Text: Bente van der Zalm
On January 18, we will take over one of the many stages within the Drie Gezusters in Groningen during the Penguin Showcases (supported by Eurosonic Noorderslag). The CHAOS team has selected the biggest promises of the upcoming year for you to come and play some dirty sets. One of these promises is Snow Coats, which released the album If It Wasn’t Me, I Would’ve Called It Funny last year. We spoke with Daan Ebbers and Anouk van der Kemp, who forms the band together with Joost Ebbers and Frank Peters.
Can you introduce yourself to the people you don’t know yet?
Anouk: We were all friends already, but we didn’t play music together yet. We were put together for the final exam of a music course where we all sat. It clicked super well and writing music was a lot of fun. So when we graduated we just continued with that. We made an album of the music we wrote then. That was Take The Weight Of Your Shoulders, our first album. From there we played Popronde in 2018. We noticed that it was getting better and we kept writing a lot of music. In 2020 we released an EP together with Alcapop, an English label. We were able to use the corona time to write a new album again. We released that album, If It Wasn’t Me, I Would’ve Called It Funny, last September, again on Alcapop.
Daan: Yes, and before and after corona we also performed a lot, also abroad. In 2019 we toured Europe as support act for the American band Pinegrove. We have played in Germany, Denmark and Sweden, among others. Last summer we toured the UK. So we have been able to play a lot abroad and that is something that we really like to do and like to focus on. The English label also helps a lot with that.
How would you describe the style of Snow Coats?
D: Indie pop, indie rock with influences of emo and folk.
What kind of music influences you?
D: Bands we like are Beach Bunny, the Beths. There are also a lot of bands we’ve played with that influence us. Pinegrove, for example, is a big influence, but so is Rat Boys. We also think Phoebe Bridgers is cool, but we didn’t go on tour with that.
Do you have a collective musical taste or is it different for everyone?
A: We all like each other’s music, but it differs a little bit here and there. The bands that Daan mentioned are the bands that we really like together and that influence our music.
Not the most original question, but why are you actually called Snow Coats?
A: We get that question often. It’s not a juicy story at all. We had to choose a name for ourselves. It’s inspired by a song by The Shins that we really like called Winter Coats. Then we turned it into Snow Coats.
D: We had already come up with a few names, but we had no idea that it was really our band name. But because we had planned a performance, we had to choose something. We thought it was important that there wasn’t another band with that name and that was the case for Snow Coats, so we chose that. There is never really an exciting story behind it. We always say that the next time we get the question, we should actually come up with a very exciting story so that we can tell a very romantic story about it.
A: But we still haven’t.
You just mentioned that you have toured a lot. What attracts you to that?
D: What I like the most is to get to as many different cities as possible. If that is abroad, that is of course completely fun. We do notice, especially abroad, that even if we had never played in the UK, there are always people who already know our music. Then we see them singing new songs. In London there were even people who wore our band shirts to our gig. That’s very cool to see. Of course there are also a lot of people who don’t know us yet, so it’s also a good way to reach a lot of new fans. I think that’s what I like best about touring; that you go to places where either people don’t know you yet but discover you there, or that there are apparently people who listen to your music there.
A: The nice thing is when you’re touring it’s so different. With the band you are really gone for a while. You live in a kind of different world. You sleep somewhere else almost every night and you see a lot of new things. You constantly have each other, which makes you very close.
Do you notice that the music immediately catches on with people who see you live?
D: In my opinion, very much so. I do have that feeling. I’m not exactly sure if that’s the case or how that’s the case. When we walk through the hall after a show, we get a lot of nice reactions. People say they think it’s cool and people who don’t know us yet say they’ll look us up on Spotify. That way we notice that people do pick it up and like it.
A: Especially in the last few months after we released the album, we did our own tour through the Netherlands for the first time. We thought that was quite exciting, to go all the way to Groningen as a band from Arnhem and then see if people would come to us. In the end it was a lot of fun and we were surprised that so many people came to watch. In Eindhoven a boy came to us who was just going through a break up with his girlfriend and he listened to the album a lot. It was something to hold on to during the difficult time of his breakup. The lyrics had helped him through that too. That was really special.
D: I think you often get reactions to your texts. That people say to you afterwards that, for example, they really liked a certain sentence from a song or that it stuck with you very much. You often got reactions to your texts, didn’t you?
A: Yes, then you know that people listen very carefully to your music, as I would listen to music that I like, for example. That makes it very special.
What was your favourite show you played?
A: Last December we played in Ekko. It was our last performance of the year, so that was already special. We played with two other bands who were also great fun. People were also excited, we sold a lot of merchandise. There was a very nice atmosphere and it was a beautiful room.
D: I think my favourite has been in Hamburg. We had never played there. We were there as support act for Pinegrove. When you play as a support act, the question is always whether people come early to see the support act or whether they come later. That can change a lot as a support act. What I can remember well about Hamburg is that it was completely full well in advance. There were many people who sang along and knew the songs well. That felt very special at the time. That was the very first time we played far beyond our own city and country and then we saw that there was so much response to our music even there. That so many people already knew it.
How do you all manage to make time to go on tour at the same time?
D: For all four of us, making music is very important. If we can tour somewhere, we all like to make time and space for it. We always try to be as flexible as possible. Performing always feels like a priority over doing other things.
Do you have a new song that is a calling card for your band?
D: I would say “Anyway” or “Dinosaur”. They are both on our new album and ‘Anyway’ also has a video clip.
Does that video clip add to the business card?
A: Yes, I think so. There’s some kind of story in it, but also band shots where we can all be seen. It is the number that we always send when we want to play the music.
Did your label influence you in making the music video?
D: We are very free there. The label gives us complete freedom in what we want to do. and helps us promote it. So when we release a song, the label helps promote radio and playlists on Spotify. Through the label we have acquired a publisher who ensures that our music comes to the attention of, for example, advertising agencies and video production. He has also ensured that our songs are in the playlists that you can listen to when you fly with British Airways. So when you go on holiday with it you can listen to our music non-stop. The label helps a lot with that. In addition, it also ensures that our music is available on vinyl and CD. We can make video clips as we want. The label has put in the contract that we are free to do what we want as long as we deliver quality.
Then about last year, what’s your highlight?
D: Releasing our album in September and the UK tour in June was really cool. Before that we also played in Paris, in France. In September we played in Germany. So I think the international touring and the release of the new album.
A: It’s basically the same thing for me. The tour was a big highlight. And release the album that we’ve been working on for so long. We started writing in 2020. To then play all the songs we’ve collected. We did a lot of things differently than we normally do with an American producer, Joe Reinhart, but we recorded it ourselves. It felt like a very long process in which we all put a lot of effort into it. To release that together is very special. So that’s definitely a highlight.
What is your biggest dream for the band?
A: We really want to go to America to tour.
D: Yes, absolutely. We planned a tour in 2020, but unfortunately corona just started then, so that didn’t happen. So far we have not planned any replacement dates, but I think our short term dream now is to go to America. We notice that there are many people who listen to our music there. I also often get orders through bandcamp from America and on socials we get a lot of messages from people asking when we’re coming to America to tour.
The last question: what can we expect from your performance at the Penguin Showcases?
D: Um… Good question. Many songs from the new album anyway.
A: Live we are nice and up-tempo.
D: Yes energetic and up-tempo.
A: We are certainly looking forward to it!