There really isn’t any electronic music at the Alaska Folk Festival, but now there’s a little Folk Fest in a Southeast duo’s electronic music.
Whiskey Class is debuting their first music video here:
Liz Snyder and Patrick Troll came up with the name Whiskey Class when filling out their application for the 2012 Alaska Folk Festival.
“Whiskey Class was a good name because it’s like one of those punny band names,” Troll says. “You know like, whiskey glass is a thing, but if you change one letter — whiskey class. It’s this whole thing about being a responsible drunk. Be classy with it, even when you’re drinking whiskey.”
After their acoustic set at Folk Fest, the pair began incorporating layered vocals, drum loops and ambient tones, entering the colorful world of electronic music.
Before they were Whiskey Class, they were teenage musicians from rival Southeast Alaska high schools. They found each other’s music in the early days of social media through MySpace. They still live apart, but make music together.
They’re both musicians in their own rights. Snyder is half of the Juneau folk rock duo the Wool Pullers, and Troll creates beats at the Ketchikan’s DJALTERNATIVE. Living in different places forces them to collaborate over weekend-long recording sessions. Often it starts with Troll’s beats and Snyder freestyling over them.
“Sometimes it’s a beat, sometimes we’re just sitting around just messing around with something and I’m like, ‘Let’s record that.’ Then you loop it, put drums over it. And then I force Liz to be a diva,” said Troll.
After their marathon recording sessions, Troll will edit and continue to polish the raw audio over weeks and months. Their new music video for the song “Thurt” is two years in the making.
Snyder visited Troll when he was living in California’s Humboldt County. Troll reached out to friend and visual artist Ian Stewart, who had been experimenting with green screens and digital animation. With cameras rolling, Whiskey Class turned him loose to direct and shoot their first music video.
“We had just finished the track, like, five minutes prior, so it was kinda fun to lip-sync to a song I didn’t really know,” said Snyder.
The finished product is a psychedelic journey with cartoon versions of the band drifting through Alaska landscapes and outer space, with a host of other random scenarios and subtle drug references.
“You know, seeing yourself animated and, like, waiting so long, it was like this epic moment. And I’m just watching it on my iPhone. And I text him and I’m like, ‘You are insane’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, sorry it took so long, sorry it took two years.’ But that’s kind of how our music worked,” said Troll.
In addition to the video, the band dropped a new single this week, the jazzy and dream-like “Juice Man.”
One of their songs was featured in 2014’s “The Breach,” a salmon conservation documentary alongside animation by his dad, Ray Troll.
Whiskey Class plans to release an EP this spring, sometime around Folk Fest. But, like their music, the deadline’s fluid.