bill bodkin speaks with Jeffrey Cain, the former guitarist for Remy Zero, about his new band Dead Snares …
Pop-Break: A lot of people, myself included, wondered why Remy Zero stopped performing together.
Jeffrey Cain: For more than 10 years, Remy Zero was a vehicle that allowed us to purely create, experiment and grow. Forces both inside and outside began to derail this, so we shut things down before it became something we didn’t recognize.
PB: In one of your press releases, it says that after Remy Zero ended, you went back to your Southern roots to “discover your voice.” During this time of reflection, what did you discover about your voice and you as an artist?
JC: “Voice” would refer to my reason for making music. Returning home to the South stripped away the business, the professionalism and the craft. Underneath all of that was the pure “need” to make honest music. So I wanted to protect it and nurture it, as it is what keeps me alive.
PB: The sound of Dead Snares is highly unique, deftly combining acoustic guitars, with ethereal beats. I’m sure I’m not doing your sound any justice — how would you describe it?
JC: The record is a dense forest of acoustic instruments spliced with fractured electronics. At times, it is confident with an angular momentum. In other moments, it is in danger of completely unraveling.
PB: You’ve said in interviews that Dead Snares was never really meant to be a band, that the songs you wrote were just pieces that came to you in bursts of inspiration between projects. What is it about these songs that inspired you to make a band with them?
JC: When I first heard the mixes coming through the speakers, my first reaction was, “What and who is this?” I wasn’t me. It was a band I’d never heard before. Maybe it was just a band of my multiple personalities.
PB: After recording the first three Dead Snares tracks, you sent them over to the radio station KCRW. Why was important that this radio station get a hold of your music? You were the guitarist for a popular band — why not send them to more mainstream rock stations?
JC: It was more of an experiment to send it over. I actually sent it to both KCRW and KROQ in Los Angeles. KROQ is where I heard Dead Snares played on the radio first. Why KCRW? They are an amazing station who has supported Remy Zero from the very beginning.
PB: What was the initial response to the tracks you sent to the station?
JC: I sent the songs on a CD just titled Dead Snares with no mention of Remy or any record label. So the fact that it was found in a stack of mail and then played on air made it a very pure and exciting experience.
PB:The Language is the debut album from Dead Snares. What are you hoping to accomplish with this record? What do you want people to take away from it? And what were the inspirations for the songs?
JC: I didn’t have any hopes per se, as I didn’t set expectations on the music. The act of creating it is/was enough for me. I see music as a living art that seeps out into the world and hopefully voices thoughts and emotions that resonate within others. Art should inspire not satisfy. What were the inspirations for these songs? Honestly, at the time I was just absorbing the crazy, sometimes negative energy life can throw at you and trying with all my might to distill it into something beautiful.
PB: How did your experiences in Remy Zero help/influence what you’ve created in Dead Snares?
JC: I compressed lifetimes of experience in my years with Remy Zero. I couldn’t have made the Dead Snares album in my 20s. I learned not only how to make albums in Remy, but how to completely open up, get past the mind, and create from the source.
I’ve still got a lot to learn.
PB: You recently collaborated with stop motion artists Tobias Stretch on a stop-motion mini film for the title track of your album. Can you talk about this project, how it came to be and why you chose such a unique artist expression to promote your album?
JC: I stumbled upon his work about a year ago. I would run his animation on the screen in my studio while I worked on music. He is a master at what he does, but he retains this innocence that allows his art to come alive and fly out of his hands. We are in the process of figuring out our next film.
PB: Are there any plans for Dead Snares to tour?
JC: Yes, but no promises.