'Putting the mask on helps you transcend just being a musician. You end up with this sense of theatre and I’m always looking for ways you can subvert that.'
“Do you know what the beauty of the woodland analogy is?” asks Snapped Ankles’ Patrick as we sit watching a large Labrador take a dip in the pond behind London’s Hackney City Farm. “It’s that you can apply it to pretty much anything.”
“I guess the only thing that really compares to it is football,” he continues with a semi-serious grin; “maybe we’ll do a football themed band next.”
It’s the hottest day of 2017 so far and we’ve decided to visit one of Hackney’s last patches of unspoilt woodland for our interview. With my phone malfunctioning in the midday heat, I’m starting to wonder if it really was the best idea, but with both Hackney and the forest hardwired into Snapped Ankles’ DNA, we probably couldn’t have found a better spot if we’d tried. Patrick, dressed in a battered t-shirt and cut-off jeans, has just come from work and looks about as far as you can imagine from his demonic stage persona. Dressed in dead plants, face masks and antlers, the band have a look that is half Jethro Tull, half Sasquatch, and is a hell of a lot more terrifying than the mild-mannered man cheerfully chatting about French cinema who’s sat next to me.
Almost everything about Snapped Ankles defies easy categorisation. The music they make is primal, tribal-like electronica that teeters between the cold, driving motorik rhythms of Can and Neu and the shamanistic, occult-feeling prog-folk of bands like Steeleye Span and Black Widow. “When we started the band going it was mostly groove-based stuff with guitars and drums and keyboard,” says Patrick in typically understated fashion while talking about the band’s origins. “I suppose when you get a live drummer and a groove going things suddenly become post-punk by their very nature.”