An Interview With the Los Angeles-Based Band SNOWBALL ii All About Their Brand New Collection, ‘Eaton Super 10’!
Posted On 21 May 2019
On April 12th via Doughnut Records, the Los Angeles shoegaze band Snowball ii released, “Eaton Super 10,” the fourth installment of their discography. To accompany this release of “Eaton Super 10,” Snowball ii produced a comic infomercial called “Music You Can Hear!”, which features members of Spacemen 3, Lilys, Maroon 5, Surfer Blood, Collapsing Scenery, The War on Drugs, Atreyu, comedian Gregg Turkington (Decker, On Cinema, Neil Hamburger), among others, and their reactions to Eaton Super 10.
“Lost In Juarez” was the first single released from their collection.
Snowball ii leader de jure Jackson Wargo played nearly every instrument on Eaton Super 10, as well as took on all production and mixing responsibilities himself. Among his remarks on the EP’s production process: “Making that dumb infomercial was way more work than making the record.” Wargo brought Annie Hardy (Giant Drag, Deftones) into the studio to sing backing vocals on Eaton Super 10. Hardy also directed the official music video for “Lost in Juarez.” World renowned artist Stephen “ESPO” Powers (David Byrne, Kurt Vile) spray painted the EP’s cover art on a wall downtown in Philadelphia. Eaton Super 10 was mastered by TW Walsh (Pedro the Lion, The Shins, Sufjan Stevens).
After the releasing three albums in the year of their debut, chameleonic shoegazers Snowball ii have returned with Eaton Super 10, an ambitious EP that serves as testament to the marriage of bandleader Jackson Wargo’s homegrown brands of power & pop. A marriage vibrantly colored by Wargo’s penchant for the absurd.
Learn more about Snowball ii in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Thank you for having me. Just busy, you know, rocking on the front lines.
Now that we are into the 5th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
I only had one resolution this year, which was to have no resolutions, and I still broke it.
Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
I always knew it would be difficult, but I’ve found the journey to be much more difficult than that.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, what do you think does influence this group?
Well Los Angeles is my hometown, and navigating the city as an artist is very challenging. But also, nearly all of the musicians who have passed through Snowball ii thus far were classmates of mine in college in Boston, which is I think as much a stomping ground as any for basically everyone involved in the music portion of Snowball. A good number of the kids from our college scene in Boston have already gone on to make a good name for themselves in the industry, which has created a unique path for Snowball ii.
How did your band name first come together? Was it hard to all agree on one name? What other names were you considering?
I was having a lot of trouble building a band at first, so it was just me when I began crafting the brand, and by the time anyone else really came on board, the name Snowball ii was essentially past the point of no return. I had
already submitted the trademark application. It’s never been a point of contention with anyone involved; the feedback I have gotten on the name has been real positive.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
Music actually is what we do for fun. I, at least, get the same satisfaction from a Snowball rehearsal with the band as I would going out on the town.
How does Eaton Super 10 show the growth that you have gone through over the year musically?
If nothing else, I think the caliber of artists that were involved in the production of Eaton Super 10 speaks to the growth of Snowball ii. I like to believe that they wouldn’t associate their name with ours if our product were subpar, but maybe that isn’t so true.
Jackson, I understand that you played nearly every instrument and handled all the production and mixing for this EP. Why did you decide to take it all on yourself? What was that process like for you? Would you do it again?
As an independent band, we work with a lot of limitations, and recording everything myself is simply the path of least resistance. I don’t think that will be the case forever, but for Eaton Super 10, I just had to work with what I had.
What was it like shooting the informercial “Music You Can Hear” that went along with the EP? How did you get so many musicians and comedian Gregg Turkington involved with it?
My mantra for making that video was, ‘you don’t ask, and it won’t be there.’ I also allowed for production to have a huge timeline, because I knew it would be difficult to involve so many people. We had a lot of fun making it, and I think you can look out for more content like this from Snowball ii.
Generally, how do you go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
I always write alone, but it’s when we play together that the songs come alive, which is what we set out to do when we play together.
How has your sound grown or changed over the years? What has remained the same?
We’ve become a lot looser from playing together for so long, which has allowed us freedom to take some risks that would probably not be kosher in another musical setting. There’s a kind of intangible difference between using a structure and straying from that structure, both independently and as a group, and then returning to the initial structure, which is where I think we are as a group now.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group?
We like to be the only loud band on the bill, because people don’t like having their eardrums pounded all night. If there were another loud band on the bill with Snowball, I think we might do something different to keep people entertained because, after all, they just came out to have a good time. Even if they didn’t, we’re gonna give it to ‘em.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
Everyone who has played in Snowball ii has been a very driven person, and music has given each of them an avenue to exercise that drive, which does wonders for our sense of purpose. I, for one, find politics and trying times to be a distraction from that purpose. My voice is more powerful in my music than in my vote.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I would like the music to point towards the Truth and be thoroughly entertaining.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
Just that the Snowball ii team and I are all very grateful for your and your readership’s support. Thank you again for having me.