessions or does each song take on its own form?

You never really know what’s going to come out of a session when you go in. We were working with two producers we’d never met before (Coffee and Detonate) and everyone works to a different pace so you don’t know if your gonna be doing one song, or a couple, or are you just spitballing ideas around. But with this is felt like we were all on the same page, and that almost everything we were trying was working. It felt like we were a pit team. Every one of us with our area of expertise and the flow of everything was just super natural and carefree.

What are your thoughts on the album listening back to it now that it’s out in the world?

I’m super proud of it to be honest. I’m proud of everything we’ve done but something about doing this just felt important to me. With the first record, we took over three years to record it and it was by the time it was out a lot of felt quite distant. This time round felt more organic and direct.

You’re currently in the midst of a sold-out UK tour! What is in store for the audiences attending these shows?

The shows have been incredible. As a band, I don’t think we’ve ever enjoyed playing as much as we do now. All four of us are guilty of being over critical of ourselves on stage and that can start to get to you, but it feels like recently we’ve properly come into our stride and we’re loving playing music.

Have there been any songs from the new album that you’ve played so far where you’ve been surprised by the audience reaction, or not expecting particular tracks to get the reception they have?

Hallelujah Moment was a track that we’d sat on for ages in demo form. There wasn’t a great deal of belief in it and there were times when it hadn’t made the album, but now people go wild for it. I think it’s just the perfect jump-up-and-down tempo. We should probably make a note of that..

You recently visited Australia to play Splendour In The Grass and play with Louis Tomlinson in Sydney. Are you planning on returning to our shores for a headline tour off the back of the new album?

Splendour was awesome. I’d never been to Australia before and I’m fully sold on the place. We done a show in Sydney and one in Melbourne too so we actually got to see a little bit of the place. We want to get back down to you guys as soon as we can. I think Scottish people and Australians are quite a similar people. Probably due to our long, rich culture of swearing.


Biggest influences?

Changes all the time but going back it was The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys, Bob Dylan, Red Hot Chilli Peppers. These days though I get a bit of something out of everything.

Dream collaboration?

Bon Iver

Album that has had the most impact on you?

The first time I listened to Abbey Road blew my mind, I don’t think I’d ever saw an album as one piece of work and when it gets to the end and starts repeating lines for other songs it was a massive eye opener.

How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Really, really good.

Best song of 2022 so far?

Love of My Life, Harry styles. Unironically. Come at me.

If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

Jaws, but Limp Biizkit starts playing any time the shark shows up.

Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

The Climb is a banger but I like new gravelly Miley.

What was the first song you loved to sing/play?

The Importance of Being Idle by Oasis was the first song I could play all the way through, solo and all.

A song you would love to cover on tour?

Snoop and Dre, “Nothin but a G Thang”.

Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

I’ve got a mini ritual for sleeping on flights that includes listening to Bon Iver “22, A Million” so probably that

First concert you went to?

Wickerman Festival in Scotland with my mum and dad was the first I remember. I was like 9 or 10.

Best concert you have been to?

We saw Coldplay a few months ago. They catch a lot of negativity but it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

First album you ever bought?

D12 - D-12 World

Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?

For some reason my gut says Spice Girl.

Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?

It’s a really tough question because it feels like we’re always trying to step it up so some of the most recent shows we put on have felt amazing.

Go-to karaoke song?

Chris Isaak “Wicked Game

Guilty music pleasure?

All of it. I love artists that aren’t trying to be cool, that just lean right into the cheesiness of what they’re doing. The Darkness are a class example of that.

If you tour with any other artist, who would it be?

Dre and Snoop, it would make our cover really “pop”.

What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Knowing me, there’s no chance I’d take any advice from someone as arrogant as myself.

The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

I played Wild Thing at the school talent show along to a backing track when I was like 10. I had them in the palm of my hand. Once you’ve played to a crowd like that, you can never turn your back on it.

Burn The Empire is out now!


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