GIG REVIEW + INTERVIEW: Snake Eyes at The Loft
What's a better way to spend a Friday night than in the company of three punk-rock bands? We headed out to The Loft, Southampton on Friday (October 8th) to catch Brighton grunge trio Snake Eyes in the midst of their tour with punk legends Gender Roles - what an unmissable line-up! As if that wasn't enough, we got to chat with Snake Eyes before the show about their upcoming mixtape, Lovehate, out on November 19th!
Support came from Basingstoke's Buds. who promised an "evening of extensive face-melting" from the get-go - and they definitely didn't disappoint. Kicking off the night with vibrant pop-punk lashings, Buds. had mosh-pits erupting and hands thrown in the air for their singalong-worthy anthems. Already backed by a hungry fanbase yelling along, Buds. certainly gained some new fans as the crowd lapped up their nostalgia-dripped emo bops.
Our headliners were none other than Gender Roles, Brighton indie-punk royalty who unleashed spiky shredding on a ravenous audience who had been starved of these sweaty scenes over lockdowns. It's obvious that they've become the beloved kings of UK punk in recent years as the crowd sing word-for-word to songs like You Look Like Death and Dead or Alive. We were even treated to a few new unreleased songs that deliver monster riffs - keep an eye out for those in the near future!
At the heart of this lively night of rock raucousness, Snake Eyes claimed their place in the middle of the bill with their infectious slacker-rock. With drums thumping so hard that you could feel it in your chest, the trio thrashed out recent singles like Dig and Happy Pills, which featured on our Discovery playlist, with stellar harmonies from Jim (guitar) and Nicole (bass). Dreamy Another World delivered a psych-funk bassline and crashing cymbals, while pulse-quickening Wishbone hit the gas and opened up the pit. Upcoming single Scuttlebug was a definite highlight as the crowd truly lost their shit to its fuzzy hooks and sexy bass riffs, even though they'd never heard the song before! Ending on clear fan-favourite Skeletons, the room sang their hearts out, proving that while only 16 months into their careers, Snake Eyes have gained a loyal following who are eager to eat up whatever grungy noise rock the trio have to offer next. With their enchanting live ferocity and their irresistibly gritty indie-rock, Snake Eyes are ones to watch.
Covid restrictions and closed venues felt like a distant memory as the Southampton crowd never missed an opportunity to mosh, slamming their bodies together and raining beers from plastic cups - just what you'd expect from a punk-rock show. All three bands poured everything they had into their sets, and it was obvious that The Loft crowd couldn't get enough. Gigs really are fucking back, and it feels so good.
Before they were let loose on the stage to provide a set of high-voltage rock, we had the privilege of sitting down with Snake Eyes to talk touring, the new mixtape, and upcoming plans:
Hey, Snake Eyes! We're really looking forward to the show tonight. How did you get involved with touring with Gender Roles?
Thomas: Lovely Connor, who works for Big Scary Monsters, he used to co-run a record label that our old band were signed to. He set us up, like “Your band would be cool to play these shows, what do you reckon?” and we were like “Absolutely!”
It feels like a perfect fit! How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it before, and what would be the perfect entry point for someone to get into Snake Eyes?
Nicole: It’s like Nirvana, Blur stuff! And I reckon Skeletons seems to go down really well. It’s not my personal favourite, but I think that’s that crowd-pleaser.
Jim: What’s your personal favourite?
Jim: It’s our next single.
Since the Skeletons EP last year, what do you think has changed for you as a band?
Jim: Well, ‘cause we’ve been able to get out and play shows, it’s weird how playing all these songs live, it all changes from when you record it to when you get out to do it properly. Songs I didn’t like playing before, I love playing now. And some of the newer songs are really difficult to play! I think we really stepped up with these new songs, we definitely took more time. The first batch of songs were more like bedroom demos, but these new songs are much more collaborative.
Thomas: Being able to play gigs is the main difference. We had to do the whole first campaign without a single gig, which was crazy. And with now being able to see each other face to face, those are the two main differences. Not being on FaceTime to each other all the time.
So did you make that first EP in lockdown?
Jim: So before the lockdown, I’d written these songs, and me and Nicole were jamming them, we didn’t have a drummer. And then I went to record it and Thomas heard the recordings and asked to join.
Thomas: I think it was more like “Please play the drums for me!”
I would be excited too! How did you end up working with James?
Jim: Through our lovely manager, Kirsty.
Thomas: Kirsty and James are best mates, so she was like “That would be good, wouldn’t it?”. So we kind of did a couple things over lockdown, just to get acquainted. We did a couple of live sessions and he came along, and it was cool. So we went into the studio and did it for real.
You guys are based in Brighton, which has such a vibrant underground scene for emerging rock artists. How do you think that influences your sound?
Jim: There are a lot of good bands in Brighton, and I think before I moved there - ‘cause I’ve only lived there for about two years - I was really into Tigercub. They were definitely a bit inspo on my writing. And we’d played in our previous band with Gender Roles, so we knew them. Since moving there, there's SNAYX and CLT DRP, there’s so many cool bands doing good things. I just think people are hungry for new music, so for playing shows and getting a band off the ground, Brighton’s such a good place to do that. Just being around all the other bands that really want to do it, really pushes you to take it seriously.
Do you find that it can be a bit of a competitive scene because of the amount of bands trying to get out there?
Nicole: I never get the feeling. It kind of just feels like we’re all just mates and we’re all just egging each other on.
Jim: Very very rarely do we meet bands who are pricks. Everyone’s really nice because everyone’s trying to do the same thing.
Thomas: There’s a lot of venues so there’s a lot of room for bands to get involved. There’s literally 7 or 8 venues in Brighton that are less than 300 capacity, so there’s always room for bands to play.
You’re releasing your mixtape, Lovehate, next month on November 19th. What can you tell us about that?
Jim: I can’t believe that it’s next month! Our first single from Side B comes out later this month. The songs to come are different. They’re a bit grittier and a bit spiky-er than Side A.
Thomas: The vibes are more shaking your shoulders for Side A, and then banging your head for Side B.
Is that why the title is Lovehate, because it’s split into these two moods?
Jim: That wasn’t the reason to begin with. Some of the songs were sort of love songs, and some of them were bitter.
Thomas: We definitely split them off two ways. We had 7 songs and we wanted a round number, so we popped an extra song on the week we were going to the studio.
Jim: I wrote the lyrics in the shower the day that I had to record it. It was real last minute and it’s my favourite off the record. We’ll be playing it tonight and the single is coming out in a couple weeks!
Why have you gone for a mixtape rather than an EP or album?
Thomas: Album 1, it’s not time for that yet. Doing back-to-back EPs didn’t feel very exciting. So we wanted to do something that broke that formula a little bit.
Jim: We were sat on so many demos from lockdown. We just wanted to get more stuff out, because the more that we released at this early stage, the more that there is for people to get into. As soon as I find a new band and they’ve just got 5 songs, I’m like “I want more!”.
Thomas: By the time this record comes out, we’ll have released 15 songs in 16 months!
From the tracklist, you have some song titles in brackets - are there interludes?
Jim: So they’re little skits. They’re not full songs.
Thomas: We want you to lean in a bit more and make it different. It makes it feel like it’s jumping around. It’s all silly stuff, it’s not remotely serious at all.
When you look to the future of Snake Eyes, what do you see?
Nicole: Snake Eyes at number one! But really, it’s really fun just supporting bigger bands, I enjoy it a lot.
Thomas: I’d say touring the States, and playing Brixton Academy.
Jim: I think something we’re really conscious of as well when we’re looking at playing shows is that there’s a mixed bill, that there’s gender diversity. We want to make sure that we’re not just playing with all white men every fucking night. We’re always checking out the other bands and seeing who’s on the bill before deciding if it’s something we want to do.
Thomas: Every single bill so far has had diversity.
Jim: It seems like a no-brainer to have more females in rock, or in any music, really. That is something we really want to see.
Besides the Lovehate mixtape, what can we expect from you?
Jim: We’re going to Europe! We’re going with Weakened Friends, who are another Big Scary Monsters band. We’re going April-May in 2022. Before that, we’re touring with WACO in November. And with this record, we’ll be coming out with new videos.
Thomas: Just a lot of shows really! We’re uncaged, we’ve got about 50 gigs in the calendar.
Wow, that must be exciting! Thank you for chatting with us and we can’t wait to see you tear it up on stage tonight!
Nicole: Thank you for having us!
Pre-order the Lovehate mixtape here - out November 19th
Review and interview by Chloe Robbins
Photography by Corey Eyres