Formed in 1991, Buffalo's Snapcase not only helped usher in a new wave of hardcore that pushed the limits of the genre, but they also rode that wave towards crossover success, becoming a nationally recognized touring act along the way. Though the band's approach is very much rooted in hardcore, the quintet wasn't afraid to experiment sonically, incorporating everything from harmonics to heavy feedback in order to punctuate its start-stop rhythms. Records like Steps and Progression Through Unlearning will be remembered as some of the best in the genre, and in large part responsible for hardcore's crawl into the mainstream.
Though the group called it quits in 2005, Snapcase have sporadically played gigs across the country, last hitting New York City in 2011 as part of an anniversary event for Sick of It All at Webster Hall. Now, the Buffalo team is set to ignite Brooklyn with a pair of sold-out gigs at Brooklyn Bazaar, on May 11th, and Saint Vitus, on May 12th. With the shows fast approaching, Revolver spoke with vocalist Daryl Taberski about what he's been up to, the current status of the band and what the deal was with that new Snapcase track that recently surfaced.
SO SNAPCASE ARE DOING THESE SHOWS IN BROOKLYN — WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT TO SEE? I KNOW THAT YOU RECENTLY PLAYED A NEW SONG IN BUFFALO. ARE THERE OTHER NEW SONGS BUBBLING UP?
DARYL TABERSKI We've been writing some new material here and there. We did finish the song that we played at the show in Buffalo called "Spike Up Your Tone," kind of a positive song. We've been playing shows on and off, a couple of shows a year. Last year we played a festival in Spain, which was pretty fun with Anthrax and Suicidal Tendencies, among a lot of other bands. We also played the Fest in Gainesville with Hot Water Music, which was a really good time. We've been getting out there and playing some shows and it's been a lot of fun.
SO AS FAR AS WRITING, DO YOU INTEND TO WRITE MORE AND RELEASE SOMETHING IN THE FUTURE?
We are interested in writing more material and we have parts for a lot of different songs, it's just a matter of coming together and completing songs. We haven't really discussed, "Oh, are we going to do an EP? Are we going to do a 7-inch or are we gonna do an album?" Right now we need to just keep getting together and working on material and also having fun.
When we were a full-time active band, it became more like a job: "OK, this is what we need to do and sustain." Sometimes you can lose a little bit of the fun doing that, and now it's a lot of fun. We all have full-time jobs outside of music and we all need the outlet to kind of rock and have a good time.
WHEN DID YOU WRITE THE NEW SONG? WAS IT BASED ON PARTS THAT EXISTED, OR HOW MUCH OF IT WAS FRESH?
So we do have a lot of parts that have been laying around. Some of them for a long time and some of them not as long. This song came together on its own and it's fresh. We said we wanted to write a song that was a little bit more, like, old-school Snapcase, a little bit more straightforward hardcore type of song and that's what it is. It's definitely a fun song to play live. We played it in Buffalo and that's the first time we played it outside of the rehearsal space. And that's the only time so far. So looking forward to playing it again.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FULL-TIME WORK?
I got a master's in social work and spent 12 years working as a social worker at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, so lots and lots of interesting stories about working and helping a lot of great people. It's something that I take very seriously — helping people with mental health concerns and all kinds of life issues. It's always been sort of a subject in Snapcase lyrics, as well.
John [Salemi], our one guitar player, he's got a professional race car business. So he builds race car chassis, he tunes drag racers and also his wife drives drag racing cars and they do that internationally. So they're a pretty high professional level at that. Tim [Redmond], our drummer, he's a schoolteacher. He's got a PhD. Frank [Vicario, guitar] and Dustin [Perry, bass] are both computer guys. They're pretty active in the computer world and that's what their job is.
REGARDING SNAPCASE LYRICS, THERE ARE A BUNCH OF SONGS THAT ALLUDE TO DRUGS AND MENTAL HEALTH. THE ONE THAT COMES INTO MY HEAD IMMEDIATELY IS "ZOMBIE PRESCRIPTION," WHICH TO ME IS ALMOST A BORDERLINE SCIENTOLOGY IDEA ...
I don't know enough about scientology, so that was not my intent. But a lot of Snapcase songs can be interpreted in different ways and that's something I'm perfectly fine with. My attraction to the hardcore scene was that the lyrics always had strong meanings and, in some bands, it's kind of easier to decipher what those meanings are. Other bands, it's not as obvious and I would say Snapcase is somewhere in the middle. But "Spike up Your Tone" is our new song and it's kind of something just looking forward to the social climate these days and something to be more self-motivating. And sometimes all you've got is yourself. It's a self-motivation type of song.
Maybe it's something I felt like I needed in my adult life, post-touring. I hit a point where I realized like, "Wow, I really miss that creative outlet. I need music." I kind of missed the aggressive part of hardcore and getting out there and screaming my head off and throwing my body around. I missed a lot of these things. So I needed to make some changes in my own life. There was a number of other personal things I wanted to work on, things that I focused on over the past year or two and it felt great. And so that's where the lyrics for that came from.
As far as the musical thing, I also have another project band, which is kind of interesting. So my first cousin, he and I have always been in touch. He was in the band Windhand.
WHO'S YOUR COUSIN?
Asechiah Bogdan. So Asechiah is not in Windhand now, but started writing new material and asked me if I'd like to do a project with him. We've been working on that and it's kind of been another big focus of mine probably over the past six months or so.
FOR THE LIFE OF ME, I CAN'T ENVISION WHAT THE SUM OF THOSE TWO PARTS LOOK LIKE. HOW ARE YOU APPROACHING IT? IS HE PLAYING GUITAR?
Yeah, he's playing guitar, as he did in Windhand. He did write, he came up with all the songs, initially. I wouldn't say it's a big departure from Windhand, and I'm not doing Snapcase, so it's kind of fun for both of us to come together. We've recorded five songs at this point and they're getting mixed and I think that people will be hearing something fairly soon. So there's no record label. There's none of that right now. We're just sort of taking it one step at a time. The focus initially was the music and he and I doing something that was good for both of us. So it'll be interesting.
I'M INTERESTED TO HEAR THAT. WHO ELSE IS ON THIS RELEASE?
A guy that was a mutual [friend], very close to Asechiah, but also someone that I had toured with in the past is Erik Larson, who played drums. Erik was in Alabama Thunderpussy and before that Avail. So he's the drummer. And Dustin from Snapcase is also a part of this project.
DO YOU THINK YOU WILL DO DATES WITH THIS PROJECT?
We're not there yet, but it depends. We're not forcing anything with that. We'll see what comes, where the interests are and what feels right for us and how it all comes together.
HAVE YOU GUYS EVER PLAYED TOGETHER OR IS THIS MORE OF AN EMAIL THING THUS FAR?
We have played together in a studio in Virginia.
AS FAR AS SNAPCASE DOING DATES, ANY PLANS TO DO ANY TOURING?
It would be difficult for us all to tour because of our full-time jobs and family and things of that nature. I feel like playing these two shows in Brooklyn ... I'm excited because I miss playing shows that are more of a hardcore feel where there's not a barricade, they're not big tall stages. I've always liked those kinds of chaotic, more punk-type shows where people are falling on top of the stage and the band is falling into the crowd and that kind of thing. That's what I love, that's what I'm looking forward to. Hopefully, we can get that kind of energy.
ONE THING I'VE NOTICED IN MY LIFETIME IS THE SHIFT TOWARD VIOLENCE AT HARDCORE SHOWS — THE TERM "CROWD-KILLING" DIDN'T EXIST. HOW MUCH OF THAT DID YOU ENCOUNTER AS A BAND, AND WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER THAT AS A FACTOR IN YOUR BAND'S SPLIT?
No, I don't think that it had much to do with Snapcase going down or anything like that. I think for us it was more personal and personal motivation and where your focus is. But you bring up a good point because for me hardcore is all about the live elements. I didn't get into hardcore as a kid to sit in my bedroom and listen to records — and certainly that becomes part of it — but going to the show and feeling like you're singing along and one with the band and also one with the crowd, you know, that's everything. That was amazing. And something that you don't see in a lot of other scenes and for that to be missing is problematic. There was a sense of community and a sense of unity. The shows that we've played over the past couple years, I have felt that and I have seen that. That's been good. There are some scenes where the mosh pit, so to speak, is more of a individual thing and individual dancing. And I don't really get that, to be quite honest. I don't understand the big hole in front of the stage. I liked everyone packed up and singing along. We'll see what happens in these shows in New York.
SNAPCASE PICKED OUT SOME OF THE OPENERS ON THE BILL. WHAT DO THESE BANDS MEAN TO YOU, PERSONALLY?
Well, Burn is legendary. I'm really excited about sharing the stage with all four of these bands. Burn is a band that, I can still remember when the first 7-inch came out, and I think we all were listening to it and checking it out at a Snapcase practice. Kinda just getting motivated and inspired by that. Then even later on when Chaka [Malik] was doing Orange 9mm, that was something that Snapcase were all super into and that got a lot of heavy rotation in our tour van. Primitive Weapons, I haven't seen them yet and I'm excited to. I've listened to them online. Same thing with Gears, and same thing with some Sharptooth. I'm excited to see them play.
CAN WE EXPECT A LOT OF THE OLD FAVORITES TO BE BROKEN OUT IN BROOKLYN?
Yeah. We haven't actually even put the set list together yet, but literally any day now. It's Mother's Day weekend by the way, so everyone, don't forget. I had to break the news to my wife and we have a three-year-old son. She's like, "Oh yeah, good idea, Mother's Day weekend ..." We played Buffalo on my son's first birthday and I'm the kind of person that's like, "Oh, sure, cool. It doesn't matter! Any time." Oops.
I'M SURE THE FIRST THING OUT OF HER MOUTH WAS, "WHY NOT FATHER'S DAY INSTEAD?"
I'll play on Christmas, I don't care.