River of Snakes. Jagged Edges.
"I don't aspire to the the opinion that I am the creative force, I believe more that artists are a conduit for some other creative energy, you just have to stay open and let that stuff flow through you." Raúl Sánchez is just a third of Melbourne's River of Snakes. Elissa Rose (Guitar, vocals) and Ben Wrecker (Drummer) make up the most recent line up, "Ben is our fourth drummer since we got together in 2010."
With The Ape (with Tex Perkins) and Midnight Woolf also looking for the attention of Sánchez, it begs the question, why decide to collaborate on River of Snakes? "I'm a child of the 90s that came out of the post punk and the 80s no wave and new wave era. I wanted to do something like that - stripped back, not too complicated. I don't want to think about it too much, I just go with a gut feeling. Saying that, it's always gotta have a certain energy and take you along on some kind of trip."
With touring 20 days across Europe with Tex Perkins and other commitments, how does it all pan out? "I tend to focus on the thing at hand, all the bands have periods of being busy and then, little lulls. I try to spread myself out as evenly as I can."
"River of snakes is more my kind of thing, whereas The Ape, I'm more just the guitar player so I don't have to worry so much about writing songs - even though I have written some - it just kind of works itself out."
A quick thought on animals being paid homage to he laughs, "And I've just realised they've all got animals in them SNAKES, APES and WOLVES" Elissa Rose and Sánchez met years ago at a party he organised to celebrate the life of Hunter S. Thompson and they have been collaborating ever since. Expecting a possible zoo at his home, I ask the question: "Elissa, has a chihuahua and a cat, not really a zoo!"
"When you start something and involve people in it, it will take a life of it's own." - Raúl Sánchez
The latest release titled Black Noise is, "A collection of autobiographical songs, there are themes that run through the whole recording but I wouldn't call it a concept album." In terms of writing technique, Sanchez explains, "Alot of the time I'm using a cut and paste technique. I'm always writing poems in my journals and stories and things, I'll always pick phrases out and thrown them down especially if I'm having trouble writing some kind of narrative."
As far as favourite tracks go to play live he admits, "Probably Separation Anxiety, the last song on the record, it's a more mellow track but we don't really get to play it live." When asked Why? He explains: "We had to teach Ben a whole heap of songs and that one wasn't one of them but I would definitely like to play it in the future."
"Elissa wrote one of the songs Hacksaw and that came out really great, I do love playing Hacksaw live, it's a lot of fun."
KEEPING YOUR ATTENTION
For those of you that are unaware Raul Sanchez is known for his role as lead guitarist in the influential Magic Dirt. His career has spanned more than a decade.Where is his headspace at now? "This is something that I have been thinking about lately, I mean it's not as heady and as intense as it used to be with Magic Dirt, y'know? Where we went on tour for months on end." Outlining the changes he continues, "Now, I'm more focused. The Ape just did a tour of Europe, at the moment I'm just taking it as it comes."
"I'd love to always play music and be in bands but I am also aware, careers and things in your life they go up and down, and you have too - I have kind of thought at times it's all going downhill - but that's just to keep your attention. Life changes and you just have to go with it."
Speaking of starting projects, the positive, laid back philosophy that Sanchez posseses is contagious, "When you start something and involve people in it, it will take a life of it's own."
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
With a love for his local scene, where he is no doubt a figure head, Sanchez enjoys, "Not necessarily really dark stuff but music that has an edge," Listing bands as long as his arm, he encourages to get more airplay for his local scene, "The Underhanded, Space Junk, Bodies, The Kremlings, Damn Terran, Bad Vision, Long Holiday, Loobs, Little Desert, Mutton and Useless Children they are all really cool and great live."
"People are really curious in Melbourne, it's a gig going culture where people don't just go to gigs that people say are cool - but at the same time there is a lot going on, you can never really be on top of everything."
You could go along to a see a band you've never heard and be like Oh God, Jeez that was great! "
Words by Kenada Quinlan
RIVER OF SNAKES LIVE DATES