Dan of York duo Snakerattlers talks Satanism, mic setups for great sound and their joy of being signed to Dirty Water Records. Woohoo! So, Dan, you’ve released your new LP on Dirty Water Records. What was the main draw to go with those guys?
Dan: Dirty Water is an incredible label that works with a lot of bands that we admire. We’re in good company! Signing with them was something that our previous band could only dream of. We genuinely felt like we’d achieved something when they asked us to sign up. It’s a nice feeling when a label with a brilliant history of releases wants to invest in something you’ve created.
Any artists on the label that you listen to actively?
Dan: We’ve got records by Archie And The Bunkers, King Salami And The Cumberland Three, The Cavemen and Mark Sultan. They’ve all released through Dirty Water. But there’s some tip-top stuff they put out too that made us discover some quality artists, who have since moved on to other labels like Atomic Suplex and Thee Gravemen.
Loads of good bands there. The Cavemen are wild live. Now, about this album, how long did it take to write and is there a theme?
Dan: We go with the flow when it comes to writing. Then when we’ve got enough tracks, find a label to put them out on an album for us. Generally speaking, it takes us a long time to get a finished song. We’re getting pretty good at knowing what works and what doesn’t work for our band, so sometimes we can scrap an idea after only a few seconds of working on it. But when it all comes together and feels right, we can have a song written in an hour or so. It’s more the selection process that takes the time, as I come up with at least a song per day, but the majority are either shit or need a full band in order to work. Naomi is good at sifting through them until we find something that does work. When this happens, we call it ‘striking the gold vein’.
What would you say is the main difference between this album and your last release?
Dan: The main difference is production. We went from analogue live recording in an abandoned factory to an actual functioning studio and digital recording. We wanted our second album to show a distinct rise in sound quality, while still keeping the trashy edge of our sound alive. We think Dave Boothroyd nailed it on the engineering side of things. We’re going to record with him for the foreseeable future.
The LP does retain the trashy sound, but it sounds much better captured. Who else has Boothroyd produced and what made you choose his skills behind the desk?
Dan: Dave and I used to be in bands together when we were in our teens, so when I heard he had started to engineer at a studio in York, we decided to go and see what he was capable of. We went there just for a look at the place (Reel Studio it’s called, and it’s a gorgeous place to make a record) and Dave showed us some other stuff he had been working on. The main thing that swung it was the history between Dave and me. I was hoping that history would somehow rub off onto the record. When we arrived on the first day, and he set up nine mics for Naomi’s floor tom, I knew we’d made the right choice, as he was prepared to put the work in and wanted to capture every angle of our sound.
Nine mics? Wow. What did he do for your amp and did his expertise cross over into any ideas that bolstered the message of any of the songs?
Dan: My amps were put into a separate room and had four mics each, set at different distances, so in the mix, the guitar sounded as big as possible, by taking a blend from exterior noise to immediate amp sounds. I’m pretty sure it was more complicated than that, but that’s how I understood it. It was really good to work with Dave, and we were very impressed with his profound knowledge of all things to do with sound. I think he bolstered the message by making the songs sound as powerful as he could. He captured our aggressive tendencies and brought them to the forefront.
Talking about personal philosophy for a moment: you’re a self-proclaimed Satanist. Care to share what the term means to you and how you became involved with that worldview?
Dan: The main thing that attracted me to Satanism is that as a religion, it encourages you to be the absolute best you can be and to do whatever you want with yourself. I read the Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey and identified with every view on life and the world we live in. I was living as a Satanist without realising it.
For those who don’t know what it is, could you break it down into a philosophy?
Dan: The basics are that we are all just animals living in an amoral universe. There’s no supernatural being controlling everything or watching over us. Satanism is not devil worship, but rather a way to reject the system and follow a left-hand path. The core of Satanism is doing whatever you want with yourself while you are alive, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. But there’s a heck of a lot more to it than just that. I urge anyone curious to read the Satanic Bible. Satanism often gets confused with the more hedonistic Sadism. People think they are one and the same, especially those with a substantial, god-based religious background. But they are totally different things.
Satan. The word’s original meaning is that of antagonist and thanks to a certain religion has evolved into a character. Do you think that the name of your chosen path is problematic due to the association with the word and do you think that confluence is with us forever?
Dan: Absolutely. It comes with negative connotations, but I hope that through our performances and people speaking to me before or after the shows, they can see it’s benefits and that it’s just a modern, individualistic way of thinking and living your life. If I can change one person’s perception of the word ‘Satanism’ then I’ve achieved that. I also believe that a lot of people out there are like me – living as Satanists without realising that’s what they are.
Has your philosophy made a mark on the music at all? Care to name a few famous Satanists that have inspired you in some way?
Dan: There are quite a few Satanic references in our songs for those that listen closely enough. One of them is also the “theme tune” of a demonic vice that I have given a name to. We also have a brand new song in the set at the moment called “Left Hand Path” which is a musical dedication to all things satanic.
That’s just great! I really could chat to you for ages about all this stuff! Plug your latest show and upcoming release, and we’ll call it a day, you champ!
Snakerattlers: No releases in the pipeline, but you can get our latest album from the Dirty Water Records website, or direct from us at shows. It looks like we’re going to break 100 gigs this year.