MUSIC THAT MATTERS – ICYMI: STÖJ SNAK INTERVIEW WITH NIELS SØRENSON

by Sara Harrington

Part of  a series exploring great music from the DIY music scene that you may have missed.

Hi Niels, thanks so much for letting me bother you with lots of questions! How are you doing today?

No worries. My pleasure. I’m pretty good today – currently in an airport, waiting for a plane to Copenhagen where I’m going to visit an old friend and see a Guns ‘n’ Roses show. Ten year old me is stoked.

So, I’m pretty late to the game and only just stumbled across you and your musical endeavours – Can you tell me a bit about ‘Stöj Snak’ and how it started and who is involved?

Stöj Snak is a ScreamerSongwriter band from Denmark. I started Stöj Snak as an acoustic solo act around 4 years ago – basically just me recording songs in my apartment as a hobby project. It was never meant for anyone to hear.

Since then the band has grown to a four piece with drums, washboard, upright bass and other trash instruments but the attitude towards the music is still very much the same – we do everything ourselves and because it’s fun. It’s basically the antithesis to Guns ‘n’ Roses.

You were also in Mighty Midgets which is a bit of a different vibe to Stöj Snak, how does is it compare playing in a more ‘acoustic/folk’ band?

Being acoustic (especially alone on the stage) feels way more naked. You can’t hide behind anyone or a wall of loud distortion. That can be a bit more nerve wrecking at times (when things fuck up) but I also feel that it makes it way easier to connect with the audience.

Also, Mighty Midgets required a certain tightness to not get completely messy so we had to practice all the time. We don’t really do that in Stöj Snak so there’s a lot more freedom to do other things or spend time on songwriting and recording. I think I like the loose dynamic a bit better.

It kind of cleans the soul to yell at the things you are angry with or sad about.

One of the coolest things about seeing you perform live was getting to hear how heavy your vocals are. Do you bring any other influences from being in a heavier band to Stöj Snak?

Thanks. I think that comes from being the second vocalist in a loud band for so many years. My microphone always gets turned down or I get the mic that doesn’t really work because no one wants to hear the guitar player with the shitty voice. So over the last ten years I found some sort of technique to get heard through the wall of noise.

I really like the energy from a hardcore show and try to carry that over to Stöj Snak shows. From time to time, I work in softer parts to explore that side of my voice but belting it all out and giving it everything just feels really good. It kind of cleans the soul to yell at the things you are angry with or sad about.

Have you found a difference in the types of shows you play? Is the community different in anyway?

I’ve played many different places, but I feel that although people are different they are cool for the most part once you get to talk to them. Especially in the more underground places where people work together to make things happen. In those communities people don’t take the music for granted in the same way that is often the case in bigger and more profit-driven venues. The best shows are usually in places where there’s a strong sense of community and common responsibility for everything – that’s way more important than having a big crowd or having people knowing the songs. It’s great to become part of and contribute to such a community for a day or two.

( via Stoj Snak )

You’re from Aalborg, Denmark, can you tell me what the punk/music community is like there?

Though Aalborg is the third biggest city in Denmark it is really small. And so is the underground scene. But I feel the community is pretty strong here and the city has fostered some really good bands. The main underground venue, 1000fryd is known in most of Europe and despite having room for only around 100 people some really good bands come by. I saw Frank Turner there last year which was pretty cool (defo the smallest show he has played for a long time).

Due to the small size of the city, punk, metal, rock n roll, ska, reggae and to some extent even hip hop and electronic music all attract the alternative people and the scenes kind of merge, giving everyone a bit of a broader taste. I’m very grateful that this town has such a thriving underground community despite being so small.

So your last release was ScreamerSongwriterin 2016, it’s such a great record with some really powerful songs – what was your approach to writing it?

Happy you like it. My approach was basically the same as it has always been. If something provokes me or otherwise grabs my attention (could be political stuff, something I’ve read, a conversation or situation at work or whatever), I sit down with my guitar and kind of meditate over it, jamming, trying turn these thoughts into music. Sometimes a song comes out, sometimes not. When I feel a song is ready, I record it.

 

You played and produced most of the record yourself – are DIY ideals an integral part of the process for you or is it more of a necessity?

A bit of both, I guess. At least to begin with it was. Now, it’s just how I work and it’s a work ethic I’m proud of. It’s fun to do everything (recording, drawing, doing videos, etc) and learn about and trying new techniques and approaches plus it gives complete creative freedom and makes the results more personal. DIY is also way cheaper which is an advantage when you’re running on a tight budget (things can be fast, cheap and quality and you can only pick two – so fast has to go out the window).

Since finding your music I discovered that you are involved in 5FeetUnder Records, can you tell me a bit about that? Do you run it with a particular ethos in mind?

Yeah, the label consists of everyone in Mighty Midgets (and Jesper who plays the washboard and harmonica in Stöj Snak) and it’s a very low key operation. It was basically started because we wanted a label on our records. Then others must have seen the logo because at one point other bands started contacting us.

We all tip in a bit each month. When bands contact us and everyone likes it, we help them put out their record (if one guy doesn’t like the record, we don’t put it out). We’ve put out more than 60 records over the years – primarily punk and hardcore but also a bit of ska, grind and borderline metal. Good way to expand your collection.

We’ve put out more than 60 records over the years – primarily punk and hardcore but also a bit of ska, grind and borderline metal.

Will we see a new record anytime soon?

I’m always writing. I’ve already recorded a few tracks for a limited 7” that I plan to send to the pressing plant very soon.

Other than that, we’re halfway through recording a three song digital EP for our local venue 1000fryd which is using it for a campaign to save the place (they’ve had some problems over the last year). So defo go check that out and pre-order it for a good cause.

Finally, in the spirit of sharing music I would like to share some music with you, in return would you suggest something that you love to listen to and I may not have heard? Shameless plugs totally allowed here, or the more ridiculous the better! I would like to recommend listening to the friend who used to sleep on my floor, he plays in an acoustic project called Revello, some tasty pop for your ears. Here’s his video for Saltwater.

A ridiculous and shameless plug could be my grindcore band Lemlæstet Fosterbræk (means Mutilated Fetus Vomit). But seriously, lately I’ve enjoyed the debut album Angst by kollapse – a sludgy and crusty hardcore band from Aalborg in which my brother, who was also in Mighty Midgets, plays.

UK bands I’ve recently found and enjoyed would be Billy Liar, Grand Collapse and Pizza Tramp.

All Stoj Snak music can be streamed and bought at music.stojsnak.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StojSnak/

 


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