INTERVIEW // Snake Valley: Matt Martin on ‘Giddy Up’, Bands During Lockdown and Red Cave Records

INTERVIEW BY ISABELLA ROSS

FOR FANS OF: The Chats, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard and The Pinheads

Earlier this month Snake Valley a 5 piece garage punk band from Ballarat released their filthy debut album Giddy Up! At just 25 minutes long this 9 track LP packs a punch. Now available for streaming and limited edition vinyl Giddy Up is sure to keep you listening. After gaining a small but dedicated following in the early days of 2020 these guys decided to release their album on the original schedule to bring us a ‘dirty dedication to the disdained’. Compared to the likes of The Chats, Skyhooks, The Uranium Club and Tropical Fuck Storm, Snake Valley are in the early stages of a promising career. Jam-packed with angst, these guys were born to be on stage, playing to crowds of punchy punk lovers. 

I got the chance to have a call with Matt Martin, frontman of Snake Valley a few days after the release of Giddy Up to discuss all things from the debut album, Scumbag Syndrome to post COVID album tours. Here is what he had to say:

Isabella: I would love to start off today with the origins of your band’s name Snake Valley, where did that one come from?

Matt: It comes from the name of a little town just outside Ballarat where we are from. We were driving past it one day when I was going to work and our guitarist Lachie pointed it out as a sick name, we brought it to the table and it just stuck.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Snake Valley before how would you describe yourselves?

We are really a mixture of a few different sounds. We have a lot of garage influences, also kinda dad rocky – shoutout to all the dads *chuckles*. We take a lot of influence from other lo-fi and DIY work so our stuff ends up with a similar vibe.

The album Giddy Up! packs a punch at just over 25 minutes long which is quite short, is there an intention behind this?

A lot of our favourite local albums that we listen to have those short punkier songs. I don’t think we had a time limit in mind, we really just got a whole bunch of songs that we already had together to record. Then it came out at that length, we decided it felt good, jam packed and really fun but short listen. We think it’s good because it keeps the listener active. I love that about short albums, you are always listening, you can always tell when a new song comes on instead of a passive listen when it’s something like a 40 minute LP.

You have mentioned that you take inspiration from local bands, are there any that you would like to name drop?

There are so many! I’ll start with Gonezo who are a band we definitely listen to a lot, as well as Dewey & The Panel Beaters from Ballarat. Another Ballarat band named The Lymes who we are also friends with, they are awesome. As I said there are so many others out there, I would be on the phone to you for a good 9 hours trying to list them all. They are the main ones we really love.

Do you have a favourite track from Giddy Up?

I think my favourite track is Scumbag Syndrome just because it is so angular. It makes the listener feel a little bit awkward with the riffs that are in there. It is definitely my favourite track because when we play it live I get the most into it, and the most energetic about it, it’s just an energetic song. That’s my favourite but the other boys all have their own favourites, there is definitely a bit of a mix among the band.

At Temporary Dreamer we like to ask if your song were a colour what would it be? It only feels fitting to ask about Scumbag?

I would say Scumbag is a purpley red colour a mixture of the two. The song is about when I got into an argument with these absolute dickheads at a nightclub. You know the nightclub-y vibes with a really dark mixture of colours, that what I think it looks like.

Do you guys have any plans for when live music is back on the cards to go on tour or even play a few shows locally?

Yeah for sure, we are planning on a tour for when things come back to a normal. We want to go through Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne all the way up to Brisbane. At the moment obviously we can’t do that, so we are using our time to sketch out the next album which is fun! We are in the very, very early stages of that process. We have a couple of demo’s down and a few ideas that we are piecing together. I am keen to see how different it will be from this first one that we put out. Hopefully we keep making bigger and better things. It’s good fun, we have been passing on our ideas remotely to each other and working on those recordings each of us send through.

Have you had any chances to catch up in person to work together recently? How has this influenced the release of the album?

Brendan our drummer had to move back to Ballarat because he couldn’t live in his place anymore in Melbourne. He has been able to catch up with Walter our other guitarist, those two have been working on ideas together because they are both in regional Victoria at the moment. Scott is on the Mornington Peninsula, I haven’t seen him in months which is crazy. Lachie and I live in Melbourne, I have seen him a little bit because we used to be house mates and he had to collect his mail the other day. Other than that I have barely seen any of them. Before COVID came along we were picking up a big hype. In Jan and Feb we were playing gigs which really quickly started getting bigger and bigger. We wanted to keep that momentum going! COVID hit and the first wave was done we thought gigs would be back in August and thought sick we can go on a tour so we planned to drop the album around then. When we went back into lockdown for a second time we decided to say screw it lets not have that momentum die. So we announced the album, dropped it and we will just play a show when we can. We celebrated over zoom, we got absolutely smashed at home and it was great fun! The second album might even be out before we can play again which would be a big laugh but who knows at this stage.

Have you found any new artists while you have been stuck at home that you want to share with us?

Powerplant are one I have been listening to, they are not from Australia they are actually from the UK. Cosmic Flanders who are from Sydney, Smarts who are out of Melbourne are also cool. A couple more I have been listening to are Black Snake Whip who are friends of ours from Melbourne. They have just release new music that is 100% really good! Heir Traffic are also really good and I’m keen for their future releases.

I know you have started up another project Red Cave Records, do you want to share what that is all about?

Red Cave Records is a project I started to release a lot of my friend’s music. The first official release is the Snake Valley album which we put out on vinyl. We have a special edition coloured vinyl which is super limited and almost sold out! That has been really good reception for it. I have some other projects lined up with Red Cave, some friends that are releasing music. Scott from Snake Valley is in another band they are about to release music via Red Cave and a few other bands in Melbourne. It is a project to put out mate’s music and have that group we can always rely on. I am always about making new friends so I hope to expand the project beyond Melbourne. Maybe we can move it to include Sydney and Brisbane to support new releases that way as well. At the moment I am starting small in my friendship group so we can help each other out.

I have one last question to wrap up, if I can pop you on the spot for a moment I am keen to hear your 5 track pump up playlist for the first proper piss up after the mess that has been 2020. Maybe even to celebrate everything Snake Valley has achieved so far?

My first one would have to be Liar by CLAMM. From there we will take it to Indulgent Indeed by MOTH. For track three let’s say Low Rider by War. Rock Lobster by The B-52’s for sure and we will finish it with another hype song, Let’s Dance by David Bowie. I am keen for the day this is a reality!

If you haven’t already do yourself a favour and listen to Giddy Up! This one is best enjoyed from start to finish, it will only cost you 25 minutes and leave you hungrier than ever for live music to be back in full swing!

CHECK IT OUT BELOW

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