Snow Wite's latest video for "I Got It Bad" imagines a simpler time, when kings were kings, peasants were peasants, and power-pop hooks ruled the world. Game of Thrones meets Ariel Pink. A Joffrey lookalike executes a rival who dares to date the girl of his dreams. Oh, to be king.
The song itself is a little gem. Snow Wite mastermind Andy Cary's sneer lends the gossamer dream-pop instrumentation some bite: "Fuckin' neglected on a Saturday night...I made a pass but it was intercepted." It's teenage angst writ empire-large, the way it should be. You won't get the hook out of your head this millenium. Eager for more, I called Cary in the middle of his cross-country tour for the lowdown on dating, thieving, and watching the throne.
You can buy Snow Wite's new album Chinatown on tape from Wormhole Records, and peep tour dates below.
Directed by Andy Cary, director of photography Brandon Kelly
Noisey: Where are you right now?
Andy Cary: I’m in Albquerque, New Mexico at my friend's house. First of all, don’t tell me anything about the new Game of Thrones.
They eat Tyrion. Just kidding, I havent seen it. So, you're on tour. Has it been crazy?
Dude, last night, we were at this bar after the show we just played in Phoenix, and these bros were like, "There's a party at this guy Marty’s house." They dropped us a pin and we went there but it didn’t seem right, there was no one there. So we walked looking for the house and yelled, “Hey, is this Marty’s house?” at a spot where we heard people drinking. They were like yeah, even though it wasn’t. We just brought in some beer and started drinking. We sold them two t-shirts before they had even heard our music. Then we went to another house and set up our PA and started jamming as the sun rose. One of those things you don’t expect to happen but it’s amazing.
How does this match up against your craziest tour stories of all time?
Damn, well, one time we were in this random town in northern california and we were wearing stupid ass clothes. I’m really embarrassed by this [laughs]. But we went to the grocery store, looking like Mick Jagger, and I shoplifted cheese, but this big security guard cuffed me. He brought us to the back room and they beat the shit out of me, and took the cheese. They brought in the cops and they charged us with felony robbery, and took us to jail, and we got bailed out of jail and continued the tour, but I had to go to court there for like nine months. Eventually they reduced it to a misdemeanor. But it worked, I’m scared straight and now I’m never going to steal anything.
How would you describe life on tour to your mom?
We go to a lot of places and the people are really nice, and they're all our friends, and we play shows for people who love it and they put us up and we have a great time. We eat lots of fruit to keep our health up, and we don’t smoke cigarettes
We go on a mile long hike every morning.
How did Snow Wite start?
In 2011 I moved from Massachusetts to LA 'cause I was in another band called Golden Girls on the East Coast, and then it broke up. I didn’t know anyone in LA, but I drove out and found a sublet and it ended up being amazing and I met all these cool people. So I recorded a bunch of songs and realized we were gonna need a music video, so I shot something on my iPhone and I learned how to edit it, and it was the first time I ever edited something. I started making videos for everything and I got kind of carried away. Now the music video production is just as big a part as the music is. its basically a solo project, I play every part on the recordings, and I’ve been getting different people to play with me live. It’s been through like eleven different lineups. This current band is just my best friends. It’s only our third show tomorrow.
What's influenced your songwriting for Snow Wite?
Big Star, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins, and like Top 40 radio. I like the electronic drums on the new stuff cause it makes it sound a little more modern. I wanted to keep the guitar there, cause I didn’t want it to be an all guitar-based song, so I put some keyboards in there. It’s influenced by Dev Hynes new stuff. But then it has those chugging rhythmic guitars in the middle.
What was your first kiss?
It was this girl I met at this dance in Holden, MA. There was this basketball court indoors where they would have a dance for middleschoolers. I don’t even remember this girl’s name. We were slow dancing, and then we made out. On AIM she was like, "Oh, you're my boyfriend now, right?" And I was like, "Wait a minute, I don’t know…" She was really upset, like, “You're so evil, I can’t believe you did this to me…”
She was right, you’re horrible.
When you're twelve years old everything seems a little more intense in that department. But even now, someone will get obsessed with me, or I’ll get obsessed with them, and you can’t really choose how that happens. That’s how the best songs happen.
Yeah, that’s a very power-pop emotional situation. So, tell me about the "I Got It Bad" video.
I was going to do something really minimal, but then I’d been binge watching Game of Thrones and I was like, maybe there should be a scene in the king's court. I went to this fabric store and I got this backdrop, and I saw this throne that was for rent, and then I was like what if we had some swords, so we rented some swords. And the whole concept of it came together. It’s about liking a girl who has a boyfriend and you guys kinda have a thing, but it can’t be a real thing, and it’s hurtful, emotionally taxing. So in the song there's a bridge where its like, you weren’t prepared to break his heart, so mine had to do. In the video version I was basing it off King Joffrey, cause he’ll just do whatever he wants.
Do you personally identify with Joffrey?
[laughs] I think that might be going a little far, he’s a maniacal little prick. I like him, though, because he’s an anti-hero. Everybody hates him so I love him. What would he do in this situation? He would just kill this chick’s boyfriend. So in this version of it he sees the girl that he likes with the dude, and in real life, that would be a really prick move, I mean I’m a really nice guy, I would never kill someone...
You say that now.
[laughs] You never know. But anyway, so if Joffrey was in that situation he’d just get rid of him. He’s done.
Do you think Game of Thrones is an accurate metaphor for the state of the modern music industry?
Yeah, man. Watch The Throne, you know? It’s really telling. Jay-Z and Kanye, they're the kings right now, but you never know what kind of usurper is lurking in the background.
Thing is, that’s not really what art is about, trying to take the throne. We should try to be competitive, to creatively be better than everyone else, but only because it will make your own art better.
Any words for the kids? Kids of the future. Kids not born yet.
Don’t listen, just be yourself. You don’t have to do things the normal way. You don’t have to think about things before you do them.
Catch Snow Wite near you:
June 10 Fort Worth @ The Boiled Owl Tavern
June 11 Austin @ Cheer Up Charlie’s
June 12 San Antonio @ Poorcore HQ
June 13 New Orleans @ Ask A Punk
June 14 Memphis @ The Lamplighter
June 15 Knoxville @ The Pilot Light
June 16 Athens @ TBA
June 17 Macon @ Fresh Produce Records
June 18 Savannah @ Hang Fire Bar
June 19 Wilmington @ Gravity Records
June 20 Richmond @ TBA
June 21 Baltimore @ Current Space
June 22 Philadelphia @ Connie’s Ric Rac
June 23 NY @ TBA
June 24 NY @ TBA
June 25 NY @ Body Actualized
June 26 Providence @ TBA
June 27 Worcester @ Distant Castle
June 28 Boston @ Lilypad