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Elva Snow

Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Scott Matthew, am: 26.11.2010 ]

Man darf es wohl einen Glücksfall nennen, dass Elva Snow jetzt doch noch ein Album veröffentlicht haben. Wurde die Band doch schon vor über zehn Jahren von Scott Matthew und Spencer Cobrin, dem ehemaligen Morrisey Schlagzeuger, gegründet. Jetzt hat man sich wieder zusammengerauft und stellt die Songs endlich einer breiteren Öffentlichkeit vor. Eine Tour ist ebenfalls gerade im Gange und man darf sich auf die Umsetzung dieser überhaupt nicht angestaubten Songs. Wir sprachen mit Sänger Scott Matthew, der den meisten hoffentlich auch von seinen Solo-Platten ein Begriff ist, über die Vergangenheit, Zukunft, Authentizität und Jessica Schwarz.


Musicscan: What led you to reform the band after so many years and record a new album?

Elva Snow: Well, first we didn't reform the band and secondly we didn't record a new album. We did record 2 new songs for the album in order to call this collection of songs an album but the remaining songs were written and recorded over 10 years ago. The release came about from my lovely label "Glitter House" who heard the Elva Snow songs and liked them enough to release them just for the pure fact that they would be available to those who may be interested.

Musicscan: What is particularly interesting and inspiring in working with each other?

Elva Snow: Spencer and I met many years ago at a time when we were hungry for a musical purpose in NYC. It was immediately apparent after our first songwriting attempts together that we were compatible as collaborators. I was impressed with his history with Morrissey as well as his song writing talents. After playing out in NYC at venues for a few years that ranged from CBGB's to Colombia University and recording the songs, we called it a day, only to have it resurface ten years later. I think we are both still proud of what we produced, though I feel musically we have moved on from those days. I have been focused on a solo path, which also involved Spencer arranging strings for the albums. And of course, we still share a friendship and a love of being bar flies.

Musicscan: How does the songwriting process work in this case? Do you both work on the songs together or do you present finished ideas to the other?

Elva Snow: Back in the day we would generally work separately in the way that Spencer would write the musical main element of a song and then I would take that and recoil to the darkest corner of my very small bedroom and write lyrics and melody. Then came the fine tuning together. It was so long ago, I have trouble even remembering doing it. Though songwriting is often like that for me. It still remains a mystery. One I am thankful for but also fearful it may never happen again because I am unsure how it happens.

Musicscan: Did you have certain musical or aesthetic goals for the band when you first started?

Elva Snow: I don't think we were as calculated as to have an aesthetic goal. Theses songs are just a product of an organic collaboration that is a representation of where we were at during that time. I was (like many others) still reeling from the Brit Pop explosion and was in love with Suede and Gene. I think this was an influence on my participation with this band though not a direct emulation. Spencer had a certain musical approach that may have been influenced by his being immersed in the land of Morrissey for years, but again we just made what came organically.

Musicscan: Is there something missing in the current musical landscape or something that you feel is underrepresented? What would you like to see more and what less of?

Elva Snow: Soul, heart, honesty. I am - and this is where I feel like an old grouch - saddened with what kids have on offer these days. Our heroes growing up were rebels, innovators, romantics and poets. Though this still may remain, it is harder to find and for it to find you. My solar plexus is very rarely ignited as it was when I was younger. Maybe it is just me being an old cynic but I miss these elements in popular music. Oh, and melody.

Musicscan: Do you find that people approach music differently than they did ten or fifteen years ago?

Elva Snow: I think it is music that approaches people differently, which in turn evolves into people approaching music differently. It is the way we get exposed to it. The machine invests millions into forcing us to believe that Katy Perry and Justin Bieber are actually artists. This farce creates a great divide between what I consider real music. Though we have so much more music available to us in this digital age, it is almost impossible to find and focus. We are overwhelmed with information so people will just focus on what the media tells them is legitimate. Honest musicians find themselves not having the financial support they did and there is no support for growth and inspiration. An attitude of "make or break" fuels this desire for "new" all the time, a massive churning machine of desire. I have chosen not to engage in any of this and simply remove myself to make music that is honest and hopefully sincere to others.

Musicscan: What do you hope people to take away from an Elva Snow show?

Elva Snow: This tour is spared down with acoustic renditions of some of the songs of the Elva Snow album. I myself have no desire to play in a traditional band set up anymore, so when we decided to tour, we thought it best for connection to the songs along with financial reasons to make it more intimate. We will be using piano, cello, and guitar, so you can understand the sentiment just knowing this. As always we want people to get a sentiment of beauty and solace.

Musicscan: What role did Jessica Schwarz play in getting you guys back together to work on new music?

Elva Snow: Jessica was a catalyst to me meeting my manager in Berlin. She had no direct connection to the Elva Snow release or tour, though. But I am looking forward to seeing her lovely self.

Musicscan: You have both been involved with music for decades now. What keeps playing music interesting and inspiring to you after so many years?

Elva Snow: I think with creating anything, ff you possess a creative spirit then you will always be excited about making something new that possesses your essence as a person on this planet. Not to say that periods of non-inspiration do not happen, and age old questions like "what does it mean to do this" or the financial worries do not cast a cloud sometimes. I am not very skilled in life and often think this is all I can really do and that pressure can be really scary but it can motivate you to keep showing up and producing new work. I also think that deep down inside all of us is a child wanting to be a rockstar, wanting validation through an audience or at least a sense that others may understand what you mean or how you feel. This connection is powerful and helps me to keep going.

Musicscan: Do you still remember what it felt like when you finished your first song and what it feels like now when you finish a song?

Elva Snow: Like I said before the whole process is a bit of a mystery to me so every time a song is written I am amazed at how it happened. Then the process of trying to decide if it’s good or not seeps in, doubt and self examination enter the picture. In the end, we must rely on a little bit of blind faith. Looking back at the Elva Snow songs I cannot even really remember writing them. It’s as if someone else did it. Also because of this mystery there is a relief that happens once a song is written. Just to know it happened again. I live with an internal fear that I don't know how to do it anymore but somehow it keeps happening. Thankfully.

Musicscan: What can we expect from Elva Snow in the near future? Any new releases, collaborations, tours planned?

Elva Snow: Elva Snow has been put to pasture. It was a time and a place and we are happy to pay homage to it but there will not be any more releases or tours apart from the upcoming tour this November 2010. I am looking forward to playing these songs out one more time but then it’s back to focusing on other things like my third album to be released next year.

Musicscan: Three favorite records, books and films?

Elva Snow: I can’t speak for Spencer but favorites for me would be anything by The Smiths. I don’t read much, though I enjoy anything from New York writer Paul Auster as well as anything by Mike Leigh. “Happy Go Lucky" being his latest and greatest.

  Elva Snow @ Myspace
  Glitterhouse Records
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