Star Scene: Jake Snider ~ MINUS THE BEAR

Jake Snider’s scene is as hearty as his band’s music. The lead singer and guitarist of Seattle’s Minus The Bear states that his band’s sound in food form, and his scene, is: “steak salad”.

Minus the Bear Live
Photo by Ryan Muir

Forming in 2001, Minus the Bear has made music without compromise. This honest approach has earned the band success with a steady and ever growing fan base, sales of over 500k records, and countless sold out headlining shows – as well as playing on the same bill as some of the biggest names in rock, such as Soundgarden, Jimmy Eat World, and Foo Fighters. This success is what up and coming artists strive for. Snider’s advice is simply: “Play live. Write. There are no secrets, do the work.”  [pullquote]Snider’s advice is simply: “Play live. Write. There are no secrets, do the work.”[/pullquote]

Minus The Bear does not rest on its laurels. The band continue to do the work, though their latest release, Voids, was a long wait, and the naming of the album was a reflection on this. Snider states: “We felt that through making this record we filled some of the ‘voids’ in the 5 years between it and Infinity Overhead.”

Voids is still true to the Minus The Bear sound with an added depth and complexity to both music and lyrics, corresponding to angst and sorrow as well as love. Though described as indie-rock, the Seattle band is not insular, and one can hear influences of proto-punk, prog rock, and even IDM. Snider, personally was influenced by many and varied independent artists. He reminisces: “I listened to metal, skate punk, DC punk, Chicago bands, Seattle bands; a ton of different artists that didn’t get radio play.” Similarly now, his musical interests are varied: “I’m currently listening to Chick Corea’s ‘My Spanish Heart’. I’ve been listening to Anderson, Paak often, Tove Lo, Flying Lotus, James Blake…too much to list.”

Snider states that the main differences with this new release and the previous five albums are: “Alex (Rose) wrote lyrics and sang lead vocals on three songs. We worked with Sam Bell producing for the first time. It had been years since the last time we were in the studio, so we were pretty open to exploration and revision.” With his own lyrics, Snider states that the lyrics “usually aren’t autobiographical, but life happens and comes in everywhere. Invisible is about losing someone to alcoholism…but it could also be about my own struggles with drinking.” Lyrics transcend the writer, music extends the makers. Snider states: “once the song is out in the world I lose control of it and the audience takes over the interpretation.” Though the lyrics and songs are mostly centered around topics heart related, Snider thinks that politics does have a place in music. An unsurprising response as Snider is prolific on Twitter with his amusing, sarcastic take on the current state of American politics.

Fortunately, music is an outlet and Snider looks forward to the near future where he can “Tour tour tour!” He states: “Touring is an experience every time, but these days with family it becomes bitter sweet. Australia always tops the list of destinations, though…it’s been way too long since we’ve been. Fans can expect a killer show! Our new drummer, Josh Sparks, is a powerhouse. I think we’re better than we’ve ever been.”

Voids is out now through Suicide Squeeze Records. Catch Minus The Bear on their upcoming Aussie tour.



Thursday 3rd August, Oxford Art Factory
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Saturday 5th August, Max Watts
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Sunday 6th August, Max Watts
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About Mary Boukouvalas 1611 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos,,,, She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.