The Glasgow Guardian catches up with Callum Wilson of The Snuts about the West Lothian band’s latest single Always, contributing to the renowned FIFA soundtrack with their track That’s All It Isand the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.
It seems The Snuts have been an upward trajectory since the four-piece began playing together in high school at the age of 15. The band, consisting of Jack Cochrane (vocals/guitar), Joe McGillveray (guitar), Callum Wilson (bass) and Jordan Mackay (drums), have enjoyed nothing short of music success; playing a socially-distanced gig with The Libertines in Newcastle, topping the iTunes singles charts with Elephants this summer and having their track, That’s All It Is, featured in indie’s favourite modern hall-of-fame – the iconic FIFA soundtrack.
Outside of their promising musical achievements, the band are also extremely active in their support of the Scottish (and wider) music sector amid the Coronavirus pandemic, with lead singer Jack Cochrane penning an urgent open letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as part of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, urging for additional government support for the music industry.
With plans to drop their debut album next year, we spoke with guitarist Callum about what it means to be a West Lothian band, their experience of playing local charity virtual-gig Sam’s Night, how it feels to be featured on the FIFA soundtrack, the government’s failure to support the music industry and what’s next for The Snuts – despite the hellscape of 2020.
The Glasgow Guardian: Coming from West Lothian, you were sort of stationed between the two main Scottish cities that bands tend to flock to. Did this help or hinder your progress? Was it a conscious decision not to label yourself as a Glasgow or Edinburgh band?
Callum Wilson: There’s always been a hotbed of music coming out of Scotland, and there’s a tonne of new talent emerging from both cities. For us, it was nice to sit outside the scenes in either city and always just kinda do our own thing. We wanted to be known for ourselves - rather than being propped up by whatever was cool at the time. If I’m honest it helped us cut our teeth and develop our own style musically.
GG: You’ve spoken about spanning different genres, with a Rolling Stones-meets-Fatboy Slim homage on eponymous track Fatboy Slim, the bluesy/summer fusion of That’s All It Is and channelling indie, rock and songwriter influences on your latest track Always. What sparked the need to expand beyond the indie formula?
CW: It's really easy to stagnate on one idea or style and bands more often than not get known for one genre. We have always written in a different way and we’ve never found it hard to bounce between genres as we all draw influence from different styles of music. Times are changing and music is adapting. It’s important to stay true to the music that we hear in our heads – rather than what people expect from us. When people like a band’s music, they can get quite precious about it and it ultimately puts a lot of pressure onto guitar bands and pigeonholes them – we thought the best way to combat this is to never write to a formula.
GG: The Snuts have also been an active voice in part of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign and called for increased support of the music industry in these struggling times. What do you wish for the music industry in the UK at the moment?
CW: We’re not expecting people to dive around down the front in sweatbox venues just yet. We just want the sector recognised for what it is: a hard working, talented sector of skilled individuals who can’t just put down tools and “retrain.” The live music industry in the UK brings in billions of pounds in taxable income each year, and all we ask is some support during this testing time. Be it viable funding or a conversation on how to proceed safely.
With an open letter, and multiple attempts to contact the First Minister falling on deaf ears, and the condescending words of the UK treasury to retrain in other fields – it’s clear to see that these politicians are completely disconnected from the 350,000 people employed within this industry.
GG: What has lockdown taught you as a band? Have you missed gigging or any particular events specifically (eg playing TRNSMT)?
CW: As a band we’ve certainly learned not to take what we had for granted. This summer suddenly went from four to five months solid gigging with a few weekends at home to a complete role reversal. We’re so used to never being at home that it was a novelty to begin with and it’s been great to spend with our families - but now we’re just desperate for the return of live music.
GG: Presuming FIFA is something most of the band have grown up around, how does it feel to have your track That’s All It Is included in the renowned FIFA soundtrack this year?
CW: The FIFA soundtrack had always been a staple of growing up, it was always the place where you could discover totally new tracks and it put us onto a lot of our favourite bands. It’s just an honour to be part of that for another generation of FIFA fans.
GG: You played as part of Sam’s Night recently alongside some great Scottish talent and West Lothian names like Luke La Volpe and Mark Sharp. How did you find the experience of playing and being a part of such an important cause? Especially with some great up-and-coming names in a time when it’s hard to feel part of a music community (physically)?
CW: Liam did an incredible job getting so many class acts in one place for his brother. It really is moving to be part of something to honour Sam and shows the power music can have. The sense of community doesn’t rely on physical barriers when it comes to something like this, and the music and the money raised speaks for itself.
GG: What’s next for The Snuts? What’re you looking forward to?
CW: All going well next year will be a real busy one for us, tryna make up for all the postponed gigs and dropping our debut album... all going badly... anyone know of any jobs going?
The Snuts latest track Always, including previous releases from this year like That’s All It Is, Elephants and Summer In The City are available to stream now.
With an album scheduled for 2021 release and possible gig dates soon, you can keep up with The Snuts online at:
Spotify: The Snuts
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