Silence In The Snow is a post punk / dreampop duo based in Oakland, California. Their dark ethereal reverbed melancholic landscapes, enhanced by the ‘magic touch’ of Cyn’s beautiful voice, can’t leave you emotionless but instead will induce you in an ecstatic state, blissful and threatening at the same time.
Judging by the couple of amazing songs unveiled, their forthcoming nine-track debut album, out late October, could be one of the best exciting and addictive surprises of the year.
Let’s talk with the charming and talented guitarist/vocalist Cyn M to find out more about them.
Please, could you introduce the band to our readers? Why the name “Silence In The Snow”?
The band is Cyn M on guitar and vocals and Andy Z on organ, synths, and beats.
I chose the name because I liked the quality it evoked, one of looking inward and also being still in a moment in time.
There is something existential about it that appeals to me.
When you look back at your childhood/teenage years nowadays, can you discover any early examples of being interested in what concerns your art at the moment? Do you remember when and where you started to get passionate about music and your early inspirations?
I cannot remember a time when I was not interested in music!
Early on, I listened to records my dad had and then started learning a bit of guitar in elementary school years.
When I was 12 or 13 years old I put more effort in learning to play the guitar as to accompany myself singing and started writing some songs which was a way for me to deal with my questions and emotions and escape everyday reality.
Other inspirations include film and reading mythology and poetry. Anything that moves me emotionally or intellectually is inspirational to me.
A while back a girl from a band told me about Oakland is a good place to be a musician;Was she right? Is there a scene around clubs/records shops or some sort of community between artists?
Yes, Oakland does have a community of artists and musicians and a scene with underground venues, but the current economic situation in the Bay Area (high cost for housing and a lot of competition for housing) has been pushing some people out to other cities and even out to other states. I keep hearing about people, especially artists and musicians, moving away because it has become very expensive to live here.
I often spy on the LA’s Part Time Punks playlists pretty sure to find the best new bands around. You’re a typical example of it! Did you play at their club night at the Echo? Did you simply attend their shows as a punter? I guess PTP’s founder Michael Stock plays an important and inspirational role in supporting new bands in your area…
We are scheduled to play at The Echo for Part Time Punks on November 13. That will be our first time playing there as we are a new band and we are looking forward to it! (Los Angeles is 400 miles from where we live). I very much appreciate what Michael Stock does; he has really created a long-standing support system (with his radio show as well as his night at The Echo) for new music. His aesthetics really appeal to me and I am very happy he has chosen to include us!
Tell me about the songwriting and recording process, how do you approach to it?
We work out the songs in the practice space before we record them (as opposed to recording first and then working out the live version).
There are some songs I write on guitar and some that we write together. Sometimes Andy will start a musical idea and I will sing to it. Our friend, Skot Brown (who plays guitar in Malditos), has a recording studio and we record everything with him.
Your debut album will be released late October. Please help our readers better understand the origins, the influences and the development of your dark atmospheric ethereal sound. Did you, thematically, have an all-encompassing vibe you wanted to portray with this release?
We were both in a band called Malditos (that still exists) which is more of a dark psych band with Middle Eastern influences. I had been the singer and playing some percussion, but not playing guitar. I felt the need to go back to playing guitar and writing songs and it almost started out as my solo project, but turned into us as a duo. (I wanted to include organ and synth sounds). We both have natural inclinations towards darker sounds. I wanted to include a fair amount of delay and reverb to create a dreamy feeling which works much better with less instrumentation.
The style of songs we write is just our expression as it happens and a culmination of many influences and experiences in life.
Which of you writes the lyrics? How much is your writing from personal experience and how much draws from external sources?
I write the lyrics. They are drawn from a combination of personal experiences, dreams, and external sources (films, books, art, photography).
I notice a close attention to the graphic details for your cover artwork with great results. Are you interested in other forms of art like literature, cinema, painting etc. and eventually how do these influence directly or indirectly your work?
Thank you! Yes, we are both very interested in all those things and they definitely influence us. Andy did the graphic art/layout for our record and edits our videos. We collaborated on the photography and concept.
What’s your favourite part about playing live? Do you usually play any cover versions? Can you remember your first gig as a band?
Personally, I like it when I am “lost in music” playing live and feel that similar connection with the audience. It seems like time does not exist. We mainly play our own songs, but we have played a cover of ‘Revenge’ by Patti Smith at a couple of shows. Our first show in this band was at a very cool and intimate venue in San Francisco called “The Lost Church” with my friend Emily Jane White (who currently has a new LP out and is on tour and heading to Europe to play shows this month!).
What kind of music are you listening to when you’re not creating your own one? Any interesting tips?
We both listen to a wide variety of music so that is a difficult question to answer, but some music on my car stereo includes bands like Boy Harsher, Them Are Us Too, Chelsea Wolfe, Drab Majesty, Rakta, Tropic Of Cancer, Cliff Martinez soundtracks, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Prince…
Please, name your favourite essential three records that immediately come to mind.
This is next to impossible! The only thing I can say is that there would definitely be a Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds record included!
Some favorite records that inspire me include David Bowie (‘Ziggy Stardust’, ‘Low’, ‘Hunky Dory’, ‘Scary Monsters’), Pretenders (first 2 LPs), Cocteau Twins (‘Garlands’, ‘Treasure’), Dead Can Dance, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds (‘Tender Prey’ and almost every record they have released), The Birthday Party, PJ Harvey (‘Dry’, ‘Rid Of Me’, ‘Is This Desire’, ‘To Bring You My Love’) Patti Smith, The Velvet Underground, The Fall, Siouxsie, Kate Bush (‘The Dreaming’, ‘Hounds Of Love’), Johnny Cash, Suicide, Nico, Leonard Cohen, Serge Gainsbourg… I could go on…and on…
What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
Actually, I think you have covered it quite well!
Many thanks for your time, I end up with the usual question about your future plans and expectations.
(Thank you!) We are already working on writing songs for our next record. We are looking forward to playing shows here in the U.S.A. supporting the release of our record and sharing our sounds with new people. We would also love to come and tour Europe when we have an opportunity to do that (a label and booker in Europe would help 🙂 ).
Photo credits: Kristin Cofer