I never expected Ohio to be a scorching hotbed for indie rock, but here we are. And while there’s a handful of great up-and-coming artists worth mentioning, today is all about Columbus band Snarls and their breathtaking debut full-length Burst – put out by the good folks at Take This To Heart Records.
The self-described “glitter emo alt rock” four-piece – Clo White (vocals, guitar), Riley Hall (bass, vocals), Mick Martinez (guitar) and Max Martinez (drums) – released their self-titled first EP in 2018. However, it was mid-2019 when Snarls really began to make waves with “Walk In the Woods,” the lead single from Burst, which earned them “Best New Band” status from Stereogum among other accolades.
The wind seemingly has been at the band’s back ever since – earning regular praise from indie tastemakers and major music publications alike as we drew closer to Burst‘s highly-anticipated release earlier today. And rightfully so — the album is a masterpiece, full of heart rather than actual snarls.
Despite the madness surrounding the album, Snarls guitarist Mick Martinez took the time to answer some questions about the record, the Columbus indie scene and more, below.
Burst is your first full-length. Was it challenging to write/make a longer album? What did you learn along the way?
Martinez: It was definitely a challenge for us to write a longer release. When we wrote our EP it went really quickly, we were all chomping at the bit to create songs out of these ideas that were in the back of our heads for years. With this album, we really had to take our time to develop these songs from scratch and make them cohesive. We learned that you don’t have to use every idea or full song you come up with. It’s not “Oh cool we have 10 songs, we’re done.” We wrote a ton and sat aside a lot of ideas that we felt weren’t absolutely perfect for this record.
Did you have any particular inspirations/influences when making it? Do you remember what you were listening to when writing the album?
Martinez: We were all definitely listening to Wolf Alice and Courtney Barnett, as well as some emo bands like Citizen, and pop like Snail Mail. I think reflections of all of those influences can be found in the record!
If people take away one thing from Burst, what do you want it to be?
Martinez: It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to not know what the hell you are doing with your life. That was something that we were all feeling at the time of writing this record, and I think putting those thoughts and feelings into the songs helped us process those emotions.
Snarls was recently featured in Rolling Stone and a bunch of other high-profile publications. How does that make you feel? Does it raise the stakes for the album?
Martinez: That was amazing, and such a huge surprise for us. A total honor. It almost doesn’t feel real. It does put a bit of pressure on, I can’t help but wonder if Rolling Stone, MTV, NPR, Stereogum, Paste, etc. will like it when it comes out because I do value their opinion. But at the same time, every one of us is so incredibly happy and proud about this album, so it could go nowhere and we would still feel that same sentiment.
You’re one of several great new-ish bands out of Columbus. Is there something distinctive or unique about the city’s music scene/community? Are there other bands/artists we should know about?
Martinez: Columbus’ music scene is blossoming. The amazing thing about Columbus is that everyone is so supportive of one another. It has never felt like a race to the top. Everyone is always doing the most that they can to uplift their fellow musicians, it’s very special. Venues are very supportive of local bills, and our local alternative radio station CD102.5 features a local band on the half of every hour and books local bands to open for national touring acts frequently. Some of our favorite bands in Columbus right now are Van Dale, Girl Fox, Mouth Movements, WYD, Ghost Soul Trio, and Palette Knife.
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