Snack Cat: Jazz you like it
A musical collective
An e-interview with Aleksi Glick
by Mike Foldes
Ragazine: Who are members of the collective?
Glick: Below are the members of Snack Cat with the instrument they play.
Aleksi Glick- lead guitar/ vocals
Jeff Koch- bass
Pete Ayres- Vocals
Chantal Mitvalsky- Vocals
Nathan Ellman-Bell- Drums
Seth Weaver – backup vocals/trombone
David Engelhard- sax
Sharik Hasan- keys
RAG: What’s your musical background? And your bandmates’?
Glick: My father is actually a musician too. As a result, I was exposed to music from a very young age. I started playing piano when I was four years old and then switched to guitar around the age of 13. I studied Jazz guitar at the Peabody Conservatory and have been playing professionally ever since. Every member in the band actually comes from a jazz background which is why improvisation is such a big part of our music.
RAG: Why “collective”, and how did the players come together? I’m asking because your website is minimalist, which in my mind reflects a collective’s POV… all for one, one for all kind of thing.
Glick: So the idea of a collective came about originally because of how many different guests we would feature at various shows. We want as many people as possible to feel involved in the project. We are a pretty inclusive group when it comes to our relationship with other musicians as well as audiences.
RAG: How long has the group played together?
Glick: Snack Cat has been and idea for about three years but has only been actively performing for the last two.
RAG: How did you arrive at this sound? What was, or is, the intent?
Glick: Our sound is constantly developing, and first and foremost reflects the versatility of the musicians involved in the project. I love the blues and the one thing that connects all the different styles that are part of Snack Cat’s sound is that they are heavily steeped in the the blues.
We have a bit of a Rock ‘N Roll energy but rhythmically probably play in more of a funk and Soul style. You add the improvisation factor and the more complex harmonic writing that comes from our jazz background and you arrive with the sound that we currently have.
RAG: I see you’ve just released a second album, Snack Cat Two… When did you come out with Snack Cat One? What’s different about the two albums?
Glick: We actually just released our first single Two. We’ve recorded other material and have had a bunch of videos put out, but this was our debut single.
We plan on releasing a full EP this coming November.
RAG: What’s your working relationship with Sofar?
Glick: Sofar Sounds has been great for us. We’ve probably played 20+ Sofars at this point. It’s really helped us develop more of a following and provides a great environment for artists to try out new music.
RAG: How much do you share in coming up with the arrangements?
Glick: I do most of the writing but the group helps a lot with the arrangement. I’ll usually have a template of a song and then bring it in to a rehearsal for everyone to help tidy it up. Some arrangements even just happen naturally. Somebody will take a musical risk and it will work out and become part of the standard arrangement of the song.
RAG: Do you have a target for how much original work you write, play or record, and how much you cover?
Glick: For most shows 80/90 percent is original music. However, for certain shows that call for it we’ll add in a few extra covers. Covers are a great way to get people to listen to your original music. I’ve definitely found that if you have an audience of a bunch of people that don’t really know who you are, playing a cover that they recognize is a great way to engage them and prepare them to listen to an original composition that they’ve never heard before .
RAG: What’s your favorite kind of venue, if you have a favorite?
Glick: Any venue that is conducive to breaking down the boundaries between artist and audience
RAG: What’s the long-term goal for Snack Cat? National Tour? Europe?
Glick: The long term goal is to be playing major festivals and touring the world. Having a few hits I guess would be nice too.
RAG: Jazz to me seems to make a personal statement, but those personal statements can often take on political and social messages. Is there a political side to the music you make or do you intend to remain above the fray, so to speak?
Glick: There is a bit of an underlying political message in our music. But it is far from the surface. There is a theme of being disheartened by the lack of connection and need for immediate gratification in our current society. A few of the songs take on a theme of how technology and social media is dumbing us down and as a result some many people are incapable of appreciating anything of substance.
RAG: Who are your favorite other musicians or groups? Any mentors who you’d care to mention?
Glick: We are very much influenced by Stevie Wonder, Vulfpeck, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, Lake Street Dive and Sly and The Family Stone, to name a few.
RAG: Anything you’d like to add here, that we haven’t hit on in this short take?
Glick: Great question I think we are all good!
About the interviewer:
Mike Foldes is the founder and manager editor of Ragazine.CC. You can read more about him in About Us.