Musician Interview with Azalia Snail
August 12, 2017
Name: Azalia Snail
Bands: (solo) & LoveyDove
QRD – What’s a myth about touring you wish people knew wasn’t true?
Azalia – I think you have to look at it more as an adventure than as a job. Every experience should be equally valued & one should keep in mind that not every show is going to be as spectacular as we might want it to be.
QRD – How many shows do you do a year & how many would you like to?
Azalia – Azalia only does a show once in a blue moon, but LoveyDove plays at least once a month.
QRD – How many shows does it take before you are in a real groove?
Azalia – 3-4.
QRD – What’s your preferred length of tour?
Azalia – 1 month
QRD – Do you use a booking agent or book things yourself & what are the advantages of each?
Azalia – Unfortunately because I’ve never had the support of the big label, agents have been hard to come by. Now I actually value the experience of booking shows myself as a way to learn every aspect of what goes into the promotion & the playing.
QRD – With so many venues no longer having an in house promoter & promotions relying so much more on the band themselves how do you get the word out to cities you’ve never been to before or rarely go to?
Azalia – The usual suspects: Facebook, Instagram & emails.
QRD – How do you think the festival circuit has effected touring & do you enjoy playing festivals?
Azalia – Like with anything else that becomes too big for its own good, festivals are only fun when you’re playing them.
QRD – How do your songs change for your live show?
Azalia – Definitely enjoy the luxury of fleshing out the material, sometimes songs change for the better the more you play them.
QRD – Do you keep notes on how to play your songs?
Azalia – Yes, I have my “cheat sheets” as I still have stage fright.
QRD – How often do you have line-up changes & how do they effect the band?
Azalia – Since LoveyDove is mainly a duo; we can add & subtract players depending on how many players are avail on a certain date. Our occasional drummer Jerry can go between a small kit or a bigger one.
QRD – How do band practices differ from live shows?
Azalia – The energy that you can feed off from a crowd is so potentially exciting. We just can’t get that from rehearsal.
QRD – When you hear your live recordings are you generally critical or satisfied?
Azalia – I might listen to something that I played live once & maybe again several years down the line. I think an artist can be their own worst critic.
QRD – Do you think of recorded versions or live versions of your songs as definitive?
Azalia – Almost always the recorded versions are better; but sometimes when songs are played in a particularly wonderful setting, something new comes along & the songs improve.
QRD – Is there a song in your catalog you wish you never had to play again &/or one you wouldn’t mind playing every night?
Azalia – I have to say that LoveyDove’s second album ShowStopper is so much fun to play. We have yet to be tired of the songs & it’s been about a year & a half.
QRD – What do you do to stay interested in your set each night?
Azalia – I really like to have some lights on stage & visuals if possible. Totally enhances the mood & add so much vibe to the performance.
QRD – Do you do the same set every night on a tour?
Azalia – No, we try to cater to the audience & the room.
QRD – How does the audience effect what or how you play on a given night?
Azalia – If it’s going to be a smaller venue, we might play more intimate songs. In the bigger venues we try to play the more upbeat stuff.
QRD – Do you take new songs on the road or stick with released material?
Azalia – Would love to try new songs out ~~ that’s how they really come alive!
QRD – Do you throw in cover songs & how do you select them?
Azalia – Absolutely. I’ve had a wish list of cover songs I’d like to do for many years. It’s been an absolute joy to do “I Saw the Light” & “Fancy” by The Kinks & “Where do the children play?”
QRD – How do you deal with bad stage sound & bad sound guys?
Azalia – That’s a tough one. We try to be super nice & gracious from the get go ~~ always ask their names & treat them with respect. Their job is not easy & can be less than rewarding.
QRD – What do you do when equipment malfunctions on stage?
Azalia – Must play it cool. Never let them see you sweat!
QRD – What have you learned to do to get better sound regardless of the venue?
Azalia – We always bring our own microphones.
QRD – What’s something you hate seeing other bands do?
Azalia – I’ve seen bands get frustrated on stage & take it out on the sound people & band members. It’s absolutely inexcusable.
QRD – What’s the best compliment/worst insult you’ve gotten after a show?
Azalia – Most of the compliments are directed toward my band members. I’ve been told that I am “intimidating.” Much to my surprise.
QRD – Do you ever tour with bands other than your own as a hired hand & if so how is that experience different?
Azalia – No.
QRD – Do you prefer playing with another touring band or just locals?
Azalia – Depends. I’ve had wonderful tours with my peers & truly wonderful shows with bands I have never heard of before. I love being turned on to new & wonderful bands.
QRD – Do you try to listen to the local opening bands on tour?
Azalia – Always.
QRD – What makes you like a particular city?
Azalia – It’s all about the people, but it doesn’t hurt if there are great museums, restaurants, etc.
QRD – What makes you like a particular venue?
Azalia – Great sound, stage & staff.
QRD – What do you have for merch?
Azalia – T-shirts, stickers, CDs & vinyl.
QRD – Besides band members, how many people do you bring on tour & what are their duties?
Azalia – Sometimes a driver.
QRD – When you’re on tour, does someone take a father figure role of responsibility?
Azalia – Me. I am on many occasions the designated driver.
QRD – What do you do to keep your instruments & personal belongings from being stolen?
Azalia – Always make sure they are close by. Never leave anything in the vehicle.
QRD – Do you rent a vehicle or take out your own?
Azalia – Rentals.
QRD – What’s the worst car breakdown you’ve had on tour?
Azalia – Van stuck in Utah, had to wait a couple of days until we could move on.
QRD – What’s your ideal touring vehicle?
Azalia – Smaller the better. Electric would be a DREAM!
QRD – What plays on the radio as you drive?
Azalia – Oldies or college radio, if avail. Talk radio occasionally.
QRD – How do you occupy time in the van?
Azalia – Sleep.
QRD – What’s your main activity to occupy your downtime when not in the van?
Azalia – Investigating, walking, swimming if possible.
QRD – How do you try to find places to eat on the road?
Azalia – Friends recommendations or yelp.
QRD – What’s your in a pinch fast food meal?
Azalia – Subway.
QRD – Do you try to make any meals for yourself on the road?
Azalia – Yes. Always looking for a good farmers market or local market.
QRD – How many days does it take before your body is in sync with the touring lifestyle?
Azalia – About a week.
QRD – Do you prefer to stay at people’s houses or hotels & what are the advantages & disadvantages to each?
Azalia – Mixing it up is ideal. I love the camaraderie of staying with people, but sometimes it’s nice to catch up on sleep at a motel.
QRD – Do you have separate clothes for onstage than daywear?
Azalia – Of course! Gotta have the glam on stage!
QRD – How many changes of clothes do you take on tour?
Azalia – Depends on the length of the tour, but always trying to keep it to one bag.
QRD – How often do you do laundry on tour?
Azalia – Ideally every week... but not always possible. Handwashing comes in handy!
QRD – How often do you try to bathe & how do you schedule in everyone getting bathed?
Azalia – Daily & I’m not afraid to suggest to band members to do the same!
QRD – What do you do when a band member has totally different ideas about hygiene?
Azalia – (Tell them.)
QRD – How often do you try to schedule a day off?
Azalia – I’m better about that now. I want to enjoy some of the cities & definitely like to take more time now.
QRD – Any tips for not getting sick on the road?
Azalia – A fresh lemon a day, vitamins, plenty of water, green tea.
QRD – Do you have a set drinking policy (none before performing or a nightly total)?
Azalia – Not a big drinker & I don’t like to lecture people.
QRD – What’s a lesson from touring you keep forgetting & re-learning?
Azalia – To get enough sleep.
QRD – What do you do the week before tour to get ready?
Azalia – Make sure there’s enough merchandise. Look at maps a lot. Tons of emails.
QRD – How long does it take to convert back to day-to-day life?
Azalia – About a week.
QRD – How do you test for personality conflicts between band members before touring?
Azalia – Probably not possible but I try to only tour with people that I really admire.
QRD – How has touring effected how you feel about playing in your hometown?
Azalia – It’s all got to be because you love it.
QRD – How do you feel about fans putting live cell phone videos up on YouTube?
Azalia – Inevitable, & I don’t mind as long as it doesn’t interfere with the audience enjoyment.
QRD – Do you see touring as mainly a promotional tool for your new albums?
Azalia – No.
QRD – Do you try to practice as a band while on the road or just stick to the performances?
Azalia – Performances are rehearsals!
QRD – Do you have time to practice your instrument while on the road?
Azalia – Playing live is the best practice!
QRD – Does your time with your instrument go up or down on the road compared to normal?
Azalia – Up.
QRD – Do you try to hit museums or any touristy things while you travel?
Azalia – Yes!
QRD – Do you try to get any rudimentary grasp of a language before touring in a foreign country?
Azalia – Yes! We have apps on our phones now (used to take books)
QRD – Do you have any pre-stage rituals before each set?
Azalia – Try to chill backstage.
QRD – Does “what happens on tour, stays on tour” apply for you?
Azalia – It becomes a journal & future lyric inspiration.
QRD – Have you ever or would you like to do a bus/train/mass transit tour?
Azalia – Might be tough.
QRD – What are your favorite & least favorite seasons to tour?
Azalia – Spring & Fall are the best.
QRD – If money were no object, how many months a year would you spend on the road?
Azalia – 5.
QRD – What would make you start touring more or start touring less?
Azalia – Money.
QRD – What’s something that would cause you to cut a tour short?
Azalia – Death.
QRD – What could happen to make you stop touring?
Azalia – Dump. (Current prez)
QRD – What’s something about life in general that you’ve learned from touring?
Azalia – Everything.