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Snax

Sometimes associated with Peaches, with whom he rules over a kind of electro-decadent-funk-cabaret-club scene in Berlin, Snax (aka DJ Snax, aka Paul Bonomo) is a more soulful and introspective alternative to that infamous lady, although, at times, only marginally less raw (as the John Waters-ish video for his single "No Dancing" demonstrates). Like Peaches, Snax is a young-middle-aged transplanted North American, and an actual musician. Sexual deviance informs the work of both artists, but Snax's persona is less the confident provocateur and more the defiant bruised neurotic gay male. Also, Snax's first discs were a lot more organically funky than most early 21st century dance music, with definite echoes of Prince, solo George Clinton, and other '80s funk artists. You can also hear scholarly borrowings from techno and acid classics, reflecting the nearly two decades Snax spent as an underground music journeyman, fronting, backing, and collaborating with acts across a number of genres. Growing up in the Washington, D.C. suburbs during the hardcore '80s, he first emerged as the leader and frontman of the gay punk band Bonomo's Fagbash -- which had several cassette-only releases. But long before then, he had been listening to Prince and R&B radio, soaking up music from DC's Go-Go scene -- acts such as Trouble Funk and the Junkyard Band. As the District's music scene petered out during the early '90s, he relocated to San Francisco in 1993 where he re-formed the band, now simply Fagbash. The band released one cassette and one 7" before breaking up in 1995 in New York. Bonomo then collaborated with performance-art rapper Tara Delong, inaugurated the DJ Snax name, and formed Captain Comatose with Turkish/ Finnish producer Khan. After joining Foetus for a tour of Europe and observing the more open, accepting culture there, Snax felt increasingly constricted by the culture of post 9/11 New York. This led to his final move to Berlin in 2002. Shortly thereafter, Comatose released its semi-hit "$100" with Snax and Khan on vocals. The first solo album, From the Rocking Chair to the Stage, came in 2004 with the leadoff single "No Dancing." Snax toured Europe for seven months promoting Rocking Chair. This was a one-man-show that completely eschewed the electronica producer stereotype. The antithesis of detached and ironic producer/ vocalist Jamie Lidell (on whose album Multiply he guests, and with whom he would later tour) Snax pulled out all the stops. He danced, gyrated, shook a tambourine, played synth solos and tossed his shirts and big hair around the stage -- all without the slightest trace of smugness or awkwardness. The second album, 2006's Love Pollution, reflected this evolution into an electronica popstar in a world without electronica popstars. Although the 12'' single "Immer So" would not have been out of place on Rocking Chair, the rest of the record is much more melodically lush, raising the bar in terms of vocals and production techniques. It also featured real instruments, with Snax playing live guitar, bass and drum parts. He began to tour with a backing band. However, it was Konrad Black's minimalist remix of the second single, "Honeymoon's Over," that won the hearts of the electronica critics and clubbers in 2007 and gave Snax the momentum to launch a tour that included venues in the U.S., Turkey, and Australia. Snax also responded to the increasing demand for his DJ skills, and this led to work in locations even further removed from his European home base. His next record was the scaled-down four-track 2008 EP, Trouble. Snax played nearly everything on the record, and it was a self-styled return to the "electronic funk" of his earlier releases. Remixes for artists such as Peaches and Gus Gus were expected later that year. ~ J. Chandler
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