September 21, 2010

Student Artist Spotlight: Snorkel Party

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Dara Littig, member of newly formed band Snorkel Party talks to the Sun about her music, the band and their upcoming show at The Shop.Snorkel Party has played one show ever, in a bar in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio. This Friday though, the band will take the stage again, gracing Ithaca’s own The Shop with their second live performance as a band. In the days before their Ithaca debut, The Sun sat down with Dara Littig ’13, an International Agriculture and Rural Development major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who serves as the band’s Cornell representative and bassist. We discussed the band’s origins, their song writing process and the key distinctions between crab-core and breeze-rock.

The Sun: So Dara, talk to me a little about your band.

Dara Littig: Well, I play bass, with two friends from home, Devon and Chris. I met Devon in high school and he knows Chris through home church, so Devon just kind of asked me if I’d be willing to play bass in their group.

Sun: How long have you been playing bass for?

D.L.: I started playing classical bass in 5th grade, and then bass guitar for maybe five or six years.

Sun: What caused the shift in instruments?

D.L.: Mostly it was the music I was listening to. I was like, “woah, how can I make it sound like that?” instead of whatever I was playing. So my mom just got me a shitty Squire and then I started from there.

Sun: So what kind of music were you listening to that made you want to change?

D.L.: I got really big into Led Zeppelin, and Dazed and Confused like changed my life. I was just like “I need to learn how to play that,” and then from then on, it was like branching off from there.

Sun: Cool, so is the music scene in Columbus a lot like that?

D.L.: I’ve heard a lot of kids say that the music scene in Columbus is like terrible. I know a kid from high school who is in Attack Attack!, the crab-core band.

Sun: Can you please explain to me what crab-core is?

D.L.: It’s based on the stance the guitarists stand in. They just stand really wide and squat down and bang their heads around. It’s not my particular type of music, not what I listen to, but there are some smaller bands that are better.

Sun: So how would you describe the sound of Snorkel Party?

D.L.: I guess you could technically call it breeze-rock. I don’t know, its indie pop rock, nothing too out there, we aren’t crab-core or anything. It’s fun.

Sun: Do you write the songs at all?

D.L.: Most of the material is written by our guitarist. I make up bass lines, if I can, at least I try. I do some back up vocal singing, but everything is written by the guitarist.

Sun: Could you walk us through a typical practice?

D.L.: We usually play in Chris’ basement, which is a very small room off of a laundry area. We mainly go over songs, and we’ll call them by their track names even though we haven’t recorded anything. So we’ll kind of go through a song and if we don’t like a certain part or we can sound better, we just do it again. But then Devon and I have been working a lot between him and I on harmonies, and him working out guitar riffs and me trying to put bass lines to them. We split up sometimes, but we work together really well.

Sun: What’s your favorite track that you guys do?

D.L.: Its called “The Zoo Song.” Devon has this guitar part, and it sounds so good, it sounds like it doesn’t belong in a song called “The Zoo Song.” It sounds much harder then that. It’s a jam.

Sun: When I think songs about the zoo, I think Simon and Garfunkel.

D.L.: It kind of starts out like that, but its not quite Simon and Garfunkel …

Sun: I should have asked you this earlier, but how long have you all been together?

D.L.: Since, like, mid-June of this summer.

Sun: Oh, so this really…

D.L.: Very new. We had one show in an open mic night at like a bar type place in Columbus. So that was like our first appearance as Snorkel Party, and then we just kind of booked this one.

Sun: So this is your second gig. Very cool. For any returning audience members, can they expect anything different from one show to the next?

D.L.: [Laughs] I think there are actually some kids from Columbus coming. I think it’s probably going to be the same thing, because we haven’t rehearsed the other songs that much, but yeah, it should be good.

Sun: Is this part of a larger tour or are they just coming to Ithaca to do a one-off?

D.L.: If this did launch a tour it would be amazing, but no, this is kind of like, where can we play a show when it doesn’t conflict with our schedules too much. They’re just starting school, Ohio State starts very late.

Sun: So how did you book it?

D.L.: Devon was e-mailing some people, and the people at The Shop got back to us right away and said, “yeah, just come in for a show, you might want to have a cover charge to pay for gas money because you’re coming from so far away.”

Sun: Being a relatively new band with no studio recordings, what are your plans for the future?

D.L.: A friend of ours has a recording studio that his dad set up, so hopefully this winter we can record some stuff. For right now, we’re just having fun and we like playing together.

You can check out Snorkel Party online at or live Friday night at The Shop.

Original Author: Peter Jacobs