Australian singer-songwriter Snez begins her upcoming House on Four Wheels tour on Friday (14 July 2017), performing at The Commons, Hamilton, Newcastle. She will follow that up with more New South Wales gigs, then gigs in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Prior to heading off on tour, Snez shared the inside story of being a singer-songwriter on tour.
You’re about to go on tour. What are essential things to take?
The van is very tight for space. Although this will sound pretty disgusting, in the past I’ve found myself wearing the same one outfit for weeks at a time. Now I’ve learnt to take a handful of clothes! The books that always travel with me are Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha and Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run with the Wolves. I cannot live without these books – one of them reminds me to be calm, the other reminds me to get wild.
When you’re on the road, what do you do for meals?
Being on a tight budget on tour and being vegetarian, we live on rice and pasta with veggies most nights. Every now and then, we go out for a nice meal. There is something really lovely about keeping things simple. Eating for nutrition, rather than taste. If I was eating for taste, I’d be eating pizza and chocolate every day…and loving it!
As someone who drives a lot of kilometres each year, give us some safe driving tips
When travelling over a river in the NT, do not step out of the vehicle and start taking photos in excitement, as there are crocodiles about! Avoid driving after 4 pm – that’s when kangaroos and wildlife start coming out and you’re bound to hit something. When driving in the outback on a narrow road, pull over if you see a truck coming – they won’t stop for you and it could get very ugly. And always have a spare tyre.
On long drives, do you listen to music or the radio, work on new songs or just enjoy the scenery?
When my partner Stewart [Peters] and I are on tour together, we have song writing competitions. We generally drive 400 km a day and we pick a silly theme (e.g. boiled cabbage) and have to come up with words and melody in that 400 km. At the end of the day, we compare songs…it can get pretty silly sometimes and keeps the creative juices flowing.
On tour, when there is a chance to do something other than travelling/performing, what do you like to do?
I love water, so I always get drawn to swimming, whether it’s a spring in Katherine, NT or a muddy puddle. If not swimming, I find myself in op shops, looking for fancy jackets that I can wear on stage. I end up coming home with more stuff then I left with.
Which songs can people expect to hear on your House on Four Wheels tour?
I’ll do a mix of songs from all three albums, but I’ll be mainly sharing stories and songs from House on Four Wheels.
Do your touring experiences sometimes find their way into your songs?
When I first started writing songs, I used to write about personal stuff – all the terrible things my parents did to me, love lost, love found. The palette was so small. Then I started touring and met so many interesting people driven by unique passions. When you talk to these people, they ooze a love for life. These are the people I now end up writing about in my songs. The gorgeous scenery and spaciousness of Australia also inspire a song or two.
What are some of the nicest things that people do for you on tour?
When I tour solo, I find that people open doors and take me in. They make me tea and breakfast. They pick vegetables and fruit from their garden and make a package for me for the next stop. They give me a bed. And the most important thing is they tell me their story, their life, which I always find inspiring and interesting. I come away making wonderful lifelong friends and learning something new. I can only hope that people listen to my music when I’m in concert and leave feeling moved in some way. It’s the only real gift that I can give back.
House concerts are very important for independent musicians. How can people go about hosting a house concert for you?
House concerts are really a beautiful way to experience music. It is so intimate and I find that half my show is taken up by having long discussions with the audience after each song. I have a House Concert tab on my website (www.snezmusic.blogspot.com.au/p/house-concerts.html) – it gives all the information about how to host a concert. Anyone who is interested in hosting a house concert can contact me direct through there.
Tell us about the new album from Stewart [Peters]
Stewart’s new album was officially released at the end of May. It’s called Lifetime in a Party. Stewart (www.stewartpeters.com) has been in the music industry for over 30 years. He has a wealth of experience, not only as a producer, but as a performer and songwriter and I really look forward to hearing him share these songs on the upcoming tour.
What are your plans for a new album?
Well, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind for the last two years, with non-stop touring and other personal adventures. I’ll be taking a break from touring and performing next year and will get in the studio and finally start my new album. I’m looking forward to sitting down with my coffee and seeing what lines float through my core, instead of being on the phone all day looking for gigs. I’ve been filming some music clips which will coincide with the new album. All in all, I’m pretty excited to start the recording process when I get back from tour.
So where are you performing on this House on Four Wheels tour?
My tour begins in Newcastle, followed by other shows in New South Wales. Then it goes all the way up the east coast to Brisbane, Cairns, Port Douglas and Cooktown. After that, we head to the Northern Territory, where we will be taking in lots of regional towns. The tour dates are on my website (www.snez.com.au) and more gigs might be added as we go.