Track Premiere – Snacking, ‘Unraveled’

Posted: by The Editor

The first step to a journey starts with acknowledging what’s ahead – and that’s exactly what Snacking has begun with their single, “Unraveled,” off of their upcoming record, Not Here.

The St. Petersburg four-piece spent the summer trekking from their hometown to Orlando to record, each trip marked by dozing in their van, delirious late nights, and piecing together final lyrics.

Their journey as a band started long before that, though, when frontperson Ryan Dormois and guitarist Jacob Taylor met and began exploring their favorite styles of music. It’s in 2018 that they’ve mastered a sound that draws from countless genres and impressions over their tenure of six years as a band. Not Here signals a solid lineup of Dormois and Taylor with newcomers,  bassist John Freda and drummer Mike Everett. In finding ground as a band, it was possible to find it in life and lyrics, too.

“Unraveled” unpacks the realization of toxicity in a relationship and confronting the layers of emotions when leaving it. The build up is a beginning, and marks the perfect start to a new chapter for him personally, captured both in the record and for the band.

Take a listen to “Unraveled” by Snacking below:

The Alternative sat with frontperson Ryan Dormois to talk about “Unraveled” as a jumping off point for the band, forming the new sound for Snacking, and his experience recording his first record.

The Alternative: This has been a long time coming, putting out Not Here. How are you feeling?

Ryan Dormois: It’s definitely weird now that we’ve finally got some music for people to listen to. Just from a few of the responses we’ve received already for “Genius, Actually,” it’s kind of overwhelming. We’ve been a band for a while and have played plenty of shows, met people, but never really had anything to show for that. Now that we’ve found this weird, unique sound, we’re all really into it.

You made that first single release really special, showcasing “Genius, Actually,” your first recorded single, to your closest followers first.

Within even a few hours of just sharing the song, there were multiple shares. It was really cool to just see the support coming in. It’s definitely a validating feeling.

Snacking has developed a unique sound that’s really difficult to define genre-wise. How has the band developed over the years to get to this?

For a long time, we were a band that was trying to mimic the sound of other bands… But I think now, I don’t really know how to quite pigeon-hole our sound. I don’t like to describe it to someone, but instead let them discover for themselves.

It’s hard to say how you’ve grown over six years…For Jacob [Taylor] and I, especially with our friendship, since it’s been our band for the most part, we’ve definitely developed a good, weird bond.

You’ve experimented with so many sounds – a twinkle-daddy phase, a math-y phase…

I think some of the members we’ve had have played a role in that. Like when Brad was drumming for us, we were more guitar-heavy. Then Danny started drumming for us, and then we picked up a more math-y element.

With Mike [Everett] and John [Freda], they both fit very well. John just picked up a bass one day when we were practicing and just starting riffing on it, and we were like “oh my god, you really have to play in Snacking,” which he responded with a “yeah, whatever,” typical response.

Mike brings a cool element with how he plays. It’s simple but at the same time no one plays the drums like him. It’s got a weird consistency that fits with the sound we’re trying to do now.

We’ve formed this weird, little pocket where we are happy with what we’re writing and playing. I don’t think we’ve ever had anything better.

When you have the right lineup, you start to get the right concoction going.

With this record, we’ve actually written all but one song together as a group. A few of them were based on riffs that Jacob and I had written, but most of them came together just naturally. We’d all be playing and ask “what should we do from here?” John would suggest something and then go from there. It definitely had an influence on the songs and our sound now.

How was the recording process putting all of these together?

Only one song was a song before this lineup was “Weathervane,” which is the last song on our debut album, by us, the band Snacking. We played a show in Orlando in 2017, and Jacob met a guy there and after they chatted. He offered to record our band, and that’s how we met our sound engineer, Kyle [Hoffer]. In mid-March of this year we went up to the studio at Valencia College in Orlando.

I had never experienced actually being in the studio. Once we got in there, it was a little unfamiliar and feeling a little bit of pressure. Kyle was really cool and would kick our ass in a good way. He made everyone feel welcome and comfortable… we could all be ourselves, get comfortable, and brought out a good side of our performance.

What was the most fun part of the process?

It was fun to just bullshit with each other with a lot of late nights. You know – you cross the point of delirium and just start to feel a little insane. I think the band bonded a lot, too, with some late nights sleeping in the van. The first night we recorded, we got in the studio at 4 p.m. and left at 6 a.m. It just seemed liked a big, crazy, fun trip where we’d feel like we’d get into some trouble, we were having fun, and get this experience. You spend so much time in a box with four other guys… the whole thing was fun, just to have cool moments with your friends and make a new friend.

To switch gears, what were you listening to when you were writing the single, “Unraveled?”

I’m not sure I could quite say – it was the second song we wrote with this lineup around January 2017. It was also a weird time in my life. I can definitely tell you I was listening to the Beatles. I was listening to a lot of “feel bad for yourself” music, so definitely them.

How did you end up approaching writing “Unraveled” from there lyrically?

“Unraveled” was one of those songs where we for the first few months were playing it live for the sake of having enough songs for a live show. I don’t think I was happy with the lyrics or melodies lyrically for some time, so we sort of shelved it. We came back to it later knowing we would be recording this album and wanted to make this better.

When we got to the studio, it was definitely a song I was less confident about since the lyrics weren’t done. I had bits and pieces from previous versions but were never really done. Kyle helped me finish writing the song and piece some of the lyrics together and add some more melodies. He pushed me to focus on it a little more and make it better. We ended up coming up with something we really liked a lot. It’s now one of my favorite songs off of the new record.

I don’t think it’s really about one specific thing. A lot of it is trying to get out of a really bad or unhealthy situation, and feeling bad for yourself but knowing there’s no reason you should. It’s knowing you need to get out of a situation that isn’t healthy for and struggling with feeling guilty or bad for no reason.

There’s like an awareness of the negativity and trying to find your way out of that.

Yeah, a lot of the songs on the album really follow that theme with familiarizing yourself with a new situation while getting out of one that you know is toxic to your health and not making you the best person that you can be. “Unraveled” definitely speaks on that front to bettering yourself, even if it might hurt somebody else.

How does “Unraveled” fit in with the rest of the record?

At the point where I was at in my life with “Unraveled,” it was a jumping off point for me. It was the start of trying to make my life better that year. To me, it makes sense as an opener because it jumped me off and got me started. Some of the songs that follow that are more of the feelings that come after that, the cause and effect sort of things.

It’s not a story, nothing conceptually, but there is a sort of pattern with “Unraveled” and the songs following with “what happens next” and “how are you feeling at this point.”

What do you want listeners to really get out listening to “Unraveled?”

I’m not sure that “Unraveled” is the type of song that is “feel-good” but ideally, if this song gives someone the courage to step out of a situation that’s hurting them, then that’s fucking huge.

I want people to be able to listen, to enjoy it, to have some fun. That’s kind of our goal as a band. If people can relate to us and can feel some sort of reassurance listening to our music, then that’s the coolest feeling ever.

Not Here is available on all streaming platforms on Thursday, September 20. Preorder the record on Bandcamp.

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Amanda Starling | @starlingaj

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