An Apple a Day

cal SnowappleSnowapple amps up its enchanting brand of pop-folk-opera

Though not available at your average grocery store, the Snow Apple does exist. Grown in Canada, the fruit is believed to be a relative of the abundant McIntosh.

“They’re apples that you pick very late in the year, so you pick them when it’s already snowing,” explains Una, one of three members of the Amsterdam pop-folk-opera trio Snowapple. “We really liked that image: the late apple, the last apple.”

It’s a Saturday afternoon in mid-March, and Una is in Berlin with bandmate and birthday girl, Laurien (vocals, guitar, banjo), now 28 years old, recording the instruments for two new tracks. The third band member, Fanny (vocals, violin, accordion), is back in Holland, unable to make the recording session.

These two new songs will be featured on Snowapple’s sophomore full-length (title to be determined), slated for release next autumn. And just like the apple associated with the band’s moniker, the record appears to be well worth the wait.

“It will be an album with a storyline, not just 10 pop songs, but many soundscapes, snippets, instrumental tracks, etcetera,” says Una (vocals, mandolin, glockenspiel). “Our goal is that it will be a magical journey to listen to our album.”

The band also hopes that the new record will mirror the spontaneous, varied nature of its live shows—something Snowapple fans have come to treasure immensely.

“We like to improvise on stage, so we are also going to do a little bit of improvisation on the album,” says Laurien, adding that it’s not uncommon for the trio to sing solo pieces or do a five-minute improvisation soundscape.

“We like to play with a drummer at festivals, so there will also be some rougher songs,” Laurien goes on. “But as for the rest, there will be beautiful, harmonized songs like on the first album.”

While in Berlin for the week, Snowapple is working alongside producer Daniel Schaub. They collaborated previously on “Again,” the irresistible opening track off the band’s eponymous debut album, which features soaring, angelic harmonies and gentle guitar.

For its sophomore effort, the trio is working with a slew of producers based in different cities throughout Europe, and crafting two songs with each. Not bad for a band that came together only two-and-a-half years ago.

Una and Fanny met about 10 years ago, while attending college at the Utrechts Conservatorium in Holland, where they studied jazz singing and classical singing, respectively. Laurien studied opera singing, but in a more private lesson format.

Eventually, the three friends started singing old folk songs together, as well as covers of more contemporary female folk artists, like Jolie Holland and The Be Good Tanyas. All songwriters in their own right, the three decided to showcase their original material in a coffee shop. After receiving favorable reviews from friends in the crowd, they were encouraged to continue collaborating. Now, the band members are fulltime musicians that tour year-round.

“I think we really give each other the possibility to fully express ourselves,” says Laurien. “We are at a different point all the time and changing in a way that we want to. We make what we want to make, and I think that’s really special about our band; I think a lot of other bands adapt more for other reasons.

“We really don’t care about what the scene is right now,” Laurien goes on. “We think we will always find a spot where a few or a lot of people will like [our music]. And it doesn’t even have to be a regular music venue. We’re planning a castle tour, where we play castles all around Europe because we find them so beautiful.”

Snowapple plays at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 30 at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 603-2294.

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