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The Designs Interview

19 February 2020 No Comment

The Designs 2 (2)The Designs are going to be your favorite new band for 2020. This rising electro-metal combo based out of Italy are recording their debut album and it is sounding stellar.  The Designs write grooves that get you moving and keep you moving and their signature sound will keep them on your playlist for a very long time. Here is Billy T Cooper & Snovonne ‘Sno’ Drake of The Designs.

What is your professional history together?

Sno: We’ve known each other for a while, since 2012, our bands (Billy’s JTR Sickert and my solo project Snovonne) have toured together often. Everyone became great friends very quickly.

What was the spark that caused the creation of The Designs?

Sno: We’ve wanted to work together for a long time, but it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that Billy asked me to direct some videos for him and sing guest vocals on a new album he was working on. Eventually I started working on lyrics too, did more and more vocals until it just became clear that we should make this our thing. Our creativity and style was an interesting match and the chemistry was undeniable. We also wrote a lot more music outside the upcoming debut album that we’re really happy with.

How did you land on the name The Designs?

Sno: Well, it really just rounds up everything we’re about, literally and metaphorically speaking. It’s a project with expressive visuals, very designed. Mentally, it’s intricate, yet to the point. Kind of how we would describe ourselves as people too. We also wanted to have a name that reflected art as a whole. Sound design, visual design..

Starting a new band means you can create any type of music you desire. How is that all developing?

Sno: I think it’s going great! We were after blending the characters our previous projects… and through that create something new for ourselves. You have the creepy melancholy and psychology of Snovonne and the decadence and aggression of JTR Sickert. Stitched through with a lot more electronics.

Billy: But also the production side of things is new and fresh for us. We’re both very happy to finally work with a producer that we respect and trust as much as Eddy Cavazza. We let him take the ropes with this one and it’s been really exciting for us.

The Designs 1What are some things about The Designs style that shows off your uniqueness and individuality?

Billy: I guess the fact that we like to portray a complete work of art, from music to design and video. The music is just one component for us. We like to create a complete world people can spend some time in. That’s also why we picked the name The Designs. It’s all about layers and designs… also of character, and of the mind.

What life experiences have had the most influence on your current music?

Billy: I wrote these songs going through a pretty dark phase of my life. Obsessions, addictions, flashes of confusion and clarity. Was also inspired by art made by mental patients, since I council them as a criminal lawyer. They use art to reflect on the crime they committed, just like I use music to reflect on my bad thoughts. Sno’s been through her share of stuff at the same time, so that’s also what brought us together and made this album what it is. I think we’re both trying to say good-bye to certain things in our life with these songs and hopefully welcome new ones. To be honest, it’s a pretty dark record but with a light at the end of the tunnel. That light being for example the song “Choose your life”, which is kind of our personal anthem. It’s also the song that was supposed to be the only duet with Sno, before The Designs happened. That’s why we keep hashtagging it… it sums up a lot.

What artists have had an influence on your singing style?

Sno: We both listen to so much different stuff.. My favorite female singers come from soul & RnB.. Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, and many many more.. I grew up studying classical singing, opera and stuff.. even though I don’t use that vocal style, the training definitely had and impact on my chords. From male singers, I’ve always loved dirty voices that are more about character and less about singing like Marilyn Manson, etc.

Billy: I also took classical singing lessons as a kid.. but always liked rock voices. Billy Idol, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Trent Reznor, Dave Gahan… and many more.

What messages do you want to get across to your fans with your music and lyrics?

Sno: Well, as we always say – inspire, and be inspired. What seems weird or crazy most of the time triggers finding, or rediscovering, your own personality. It doesn’t all have to make universal sense. Emotions usually don’t. And that’s ok. We’re all about contrasts and catharsis. Different moods, different parts of the brain that needs to vent.

Billy: We’d like them to react, make them feel things.. Move them, mentally and/or physically. Speak to the deeper parts of their human nature, maybe awaken a different idea of themselves. That’s what the music we love does to us. We would like to bring people back to the Dionysian spirit and help them get away from the common effort to over-interpret the world in just a rational way.

Any videos in the works? Which songs and what concepts are you working with?

The Designs 2 smallSno: Oh yeah, we’ve been busy filming and still currently are. Trying to film as much in advance as possible, since once we start touring we won’t have the time. We have two videos basically finished, the songs are ‘Porno Riot’ and ‘Choose Your Life’. One is a grotesque, punkish piece of work celebrating freedom and battling the obsessions that come from it. The other is a darker, more cinematic video blurring the line between love and hate, a kind of destructive romance if you will. And I’m currently preparing for the third video – ‘Begin’, which is also one of our favorites from the album.

What’s one of the hardest parts about touring? Have you had anything embarrassing happen while performing?

Sno: The hardest thing for me is the sleep part. I can never sleep. And a few weeks in I start feeling a bit of social anxiety. Other than that I love it. I can’t really remember anything really embarrassing happening.. not that shit wouldn’t happen haha. We’ve had power cuts, falls, sampler glitches… but that’s just stuff that happens on stage.

Billy: I don’t really like the wait between soundcheck and showtime, makes me antsy. Can’t remember anything too embarrassing during shows either, if anything, it happened after the show..

Name something that is a positive in the world today.  And why it should be celebrated.

Billy: Communication.. how fast and easy it is. It should be celebrated, not misused. The two seconds it takes someone to leave shitty comment somewhere, could be used to say something nice to someone they care about, and make their day better. The little things matter.

What are your goals both personally and professionally for the rest of the year?

Sno: We will mainly be focusing on the live band and the show now. We also have more filming to do, designing merch, etc. Hopefully tour in summer! Personally, just trying to stay healthy and fit throughout everything, it’s been a hectic end of 2019 and we definitely have some exhaustion carried over.

Billy: Yes, just stay healthy to be able to enjoy everything.

Anything else you would like to share?

Thank you everyone, for your time and support! This is a new project, so it’s awesome to have people with us from the beginning. For those interested check out www.thedesignsmusic.com, and follow THE DESIGNS on FB (@thedesignsmusic) Instagram (@the_designs_music) and Twitter (@thedesigns3).


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