Snowapple is three young women from Amsterdam who sing sweet harmonies and play a large collection of instruments, all delivered in a quirky, unique and beautiful style.
They released a new single 'California' in October which is lifted from their forthcoming album, 'Illusion', which is due for release on 3 February 2015.
We caught up with the ladies at a caravan snack bar in a lay-by just off the M25 motorway one cold Sunday afternoon, they ordered chips with mayonnaise whilst I went for a traditional (100% beef) burger with onions. We sat down and waited for the food to arrive and chatted about Supergroups, classic songs and chilling out in Dutch castles, here's how we got on....
Please introduce the band and it’s music in one sentence....
Three girls singing and playing a lot of different musical instruments sometimes beautiful, sometimes daunting, always surprising.
You’re called Snowapple, how on earth did this name come about?
The snowapple is the last apple of the year, the apple you pick when the first snow has already fallen.
You are three musicians who have a different background, how did you all decide to form the band?
We met in the small and lively music scene of Amsterdam, though coming from different backgrounds and singing in different styles we discovered corresponding ideals, beliefs and love for playing music.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
Keep everything in your own hands, work hard and don't waist your money on record labels and managers. You are just as capable (if not more capable) as they are. Willem Venema, booking agent
What advice would you offer to an aspiring musician/band?
There are no limits to what you can do as a band, if you want to tour abroad: go! If you want to make a record, video or website: Do it! (Ask your friends for help) Be creative and play your music for the people who appreciate it most!
Your track ‘California’ looks like your travel diaries, what experiences did you get from going to these places? Do you have any stories that you would like to share with us?
All the stories are in the lyrics of the song:
We drove to Slab City in the middle of the Californian desert, where we joined an open mic night on an open-air stage. The audience was very mixed, young backpackers, hermits, pilgrims and burners. Pixies' drummer David Lovering was there too. After we played a traveller offered us to ride his mule: Rock'n Roll. (Rocky for friends) A local invited us to stay at their self-sustaining commune, they were very kind and took us to the natural hot springs in the night, and we never saw so many stars.
In the morning they made us a pancake breakfast and took us pumpkin shooting. (Left over from Halloween)
We drove all the way through California, when we were in Los Angeles we went to a rappers birthday party in a club on Hollywood Boulevard. It was the most extravagant party we ever saw. If you ordered a bottle of champagne the waitress would decent from the ceiling to deliver it to you. (Which we didn't to because 1k dollars a bottle)
At one point dollar bills came falling from the sky, nobody seemed to care though.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (Only living members please)
Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Nina Hagen all very inspiring musicians!
Who designed the artwork for your eponymous album?
Our friend Renske Mijnheer did the artwork, Semual Souhuwat the photographs and Mo Benchellal designed the clothing.
Is there something you would like to tell each of the band members that you haven’t told them before?
You’re all multi instrumentalists, what was the first instrument you picked up to play and why did you choose that?
Laurien's first instrument was the clarinet, she wanted saxophone but had to learn clarinet first. Una played the cello and also the clarinet but preferred het little Casio keyboard.
Laura learned the piano and still plays it very well!
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Joni Mitchells - Both sides now
It's amazing how you can say so much with just one song.
First gig you ever went to and what was the last one you have been to?
First: Can't remember, I was in my mums belly
Last: Jett Rebel at Paradiso, Amsterdam
Laurien studies physics is an opera singer and models for designer Mo Benchellal, how did all this come about? What inspired you to look into physics?
Laurien: Logic way of thinking, It is a difficult question because I didn't plan this ahead. My life took the choices for me, I think I always had a talent for science and mathematics as well as for music and especially my operatic voice feels very natural to me. Also working with designer Mo Benchellal fits with my logic and spatial way of thinking. His creations are geometrically interesting (for example we worked with a dress that was 200 square meters).
Physics has always been inspirational to my life as well as to my music.
Una, how proud are you of what your father achieved playing within the townships of South Africa? What was that like to be part of and which musicians inspired you and your father?
Una: My father was a great musician and composer, therefor I'm very proud of him. As a musician and a person he taught me a lot. Be bold, be original, be true to yourself and expect a lot from yourself are a few important values.
He was inspired by a lot of music, from Stravinsky to the Beatles, from South-African Kwela's to Irish folksongs and of course Lester Young.
Laura has recently taken over from Fanny, what have the two musicians given to the band and what are their styles like?
After Fanny left the band, Laura took over. She is very professional and learned the songs extremely fast. She is a virtuoso key player and a prize-winning composer. The way she sings sounds very free and effortless. She has a good sense of humor, which is very important.
Where did you record your debut album and what made you choose that studio?
We recorded it at studio 150 in Amsterdam. It is a beautiful studio and we worked with the Studio's engineer before. We new he would do a very good job; he worked with all the great musicians in the Netherlands and some international names such as Paul Welle and Gotye. His name is Joeri Saal.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
From the UK: Ivan Campo, The Moulettes, And The Woodwards
From France: June Bug
From Sweden: Wildhart
From the Netherlands: IX, Faut Haut
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
The goose in Nils Holgersson, hop on and join the adventure!
What did you all get up to on New Years Eve?
A castle in the south of Holland with friends and bonfires.
The food arrived and I instantly wished that I had opted for the chips and mayo combo....Whilst trying to distract the ladies so I could grab a few of their pomme frites, I dropped in a few quickfire questions....
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
Van Gogh or Monet?
Drum machine or the real deal?
Mac or PC?
Miles Davis or Charlie Parker?
Mistletoe or Mince pies?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
Batman or Superman?
Car or Motorbike?
Our VW Tourvan
A Lay in or up early?
A Lay in, when we get the chance
The Jågermeister reindeer
Acoustic or electric?
Shower or Bath?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank the ladies for sparing their time to answer our questions and we wish them every success on their forthcoming UK tour that kicks off on February 6th, full dates and venues below:
- 6th of February: The Slaughtered Lamb, LONDON
- 7th of February: The Ranelagh, BRIGHTON
- 8th of February: The Old Bookshop, BRISTOL
- 9th of February: Songs From The Shed, NORTH SOMERSET
- 10th of February: The Bicylce Shop, NORWICH
- 11th of February: The Musician, LEICESTER
- 12th of February: The Castle Hotel, MANCHESTER
- 14th of February: The Adelphi Club, HULL
- 15th of February: The Greystones, SHEFFIELD