Love Letter To A Record: Tom Snowdon Of No Mono On Bloc Party’s ‘Silent Alarm’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Tom Snowdon, No Mono – Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm

Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm exploded my idea of what guitar music could be and reshaped my relationship with music.

I was 15 or 16 when I first heard ‘Helicopter’ – playing FIFA with my brother. There are two things that stand out when I think back to that first listen; that line “are you hoping for a miracle?” Was hands down the catchiest and most meaningful line I had heard in song. Kele Okereke has attitude on that record and it screamed at me through those words. The second thing was the energy in the guitar lines. Not just how they were played and recorded, but the tones and effects they used. The guitar on Silent Alarm was a more introspective and melancholy Blink 182 for me and it made me want to play guitar just like Bloc Party, and to sing and write songs just like Bloc Party.

I saved up for 2 years to buy a Fender Telecaster ‘cos Bloc Party played Tele’s, and I got my first reverb and delay pedals so I could make sounds like those on Silent Alarm. Getting those pedals no doubt changed the path I took with music. No doubt – atmospheric riffs became my favourite thing to explore. After Silent Alarm my high school band and I were the Bloc Party of Central Australia – covering songs at shows around Alice Springs and writing emotional indie-guitar-rock (although we were a confused and less precise version of the great band). That record made me want to be a musician, and to say things the way Bloc Party did. It reshaped my relationship with music.

I don’t know how many classic albums there have been in my lifetime. I used to think that a sign of this was how, in any given music scene, young bands start sounding like that record.

A few years later when I moved from Alice Springs to Melbourne iterations of Bon Iver, James Blake and the XX could be heard in pubs around the northern suburbs. With Silent Alarm Bloc Party was one of those bands – they changed the game with that record. I’ve met others who had a similar experience with Silent Alarm, so it’s not unique to me, although my relationship with it feels wholly personal and unrivalled. Now it’s nostalgic like nothing else. Monumental.

This month, No Mono kick off a national tour off the back of their debut album ‘Islands (Part 1)’. Dates and details here.

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