THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
Shannon & Steven Schnettler Shine Brightly in Multiple Rock Categories at the 35th Review Music Awards
03rd June, 2021 0
Music is as natural as family for Shannon and Steven Schnettler. It comes across freely in their collective sound, an ethereal cocktail of swirling melodies awash in a cascade of velvety vocals in the form of Winaschnitzel, a duo they formed in 2014 that has evolved into a three-(or-more) some. And it’s on full display in the goofy, good-natured banter that peppers the conversation as they soak in their first awards since, well, let’s just say it’s been a while.
“The only thing I ever won before was Funniest Choir Member,” laughs Shannon, who snagged Best Female Rock Vocalist at this year’s awards. For Steven, the only other victory he ever basked in was Best Hair in the Senior Mock Awards in high school. This year, in addition to his other band Hedgerow taking Best Rock Band category, Steven was recognized as Best Rock Drummer as well. The multi-instrumentalist plays guitar in Winaschnitzel.
This year’s event, held May 16 at The Vault, was a fine setting for the 35th installment of the local awards show, which returned to a live crowd after last year’s virtual ceremony.
Catching up with the brother/sister combo a week later at Papa Doc Studios, which serves as their recording/rehearsing/livestream space, the pair shared some musical lineage from their family tree.
“Our grandparents on both our parents’ side played music,” says Shannon. “Our mom’s dad played accordion in a polka band, and our dad’s dad played bass and guitar in a country band.” Their grandmother also played slide guitar in a band called The Melody Trio.
In their late teens, the siblings formed their first band, Half Baked, with their uncle and older brother, so music and family are an established organic combo.
Though they’ve been nominated in various categories every year since 2018, this year’s wins were their first for either. For Steven, who first started taking drum lessons with Mark Dault at Herter Music in 6th grade, music has been a constant journey forward. He picked up the guitar a few years later, and rather than choose just one instrument, he has found two bands that accommodate his musical proficiencies.
Besides lending his nickname, Papa Doc, to the home recording studio, Steven Schnettler, Sr. helped his son build the facility in the basement of his home, where various musical projects have taken form and blossomed over the years. The control room is a converted hair salon where their mom used to do hair.
Steven researched home recording and did some studio assistant work for Jeff Gingrich, who had a home recording studio in Flushing and is now based in Nashville.
The control room at Papa Doc Studios looks out to the “jam room,” which is outfitted with sound and video equipment and gear “accumulated over the years,” according to young Steven. From behind his drum kit, Steven is able to seamlessly operate sound and video equipment without hardly missing a beat. “Our dad has always been supportive in our musical journey,” chimes in Shannon, and the evidence is abundant.
Winaschnitzel existed as a duo for a few years, releasing an EP, The Other Half, in 2015. A few years later, Jaron Jock joined the pair, adding another layer of musicality. “We were playing at Tavern 101 and we needed to play the entire night and we asked if he wanted to come down and play keys,” recalls Shannon. “And he brought keys, guitar, saxophone, and he added so much to every song. Then he started learning all our songs and just played keys.”
In 2017 a second EP, Vice and Virtue, was released, with Jaron as well as a few other guests appearing as well. Moving forward, the band was working on completing its first full-length release when the pandemic dug in its heels and put the brakes on life as we know it a little more than a year ago.
Jaron’s final keyboard parts were done remotely, as was some guitar by David Clare, who previously played with Steven in The Seagulls. Having returned to the area after living in Minnesota for the past several years, David has been welcomed back into the post-COVID Winaschnitzel, which may augment to include additional members in the near future.
In November 2020, sans the fanfare usually reserved for such events, Winaschnitzel released In the Light, a dreamy collection with breezy melodies and an undercurrent of pulsing rhythms that invite the listener on a journey that transcends time and space.
“We mixed it here,” says Steven. “In October it was finally finished, and I had Andy Reed master it. We were sitting on it, and I didn’t know if we should release it or not, cuz there wasn’t much going on. But then we said, ‘you know it’s already done, we might as well release the album.’ We kind of wanted to have a release show, that’s always fun.” The band issued the release on vinyl as well, happily selling out of their first pressing, although the expense related to that privilege made quite an impression on Steven.
Returning to the land of the living, now that a vaccinated population is becoming the norm, returning to live shows is inviting, but the band isn’t packing its calendar just yet. Other than a pop-up show that may materialize, there is a full band debut slated for August 6 at The Empire Room, which may potentially include another Hedgerow member.
“AP [Hedgerow singer/guitarist Andrew Prime] wants to do something in Winaschnitzel as well,” says Steven. If that happens, Steven may switch to drums out of necessity.
The band has been recording, with a couple songs nearly finished that they plan to release in the coming months. “I just have to do a few touch ups,” says Steven. “We’re thinking of just releasing them as a one-off. I love albums, I love buying them when they come out. I think with today’s generation everyone just wants--”
“--Instant gratification” Shannon instinctively finishes his sentence.
Shannon would like to complete a music video for the single on the record. Meanwhile, Steven is thinking about a video to accompany one of their new songs. Whichever comes first, it’s obvious the pair is on the same page.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)