Interview with Glenn Snelwar, At War With Self (August 7, 2005)

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album. To new fans could your please fill us in on the history behind it all?
Glenn -
Thank you! Itís nice to have the album out. The At War With Self project started back in 2003, when I was writing a lot of new material and putting together the compositions. The Laserís Edge was interested in releasing versions of the songs with a bassist and drummer, and suggested Michael Manring and Mark Zonder. I was excited with the idea, and from that point we started collaborating to produce the songs on the CD.

How has your new album been received by the media?
Glenn -
Iíve been incredibly happy with the press that ďTorn between DimensionsĒ has received. Overall, the response has been very positive, and the aspect of it that I appreciate the most is that people donít really know how to describe the music or what to categorize it as. I think partly for that same reason, there doesnít seem to be a large awareness of it, despite the press that itís received. I do receive e-mail from all over the world, and itís very humbling to hear from people who take the time to contact me and let me know that the music has impacted them somehow, enough to want to write and communicate that. Thatís the most rewarding aspect of all of the work that went into the project, to know that it has affected people from disparate places in the world.

I know artists are not happy to categorize their music, but how would you describe your music to an outsider?
Glenn -
I usually call it progressive rock with elements of metal, jazz and classical Ė lots of intertwining parts that contribute to the whole composition. The aspect of effectively introducing as many of these styles into the same composition, and really contributes towards the entire song as opposed to putting together styles just for the sake of doing so.

Where does your inspiration come from, both musically and lyrically?
Glenn -
I listen to so many different styles of music that I think aspects from all different genres influence my compositions. Music that has a lot going on with a lot on at once is what I usually gravitate towards, and also bands that are able to juxtapose heavy and lighter sections within the same song. I listen to a lot of classical music, also progressive bands that really are innovative and donít sound too much like anybody else like Univers Zero, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, King Crimson, old Voivod, etc.

Who has produced and mixed the album, and are you pleased with the end result?
Glenn -
Vic Stevens produced and mixed the CD. Iím incredibly happy with the result. Vic had a very difficult task of mixing an incredibly Ďdenseí set of compositions. We had less than four days to mix the entire CD, and Vic worked up until the last minute to ensure he found Ďspaceí for all of the different parts that are present. I was very concerned that Mark and Michaelís performances needed to be up front in the mix, due to the nature of there being far more guitars, mandolins and keyboard parts than bass and percussion. Vic did an outstanding job and accomplished what I was hoping for with this set of compositions.

Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
Glenn -
Travis Smith came up with the cover art for ďTorn between DimensionsĒ. The label had suggested Travis, and I thought he would be perfect based on the other covers heís done. Heís a great artist with some unique ideas, and I think his idea for the artwork fits the title and the whole feel of the compositions perfectly. I couldnít be happier with how it came out!

I think cover art can really enhance the listenerís emotional connection when the artwork is an effective visual representation of the ideas in the music.

Do you have any touring plans?
Glenn -
I am continuing to write new material for the next At War With Self release. Since At War With Self is a studio project for now, the plan is to continue writing new material, until a touring opportunity presents itself. That would be something I would love to see happen, I do miss playing out - but for now, there are no plans to tour. So Iíll continue to keep writing new material!

How do you feel about the co-operation with your label, and are you satisfied?
Glenn -
The Laserís Edge was terrific with all aspects of the release, and gave me complete freedom with the compositions. They were also responsible for getting me in touch with Michael and Mark. Itís been a great experience, and I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to have The Laserís Edge release ďTorn between DimensionsĒ.

The internet is a very important source for many music fans? how do you use the internet and how important is it for you and other bands?
Glenn -
The internet is invaluable. When I started writing music again after a long break, the first thing I did was develop a website, post some MP3s and provide some information about the project. Since Iíve gotten back into the music scene Iíve also been introduced to a lot of other great musicians that are working on interesting projects, and itís great to be able to listen to sound clips from other bands and see whatís going on around the world.

How do you see the progressive rock/progressive metal scene at the moment?
Glenn -
I think there are some great bands out there. There are so many bands too, that I havenít actually heard a lot of them, so Iím sure there are some things Iím missing out on! Because I listen to a lot of music, sometimes I lose track with what bands are out there for quite a while, and then come back to it. I usually keep track of new releases by certain bands that I really enjoy and think have done some incredibly innovative things, like Meshuggah, Opeth and Kingís X. Iím usually not interested in bands that blatantly copy the overall sound of another band. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of that going on too, in a genre called Ďprogressiveí of all things.

To finish things off - could you pls. make an all-time Top 5 or sort of the 5 most important albums in your opinion?
Glenn -

Classical: The Bartok String Quartets
Metal: Slayer Ė Reign in Blood
Prog Metal: VoiVod Ė Dimension HatrŲss/Killing Technology
Jazz: anything by Steve Coleman and Five Elements
Misc.: anything by Nickel Creek, Kevin Gilbert

A big thank you to Glenn, and all the best to him and At War With Self.

At War With Self - Torn between Dimensions

Album out on Free Electric Sound.