Luce Unplugged: Five Questions with Snakes

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.