SNOO’s debut single might be the most un-rock and roll song ever – it’s about rescue cats.
As singer Lizzy Harskamp explains, they are pretty much a band of animal lovers, reflected in the film clip for their single After Dark, where they poorly audition for the musical Cats and get into all kinds of feline high jinks.
“Rob, who wrote the song, has two rescue cats,” Lizzy says.
“As he wrote the lyrics it became about cats. For the rest of us, when we asked what the song was about and he told us it was about cats, we then spoke more about our shared cat and animal love.”
SNOO aren’t your regular bone-head rock band, they’re progressive pop/rockers, always searching for weird time signatures, altered chords and clever arrangements to keep audiences on their toes.
“After Dark was conceived in the jam room,” says SNOO guitarist Rob Susanto-Lee.
“The 5/4 time signature was an interesting feel, like an odd triplet rhythm. It was intended for a verse or section, but felt so good it was kept for the entire track.
“Not quite [Dave] Brubeck’s Take Five, but aiming for [Pink] Floyd’s Money for a modern off-time pop song.”
All experienced Perth musicians with other bands on the go, SNOO started out as a bit of fun, but after being impressed with the material they wrote, the band are going all-in.
“As we were all busy with life and other projects we just did the odd show here and there but more recently we have all wanted to dedicate the time in getting these songs out there and connecting with people who feel the vibe of them,” Lizzy says.
“Musically we all clicked and enjoyed pushing the normal 4/4 musical boundaries in which most radio friendly songs are written.”
Another interesting facet of SNOO is that Lizzy is married to the band’s drummer Jamie, who used to play in Shimmer Gloom.
“SNOO just needed a singer – in comes me,” Lizzy says.
“I was already in the house enjoying the music. It made sense to give it a go and I’ve loved singing alongside such amazing writers and musicians. We all have different influences, so we are all coming from different perspectives but somehow it still works and I think it makes what comes out of a jam very interesting.”
It’s definitely an eclectic mix of styles: Susanto-Lee is into Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Police, bassist Dominic Donbavand likes Level 42 and Primus, Lizzy namechecks Christina Aguilera and Alanis Morissette, and Jamie digs Tool, Big Country and Tori Amos.
The band might never have happened if Lizzy and Jamie hadn’t seen Susanto-Lee playing some amazing guitar with The Date at a gig in Perth in 2016.
“I recall Jamie saying ‘Who the f*@! is that guitarist? I have to jam with him’” Lizzy says.
“They swapped numbers but it wasn’t until another gig maybe a year later that the interest was re-sparked and they organised a jam. More jams followed until they decided they had enough material to put on a show.”
SNOO will hold a special launch gig for After Dark at Four5nine in the Rosemount Hotel North Perth on Friday August 5 at 7.30pm. For tix go to oztix.com.au and there’s more info on the band at snooband.com.au
by STEPHEN POLLOCK