Animal band names seem all the rage at the moment, how did you settle on Schnauser?
It was a combination of being a huge Spaced fan (Colin, Daisy’s dog), and I really liked the word itself for it’s amusing Germanic sound. The mis-spelling was intentional to help prevent us from being accidentally booked for Crufts.
What’s been your best gig to-date? And why?
Our Dot to Dot gig this year at the Louisiana on June 2nd had a lovely combination of spontaneity and exuberance to it, fueled by a great onstage sound and an enthusiastic and attentive crowd. Daytime festival gigs always feel more informal and fun and this was a prime example! Supporting the brilliant Blitzen Trapper in the Thekla in 2010 was another high point, especially when they enthused about our set so much afterwards.
You’ve not always been a Bristol band, what prompted the move here and how has the city treated you so far?
Before Holly & I moved to Bristol, Schnauser was essentially a solo project based in Weymouth where unfortunately original music has very limited scope. We moved here when our drummer needed a house-sitter for 6 months, and once we’d recovered from the brief shock of moving from a culturally bereft seaside town to a multicultural city, we’ve absolutely loved it. Moving to Bristol has been an inspirational tonic for writing and playing live, as there’s just so much going on and so many great bands to play with.
Your music demonstrates influences from a brighter day, what would you say your main influences are?
Early Soft Machine are a big influence; lots of weird time signatures/chord changes, catchy pop melodies and lyrics that don’t take themselves too seriously. The Kinks’ wittily dour lyrics have definitely seeped into our songs, and early Todd Rundgren would have to feature very high on the list with his numerous melancholic chord changes and arch lyricism. Not forgetting to mention the glorious XTC. Performance wise, John and Holly are both massive Police and Zappa fans, I love George Harrison’s and Steve Howe’s guitar playing in equal measure and Duncan is a big fan of early 70s British prog/folk amongst many other things. Although not ingrained as influences in the same way, we are all equally enamoured with contemporary bands White Denim, Field Music, Stephen Malkmus, Flaming Lips, Super Furry Animals and The Shins.
Lyrically, you do make us chuckle. What’s your funniest lyric? And your most serious?
Funniest: ‘Darling, could you make me a cup of tea?’, from The Autumn Gnat Collection.
Most serious: ‘Danno la testa buona’ from Twins of Evil.
How do you find it working, living and playing with your loved one – pros and cons?
Pros: Aside from our shared love of inventive pop and our disarming telepathic link, the main benefit is splitting the taxi fare home from the gigs.
Cons: Familiarity can breed contempt.
You’re about to support another dog themed band at their EP launch, Goan Dogs. How do you rate them? Any other local bands we need to know about?
Goan Dogs are really inventive – a great combination of dark dusty themes taken from a British pop angle which is both original and exciting. Our gig at the Cube on July 29th should be a corker and we’re really looking forward to it. Other top-rated Bristol bands who we love: Monsignor Paul Regret (formerly of Arthur Duke), Glis Glis, Empty Pools, The Liftmen, Mouse Deer (ahem), Hi-Fiction Science, Martin Aloysius Brignall and SJ Esau.
What would really be in your world of whimsy?
David Cameron’s ruddy face held in a cracked leather truss, perpetually splashed with hot dog urine while George Osborne snaffles hungrily at his nether regions to the tune of ‘Un homme et une femme’.
See Schnauser play live at the Grain Barge, during the Bristol Harbourside Festival, Bristol, on July 21-22, and at Bristol Cube on July 29, 2012 (with Goan Dogs). More info at www.schnauser.co.uk
by 247 Magazine