Snuffo - Live Free or Die
International man of mystery Snuffo is back. One half of Germany’s notorious Snuff Crew (Playhouse, BPitch Control, International DeeJay Gigolo etc.), co-owner of Snuff Trax and producer in his own right (as Snuffo, Cellarkalt and Status Tapes), releases his ‘Live Free or Die’ album on 6th May on In The Dark Again records. We spoke to the man under the mask to get to the truth about ‘Live Free or Die’.
‘Live Free or Die’ has been getting quite a few spins in the Traxsource.com office, due to its irresistible combination of austere Teutonic functionalism and overdriven Chi-house grooves. Whilst very much a dance floor album, we think this collection of ten techno-ish tracks has enough depth and quality to guarantee plenty of home listening too, which was Snuffo’s original intention:
SNUFFO: “I really hope that people also listen to the whole album at home, in their cars, while laying in the park, or walking through the streets. Even if they are all dance tunes my main purpose was to tell a story and to do an album that is not just a collection of tracks or food for DJs. Of course, it’s great to see the tracks from ‘Live Free Or Die’ being supported by many DJs and also to include them in my own live sets, but I mainly wanted to do a real album with different moods and tensions and not just focused on one sound.”
Snuffo’s solo work away from Snuff Crew and Snuff Trax has always walked a line between the genres, refusing to be easily pigeon-holed and the same is definitely true for his debut long player. Techno, House and Electro comfortably rub shoulders in a dark, beguiling concoction that will have fans and newcomers to his sound equally excited. However, for a collection of futuristic-old-school underground tracks, ‘Live Free or Die’ had a more prosaic beginning. Snuffo takes up the story:
SNUFFO: “The whole album was inspired by my first real vacation after 12 years. My wife and I went to New Hampshire, USA last summer. Her parents live there in an old farmhouse. While relaxing there and enjoying the sea, nature, and the whole New England style, suddenly the idea to do a Snuffo album was born. So all of the track titles and the title of the album refer to my adventures in New Hampshire. In the US every state has a state motto, for New Hampshire it’s “Live Free Or Die” and I really love it. I thought it could be a catchy album title that also refers to my wish for unlimited freedom as an artist.”
Snuffo’s drive for artistic freedom produces a unique, genre-spanning take on our beloved 4/4 tradition, so just how does Snuffo achieve his signature sound?
SNUFFO: “I really enjoy working with Propellerhead’s “Reason”. Most Snuff Crew tracks and all my Snuffo stuff was made with it. I also love hardware, but only use it for other projects like my experimental alter ego Cellarkalt or for Status Tapes (the project I do with the Samanta Fox guys). I don’t like to get lost in millions of plug ins. Reason keeps things interesting with its options. I know how I want my tracks to sound. And of course sampling your favourite drum machine in a dirty way also helps. :)”
Now that Snuffo’s album is finished, he can turn his attention to the important business of running a leading label, being part of several successful collaborative projects, recording tracks for his various alter-egos and aliases and a hectic gig schedule:
SNUFFO: “On the sub-label, Snuff Cuts, the second release will come out at the end of May. Moralez delivered two fantastic tracks for this. There also will be another EP with music from Kline Coma Xero, LVRIN, June, Dmitry Distant & Igors Vorobjovs coming out on In The Dark Again. As a producer, I will mostly focus on my work as Snuffo this year, but there also will be some more noise from me as Cellarkalt happening soon. Plus my friends Jonny, Gizzie and I are planning to bring out an Ambient/Electronica Album as Status Tapes. Snuff Crew is also not dead, it’s just on a break at the moment. My partner Zwo and I will return to stages and studio this summer.”
As with some of the other touring and gigging artists we speak to, we asked Snuffo for a road story or two. And like most touring and gigging artists we speak to, he struggled to come up with anything printable. However, when pushed, he shared this nice little after-dinner anecdote with us:
SNUFFO: “A few weeks ago I started my album tour in Bari, Italy. I played at the Don’t Sleep party at Kepler Club. Great night, lovely people! I was doing my live act, moving and shaking a lot as always, having a lot of fun but I didn’t check the time. So after I had finished the set, the promoter said: “Man, this was really great, but a bit short, you only played 40 minutes!” I felt totally embarrassed and so after the DJ dropped a few records I decided to play a second live set. Again there so much fun and fantastic vibes on the floor. But I have no idea how long this set was either… :)”
Now this – getting so lost in the music that you lose all sense of time – this, we can totally relate to. However, at the end of the interview we still felt there was something missing, something else that we needed to complete the picture…the question that had been hanging over the whole interview: who is underneath the mask?!
SNUFFO: My name is Snuffo, I wear a mask and I say thank you for the interview.
You can’t blame us for trying.
Snuffo’s first full length album, ‘Live Free Or Die’ is available now on In The Dark Again. ‘HERE’