Snowapple are a mesmerising up-and-coming band from the Netherlands, combining retro cool with dreamy, almost psychedelic harmonies. Right now, they are in Amsterdam – this email interview being kindly slotted in amongst their gig schedule – and there is no doubt that their music will fit hand-in-hand with the serene atmosphere of the Dutch city. They often travel to the U.K to perform (returning to play gigs in venues around London such as The Old Blue Last) and next week they are set to embark in an extensive tour across the Atlantic, playing shows in both the U.S and Mexico. Fortunately, we’ve taken the opportunity to catch up with Laurien, Una and Laura before they begin their travels, in order to find out how they create such hypnotising music.
Snowapple is a beautiful name and fits your music really well. What made you choose this?
Thank you! It is a fantasy-word, something from a dream one of us had. It happens to be an apple that is picked very late in the year, when the snow is already falling.
How did you all meet? Did you always want to make music, and did you always want to make this style of music?
We met as fellow musicians who were living in the same city, working in the same scene. We all have a very broad taste in music and always wanted to be musicians, the music we make is a mix of at least ten different styles and we might adapt more if we find other genres we like!
What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
Folk, Pop, Opera, Free Jazz, French Chanson, Russian Dance, Contemporary Classical, Krautrock, Appalachian, Minimal, Latvian Poetry and Experimental Punk Theatre!
You guys seem to have a fantastic folk influence. Which artists have inspired you?
Different singers from the 60s and 70s. We especially admire Joni Mitchell because of her excellent songwriting.
You’ve toured really extensively, including Berlin, UK and the USA. Do you enjoy being on tour? Where was your favourite place to play?
Yes we love it, it’s like an adventure. We have many favourites but Slab City in California was very special. It’s nice to play in other countries, particularly when music is a very important part of the culture there.
You played Oerol Festival recently – do you prefer performing in venues or festivals?
It depends, but Oerol was a perfect festival for us, the audience loved it because it’s a theatre festival and we like to incorporate theatrical elements in our show.
We’ve seen your tour pictures on the Snowapple website and we love your style! Do you think your style complements your music? Do you have any style influences?
Yes! Style is very important for us, it’s part of our creative output when we play a show. We work together with an art director/costume designer Mo Benchellal. He has a kind of boldness and spirit in his designs that we like very much.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
It depends on the venue, when we play in a small intimate space it’s lovely to play a beautiful ballad, like Virginia. In a theatre or a seated setting, Le Clown et La Fleuriste is a good song because it’s like telling a love story to the audience. On a bigger stage or festival we prefer Evil Wizard, it makes everyone dance!
Has your music evolved over the time you’ve been playing?
Definitely! We always sang three part harmonies, but at first we were sweet and timid. We’re not anymore! We started improvising more too.
Your harmonies are so beautiful – do you find them relatively easy to form or do they take work? Would you mind briefly describing the music-making progress?
The harmonies form when we sing together, we don’t write them down but we do use a piano to try and find interesting harmonic progressions. It’s a combination of intellect and intuitiveness.
Your music is very listenable and I’m sure it will reach a vast number of people – is fame your ultimate goal?
Not really, although we do want a lot of people to hear the music – our only goal is to make people happy with the music we make and give them a wonderful time!
Since Pi Magazine is a student magazine, some readers might be looking to start up their own band. Do you have any advice?
Try to do as much as you can by yourself. Find out how the industry works and be smart. Don’t sign too many contracts. Work hard. Don’t forget why you started to do this, because you love it!