Oh Snakehips are some annoying motherflubbers (for lack of a better word). This group have been creeping up on me, little by little for a few months now, and they finally got me with their infectious songs – I’m hooked. Hailing from Camden, London, Snakehips are a duo made up of Oliver Lee and James Carter, who met on a business trip to Hong Kong and before long, had booked their first recording session together.
Through their self-owned label Hoffman West, the duo have been releasing music since 2012, and you know a good set of remixes will always get an act noticed. Their remixes to songs by Bondax, The Weeknd, Wild Belle and others, have seen Snakehips featured on the Hype Machines chart, iTunes Top 15 Electronic chart, and on BBC Radio 1 via DJs Annie Mac and Monki. The semi-anonymous pair has now racked up millions of plays on Soundcloud and YouTube from their ever growing following, and are about to release their latest EP.
At the risk of wrongly defining their sound (because I know how those “true fans” can be), I will carefully describe Snakehips music as glitchy, drumbeat, soft-synth melodies, sometimes funky, sometimes smooth, but always upbeat. Not forgetting the throwback R&B/Hip-Hop influences that are often heard in their songs. Essentially when you listen to Snakehips, you get catchy, feel-great music that does exactly what it says on the tin (I’m talking about those hips), and the best thing is it only takes about the first 10 seconds of every song to realize that. Yeah I think that should pretty much cover it description-wise!
Their official debut single “On and On” featuring Australian vocalist George Maple, is a sultry 3-minute wonder that gives you the kind of summertime vibes reminiscent of early-noughties R&B. Maple’s voice is an excellent feature on this song; her casual vocals sound, effortless over the easy beat and muffled melodies. If you like sound of “On And On”, you need to listen to “Days With You” featuring Sinead Harnett, who you may know through Rudimental and Disclosure.
Although this song came out some six months later, it does sound quite similar to “On and On”, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Like “On and On”, “Days With You” combines upbeat melodies with chilled vocals. Whilst this song alludes to being free of a complicated relationship, Sinead Harnett could have been singing about ice cream, that’s just how Cloud 9-happy this song sounds.
Now back to the remixes. Snakehips know how to do a decent remix, whether they are adding a few extra beats (“Groove On”), making it more electronic (“Cigarette Song”), or completely tearing a song apart, re-shuffling it, juggling it, pausing for breath, adding drops, and then putting it back together again… which leads me to the next song – “Make It”. This is the track that first caught my attention, and I realised early on that you need to have a very good ear to figure out what the sampled song is (I won’t spoil it for you).
Imagine you are playing a racing game like Need For Speed. Scratch that; imagine you are inside Need For Speed. You are inside Need For Speed, driving a Lamborghini around a big city at night, cruising in dramatic slow-motion when necessary, on a mission to rescue your babes from some McBain-looking sideman that kidnapped her, whilst you were on a business trip to Japan. That is how “Make It” sounds. Snakehips’ remix of Mariah Carey’s “Bliss” is also amazing, as an up-tempo, break-beat version of the original slow jam – well worth a listen!
Snakehips have been working on their new EP Forever (Part II) which is slated for release on the 9th of March. In the meantime, fans can enjoy their newest single “Gone”, which features vocals from Syd (The Internet, Odd Future), and their rumoured next single “Falling” featuring Meleka. If you’re interested in seeing these guys in person, the tickets for their UK tour have also just gone on sale here (they usually sell out quickly though!).
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Words by Tomi Olujide // Edited by Ayo Adepoju