Recorded over a period of two and a half years and in three locations, Black Noise is River Of Snakes’ latest release. Fronted by Raul Sanchez, best known for his role as guitarist in Magic Dirt, Midnight Woolf and The Ape, alongside bass player Elissa Rose (The Loveless), the band’s latest effort Black Noise showcases their ability to build on sonic experimentation.
Lacing the record with feedback and fuzz, 80s-90s alt-rock scuzz and peppered with 60’s pop, psychedelia, noise and the love of a good hook, Black Noise impressively balances between being sonically new but still familiar.
Countless manic live shows and rigorous touring around Australia helped to shape the visceral live sound of the trio when they went in to the studio to record. The basic tracks were recorded live to tape over a couple of intensive two-day sessions at Head Gap Studios by Neil Thomason, while the overdubs and vocals were done in the rehearsal room and at home to pro-tools by Raul Sanchez.
Since the recording of this LP, the trio have seen , drummer Glenn Evans leave the band and replaced by good friend Ben from Hotel Wrecking City Traders, who has proven a perfect fit. Raul gave us a track by track run down of the making of Black Noise, check it out below.
“A kind of epic scorcher, filled with wild lead breaks, fuzz drones and heart felt romance. It’s about the place we find in others for seclusion, comfort and new beginnings.
The tidal flow of life as noise and current and how it sweeps you along. This is an old song, I wrote the chords ages ago in 2009, then the band started playing it, we kinda held off recording it till now, as in my mind its something that should be on an album, rather than an EP…the words have evolved and changed heavily over time.”
“Elissa (Rose, bass/vocals) came up with this one, we were in the studio, getting our sounds together during the first recording session and she started playing the bass-line, I asked her what that was and she said oh just something I wrote. It was really easy and fun to put together as a band, it just fell out really. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album, brooding, tough as nails, heavy and she screams, which I love!
I’m really happy with the guitar tones on this record, I wanted them to be distinctive and stand out when you hear them, the lead guitar part in this song does that for me, it sounds nasty, like steel screeching against steel!”
“Punk abrasiveness, about the money-maker within all of us and the way we are made to compete with each other for the bucks. Again screeching guitars, an angular bass-line, and a thumping relentless beat. It opens into a big heavy power chorus “I count dollars, instead of counting sheep!!” It was written from an old riff I had floating around, it was really easy to write as well. We had it nailed in one day, which is rare for us.”
I Wanna Be Your Baby
“Pop-tastic grunge-a-licious tune, a cross between End of the Century Ramones, Weezer and The Jesus and Mary Chain. It’s a straight up love song. It’s got an odd structure. It starts with two verses, then a chorus, a middle eight, a chorus, guitar solo, breakdown, double chorus and half a verse as an outro. We threw in the kitchen sink on this one. It has tonnes of overdubs and double tracking, including tambourine and glockenspiel. This is one of the tracks that Lindsay Gravina mixed and I think it came out really great. I went in to mix it with him and left as the sun was coming up the next day, which is the usual deal with him.”
“A Nirvana-esqe punk slam, 1:49 min in length, short and sweet. It’s about the liars and the bigot’s in power “do as I say not as I do” thing. It also touches a bit on censorship or more to the point the way this current government is trying to silence any form of dissent and protest by taking money out of broadcasting and education. Middening is cat behavior, they will do a poo in an obvious place, as a way of saying, hey something’s up! I just liked the sound of the word and the idea of using crap as a form of expression!
The phone message at the end was left by Ben Wrecker, our new drummer! It was our way of having him on the record.”
“This song is a throbbing pounding beast, that revolves around a repetitive three chord riff. It’s another song that came out relatively easily in the jam room. It’s heavily influenced by Wipers, a band I was listening to a lot at the time. The hardest thing again was writing the lyrics, which kinda play on the meaning and use of the word “divine”. Its funny cos that was the only thing that came to me straight away “You’re divine” which is the chorus, then I had to try and write verses that somehow worked in to that theme. When we got the mix back from Robbie Adams I thought he’d nailed it, he did a great job on all of the album.”
“Simmering, brooding regret and has one of my favourite lead-breaks on the album. This is another old song written when the band got started in 2010, we’ve played it a lot, it’s the first song I have ever written where the words and melody came to me first and then I picked up the guitar to see what I could play under it. It’s got a cool little piano part that makes a little more haunting.”
The Words I Love You (Ain’t Enough)
“A slithering bass-line and contorted fuzzed out guitars and an odd rhythm to it, which I really like. Glenn Evans did a great job drumming on it. All the songs were pretty much first or second takes, we were really well rehearsed when we went in to record. This song is heavily influenced by The Scientists, well that’s the original idea anyway, just one riff played over and over, with changing dynamics.
I really have no idea what the lyrics are really about. It’s more playing with words than any kind of narrative. It can go two ways; as in the words I love you ain’t enough to express how I feel about you, or that just saying I love you isn’t enough, you gotta show me, prove it, act like you love me…”
“I feel like this is the most mature writing I’ve done to date, I really like this song and it pretty much came out fully formed one night as I sat there and wrote it for someone that I was missing at the time. I love the way the band just really honed in on the subtleness of it, no-one overplayed it and just left a lot of space. I think the take has a great feel. It’s pretty and powerful. I’m very proud of it. There’s a really high feedback track that sounds like violin, it was one of the last things we did at Head-gap studios late at night, it seemed like the guitar just played itself, I just swayed and it hit the right notes!”
“This is a bonus track that we recorded at RMIT. It’s a cover of s song performed by Lydia Lunch and Rowland S Howard on their 1991 album Shotgun Wedding it’s a great song that I thought we could do a decent version of. It’s the first song to have our new drummer on it. Its dirty as fuck, with a cool groove and plenty of chaos and feedback. It’s a great way to welcome Ben in to the fold.”
Black Noise is out now, to pick up your copy, visit www.riverofsnakes.bandcamp.com