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Largely comprising veterans of Denver's underground music scene, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake is a bit of a sonic departure for its members. Rather than assemble a clumsy pastiche of space rock, psychedelia, Americana and dark post-punk from past projects, the players created a new sound, one in which icy melodies course over and through interlocking, coiling, streaming rhythms while Hailey Helmericks's vocals accent the dark, bristling electricity of the songs.
Although the band began in the fall of 2008 and played its first show on Valentine's Day 2009, it has had no need to rely on its members' laurels. Instead, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake has cultivated an elemental sound and entrancing live performance — the sinuous menace of which is captured well on its debut EP. Recalling early offerings from the Rapture and sounding like Eat to the Beat-era Blondie waxing moodily cinematic, the four-song recording displays the confidence and expansive spirit of this gang of six. We had a chance to speak with the group about its songwriting and how having a history in local music has affected both its reception and its goals.
Westword: You were all friends before forming this band. Because of that, do you feel free to talk about when something doesn't work in a song?
Doug Spencer: I think everyone puts the art first. We're working on this project, and we're trying to craft pieces of music.
Kit Peltzel: At the same time, I think we do all have a strong presence and personality, and we have a lot of ideas. We mishmash, and sometimes we fight for ideas.
Hailey Helmericks: It's all for the benefit of writing a good song.
Whenever anyone writes about your band, they often list the other projects in which some of you have been involved — some of the more prominent bands in underground music in Denver of recent years. Has this helped you in any way?
DS: I think it has opened some doors, because we know people. I don't want all the other bands to overshadow us.
KP: I don't think we feel that the other bands were a factor in this band. The contacts are great, but beyond that, I feel like the band is a new entity beyond our previous projects.
HH: I'm sure it makes people curious. Initially it probably pulled people out to our shows. I'm proud of everything we've ever done.
James Yardley: I think one of our goals in 2010 is to get out of Denver. We're well established here, and we have a lot of friends. And our friends are going to come to our shows, and we're going to get a lot of positive feedback because of that. But we'd also like to play in front of strangers.
HH: It's exciting playing in front of new people.
JY: By playing outside of Denver and getting exposure, hopefully, the synchronicity of the universe will find us playing the right gigs and someone will talk about us to the right person.
Visit backbeatblog.com for more of our conversation with Snake Rattle Rattle Snake.