The Pink Snowflakes are much tougher than their name implies
On an episode of The Osbournes, Ozzy Osbourne expressed to his wife/manager, Sharon, his anger over the inclusion of a bubble machine in his stage setup. He is the prince of darkness, after all. What would people think? Portland, Ore.'s psyche rockers The Pink Snowflakes don’t have as infernal of a reputation to uphold, however. Looking to create an otherworldly experience with their sound and presentation, bubbles are welcome.
“All of a sudden, it becomes this three-dimensional thing,” said Pink Snowflakes vocalist and guitarist Andrew Rossi. “The bubbles are translucent and they fly out at you. It’s almost like the music is kind of turning into these orbs, and these orbs are flying out at the audience.”
Not only does Rossi think bubbles are effective, they’re also affordable.
“We don’t have a budget of any sort,” he explained. “It’s funny, because it’s totally harmless. It’s just soap. It’s just bubbles coming at you. Sometimes people are afraid.”
Afraid? Maybe the prince of darkness should reconsider.
Visual elements aside, Rossi said music comes first for The Pink Snowflakes. He started playing under the moniker of The Pink Snowflakes in 2001 when he recorded the band’s first demo. In the beginning, he said the music was slower and sounded more “alt-country.” As his songwriting progressed, Rossi became more interested in feedback. He describes the shift in sound as sudden, but still, things moved along slowly for the band.
“I had these other lineups, but they weren’t really performers,” he recalled. “They didn’t want to play out. They wanted to sit around town and say they were in a band and go and drink beer. I thought that was really lame.”
In 2005, The Pink Snowflakes settled on a steadier lineup, which includes guitarist Tom McGregor, bassist Dan Groth and drummer Scott Smith. The band headed into the studio in the summer of 2006 to begin recording what would become Sun Chasing: The Last Exploding Echoes, the group’s first full-length. However, budgetary concerns caused the album to sit for a while, and it wasn’t released until March 2008, on Lick-able Sunshine Records.
For Rossi, Sun Chasing was worth the wait. He said the band “wanted to try everything we could possibly do on this album,” and pool its varied influences into the mix. Bits of sludge and grunge meld with more halcyon pop elements. Though the group maintains a psychedelic ethos, Rossi isn’t interested in creating a retro sound.
“We don’t think of ourselves as a classic revivalist ‘60s band, because we’re not,” he said. “We live now in 2008 and we can pull from all these influences, so we don’t have to look like or dress like we came right out of the ‘60s. The ‘60s already happened, and it happened for all these people, and we’re making this happen for ourselves now.”
The Pink Snowflakes will be touring this month throughout California on a weeklong tour. Rossi said the group will play some of the darker songs from Sun Chasing, including the 13-minute hallucinatory epic “The Queen of Heaven,” which he described as being a song about a man who envisions what might be either the end of the world or a personal awakening.
A show planned for Santa Cruz with metal bands Saviours and Mammatus inspired the Snowflakes’ decision to explore their heavier side. Rossi admitted that his band is often viewed more as a pop group than purveyors of heavy music; however, even with a name as cute and fuzzy as The Pink Snowflakes, he’s confident his group will hold its own.
“We can be just as loud as them—we’d like to think so at least,” he boasted.
The Pink Snowflakes’ travels take them through Chico July 12 when they will play Nick’s Night Club. The bubble machine should be in tow, so keep your composure, and bring earplugs.