At the start of 2020, I caught up with The Snuts before they shared Mixtape EP, a release that should have acted as the final teaser before unleashing their debut album. However, like all those working within a creative industry, the global pandemic would put their plans on ice. Almost twelve months later and news of the album has finally arrived, a project entitled W.L. that will be made available on March 19th, and The Snuts are determined to make up for the lost time in 2021.
The record is an encapsulation of the formative years of the band. It begins with the impressive stripped back ‘Top Deck’, a track that was penned by frontman Jack Cochrane when he was just 15-years-old then, without warning, W.L. erupts into the group’s emphatic single ‘Always’. The album showcases a myriad of styles throughout the record which not only makes for a captivating listen but, also documents the growth of a band that is refusing to link themselves with one sound intrinsically.
The Snuts have been sitting patiently on this record throughout 2020, releasing more snippets from the album then they would have liked for fans to chew on. Releasing the record is something that they have been edging towards for years, and now that moment is finally here.
To celebrate the release of the album, the band will be finally returning to the road and travelling across Britain before returning home to Glasgow for a raucous sold-out three-night residency at the world-famous Barrowlands. Just a matter of hours after the hometown dates sold-out, frontman Jack Cochrane logged into my Zoom meeting, and he was understandably situated on cloud nine.
“It’s been a big goal for us since day one. It’s always felt like a venue that would be a milestone for us as a band so selling three out in one day? It could be worse,” he gleefully said. This is a venue that played a pivotal role in his musical upbringing, although Cochrane semi-jokingly admits, “I’ve probably been thrown out of more gigs there than I haven’t been. I’ve seen The Libertines, Babyshambles and Pete Doherty probably the most there and all these classic childhood indie heroes. There’s just something so iconic about The Barrowlands.”
Now The Snuts are gearing up for the opportunity to be heroes for the next generation of Glaswegian music lovers, and Cochrane knows all too well how much these nights mean. After being forced into spending pretty much an entire year away from playing live, bar a pair of socially distanced shows this summer, playing a gig under normal circumstances again is set to be an incredibly special moment.
The pandemic has put the whole live music industry on pause, but that hasn’t stopped Cochrane from remaining optimistic about the future. He looks back on the last nine months with a compelling glass half full attitude: “I think overall it’s been quite a positive year for the band,” he surprisingly says. “Just having that time to take stock to see what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Also, just kind of remember why you’re doing it and what it as that you enjoy about doing it, so it’s been a good year for the band which is something you won’t hear a lot of people say.”
“I fell like we’re doing fucking okay, better than okay probably. I think it’s been important to just communicate the important stuff for your fans. Rather than shoving it in their faces as always, there’s been a bit of that during lockdown as well. The first fucking couple of months was just people live streaming every day,” Cochrane sighed.
Having this time to reflect has allowed the Scottish group to finetune the record fully and now find themselves agonisingly counting down the days for it to be on the shelves. A poignant moment on the record arrives in the form of ‘Glasgow‘, which was the first-ever song that The Snuts shared back in 2016 and started this wild journey that they find themselves on today — so it was only right they recorded a new beefed-up version for the album.
“That demo, it really pushed us towards one day wanting to be musicians. Before we ever done that song, it was just a joke and a hobby,” a passionate Cochrane remembers. “I think people’s reaction to that original white £100-pound demo, which is what it cost us to do, and that really encouraged us and helped us believe in ourselves.
“Re-recording that song was fucking heartbreaking man you know, you just try to do it justice. People already loved it, so we basically just got a bottle of wine each and recorded it live to just try to keep as much of that youthful about what we were doing. That song has turned out special, which I’m surprised to say because I was so close to leaving it off the record.”
Managing to maintain that youthful spirit whilst not being those same exuberant kids who recorded ‘Glasgow’ all those years ago is a task that The Snuts rise to on W.L. and is a poetic way of drawing a line in the sand under those early days of the band back before it was a job.
The title of the record is another nod to their youths, but not to West Lothian, as Cochrane joyfully corrects me. “Naw man, that’s a common misconception, but it’s actually after ‘Whitburn Loopy’. We’re from a town called Whitburn, and every town in Scotland has what we call young teams, but it’s basically gangs. It’s a nod to how we started out on the streets and in the forest, playing the guitar, drinking cider and stuff like that. I feel like because the record is such a progression, it’s nice to name it something that meant a lot to us back then.”
While the Whitburn Loopy days are held in the fondest of memories by the band, their rise has taken them from youth team members to a group with a platform that they are using for good by trying to help the music industry get back on its feet. They have been ardent supporters of the #LetMusicPlay campaign, an organisation which is trying to help the crew members who work behind the scenes in live music and don’t get the plaudits from fans but without them, everything would fall to pieces.
The Snuts have done as much as they can to raise money, by selling merch, donating an entire music video budget and even performing a one-off live stream. The way that the live music sector has left in the soaking rain at the bus stop by the government has infuriated Cochrane who couldn’t bring himself to stand idly by.
“It’s really shocking, to be honest. From day one, there was a feeling that the industry was going to be ignored so we’ve been making sure that anytime that we can get our live crew out to do music videos or a live stream. It’s been important to us because they are always the first guys at the show and the last ones to leave, they’re really talented as well.
“We’ve been writing to fucking MPs, MSPs and just getting nothing. I think it’s showed us pure resilience that the whole industry is ready to fucking go basically. I took it with a pinch of salt and tried not to be too insulted by it, I think it’s pretty disgraceful, but art at its purest form is always ignored. People forget the work that goes into stuff that stops their mundane lives being so fucking boring. When it comes back, I hope that everybody who has been ignored this year feels like their important and respected, again,” Cochrane says with an infectious passion.
2020 has been a year that has broken a lot of people, but not Cochrane. The frontman seems to have an even greater sense of zealousness for what he does, and he’s here to enjoy the ride, rather than take himself too seriously. Cochrane’s lust for life is contagious, as is The Snuts’ dopamine lifting W.L. which alludes to a brighter 2021.
The Snuts 2021 Tour Dates
Fri 30th LIVERPOOL, Sound City
Sat 1st DORSET, Teddy Rocks
Sun 2nd CARDIFF, Globe
Tues 4th SHEFFIELD, Leadmill
Weds 5th LEEDS, Stylus
Thurs 6th MIDDLESBROUGH, Town Hall Crypt
Sat 8th NORWICH, Waterfront
Mon 10th BRISTOL, Fleece
Tues 11th OXFORD, Academy
Weds 12th MANCHESTER, Ritz
Fri 14th EDINBURGH, Corn Exchange
Sat 15th LONDON, Kentish Town Forum
Mon 17th DERBY, The Venue
Tues 18th BRIGHTON, Concorde 2
Weds 19th EXETER, Phoenix
Fri 21st COLCHESTER, Arts Centre
Sat 22nd HULL, Asylum
Sun 23rd BLACKPOOL, Waterloo
Tues 25th DUBLIN, Button Factory
Weds 26th BELFAST, Empire
Fri 28th LEEDS, Temple Newsham
Sat 29th WARRINGTON, Neighbourhood Weekender
Sun 30th NEWCASTLE, This Is Tomorrow
Tues 1st BIRMINGHAM, Sonic Wave Closing Party
Tues 8th GLASGOW, Barrowland
Thurs 10th GLASGOW, Barrowland
Fri 11th GLASGOW, Barrowland