The Snowdroppers are doing the rounds once again after a stint in the US playing the much sought after SXSW. Pauly K from the band was happy to lend us some of his time to go over their adventures overseas, chat about his favourite Annandale memories and how being on the road opens you up to some interesting habits of fellow band members.
Music Feeds: What’s the latest in the Snowdroppers camp?
Pauly K: After we got back from the USA in April we did Bluesfest for the second time up in Byron, which was probably our best show so far.
We’re about to start getting back onto the road gig-wise. We’ve been writing a bunch of new tunes over the last few months, so we’re coming into the road-testing phase I guess. We’re pretty happy with our new songs.
MF: How was headlining the Annandale’s birthday celebrations at Blood, Sweat & Beers?
PK: It was great, the Annandale’s been good to us over the last few years. Just hoping whoever buys it keeps the music going. Every conversation about it seems to go “Annandale/up for sale/live music/pokies/sports bar/merivale uh-oh/scum of the earth neighbours complaining after moving near Sydney institution/etc etc”. If the Annandale went without something to replace it, as a city we’re gonna look extremely lame on the live music side.
MF: Do you have any favourite Annandale memories?
PK: One of the first times I went there was when I’d just moved to Sydney, a friend of mine took me to see some UK indie band showcase gig that were the flavour of the month. I got to go upstairs to the afterparty and steal their rider, wow! Now I’ve been on the other side of that coin several times. I guess that’s karma.
I’m also a fan of the cult sinema night; beers and z-grade horror movies. Jay Katz’s encyclopaedic knowledge. Miss Death’s incessant nattering throughout every film.
The first time we put on our own show at the Annandale was probably the standout memory. It was us and Jackson Firebird and Gay Paris; I still have the poster on my fridge.
MF: Tell us about the trip to SXSW this year? How were the shows and what did you take out of it?
PK: The shows were all pretty good. I think we took it pretty damn easy compared to some bands who were playing and networking constantly, like 3-4 gigs a day. We just kind of wandered around eating tacos and getting drunk on 40ozs. We met some cool people, but we definitely weren’t approaching it like we were hoping to crack the big time or anything. We just kind of dipped our toes in the water and had a holiday.
MF: With all the touring you’ve done lately, have you stumbled on new secrets about each other?
PK: I’m thinking of ones that are printable. I never knew til we got to America that Johnny’s a Dr Pepper addict. He drank at least 2-3 a day. That’s a lot of high-fructose corn syrup. Then we found this beer at the airport bar that tastes exactly like Dr Pepper. Happy days. The rest would mainly just be what specific types of pornography everyone’s into. No-one wants to know that.
MF: Tell us a bit about the new single and video for Run You Down?
PK: I don’t think it’s really a single, but we had the video in the works for almost two years and finally got around to going “oh yeah, we should put that out”. I can’t even remember why we made a video for it, it’s over six minutes long. I know that’s about three times my attention span. I think it’s a good one though. We got a bunch of our friends and family to be in it. We seem to know lots of creepy looking dudes. You can watch it on YouTube.
MF: With such a varied mix of musical elements, how does the band approach songwriting? Is it smooth sailing or a battle between ideas from everyone?
PK: Every song is different. Sometimes someone will bring in a complete song that’ll get the tick of approval from the whole band and make it through unscathed, other times a song will come out of a single riff or lyric idea and be pieced together in rehearsal. There’s always plenty of arguments with new songs. I think the key is not to get too attached to any little thing and lose sight of the song as a whole. Sometimes we’ll spend ages working on a new song, figuring out all the little drum fills and guitar bits and lyrics to the point where you lose sight of whether or not the song is good, and then someone will take a step back, and go; “wait a minute, all this shit is cool but… this actual song is dog’s balls.”
MF: Who’s been the best band to tour with and why?
PK: That would mean to pick favourites. I think we’ve been pretty lucky so far that all the bands we’ve been on the road with have been really cool. I’m trying to think of even just one arsehole to make the answer a bit more interesting. We’ve played a few one-off gigs with dickheads. One reasonably well-known Sydney band that showed up with no backline or even drumsticks that we happily lent all our stuff, who then started packing up and carrying off their instruments from the stage midway through our set. That was a good one.
MF: What would be the first song you’d put onto a mix tape?
PK: I take my mixtape/playlist making very seriously, as the other guys will attest. That would depend on the intention, the recipient, the situation etc. A good mixtape can inspire revolution, topple empires, and hopefully make that girl at school you like, but are too awkward to talk to, want to get freaky. In that situation I would recommend “Touch me in my pants (on my doodle)” by The Stiffys, a band we played with in Geelong this year.
Catch Snowdroppers on Friday 15th of July at Upstairs Beresford