From The Horse’s Mouth: Alex Estrada (Silver Snakes) on Year Of The Snake

Silver Snakes

Silver Snakes

Silver Snakes’ highly anticipated full-length album is finally set to hit the streets via Bridge Nine Records.  The album, which features some of the band’s darkest and most dynamic material yet, was recorded at Silver Snakes’ guitarist Alex Estrada’s studio The Earth Capital (Nails, Touche Amore, Joyce Manor).  Year Of The Snake was then mixed at Salad Days Studios with Brian McTernan (Cave In, Engine Down, Circa Survive) and mastered by Jay Maas at Getaway Recording (Defeater); the resulting 11 songs are massive in scope and  some the band’s best material ever. 

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Estrada to discuss the record.  This is what he told us about Year Of The Snake.

When did you begin writing the material for Year of the Snake?

November 2012. I drove up to the mountains for a week to demo new material. I ended up scrapping most of the ideas aside from three songs that made it to the record.

What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?

Honestly, None of them were too difficult to work out. The making of the record relied heavily on first instinct. We really wanted to capture the raw ideas and performances as opposed to over analyzing everything. Most of the music and lyrics were written in the 6 weeks leading up to our time in my studio. As far as the recording process, “Sundance” was a tricky one. Having my good friend Melody on board to sing the track with me really pushed me to get a vocal take that would balance right with her voice. I ended up laying down on the floor in the studio and singing that entire track as If I was singing in bed. Whatever works, I guess.

Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?

They are actually all 100 percemt true to the original ideas. That was the fun part about working off of what felt right. If we had an idea from the beginning, we made sure to see it all the way through. I knew how I wanted the record to start and finish, everything else just fell into place.

Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?

“Melody Verdugo” sang with me on Sundance. We met when we were 15 years old at a church retreat in the mountains that our parents made us go to. She was playing Smashing Pumpkins and Hole songs on an acoustic guitar and we immediately struck up a friendship. We met Billy Corgan together, Went to see the Pumpkins together on their farewell tour and it seemed only natural to have her sing on a track that was partially influenced by one of our favorite bands. She is a very talented songwriter and musician and It was awesome finally getting to work with her on something.

You guys recorded/engineered the record, but got some additional mixing help right? What input did those additional collaborators have and how did their input influence the end product?

The record was mixed by Brian McTernan and aside from a few phone calls to discuss technical stuff, He really just wanted us to do our own thing. I had access to a lot of awesome gear for the recording process and asked if he wanted us to do anything special in terms of what we were going to send him, All he said to me was “Just make the record you want to make”. He has a pretty slick style whereas, I lean more towards the raw and dirty side of things. Really happy with the balance between the two in the final product.

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?

Lyrically, It covers the year from my own experiences. The things I had been dealing with, and the anticipation of how the rest of the year would pan out since I wrote all the lyrics before the year was over. Scary to see how many of those “predictions” actually came true. Musically, The record is just a honest representation of those involved. I was a huge fan of Native American music when I was very young, and I revisited that in the months leading up to the making of this record. It really influenced a lot of the song structures and obviously influenced the way we decided to begin the record.

Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?

We been playing mostly new songs on the last few tours. It’s been a lot of fun for us since they are still so new. “Sundance” has gotten a great reaction in terms of head banging. I think that riff just gets stuck in your head. We did a few shows with O’Brother a few months ago and their guitarist played “Sundance” during their soundcheck the day after he first heard it. I thought it was pretty cool.

(Catch Silver Snakes at one of these forthcoming tour dates:

January 24 La Jolla, CA @ Che Cafe w/ Griever, Children of God

January 25 Los Angeles, CA @ The Lyric w/ Griever, Children of God

January 26 San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside w/ Griever, Children of God

January 27 Seattle, WA @ Self Defense Family, Creative Adult

January 28 Portland, OR @ Slabtown w/ Self Defense Family, Creative Adult

January 29 Sacramento, CA @ The Colony w/ Self Defense Family, Creative Adult

March 5 Seattle, WA Chop Suey w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 6 Portland, OR Branx  w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 7 San Francisco, CA Bw/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Mothottom Of The Hill

March 8 Los Angeles, CA The Lyric w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 9 San Diego, CA Soda Bar w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 10 Tempe, AZ Yucca Taproom w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 11 El Paso, TX The Spot w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 13 Austin, TX SXSW 

March 14 Grand Prairie, TX QuickTrip Ball Park w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 15 Houston, TX Fitzgerald’s w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 16 Metairie, LA Cypress w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 17 Tampa, FL Crowbar w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 18 Pembroke Pines, FL The Talent Farm w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 19 Orlando, FL Backbooth w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 21 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 22 Louisville, KY The Diamond Pub w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 23 Chicago, IL Subterranean w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 24 Pontiac, MI The Pike Room at Crofoot w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 25 Cleveland Heights, OH Grog Shop w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 26 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 27 Washington, DC DC9 w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 28 Philadelphia, PA Voltage Lounge  w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 29 New York, NY The Studio At Webster Hall w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth

March 30 Cambridge, MA The Sinclair w/ The Ocean, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth)

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