Elizabeth Ramos and Bell Crawford are Snack, a duo that writes short, catchy pop songs with a punk sensibility. They’re a fun band, but they haven’t always been joyously received.
“We had a show at PB&J’s, and the crowd was so dead,” said Ramos.
“Nobody had emotion on their face,” said Crawford. “We were both trying to hype it up, but they were just standing there.”
But the duo was resilient. A show at Holland Project with local band Night Rooms received a much warmer response on a cool summer night more conducive to Snack’s poppy, upbeat vibes. Another show at Bad Apple Vntg. drew a few more fans.
Snack’s songs feel exciting and optimistic—and the two friends often feel that way when they’re not playing music. On a long desert drive back from Disneyland, the two spontaneously decided to pull over and start running through the sage, towards distant, snowy peaks. Back in the car, Crawford picked up a guitar she’d brought along and strummed some chords, which would eventually form the song, “Life Is OK Sometimes.”
Crawford said the band name came from an offhand comment from her dad about the duo’s music.
“My dad was like, ’Every song is kind of like a snack,’” she said. “I figured ’snack’ is kind of a snappy word.”
“Snacks are enjoyable,” said Ramos. “I hope people find us enjoyable.”
Ramos and Crawford also cite another snack-related incident that transpired while forming the band.
“We decided we wanted to do something, go out and play music, so we sat outside of Scolari’s and asked for donuts,” said Ramos.
“I remember a lady came out with a big box of donuts and just dropped it on the floor, and it went silent,” said Crawford, recalling a surly demeanor in the good Samaritan’s body language.
“We were just silly, just ourselves,” said Ramos. “I feel like we’re more ourselves when we play.”
Early in its existence, the duo performed at the Catholic school they both attended. They set up a snare, floor tom and a cheap amp in front of a cross and played their set for the unsuspecting audience.
“We’re a little more hardcore than what they’re used to,” said Crawford. “Our amp was really shitty. You could only hear the drums, and a bunch of screaming. Everyone’s jaws dropped, and when we were done we just walked outta there.”
The Catholic school performance plays into a theme present elsewhere in Snack’s music—an alienation from their peers. One song, titled “Teenage Things,” was inspired by a party Ramos attended, where she found herself unable to connect.
“The party seems kind of weird to me,” she said. “It seems like people use alcohol as an excuse to be more of themselves. I couldn’t really sleep that night, so it just happened—I wrote that song.”
Other times, peers have provided inspiration. Outings to see Casino Hearts and Surf Curse were formative moments. And headlining for Fresh Meat, a Holland Project event showcasing teen musicians, was a formative experience.
“So many good people played,” Ramos said. “It made us realize that it’s a lot of hard work. We practiced a lot more after that. We’ve gotten a lot better since then.”