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Sonja Rae and Chris Broach of SNST – Photo Credit: Willow Chen-Sloan
Veteran musician Chris Broach (Braid, The Firebird Band, L’ Spaerow) has ventured into a new music project with his wife, Sonja Rae. As unique and compelling as Broach’s previous heralded bands, SNST creates music that’s a mix of all of the things that make Broach and Rae tick.
Their dynamic upcoming album It’s Hard to Be Loved By You arrives May 29th. The LP is an amalgam of synth-pop and New Wave shot through with bracing indie and post-punk guitars, heartfelt rock, and indie dance beats. Rae takes control of lead vocals most of the time, with Broach occasionally contributing vocals as well.
SNST’s music is direct and sincere – snapshots of a couple attuned to each other, who want to offer a fresh take on modern pop and rock without the usual superficial gloss.
Inspired by each other, Broach would hit a wall lyrically while song-writing and Rae would step in with vivid lyrics that made the song come alive. They did this over and over again, feeding off each other’s creativity until the album was completed.
It’s Hard to Be Loved By You was mixed and mastered by Chris Common (Le Butcherettes, Minus the Bear, Omar Rodriquez-Lopez) at Twin Hills Studio in El Paso, TX and produced and recorded by Broach at Mass Energy Studios in Highland Park, IL.
Big Takeover is stoked to host the premiere of the foreboding vibrant synth-rocker “Be Afraid.” The beat rhythmically stomps by, bolstered by emphatically clacking percussion. A heavily fuzzed-up synth line buzzes by, giving the track a grimy edge.
Rae’s velvety vocals are clearly enunciated in the gritty mix, flowing softly on the verses and then soaring upwards on the chorus sections, buoyed by Broach’s uplifting added vocals. The lyrics seem to belie menacing title, emanating positive vibes with encouraging lines like “Don’t give up” and “Give yourself another chance”, but it turns out something insidiously sinister is afoot…
Rae spills some details about the crafting of the song’s lyrics, revealing, “Lyrically if felt like I was writing about a zombie apocalypse crossed with a right wing takeover… I think the chorus is sort of the aggressors working to convince you not to worry about anything at all… “Don’t be anxious, don’t be scared. I promise to make you care…” and “…Don’t give up the hope you have. Give yourself another chance…” – telling you to have hope to be brainwashed.”
“It’s them telling you not to think about it. Just give in. They’re self-centered and dismissive of the details of how it’s happening (and what’s behind it) because even they know they can’t support it – if they look deep enough – and they’re asking you aggressively to ignore your own intuition. Kind of like being brainwashed by right-wing fundamentalists of some kind…”
Broach comments on the creation of the song’s sonics, stating, “The music is just good and simple and driving. I didn’t even play guitar in this one, though I have a low bass and a high bass part… I felt a little Ned’s Atomic Dustbin or Dianogah channeling, though not much like either band… It started out as a straight synth song, but it needed the live bass to give it that drive. The feel of the march in the verses. When Sonja brought the vocals – she even wrote my vocal part, as well – it put the song exactly where it needed to be. I was even able to shed some more layers of the music to give her vocals more room to create the story in the verses.”
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