Luce Unplugged brings the DMV's best bands to perform in the museum for an evening of music and merriment. We'll kick off our fall lineup with the Baltimore-based band, Snakes on September 7. Snakes is a relatively new act, but they're already attracting attention for their "decadent rockabilly swagger." We sat down with guitarist and vocalist George Cessna for a quick chat about process, creativity, and what's up next for the band.
Eye Level: What music styles/artists did you listen to while growing up and how did that affect how you make music?
George Cessna: I listened to plenty of things growing up; I don't know what affected me the most in how I make music. In high school I listened to a lot of punk music; a lot of the songs were fast and easy to learn. My father is a country singer so I listened to a lot of old country and folk music. But I don't think it was until I left home that I really started looking back to that. There are a number of similarities between punk and country, and funny enough, I think Snakes sits somewhere in between.
EL: Can you describe your creative process for us?
GC: I am a huge procrastinator, to the point where I have to make sure I give myself serious deadlines or I won't get anything done. If we are working on new material I make a point to get a show booked in the near future. That way we have to get the new material worked out in a realistic timeframe. I prefer to stress and stay up all night prior to a deadline, instead of working smart over a long period of time. Strangely, I've found it helps me make better work, so I haven't been able to convince myself to do it any other way.
EL: What other creative outlets, aside from music, do you pursue?
GC: I went to college for film and video, so occasionally I'm working on the visual side of media. Most of the work I do for video is audio production or music composition, so I guess it's still within the same realm.
EL: How did all of you meet and when did you decide to start the band?
GC: I met two of my band members at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) when we were students. The other two I've met along the way, but I can't remember specifically how—either through other music projects or friends we had in common. About three years ago I was doing some solo shows in Baltimore and asked some of them to help me out with the live show. Eventually, it developed into a new band. It was a slow process though; it wasn't until this past year that we really got things moving with the full lineup.
EL: I saw that Snakes finished a tour this summer. What's next for you guys?
GC: We have a new full-length record coming out early next year, and we'll be touring with that.
Grab a drink or a snack from the bar and join us September 7 at 5:30 p.m. for an art talk on a piece in the collection chosen by the band, followed by Snakes' performance at 6. Luce Unplugged is presented with D.C. Music Download.