Interview: David Thrussell (Snog) (Part 2)

Snog - The Last Days of Rome

7. Did you know there is an amateur comedy film titled Last Of The Great Romantics, that got released a few years after your album. It is pretty good.

No, I had no idea. I am a guy who doesn't actually know much, I kinda live in a cave. You know, the title of the album itself was ironic, firstly because people never actually get that our music is romantic and secondly because I'm quite a romantic person myself. I think people nowadays are turning into some sort of cyborgs, being so attached to their phones and other devices all the time. I am not like that at all, I'm trying to stay away from iPhones, social networks and all that nonsense, which makes me a romantic in a sense. The cover of that album is quite ironic too. The idea of our album being called Last Of The Great Romantics and its cover being a picture of some computers is quite funny to me.

8. Snog has two albums: Last Of The Great Romantics and The Last Days Of Rome. What is happening to our civilization in your opinion and what is the role of Snog in this process?

I'm not sure we actually have much of a role except maybe as some sort of a cultural signifier. But I am very interested in the concept of empires, their development and life span. I come from Australia, and Australia is definitely a part of an empire, the American Empire. And I mostly disapprove of this empire to be honest. There is this book that I really enjoy, written by Sir John Bagot Glubb called The Fate of Empires, and it has this moment I'm particularly fond of where it tells of this civilization where the pop culture artists are worshipped as idols and the society is overall pretty close to decaying and collapsing, and the author has you guess time and place, but it turns out that he's actually talking about the Persian Empire and not the present day. 1000 A.D is another book that I really like that talks about empires and explains that their collapse is imminent.

9. Are you interested in writers, poets, in any particular literature? Can you recommend something to read?
I'm a voracious reader of books, I really like them! I usually don't get much sleep so I tend to read books when everyone else is asleep. For example there's this book that I found about six months ago called Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker which is a brilliant history book, but a very unusual one, it's some sort of a "prelude" to WWII that describes how this political machine demading war can't be stopped once set in motion. It really reminds me of the build up before the American invasion in Iraq and that's why I enjoyed it so much.

   «The most important thing for me is that           the song should feel authentic, as if it             was a person and that person was                   being geniune and honest»

I also like ThePicture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, I think it's amazingly well written. It was quite a scandalous book for its time and it was basically the reason why the author was sent to jail.

Overall I'm mostly trying to find books that are either controversial or historically interesting. I have to confess that I'm kinda fascinated with books about Kennedy's assassination, and I've probably read more than fifty of them at this point. The best one of them is probably JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass, if you're looking for a recommendation. So yeah, there are lots of interesting things around. It's actually pretty fascinating that people still write books. If you look around, everyone is always staring at their phone, so it's pretty cool to know that someone somewhere is writing a book. There's this other book called I Hate the Internet by Jarett Kobek that is practically written in the style of very basic blog posts in the Internet. At first I hated it but by the time I was done with it I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Then I picked up another book by the same writer called Atta. It's a fantasy book that is partially unrealistic but it's very well written and I found it very witty.

10. You have a song called A Late Twentieth Century Boy. Can you tell us about it, what is it about? If the song was about XXI century what would you change in it?

Honestly, I haven't listened to it for years. It came out ages ago! But I remember making this song, and at the time it was mostly a reflection of where we were as a people with a new century approaching. I felt that we were quite fragile and lost.

There's a bit of a joke hidden in the title too. I really like the band called T. Rex, and they have a song called 20th Century Boy so I slightly changed it to Late 20th Century Boy to add a bit of a contrast in there. I felt like as a society we were anything but like T. Rex's music, the opposite of confident, weak and lost

11. A few questions about your 2010 album Last Of The Great Romantics. What is the album about? How did the recording go? What was the most difficult part in the recording process?

I'm really glad you asked about that record, because I really like it! I used to have a doomed feeling about it because I felt like nobody would like it, but I thought it was the best record we've ever made. You couldn't really put it in a genre, you know, put it in a box, so I felt like this record would end up being completely ignored. 

Snog - Last of The Great Romantics
This record was actually pretty big for us to make as we recorded it in quite a big studio in Melbourne, Australia. I was making a big statement to send out signals about human kind and what we think. We spent a lot of time recording with some amazing musicians like John Justin Steward who is an amazing guitarist and many other great musicians as well. 

As for my favorite tracks, I'd say the first two tracks are probably it: We're All In This Together and The End of the World which is kind of like my love song about the world's ending. In my opinion the apocalypse is quite a romantic thing. To be at the very end is quite romantic, don't you think? Maybe it's even beautiful in its own terrible way.

12. What made you write the song We’re All In This Together?

Well, I'm a bit cynical and I'm always making some bad dark jokes and the plight of human kind is that we always behave like we're not in this together but of course we are in this together and I think we should stop fighting and realize this simple fact.

I feel like there is this classic rule of "Divide and Rule" always used by the elite, by the establishment or whatever you want to call them. In my opinion, all these terms... "right wing", "left wing" are basically useless, they are constructed with the purpose of putting people into tribes or teams so that they fight each other. The secret is that we have much more in common than we have apart and we shouldn't let ourselves be pushed into fighting each other.

The influences for that song would be the English band Hawkwind and the singer Morrissey who I was trying to channel on the inside while making this song.

13. Tell us, how do you write your songs? How do you write the text? Is it the words that come first, or do you start with a topic, that you want to cover? 

Sometimes the musical ideas come first (which is a bit rare with Snog) in which case I'm having an idea for the melody of the lyrics, of how the music should be, but sometimes the music changes completely by the time the song is finished.

The most important thing for me is that the song should feel authentic, as if the song was a person and that person was being very genuine and honest. This is my idea of what a song should be like. 

For instance, let's look at the song Big Black Hole that sounds like some sort of grungy sludge death metal thing. It's a song about death after all... and I had quite a few friends at the time who had died or were dying, so I was thinking about this whole death thing and all the obvious questions about death and it felt like the natural way to do this song.

   «The best message Snog could hope to             deliver is «Think for yourself», and                   also «You are not alone, there are other           people who don't agree»

I never start with this «I want to write a song about a topic thing» I just never do it. I feel like it would be a horrible idea. And I also don't like it when others tell us what we should make our songs about. We're not some sort of a song-writing machine, we are very honest, we make songs about what comes out and that's it.

My songs often start as just cheeky little songs where I'm making fun of something or someone, but by the time they are recorded they become something more serious.

14. What is the main message of your music? What do you want to tell the people?

Unfortunately, I think we will not cause a revolution or make the existing corrupt order collapse or any of these things, so the most realistic thing is to let people who feel different from the general mass, the so-called "outsiders", know that they are not alone. Because I feel like there are all these different powers within society that tell people who think or act differently that they are completely alone. Even with the Internet being a thing, humans are still very atomized, very separate, and we are constantly told that we are separate. And the mainstream machine keeps telling us how we should think and what we should and should not believe. So, I guess, the best message Snog could hope to deliver is actually "Think for yourself!", and also "You are not alone, there are other people who don't agree!". I feel like we're continuing this great tradition of the alternative music, which is to tell people that there are different opinions 

15. How would you describe yourself – a poet with a guitar or an electronic musician?

I'm definitely an electronic musician. I'm not actually very musical at all. Somehow, by some accident I'm making some musical records. The very first keyboard I had was a very cheap one and I broke it by sticking screwdrivers into it to try and make it sound better and this was because I couldn't possibly play a musical instrument, it was not an option to me. And this is why I got into samplers, so I could take samples of other people's music and make a "new" thing out of it. So my background is definitely in electronic music and not in rock'n'roll (although it's great too).

16. Can you tell us about your DJ experience? Did you have some unusual performances or experiences that you remember? Which music were you playing then?

I've done thousands of those DJ things, althought I don't do much of them anymore because I'm bored of them and also because I think the music I want to play is generally too weird and extreme for people. The weirdest ones? There would probably be hundreds of weird ones... I mean, I DJ-ed for quite a few years at this bondage club in Melbourne, Australia, called the Hellfire Club, which was quite famous here for a while. There were lots of things that I can't even describe that were happening in front of me as I was DJ-ing. 

One that I remember well was a gig in East Berlin that I did with Alec Empire. There was another one that I did in Dresden many many years ago and it was pretty weird because it was in this sort of gay bikers' club in the middle of a wasteland... We had a tour of America last year in the middle of its election season, so of course I found it very interesting. The whole of America seems like a Disneyland. I really liked Las Vegas when I first came there, but after a while I found it completely depressing and I just wanted to leave.