SONG SPOT: "Animal" (2019)
“Animal” is the accident child. It comes along last, and stays in the house a long time.
All of my records have at least one oddball song, one that doesn’t appear to fit. I get requests to play some of these outlier songs and think to myself, “...really, that one?”
I can’t immediately know what to keep and not, especially when I’m producing my own album. Worse yet, I might take advice from someone else: “Walking Endlessly” was suggested to be cut from Sight & Sound, then I took “Circles” off the Go! album and put a remake version of it out later. I could talk myself out of the whole thing if I think too long.
“Animal” came out of a for-fun session with drummer Michael Israel. It was my birthday and for part of the day, I thought I should make some music. I was experimenting with new ideas, and this one was just a jam, really. I wrote the music after hitting record, so it’s very simple and repetitive.
Instead of using a click track, I had us playing along to our own slow repeat echo. That would keep us sprocketed in time, like a click. If we got a little ahead or behind, the echos would follow our error but keep the old tempo from that point forward. To hear the band adjust their playing to “get back on the click” is not a groovy thing.
Being so slow, there’s so much space for the sounds to spread out. The lyrics came later- bleak but hopeful. The longer I make music, the deeper I find myself going into whatever comes to me in the moment rather than trying to make it sensible or ideal. And that might be an answer to the question the film asks, “Why Isn’t Chris von Sneidern Famous?”
The first version was about 15 minutes long, and I got it down to a brief 11 minutes.
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Chris von Sneidern is a musical artist living in San Francisco.