SNOG


Genre Artist Label Issue Interviewer Method
Weird techno-country hybrid Snog Metropolis Records 2.3 Karen Collins Telephone

If I had to sum up David Thrussell in one word, it would be: Energetic. This guy has more energy than a six year old on a sugar high. Must be something he eats (or doesn't, as you will find out...) Thrussell is the genius/madman mastermind behind Snog, Black Lung, and Soma. Snog is known for "political" lyrics, although Thrussell considers them more just observations on Western Society. Always entertaining, Melbourne, Australia's Thrussell leaves me with a giddy, drugged feeling and a perma-grin for few hours....I won't even bother putting the "(laughing)" part into the conversation, just assume we were laughing the ENTIRE way through. Unfortunately, I've had to edit this way down for space reasons, and so it makes some semblance of sense, but the whole conversation was just one crazy thing leading to another, I didn't even get to ask my questions. If you ever get the chance to talk to this guy, don't pass it up. It's not often you enjoy transcribing an interview..

Hey!

Is that Karen?

Yeah, is that David?

Yeah. How's life there?

Ah, you know...Good...I'm totally giddy, I've been off work for like, five weeks. My job is such a drag.

Yeah, jobs are awful. I try to avoid them at all costs.

Do you manage to make enough money off your music?

Yeah, I do. I'm a full-time musician, as frightening as that may sound.

Well, that's pretty good.

Yeah, it's good yeah, I mean, it has its downfalls. It means I have to do kind of a lot of businessy crap. You know, and that stuff is really boring, I hate that stuff. I'm not going to complain.

Do you make money touring, then? Or off records?

Mostly off records. I just finished the Black Lung tour of Europe, and I made some money out of that. I probably ended up with like, six or seven thousand dollars left over from that. I'll spend that real quick.

Upgrade your computer, and that's about it, eh?

Ah, I'll buy some records, eat some food. That'll do it.

Have you toured as Snog?

Well, around Australia, we tour as Snog. We haven't ever come to the US as Snog. We get offers, and we'd kind of like to and stuff, but you know, getting six or seven people here, and you need somewhere to stay, and buying all the food, it's kind of costly. It's a lot of work. We're thinking about it, you never know, it's possible.

How does Australia take you? I mean, you guys are pretty laid back down there.

Well, yeah, bordering on stupid. It's a sleepy country. We have a large, like, fan base in Australia. We have a lot of people come to our shows but as far as the music industry goes, you know the radio stations and the magazines, pretty much they just wish that we were dead. You know, there's a kind of a major commercial alternative radio station in Australia, and our record company protested at them once that they didn't play our records enough. They wrote them back with a letter saying that we were too weird. They weren't going to play our records because we were too weird! We don't fall into this kind of, right now, Australia's kind of in the midst of this grunge-rock scene...

Really??!

Yeah, it's really horrible. We don't fall into that at all. So they just kind of ignore us. Which is annoying sometimes, but in other ways its good. We ignore them as well.

You probably do better in Europe then.

Yeah, definitely.

What do you think about North America?

Well, it's an interesting place, you know? Sometimes people get the impression from our lyrics, that, you know, I've been accused of being anti-American, which is not strictly true.

There's nothing wrong with being anti-American.

Well, it depends. I don't hate the Grand Canyon, that's American. I mean, American politics totally absolutely sucks, there's no doubt about that. But it's pretty much the politics of the whole western world anyway. I mean, American people, some of them can be great. There's certain things that I really do like about Americans. It's a mixed bag. Australia has its good things and its bad things. It's kind of relaxed, and it has a lot of room, which I really like. There's a lot of nature stuff around, which is really important to me. But that sleepy relaxed attitude can be really annoying sometimes. Because politically, Australians are totally not there. Even with things like music and film and arts, Australia's totally not there.

Do you write your music over there? How come you're not writing about kangaroos and koalas and stuff?

Uh, well, that's not that interesting, those things. The lyrics of Snog are very applicable to Australia. They are as applicable to Australia as they are to anywhere else. Australia is really in the grip of this corporate mentality kind of thing. As much as anywhere on the planet. You get this information from the media that kangaroos are running around and Crocodile Dundee is going to walk down the street, it's not. I live in Melbourne, it's a city of three million people. It's a big city.

Hey, I've watched those Australian soaps, I know.

Oh, man, they're bad! A friend of mine's mum writes for 'Neighbours'. Australia definitely is in the grips of this whole corporate international banking conspiracy. My girlfriend often says that Australia is where they test out all the new ideas. Australia has the highest use of mobile phones in the world, the highest use of automatic teller machines.

Really?

Yeah. Yeah. It does appear that they test these things out in Australia, to see how it goes.

Totally shattered my impression of Australia.

Well. That's the big cities. There's the huge area that not many people live, and you've got deserts and all these great things, and heaps of really good stuff. In Europe, it's quite tough, there's not really any room. You can't really go anywhere where there's no people. It's kind of disturbing.

I think Australia must be more like Canada.

People say that, actually, people compare Australia and Canada quite a lot. I've heard a lot of people say that.

Well. Let's talk about the album.>

Okay, if we have to.

Only briefly. What's it all about?

You're asking me??

I can get the gist of it, but, how are you expecting people to take this?

Um. That's a little strange question. Well, I hope they listen to it. That's the first thing. I hope that it communicates some kind of idea. I hope musically and lyrically it's just a little tiny bit unique. A little bit different than most. That's what I hope, it's hard for me to tell, at the end of the day, if it is or it isn't.

It, uh, it, hmm. It is. Different. Yeah.

You sound like you're in a state of shock!

I've been listening to this thing for like three days straight, it's like whhhaaaa!

You don't want me to call a medical or something.... Um. Well, for starters, the lyrics, they're just kind of my opinions. They're just what I observe. What I notice about things. It's what I think about. You know, we get told that we're a political band, but I don't necessarily agree with that. I don't talk about what I call straight-ahead politics very much because it's so boring and irrelevent. I don't talk about Gingrich or how many people Bill Clinton fucked or whatever. I think that they're really kind of pointless and a distraction. So I try to talk about things that I think are more important, the kind of broader picture. The kind of real things. They're just kind of personal observations, they're not meant to be a kind of 'manifesto'. Or some big statement. It's just kind of humble observations of things I'm interested in. I'm interested in this whole idea of slavery. I really do think that slavery never really died. I think it just changed its shape. I think that a couple hundred years ago, the slave masters realized that having to house and feed all the slaves put quite a drain on their profit margin. So they decided to send the slaves on their own, make the slaves look after themselves. I think we live in a state of slavery. Pretty much all of us have to work to pay our rent, to pay for food and pay for the bills and all that crap, and then at the end of the day, a bit of entertainment, a bit of distraction and there's not really anything left. It's a state of slavery, and we don't really have the freedom. We have the freedom to buy useless items, and to watch as much TV as we want. We don't really have any freedom beyond that I don't think. Society, as a community, we don't have the freedom to think independently anymore. Musically, I mean lyrically, I get a lot of influence from older things, things like I'm a really big fan of Johnny Cash. What he was doing. A lot of social commentary. I really like that. And I'm a big fan of that guy Lee Hazelwood. They've been a bit of an influence musically. I really like that dark, stark feel that it has. But also I like these kind of electronic things as well. When I was a little kid my dad was into Kraftwerk, and Can and all this, so I grew up with that stuff, and I always liked it. I always liked that feel, the humour that is underlying some of the electronic music. It's quite funny, quite ironic. And, what I always wanted to do with Snog was combine those two things, because I didn't think- and I could be wrong-- but I didn't think that anyone had really done that before. Not that I've seen anyway. People probably have, but I've never witnessed it. I wanted to combine the cold hard electronic thing like Kraftwerk and that whole tradition that goes up to Front 242, I wanted to combine that with this very traditional strong songwriting kind of thing. It's kind of what I call the warm humorous songwriters. I wanted to combine those things. The cold distant Germanic electronics with warm songwriters overtop. One of the main differences with the new album is there's not much of a dancefloor kind of feel about it. It's got a little bit, but the last Snog album had dancefloor favourites on it. I was spending five nights a week djing. It was a kind of accident, it was never a deliberate thing. It was just kind of something that ended up happening. And for a long time, I was very intereseted in it. This record is kind of slower, it still has that kind of dark feel to it that I think these songs have emphasized more than before. A lot of people who have followed Snog for quite a while compare the new Snog album to the first Snog album. More kind of, emphasis on the songwriting. I don't know. I just make 'em.

Well, I think the one thing about this album is that each song can stand by itself.

That was really the idea. I really wanted to have every song as a very tight, precise kind of music. Didn't want any flab. No flabby waffly music. There's a bit of that stuff. I do like that kind of ambient-y stuff. But I didn't want to go overboard, I wanted that precise, constructed feel.

Um.. Who...

Haha. I've been rambling on, haven't I?

This will be a fun one to transcribe. Who sings with you on The Ballad?

Well, um, that's a singer called Veruschka. She's a trained opera singer.

How did you hook up with her?

I've known her for years. We've tried working on a record.

How do you like being on Metropolis?

It's fun actually, they're a good bunch of people We've had a lot of problems with our record companies in the U.S before. I don't want to sound ungenerous, they've generally been incompetent. These guys are much better. They've got a good level of enthusiasm, and they're realistic. In the past, we've had all these record companies say they're going to do all these things and then nothing happens. These guys at least do what they say they're going to do. They're a nice bunch of people.

Are you on speaker phone there?

Hah-Ha Hah. No, should I be dissing them?

No, no, I'm just kidding. I had this crazy dream about this interview last night.

My god! What happened in it?

Um, well, I phoned, and they told me that I couldn't do the interview, because you were busy there, and if I wanted to do it, I had to come down there.

And it's a long way away!

I know.

How many hours is that?

It's a good eight or nine.

Gee!

So I borrowed my father's helicopter...

He's got a helicopter?!!?

No, no, not in real life!

AAAHHH. I wish he did!! I'd love to go in a helicopter!

No, this was just in the dream.

Ah. That's a shame.

Anyway, it's a long story, but you were... I have never seen any of you guys, okay?

Yeah, yeah..

There was like this party going on, and everyone was drinking grape punch because you guys were on the wagon and you didn't want any alcohol around.

How do you know we're on the wagon!?

Well, it's just my dream.

Oh, it's true!

Really?

Yeah!

Holy shit.

I'm a total vegan hippie maniac. From Hell.

But um, anyway, so I spilled this grape koolaid down my shirt, and

Reeaaally? Did you have to rush to the helicopter?

No, No. And Michael (Mahan, Metropolis' promo guy) said I could borrow one of his shirts, and I'm like, "okay." So he takes me upstairs to his room and I turn around to get one of his shirts and I turn back and he's standing there in all this women's underwear!

Well, that's quite normal!

I wondered, you know? Where did this come from?

Should I tell him that?

No, you better not! Garters and a bra. Really.

Hang on one second... (he disappears for a minute)...There, I just told him everything. Man, you're in trouble.

Oh, no!

He's taking his ladies underwear collection out right now.

Oh boy.

Have you seen that film Freeway?

No.

Ah, it doesn't matter.

Is that an American film?

Yeah, it was quite good. So what the hell provoked this dream?

I don't know, I must have been thinking about this interview, and all kinds of things. I don't know where the ladies underwear bit came from!

What have they got in the water up there?

I don't know. Geez, I wouldn't want to know.?

It's true isn't it?

It's scary.

I don't drink tap water. It's suspicious.

I don't even brush my teeth with it!

Ah, good on you! That's the spirit! You sound like me!

Yeah?

I get told off, because I don't brush my teeth all that often.

Oh, really?

But I eat a lot of fruit, and stuff. It's alright.

Well, that's fine. Fluoride is so bad for you.

Absolutely! Hey, I'm with you! I hate that stuff, you know? I keep reading all these things that say Nazis used to put it in the water in concentration camps to keep the prisoners docile.

Really.

I've read that in a couple of different articles. I was just reading something about how it leaves aluminum residue in your system or something. Fluoride lowers your I.Q. Seriously. It does. When I did chemistry in high-school, we learned that fluoride in high doses is toxic, of course. But in low doses, it's a sedative.

Really?

And it's what they put in the water supply. To keep people stupid and docile.

Well, I know what to bring to my next party then..

Fluoride tablets.

Toothpaste.

I hate that stuff. I really hate that stuff. I'm a real hippie healthy kind of guy.

I gave up red meat, four or five years ago. I feel so much better for it.

Absolutely. It makes you so much smarter too. That's what the meat-eaters don't realize because they're so dumb. I mean, how can you tell them as well, they're so dumb they can't even understand.

My dad has this joke, that, " I didn't become a vegetarian because I love animals, I became a vegetarian because I hate plants".

That's a good one! I'm actually going to remember that one. You don't mind if I use it and claim it as my own?

No, it's not my joke!

Okay. I always like things like that, because people assume that because you're a vegetarian or a vegan, that you're some peace-loving pussy-cat. You know?

Yep. Yep I know.

I hate that. But that sounds good.

Okay, getting back to the album

*Sigh* Oh, okay.

So, you've got these ideas about what the world is like.

Am I MAD??

No, no, you're pretty accurate, I think. This whole George Orwell- 1984 bit..

If he knew how accurate he was, he'd be absolutely terrified. I always had this theory about George Orwell's 1984. You know, he wrote this book in 1948, and I though, well, obviously, what he did was he was writing about life in 1948, how he saw the world really. How it really actually is, you know? And he though, "Well, I can't call it 1948, so I'll just swap the two last numbers." And I was reading some article a few months ago about George Orwell, how the first edition of 1984 was actually called 1948, and then his publishers made him change the title.

Really? Hmm. Well, I've always been a huge fan of the book. It describes to the T the company I work for. We have this little two-minutes hate in the morning where everybody jumps up and down and screams "Kill the competition" or whatever.

FANTASTIC!

I'm serious! And then there's thought police, and you can't say anything negative.

That's pretty frightening, isn't it?

It is really scary. And somebody even went so far as to write 2+2=4 across a locker in the locker room, and I thought, somebody else must have made the connection too!

It's the state of the world. What's even more frightening than that being the situation, is that most people don't even see it, don't even want to see it. You know? At least, in an openly totalitarian society, like say how the Soviet Union was, the advantage of living in a place like that is that at least everybody knows that they live in a totalitarian country. The problem with our democracies is that most people don't even know, or even want to know, that really we live in a more evolved, a more sophisticated form of totalitarian country. I always say to people, that with the second world war, that the Nazis didn't lose the war. They just moved from Berlin to Washington. They learned a few new tricks. A bit better propaganda. A bit better public relations. All this killing people in concentration camps and burning them, it doesn't look so good. So you do it somewhere else and pretend that it's not happening. All these kind of things. I sincerely believe that the ideas of the Nazis didn't die, they just moved offshore. I believe that we in western society live in fascist states. Once you've seen through the propaganda, it's so transparent, it's incredible. I'm a fierce non-believer in television. Once you make that leap and get rid of television out of your life and you don't have this propaganda force telling you what to think every day and how to view things , it becomes incredibly obvious that we live in Nazi Germany, you know?

So, when David Thrussell rules the world...

When I what?

When you rule the world..

I'll enforce complete nudity, everyone will all eat vegan food with a lot of chili, and a lot of garlic, and ginger. And we'll all have a good time, eat a lot of organic fruit. Everyone will have a good time. And those will be the rules. No one will be allowed to not have a good time.


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