With Snack is comprised of Aviv Goldgeier (keyboards, Steinhardt ’16, music technology), Chris Roderick (vocals, CAS ’16, politics), Evan Lane (trumpet, Steinhardt ’16, jazz performance), Jono Stewart (bass, Steinhardt ’16, jazz performance), Matti Dunietz (drums, Steinhardt ’16, jazz performance).
The band came together last fall to audition for Ultra Violet Live. They had only been playing together informally for a few weeks, but made it through the prelims in November and won Audience Favorite in February (and won over a few hearts in the audience at the same time). The band’s debut, a collection of five songs titled Snacktime EP, drops here this Friday. To celebrate, they’ll play an 18+ gig at The Bitter End (147 Bleecker Street) at 6:45 pm. Tickets are $10 at the door.
With Snack sounds like a less mainstream Michael Bublé or a more New Age-y Stevie Wonder. It’s smooth jazz at an accessible level. “New Soul” takes a jazz aesthetic and slides it from a frenetic, electronic pace to one that’s delectably slow. “My Love” is the serenade every romantic has ever wanted to hear outside their window, with blush-worthy lyrics (“You are that girl in my dreams / And I find it so hard to breathe / Cause when you’re in my arms / I’ll never let you get in no harm”) and a playful tune. “Forever” is the stand-out single; Chris’s voice is seductive and strong over a catchy hook and foot-tapping percussion. It wouldn’t be far-fetched the describe their sound as baby-making music. (“I would be honored if a baby was made to our music,” Matti said.)
NYU Local sat down with the band (minus Jono) to chat about the development of their EP, life in a band, and their favorite snacks.
What was it like to put together Snacktime EP?
Evan: The way I once described our writing process is that we’ll bring in a song and it’ll be 80% written. We’ll do it that one day, and the next five months, we’ll write the next 20% of it. One time, we wrote this song and we were ready to record it, but then Aviv came into rehearsal and said one song, “My Love,” was too long and that we should cut it down to make it easier to listen. Jono absolutely refused. He said that’s being dishonest; if we present the song to people other than how we wrote it, then that’s not okay artistically. We talked until the building shut down and it was 1 am, and then we kept talking. We didn’t come to a decision after four hours.
Aviv: We were discussing whether we should keep all the solos in for all our songs, or cut them down to make more more radio-friendly kind of stuff. We eventually decided to keep the solos in.
What is your music about?
Matti: Everything is about love.
Chris: If you had to really analyze our music, you could be like, ‘Whoa, With Snack – they love food.’ Or it could be, ‘With Snack – they love each other.’
Evan: You don’t know if our songs are about our girlfriend or our sandwich.
Aviv: All of the songs are written about girls, except for “Pretend It’s the Rain,” which was written about a corgi.
Chris: This summer, I went through a pretty shitty break-up. Not to sound clichéd, but “Untrue” was something that completely spoke to how I was feeling. I think that it’s the the best song that came out of the EP for me, anyway, because I was feeling exactly what I was singing. I was like, “Yo, guys, like, I feel really sad, but it’s gonna make my music sound really good.”
Any favorite stories from performing?
Aviv: Over the summer, Chris stayed with these crazy hippie artist people in Brooklyn for a week. These people built these pods they slept in that you could only access by ladder.
Chris: The girls all had longer armpit hair than I did, which is great. I’m totally neutral about that.
Aviv: They wanted us to play at a party they were throwing. They had a time machine at the party that transported you through time at the rate of time. We played a show up there and more than half the stuff we were just making up on the spot, which we had never done before. We had always been perfectionists. I think it was actually an important turning point where we actually started to improvise more and change up things in the live show. Now, you’ll never hear us play the same way twice.
What’s the best part of being in With Snack?
Evan: It’s cool because we’re all best friends.
Chris: Oh, I was going to say when people give us free food.
Aviv: Yo, what more could you ask for?
Chris: We played at Bare Burger once. They didn’t pay us in money, they paid us in all-you-can eat food.
Evan: Jono said, “Can I have an ostrich burger, but instead of a bun, can I have two grilled cheese sandwiches?” The waitress just looked at him like, “Uh… we don’t do that.”
Most importantly, what are your favorite snacks?
Evan: Mac and cheese banana pancakes.
Chris: Sauteed kale.
Aviv: Fried chicken.