Glasgow-based Invernesian “Staccato grunge pop” (as described by Vic Galloway) group SchnarffSchnarff are preparing to perform their biggest hometown gig yet and guitarist Richard Douglas popped away to speak with A Music Blog Yea? about the recent festival slots, debut at King Tut’s, and that famous football riff.
SchnarffSchnarff: We are SchnarffSchnarff, a five-piece band all originally from Inverness; we all now currently live in Glasgow.
AMBY: So explain the name SchnarffSchnarff please?
SchnarffSchnarff: Originally we called ourselves BiPolar Bear but we found out there is a rapper in New York so we had to scrap that name. Our guitarist, Turtle, is a big fan of the Thundercats and there is this character who is the most annoying thing possible and his name is Snarff, so whatever reason we took that from there, and because we are all from Inverness we decided to have a play about the words since the nickname is The Schneck (Inverschneck) and so we took that. We thought of the bands like DjangoDjango having the double name and felt it would give it a better effect.
AMBY: That’s quite great play about with the characters name, genius actually! Cheers for sharing because it’s been bugging me ever since I first heard of you’s. Another weird thing is Vic Galloway (BBC Radio Scotland DJ) described the band as “staccato grunge pop” but I hope I wasn’t the only one who had no clue what he meant. What style would you say you play?
SchnarffSchnarff: I actually had to look up what staccato meant because I had no clue, but when you ask people what people think the band sound similar to; they do say Grunge and often mention The Pixies and I’m not too sure but I’ll agree with them. Today in the local paper we did get classed as a “local pop 5 piece” which again I can agree with because in this day in age it’s such a broad genre that yeah we can go with that. The fact that Vic came out and said that at the beginning of us starting out, of course we would take it especially with us all being grunge fans it was a great compliment. So we shall stick with “Staccato grunge pop”.
AMBY: Fair enough I suppose. Talking about starting off, your first gig was at the legendary King Tuts in Glasgow, how was that feeling starting your band in such a monumental venue?
SchnarffSchnarff: Having lived in Glasgow, we had always seen great bands who go on to bigger venues and have that ability to say oh yeah I saw such and such playing at the King Tuts. The place is kind of like the go to place in Glasgow for checking out bands so it was fantastic. We first fired them a demo of two songs after we had recorded it as five mates having fun and our friends urging us to do so. So we put it out to a few venues and a couple of months later they got in touch saying would you want to support The Skaters. There was mixed feelings because we had never played a gig before but we eventually accepted, obviously not telling them this would be our first gig. We managed to sell about 120 tickets and there was more people on the door, a bus load came down from Inverness as well which was fantastic. At the time this band were pretty unknown so it was genuinely a crowd of Invernesians in Glasgow and it was literally surreal.
AMBY: I can’t even begin to imagine that feeling; it sure looks as if you are on the way up as well since you had a few festival slots this summer too. Tell us more about these gigs.
SchnarffSchnarff: Well we played the Wickerman festival which was one that none of us had ever been to but it’s a big on one the calendar. It’s a great festival, we were playing on the GoNorth tent and had been given 5 guest passes so we brought our mates and literally had a fantastic time. We were playing quite late on the Saturday, as we started the rain began outside the tent so it filled up quickly and we got a much bigger crowd than expected which in a way was great because it meant more people could find out about us. After the show people were coming up to us with their kids explaining they didn’t mean to see us but thought we were good and that was a fantastic feeling.
AMBY: That’s always great having that little bit of luck that people find out about you. Your next stop was opening the main stage of Belladrum, a hometown festival! How did that come about?
SchnarffSchnarff: Well we had played the Ironworks Easter showcase and there was maybe 5 or 6 six bands but we sold a hundred odd tickets and it was the first time it had ever sold out. Everybody obviously sold quite a few tickets but we headlined that and it obviously went down well, after the gig we spoke to a few people and one of them was linked to Belladrum. The word spread and we got an email saying we want you to play at such and such a time on Friday, it clicked that we were going to be playing first but after more reading it said Main Stage and we thought hold on this must be a mistake. We had literally been a band for a year and this is our home festival with Tom Jones headlining that night, so it really was unbelievable. The cabin across from us in the artist area was Tom Jones’ and Grandmaster Flash was going into ours after, it literally was phenomenal. When we were soundchecking on the stage we kept thinking of the bands that had played on this stage like Twin Atlantic, Biffy Clyro, Feeder, Travis, Idlewild etc it really was amazing. It is really surreal and again in our first year we still look back in awe. We also knew the video promotion guy for Belladrum so we managed to get a sneaky appearance in the video if you look closely. Again it is still so so surreal.
AMBY: And finally, tell us something we don’t know about SchnarffSchnarff or even better a mishap at a gig or on tour?
SchnarffSchnarff: Oh that’s tough. When we were playing in Hootenanny’s (a venue in Inverness), halfway through the show our guitarists string snapped. I had my Inverness CT football top on underneath my jacket and I quickly unzipped it, getting a pretty good reaction in the process, and proceeded to play the riff of one of the Inverness fans sing which the crowd took spectacularly, singing along and stuff and essentially it saved the day.
AMBY: You couldn’t have picked a better item of clothing that day I guess. Well thanks Richard for that small insight to SchnarffSchnarff and good luck tonight.
Thank you SchnarffSchnarff, for giving us your answers!
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