Life with Death

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THE BOYS (AND GIRL) IN THE BAND — Death by Snoo Snoo (l-r) Sam Thomson (bass), Julian Sobejana (guitar), Jon Madrigal (guitar/vocals), Tanner Partee (drums) and Nicky Garcia (vocals).  Photo by Serina Duarte

THE BOYS (AND GIRL) IN THE BAND — Death by Snoo Snoo is (l-r) Sam Thomson (bass), Julian Sobejana (guitar), Jon Madrigal (guitar/vocals), Tanner Partee (drums) and Nicky Garcia (vocals). Photo by Serina Duarte


“Snoo Snoo,” legend has it, means “death by sex with Amazon women.” A group of young Southwestern College musicians decided that was the way to go.

Chula Vista’s Death by Snoo Snoo is alive and well, and there are no Amazons in sight.

“When we thought of the band name I wasn’t taking it too serious,” said guitarist Julian Sobejana. “I wasn’t taking this band too serious.”

What started out as goofing off quickly turned into six-hour-long weekly band practices in a tiny room in Partee’s grandma’s house. Former SWC students Jon Madrigal (guitar), Sam Thomson (bass), Tanner Partee (drums) and Sobejana fit together from the start. Singer Nicky Garcia came in later to pull it all together.

“The band started off with Tanner and I,” said Madrigal. “Tanner played bass, but then switched to drums. I brought in Sam after Tanner and I had been playing together for a few weeks once he got a drum set. I brought in Jules once we started working together. Nicky was the last member to join. I met Nicky at SWC in Chamber Singers when I announced to the class that my band was looking for a singer.”

Sobejana said that he was intimidated when he decided to join the band.

“I only played music alone, so it was uncomfortable for me to share riffs and ideas,” he said. “This band is my first rock band. Coming in with the guys, though, one of the things we all quickly found in common with each other was that we really enjoyed being loud and also enjoyed listening to the same bands.”

Sobejana said he was skeptical when Madrigal introduced Garcia to the rest of the band.

“It didn’t make sense to me that a singer with a jazz background could fit in to our band’s sound,” he said. “Nicky, however, actually made it happen. (When) Nicky left from her first practice with us, Tanner and I gave each other one of those silent nods, both thinking ‘yeah, this could work.’”

Their songs, “Ellie,” “Amy,” “Barbara,” “Amelia,” “Jill” and “Claire” are all names of women from TV shows or video games band members like.

“I always write about an experience, whatever it is,” said Garcia. “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, so I don’t really say I go for one or the other. Whatever happens to be happening at the time. Sometimes it happens naturally. These last couple songs I really feel like the guys have gotten together and tell me they have something and I’m like ‘okay let’s figure it out.’”

WEIRD NAME, BIG PROMISE — Death by Snoo Snoo had a succesful debut at The Tin Can music club.   Photo by John Freeman

WEIRD NAME, BIG PROMISE — Death by Snoo Snoo had a succesful debut at The Tin Can music club. (above) Madrigal with a powerful vocal.  Photo by John Freeman

Their music spans genres. Death by Snoo Snoo draws elements from indie tunes, punk rock and alternative music.

“I always say that there are certain parts of the songs that have different feels to it,” said Partee.

Garcia agreed.

“I really think that (we) are still finding our sound,” she said.

Using SWC’s Center for Recording Arts and Technology, the band recorded “Jill,” which was one of the tracks in “Soundbytes,” a compilation of local San Diego music sold at the studio.

Maribel Alcala, a commercial music major, worked at the studio and contacted the band in fall of 2011 about recording.

“I was in a few music classes with Jonathan when I found out he had a band,” said Alcala. “I loved that they were serious about the music, yet at the same time easygoing.”

WEIRD NAME, BIG PROMISE — Garcia writes and sings of her experiences.  Photo by John Freeman

WEIRD NAME, BIG PROMISE — Garcia writes and sings of her experiences. Photo by John Freeman

Daniel Cabeza de Baca, the studio manager, said he saw the potential in the band.

“They can have their music go on to another level,” he said. “They were actually more excited to keep going with their own material.”

Madrigal said recording in the studio was a bit of a challenge at first.

“I thought it was pretty awkward going in there,” he said. “Our amps are in a completely different room, we were all listening to each other through a headset. That is weird because the energy, the aura that you feel from playing together is kind of gone.”

Thomson said the band is trying to establish a media footprint.

“Digital downloading is really going to change the face of how people distribute media,” said Thomson. “Kids are going to be hooked to the idea of ‘Hey, I like this band. Let me Google search, let me look at their Facebook, let me follow their Twitter, let me look at their Instagram.’”

Songs by Death by Snoo Snoo are available at the band’s SoundCloud page.

“We’re not making music just to sell,” said Madrigal. “We’re not in it just to be famous and make money. We do what we love and whoever is out there should do it, too.”

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