This year, the UK unveiled a masterful new Martial Industrial / Millitary Pop solo project. Led by a Lady under the name ".SnowW.Wwhite.", in a short period of time, the scene has been buzzing with anticipation. Following her recent signing to Hydra records, Heathen Harvest tracked down Snowwy to speak with her. This is an exclusive world first interview.
Heathen Harvest: Good day to you, Snowwy. In the last 6 months you have been literally whirled away with fast progress, growing popularity, and now, it seems you have acquired your first label. The speed of which you have done this is phenomenal, and your myspace page has a huge following for such a new project. Could you tell us all about the origins of the project, the histories behind the name, the way in which you worked your way through the ranks, and the label you are now signed to?
: I have been nicknamed snoww wwhite for many many years, in fact I picked it up as a nickname when I first got access to the internet. The first time I remember somebody referring to me as snow white was when I was a child and my hair had become very dark, just before I turned 10. Somebody commented on how pale my skin was and how dark my hair and said you look like snow white in the fairytales. So years later I came back to it. It’s no big deal, its no secret that my first name is Diana. People I respect generally call me snowwy... Exceptions are family who obviously call me by my given name. Anyway, I asked my mates what they would suggest I should call my project and as they seemed to agree the music was a very personal thing, I decided they are right and follow their recommendation to call the project .SnowW.Wwhite.
The speed of the project, well it was slowed down to tell the truth by several factors. Yes it great to see just how many people seem to relate to my music and read what different things they hear in it. It’s also very flattering and obviously much appreciated.
I started out wanting to make really violent noisy techno-ish noise influenced by my liking for rhythmic noise and industrial (the proper stuff not the tame version by the way) but it sounded wrong, boring and nothing like I had hoped I would go for... My partner and I spoke about that and he told me to forget what I like but to let out what I have inside. That night I started to write a melody, which then became the first .SnowW.Wwhite. track. It’s going to be on "Wonderland".
Working my way through the ranks, well you see I never had a big goal, I did what I did at the time, I wanted to let out some music, it seemed like a therapeutic thing to do, all I wanted to do is make audible what I felt. Many of my friends who are more into the EBM side of music really did not know what to say about my first few tracks. I have had great feedback though, not shy of telling me when they thought it was not what they had hoped to hear, only they were really polite about it. I was terribly unsure about myself even as little as 12 months ago. Then when I uploaded the first few songs onto the myspace site and it seemed a bit slow at first but since I have written Lullaby, Heimat and Sin's Rune the feedback has been incredible and very positive. At no time did I think that I would ever get anything released, at the time of writing the songs I did just that... Write the songs nothing more.
It was only after I had been asked so many times of when my album would be released that I started to think maybe I should... so I made a demo, which was a full album length demo and sent it out to labels and magazines for reviews too. I have had great response to that but the label I am signed to never actually received the demo, they approached me as they saw my profile on Myspace. Hydra's vision and ideas appealed to me as much as the fact that they are in the UK and also their guts to fight censorship in the courts, which greatly interested me as I have to face censorship with my appearance and style of music if some versions of my tracks ever get released. Especially Germany could pose a problem as it seems that Germany is very touchy when somebody as much as mentions a certain time in history. I think art is supposed to shock and to hold a mirror up (remember that fairytale?) and censorship of art is more often than not worse than whatever the censor tries to avoid.
HH: I agree, however it seems almost inevitable that people will point the political finger regardless, as is so often associated in this scene. The best way to really describe what you do is as Martial/ Military Pop. Essentially however, your sound really has no peers or comparisons. Being one of the only females in this scene (and certainly the only one I can think of to head a project) is impressive, to say the least. Where do your musical aspirations and influences lie?
Politics is something that is important to me and I as much as others feel very dissatisfied with the current political situation but I do not suggest in my music that any former or existing model of government would be better or worse, my music is what it is - art.
My music style has no comparisons because I don’t try to model my music on somebody else's. I do what I do because I love doing it, not because I want to sound like xyz band. I won’t deny that I love bands that are classed as martial bands but I could not say that I listen to them more often than to EBM or industrial bands. I do not make music to please people who might become fans or because I want to cater for anybody's taste, I write my music because it feels like I want to express myself in that way, after all how am I to know what pleases potential listeners unless of course I want to sound exactly like other bands who have got success already but I guess by now it is clear that I am not about to do that. I am not the only female in martial music and I know there are women involved in other martial projects, though not many, lets not forget that they are there and greatly contribute to the music but it seems that I am the only female solo project for martial music, which is both interesting and a bit strange.
Though I will be joined by two men and another woman for my live appearances.
In the future I think I would like to complete my second album over the course of the next few months, which I hope to take to a darker sound level. but no guarantee that there won't be any uplifting style of marches amongst them but it will still be along the lines of what .SnowW.Wwhite.'s Wonderland is now.
HH: "Wonderland" takes us into a whole dark catalogue of themes; my personal interest is in the triptych of tracks, "New Dawn", "Stormy Night", and "In the Snow". Is there any conscious reason for the seasonal and weathery feel?
The "Wonderland" theme depicts a march to the front, which took a long time, when I started I was referring to certain events in history It is almost meant to be an account from a woman's point of view who knows that her husband and older sons have left to go to the front and the hope for the year to pass, until her loved ones come back. The perpetual hope that next Christmas, they might be united again, or next Easter, maybe at the end of the summer, maybe at the next birthday...
HH: A lot of your work reflects loss and losing, could these perhaps portray hope and loss, a silent nod to the ethos "Hopes die in winter"?
This question is for me to answer when my next album comes out really but in short, war is about loss, about losing as much as winning but it is the losses that damage more than the winning and therefore matter an awful lot more than the winning... what good is it to win a war when 3 of your 4 sons and your husband are dead? Things only turn out fine in cheap Hollywood dramas, the reality looks far bleaker, war is damaging not just to material things. It takes much longer to rebuild broken souls than to rebuild houses. Still the people had to put on a brave face and struggle and fight, come rain or shine, and rain and weather matters more to those who have not got any shelter. The weather and the season decided on the outcome of more than one war in history.
HH: ...the seasonal theme is of course carried on with "Springtime" and "Late October". Halfway through the CD, as an Intermission, if you like, is a track called "Dance". This melody has a very familiar theme, what is it?
Dance still fits in with a wartime theme and dances and other entertainment was and still is used in wars to keep morale. Dance is entirely my creation but it’s very much like a German folk /polka and that makes it sound so familiar... Unless I have subconsciously re-written an existing track but it was certainly not intentional.
HH: Iconography sweeps through your demo, both musically and in Imagery. We are taken back to a Bavarian Germany, to Black Forests, Carnivals, Uniforms, and Unity. Being of German Heritage, this obviously has deep and special meaning to you. Is there also an element of notalgia in your music?
Yes, I have written "Heimat" which means homeland after coming back from my annual visit to Germany. I miss it sometimes, anybody with a sense of identity would feel like that but I do realise that I have problems to relate to a lot of Germans as I do not share their economic or social background.
HH: Could you once and for all explain the title "Sin's Rune" for us? The track instigates thoughts of melancholic moods, but with so much of your music, the concepts are textured and very deep.
Sin's Rune is a dedication and a reminder. The music, it is one of my more complicated songs. I am glad it is enjoyed so much.
HH: It's better to say little and let it speak for itself, no? You spoke earlier about being different from many German Folk in your upbringing and Social status (for want of a better term). Had you have turned out in this way, how different do you think your experiences would be?
In terms of me relating to West Germans? A lot of West Germans I have met seem to be very reclusive. My background is much different than most German’s from the west was. My parents were really poor.
HH: Often those that lead a poor life end up richer; I dare say you're prouder of your heritage than most people are. Going back to the musical discussion, assume you are offered to record one album with 5 artists of your choice, past or present, and you could feature them however you wanted, who would you choose?
No, I don’t agree that poverty makes us necessarily better people or richer inside. I think it has made me more cynical of any type of advertisement, consumerism and selfishness. I have a certain type of pride within myself about being German but I do not think that Germany is the greatest most glorious country to live in, I love my country, I love going back but I see Germany for its potential, not for its past or its presence.
5 artists... Jesus, this could not be any harder to choose. I think I would choose Rudi Ratzinger (Wumpscut) so I could bring a female into his music who does not sing with an American accent, Albin Julius (Der Blutharsch) for no apparent reason .. or well okay to create the most scariest martial music anyone would have ever be able to hear, Jouni (In Slaughter Natives) in order to create dance music that blows your socks off, John Murphy as the drummer, which proves that I am lacking in imagination and my admiration for his drumming, Nina Hagen because we would do a duet together, then get locked away forever by the entire staff of the local mental crisis intervention team that would have to stand by if I would ever work with any of the listed. (giggles).
HH: What an insane combination that would be! You are admittedly a lover of EBM and electronic music, and some of your work has hinted at this direction. Can we expect to see a direction change?
SW: No idea, maybe I will include more dance floor compliant stuff but I have not planned anything as such. At this minute I am looking for darker sounds than what I have done so far, which might or might not include dance music, I am definitely planning to do some noise in the future but that would not be included in the .SnowW.Wwhite. project.
HH: Finally, HH would like to thank you for your time, and wish you the very best of luck with your debut album. Close this interview however you see fit.
SW: Thanks, Nick. The album is scheduled to be released in January. So far my only band website is on myspace, but I intend to change that in the near future. Thanks to you Nick and Heathen Harvest for all the support.