The Snuts on reclaiming control of their art

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The Snuts on reclaiming control of their art

The Snuts
Words by Bryget Chrisfield

Previously signed to Parlophone, The Snuts now release music through their own Happy Artist Records label.

“BBC Radio 6 Music played Seasons for the first time. I remember it vividly as a full police drug squad was raiding my neighbour’s flat at the time.”

Bryget Chrisfield checks in with vocalist/guitarist Jack Cochrane ahead of the band’s Australian tour to discuss touring with Louis Tomlinson, meeting their heroes The Libertines, going independent and reclaiming control of their art.

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When we check in with vocalist/guitarist Jack Cochrane, he estimates The Snuts are “somewhere deep in Florida” since they’re wrapping up some Stateside dates supporting former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson. “We’ve been driving from Texas to Florida for our last three shows with Louis,” he shares. “The [amount of] miles we’ve covered in the States is insane!”

During this US leg of Tomlinson’s tour, the show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre was cancelled after a “freak hailstorm” ripped through the site. “It was a really extreme weather event and must’ve been terrifying for the audience,” Cochrane observes, before acknowledging, “All of the staff and stage crew did an incredible job of trying to keep everyone safe.”

With an increasing number of bands cancelling or cutting their tours short these days – eg. Arlo Parks, Sam Fender, Lewis Capaldi (who also grew up in The Snuts’ hometown of Whitburn), 100 gecs – we ask Cochrane what kind of measures The Snuts put in place to protect their mental health, and beat burnout, while touring relentlessly.Burnout is something we are super-aware of and try really hard to avoid,” he admits. “We are lucky to have a team around us who are very caring and conscious of our wellbeing. It’s something we forward-plan for and try to make sure that we afford time for rest, recuperation and [spending time with] family.”

We first discovered The Snuts in 2021 as part of the virtual Splendour XR ‘festival’ and have been nuts about this Scottish quartet ever since. Frontman Jack Cochrane’s soulful pipes reeled us in and then this band’s guitar-based tunes, resplendent with shiny melodies and danceable beats, further cemented our obsession.

Two of The Snuts, guitarist Joe McGillveray and drummer Jordan “Joko” Mackay, met in nursery school (kindergarten) – how bloody cute is that! Bassist Callum Wilson came into the picture in primary school, then Cochrane rounded out the awesome foursome in high school and they’ve all been firm friends ever since. “Our first gig would’ve been when we were 15,” Cochrane points out, “and I’m pretty sure we didn’t get paid for a gig ‘til we were well into our 20s.”

Of their formative years, he explains, “Bands like The Libertines made us really fall in love with rock’n’roll”. “We were huge fans of the UK indie movement,” he continues. “We met The Libertines when we supported them [at the UK’s first socially distanced gig in Newcastle back in 2020], which was a really nice, full circle moment. They were real gentlemen and helped us keep faith in the whole process.”

Seasons, The Snuts’ first ‘proper’ single, was released back in 2018 and Cochrane recalls, BBC Radio 6 Music played Seasons for the first time. I remember it vividly as a full police drug squad was raiding my neighbour’s flat at the time.” Later that year, The Snuts signed with Parlophone Records but have since parted ways with the label.

“To be absolutely honest, I think we’ve always wanted to be in control of everything to do with our art and if anything that is something that’s probably caused friction with our previous record label in the past,” Cochrane reflects. “We just care so much about the projects we create so releasing on our own label feels really natural and freeing.”

The band’s debut album, 2021’s W.L. (the initials stand for Whitburn Loopy, a nickname for local louts specific to the small Scottish town from which they hail) topped the UK Albums Chart, beating out some stiff competition in Demi Lovato’s comeback album Dancing With The Devil… The Art Of Starting Over. When asked how his band discovered W.L. had snatched the #1 spot, Cochrane reveals, “I received a phone call from the label. It was actually a really special moment. I’ll never forget that; we worked so hard for that one.”

Earlier this year, The Snuts set up their own independent imprint in partnership with The Orchard. They decided to call it Happy Artist Records, drawing inspo from something they were once told by a Parlophone label head: “There’s nothing worse than a happy artist.” When asked to unpack this contentious quote, Cochrane ponders, “I think artists are naturally pretty vulnerable. It’s the reason that people trust them enough to connect with their music. The problem with this is that it also leaves them really open to being exploited. I think we’ve transported back to an age of artists being really badly treated and you see it more and more every day with even huge artists speaking out about it.

“Record labels are statistics-based organisations and when the stats tell them that the social media stars are the ones that bring in the revenue from streaming platforms, it’s automatically assumed that everyone must fit that mould regardless of how unhappy that makes them.

“Artists need validation. For me that’s just a fact. When artists are starved of that validation they become more susceptible to doing things they are really uncomfortable with to please record labels. That’s my opinion, anyway.”

Their latest single Gloria, one of Cochrane’s favourite Snuts tracks to date and also the band’s first release since parting ways with Parlophone, actually sounds – instrumentally – like the rush of new love. “When I met you at the Tesco fighting over a TV…” (for the uninitiated, Tesco is the largest supermarket chain in the UK) – this song’s lyrics recount a “mundane fairytale” and we can’t help but wonder whether any of these details are autobiographical. “Yes, kind of!” Cochrane allows. “The idea was to try and express my own experiences into a semi-fictional situation involving two really normal characters. It felt really easy to divulge those intimate personal feelings through some other characters.”

So what’s next for The Snuts, release-wise? “Album number three is pretty much done,” Cochrane teases. “It’s a record we’ve poured our hearts and souls into. It is by far our most personal record so far and we are so excited to get it out there.

“The goal is always to reach more people internationally. We believe people everywhere are actually very similar – at least sentimentally.”

The Snuts played Splendour In The Grass IRL last year and, ahead of their upcoming east coast dates in this country, Cochrane enthuses, “We loved Australia, we felt really at home and super-welcome there. Hopefully this time ‘round we get to see a bit more of the country!”

The Snuts are playing the Corner Hotel on August 12. Tickets here.