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Interview: Speed of Snakes

Speed Of Snakes 2013 (1)

You may know them as Rupert Morris (lead screamer, lyricist and guitarist in science-dance-metal troupe BATS) and Vinny McCreith (red-hooded bassist in Adebisi Shank and electronic solo artist as The Vinny Club) but together they are Speed Of Snakes. The Dublin-based duo recently premiered the first track from the sci-fi themed electro-rock project, as well as setting out the suitably silly backstory for the whole project:

On the first day, 88 trillion years ago, the great snake Metatraxium created the Universe, the Earth and all the life upon it. Each species birthed from a succession of fantastic and horrifying eggs. The last unhatched egg of Metatraxium, found in 8041 BD* by Portuguese alchemists, was kept safe for thousands of years by, among others, the infamous serpent-cult, Delta Expelletrax, before hatching on a pleasant June day at 1:48 in the afternoon. Out stepped the cryptic figure of David Optic, messianic snake-prince of Metatraxium. Lord of vibration, port of mutation, bird- eater and future-seer. Issuing from his crotch were twin metal snakes (X and Y**), writhing and coiling at various speeds and generating curious sound waves. These are those sound waves.

*Before David

** X= Vin McCreith (Adebisi Shank)
Y= Rupert Morris (BATS)

Chris Jones got on Skype with Rupert to find out more…

How did Speed of Snakes get started?

We’ve been doing it when we’ve had a chance in our spare time between BATS and Adebisi for the last few years, since about 2008. At first, we did this really silly joke song, and then we were like, “this is pretty cool!”. About a year after that we did another one, but it’s only in the last couple of years that we’ve done it seriously and put proper effort into it.

Have you played live yet?

No, but we’re planning it. We’re going to put something pretty interesting together. We’re not going to do it unless it’s special and with a bit of spectacle.

Visuals, costumes?

Everything under the sun. It’s top secret!

What do you have planned in terms of releases?

We have a few tricks up our sleeves – top secret at present. Watch this space.

Vinny has made electronic music as The Vinny Club, but have you made any electronic music before this?

I’ve played around on various programs and stuff but never put enough work in to get very good at it. This is my first electronic project, really. Vinny is amazing at it. The guy’s a genius when it comes to the two things required: melody and use of technology. I’ve been writing some crazy lyrics. It’s a good pairing because we’re both real nerds. It was pretty easy. If BATS is science fact, Snakes is science fiction. That’s the distinction in my mind.

Is there an overarching theme or message?

The overarching concept is this creation myth, the story of this messianic character called David Optic, who is a Jesus-like messianic snake prince. [laughs] And me and Vinny are his twin metal cocks.

In BATS you like to expose the fallacies of religion. In Speed Of Snakes, are you taking the piss out of them?

Yeah, in a way. The idea of a snake god, it’s to show how easy it is to create a creation myth that isn’t even that much more ridiculous than the ones that most people believe to be true in this day and age.

Why snakes, and is it anything to do with the serpent in Genesis?

It wasn’t originally. We had the name before we had any concept or anything. It was something that we thought sounded good, and we liked the idea of serpentine rhythms and movement, and we wanted something that gave a science fiction feel, but not overtly. The idea of them being metal snakes came a bit later. The other part is that the character of David Optic fucks at the speed of light – 186,300 miles per second. That’s the Speed of Snakes.

What about musical reference points? Where did the sound come from?

Electronic music from the 80s, and there’s a slight metal edge to it in places. It’s a big amalgamation of everything we like, really.

BATS and Speed Of Snakes are both high-concept bands. Is that how you feel you have to work, as a musician?

I’ve always been into concept albums and conceptual music. I like to have that added dimension to music – music I’m listening to and music I’m making. I can’t imagine writing 10 songs that have no relation to each other whatsoever. It’s not in my make-up. I find it much more interesting to have a concept and an aesthetic. I think I’d be bored otherwise.

What are BATS up to at the minute?

We’re gigging. We’re going to do as many festivals and gigs as we can until the end of the summer, and then get back to writing.

Is Speed Of Snakes always going to run alongside BATS and Adebisi?

Yeah, I hope so, and if it takes off then definitely. I love doing it and I’d love to keep doing it. I think they can run alongside each other very nicely.

is the editor of The Thin Air. Talk to him about Philip Glass and/or follow him on Twitter @brianconey.