A virtual event with the Wex is just another way the up-and-coming band is adapting to its new reality

2020 was supposed to be snarls’ year.  

In the lead up to the release of the quartet’s debut album, Burst, snarls’ profile grew thanks to glowing coverage in Rolling Stone, Stereogum and MTV. The group — an Alive Band to Watch in 2019 — played a sold-out album release show at Ace of Cups. That was on March 6. We all know what came next: a global pandemic, an upended music industry and uncertain futures for bands that rely heavily on touring to sustain themselves. 

“Mourning is a good word,” guitarist Mick Martinez said of the period after the nation effectively shut down. “Mourning the loss of all those opportunities.” 

“I was definitely very numb to it all at first,” singer Chlo White said. “When something overwhelming happens, my tendency is to shut down. I don't really acknowledge what is happening.” 

These days, Martinez and White are feeling better about the future of snarls. (The band also includes bassist/vocalist Riley Hall and drummer Max Martinez.) They couldn’t reveal much, but White said she is writing new music.  

“We're talking about a release, not crazy soon, but sort of soon. That's definitely got me out of my funk. We're getting the ball rolling again, so I feel motivated to make things,” White said. “I definitely think that this release will be another coming-of-age theme, because I feel like everything that I felt coming out of high school, I just felt all over again, because I don't know what's going on. ... I'm very confident that it will be another sad group of songs.” 

Right now, snarls is focused on finding ways to stay connected to its fans without the benefit of touring. That includes livestreams, giveaways, Zoom calls and a lot more time on social media. This week, fans will have a new way to engage with the band when snarls debuts “May I Burst?” in connection with the Wexner Center. The long-form video will feature the music of Burst, played from beginning to end, accompanied by visuals from the band’s past live performances, footage from tour, stills from White’s journals and old photos of the band.  

The event is part of Wex[EP]. Inspired by our current times of social distancing, the series “seeks to document a facet of each artist’s practice and explore innovative ways of communing with one another during this rupture of routine.” 

Martinez said the band was given the option of doing a livestream from the Wex, but the four of them  decided to try something new. “We put everything that we possibly can into our visuals,” Martinez said. “We think that it's really important to accompany our music with something visual that really resonates with us. We would have never done something like this, and so we definitely really appreciate the Wexner pushing us to...” 

“Make something,” White said. 

Both laughed, but it’s true. In many ways, this project is the cure for several months of mourning. It’s a creative boost for a band that was robbed of the chance to tour on its debut album. It won’t fix everything — nothing compares to playing in front of a live audience, after all — but it does give the band something the pandemic took away: more time with Burst. 

“I think [the video] perfectly captures the album,” White said. “This album is definitely about going down memory lane. It's remembering what your life was, so this video is going to be perfect. It's kind of a blessing in disguise. We would have never made this video had any of this never happened.”