The Snapchettes seek to popularize active listening with ‘60s-inspired funk
Still fairly new to the scene, having only formed at the beginning of last semester, the Snapchettes’ high energy and kitschy music has only just begun to grace KWUR parties and various other venues around St. Louis.
The band—consisting of junior Alexandria Moore on vocals, junior Dylan Kiefer on the drums, sophomore Jake Zelikovsky as the bass player, junior Campbell Eschleman on the keys, sophomore Tucker Hirsch on saxophone, junior Jack Killeen on the trumpet and junior Andy Lewis on the guitar—came together after meeting from various music organizations on campus.
“We all kind of knew each other,” said Lewis of the Snapchettes’ genesis. “Half of us had met playing jazz in the school jazz band and jazz combo programs, and then the other half met through KWUR. But we all went to KWUR and music-oriented things together.”
Lewis said that beyond that, many of the band members were involved in other bands, too, or played together in groups such as the Chair Enthusiasts, which have since dissolved. Still, the band plays with other groups such as Sunsulking (for which Kiefer also plays drums), Frankie Valet and American Poetry Club (for which Lewis also plays).
“It was just this thing where we all knew each other but it just became an idea,” said Lewis. “Like, ‘let’s do a music thing!’”
“A couple people were saying that it was annoying that there were so many rock bands on campus, but not really a funk or pop band. So, we just kind of all got together,” he said.
Lewis said that that same funk and pop vibe that inspired the band at very first is still the genre they seek most effectively.
“We’re a little all over the place, but generally I’d say we do a lot of funky pop music,” Lewis said. “The songs I write are generally inspired by like ‘60s music and that sort of sound, especially the girl groups. Then we cover a lot of things, like the Talking Heads and Rubble Bucket. Our whole thing is that we didn’t know what we wanted to do our first semester, so we just wanted to play music to make people dance.”
That’s where the group arrived at their name, drawing on inspiration of ‘60s girl groups such as the Cordettes and the Ronettes and adding a modern social media twist to arrive at the Snapchettes.
Lewis says that a lot of his own personal inspiration arose from how the idea of rock and pop have evolved from being social stepping stones (listening to music at dances and having live music at social events to facilitate a good time) to being more of a personal listening experience. This gave rise to the band’s most focused mission: to have fun, and to make music fun for their listeners. They’re trying to stray away from what Lewis labels as a “more stand and watch sort of music now, and much less overtly dance-y.”
The band’s coming together last year was an impromptu ordeal, thrown together with the Battle of the Bands in mind.
“Our first show was the Battle of the Bands event that Ursa’s puts on in the winter,” Lewis said. “We figured maybe we’d try it, do like three songs, and if it’s good and we like it we’d keep doing it afterward. It went very well, so we have continued to do stuff. We play at KWUR things and other places around St. Louis.”
The band, though not having recorded anything just yet, can be found at venues such as Foam on Cherokee Street to KWUR events near or on campus.
As for the recording process, well, they’re working on that, too.
“The first semester we existed…we didn’t really have time to explore what we really wanted to do,” said Lewis. “It’s hard to coordinate with seven people and we’re all busy, and we had to put together a 45-minute set for Battle of the Bands. Now that we have time to kind of switch it around. The goal is by the end of the semester to have a set of originals.”
As of now, the band has a set of about five original songs and a variety of covers.
“We’d never play those all at one show though, of course,” Lewis laughed. “We have quite the backlog of covers at this point. And we’re trying to write some new stuff. We’re going to try to record an EP coming up this semester, and kind of go from there. If we have more material or like parts of it, we’re maybe looking at a second EP or combining them and doing a full [album].”
Lewis said that the band works very collaboratively in the creative process, as they all come from similar music backgrounds.
“Last semester, someone would write stuff or arrange it and bring it in,” Lewis described. “The really fun thing, though, is [when you] have just the general idea of what you want it to be, and everyone in the group is so talented and creative that you can [start with that] and then they kind of come up with their own part to play.”
Lewis expressed that this encouraging, fun, creative effort makes writing and arranging the group’s music enjoyable.
“Whoever wrote the song just puts it out there and we kind of form it together. Sometimes we’ve had sheet music, sometimes we just play it by ear. It really just all depends. It’s very group-oriented,” he said.
Lewis said that since their first semester, the band’s looked forward to a lot of growing and expanding.
“We’ve had the summer off and we’re looking to branch out by writing new stuff and covering a wider variety,” Lewis said.
This idea should be captured marvelously as the group continues to work together, write and expand.
“Musicians just tend to meet each other…Iike, oh you do that too?” Lewis laughed. “It’s really fun to play with people who come from a similar musical background in that way.”
In the meantime, catch them live as Wash. U. eagerly anticipates the release of their kitschy pop vibes in recorded format.