40 | : / : Rolling Stone magazine describes them as one of today’s most versatilebands, able toadapt toevery genre.However,SnarkyPuppycan’t reallybe calledaband, because it is actually amusical collectivewhichhas todate, since the time of its inception, included between 30and40memberswho’vecomeandgone, although theymostlyperformas agroupof eighttotenpeopleinarotatingcomposition. Bassist, composer and band leader Michael League formed Snarky Puppy in 2003, and foranentiredecadetheyfailedtoattractany serious attention, only to today reacha situationinwhichtheyperformunder thename “The Fam”(derived fromfamily) and are the proudownersof threeGrammyAwards.We spoke with Michael League about the extraordinary collective that composes SnarkyPuppy,discussingtheirplansandupcoming June concert. You’vebeen toBelgradealreadywith anotherband,butthistimeyou’recomingwith Snarky for the rst time, and with your full composition? - I’m thrilled to be coming to Belgrade again. I played inyour country last yearwith myotherband,Bokanté,andthereactionwas phenomenal.Theaudiencewasveryendearinganditwasevidentthatthesearetruemusic lovers. I can’twait topresent SnarkyPuppy to this audience. How did this unusual band even emerge? - I formed the group with friends from collegeaftercompletingthe rstyearofstudiesattheUniversityofNorthTexas. I thinkthat was 2003.Most of themwereorientated towards jazz in their studies. We had our rst gig in the basement of a pizzeria andwe’ve never stopped performing. Yourenergyisindescribable.Howdoes Snarky,assuchalargecollective,manage to function sowell? -What I personally lovethemost about our group is the way we give ourselves over to improvisation. The same song can be changed to the limits of recognisability from evening to evening. That change depends onwhat eachmember does differently and the way in which they contribute to the composition, without disrespecting the essential content of the work itself. This allows us to emphasise the emotional contents of songs, allowing the music to grow, breathe and develop, and creating a unique musical experience every evening. You performed for an entire decade before you started attracting media attention.Was it di cult back then? - It must be music must that compels you to push on. If you need other people to determine the value your art has –whether that relates to themedia, the public, the industry, or anyoneelse– you’veprepared for failurefromthestart.Althoughnoonecared about Snarky Puppy, and nobody even noticedusfor10years,weareallstill there.Why? Becauseeverymemberofthebandplaysprimarily out of a love of music. Howmanymembersdoyouhave?You changethestructureof thebandconstantly for every performance… -We’veprobablyhadbetween30and40 members throughout all these years. There are currently around 20 of us, but we usually perform as a group of eight to ten people.We’ve worked in both smaller and larger groups, but this represents some kind of mediumthat suits us completely. Members constantlychangeforconcerts,but thereare sevenoreightmemberswhoplay inaround 70 per cent of performances. Dothemembersofthebandsocialisebeyondthescopeofthismusicaladventure? -Absolutely.Themajorityofus live inNew York, andwehangout therea lot.Ontours,we spend as much time together o the stage as we do on it.We’ve already become a family. Whatwouldyousingleoutasyourgreatest success? -Ourmutual relations–thefact thatwe’ve beenplaying together for 15years andwe still love one another. That’s not an easy thing, but weactuallygetonbetternowthaneverbefore. For me, this is our greatest success. Likewise, the fact that we live by playing original instrumental music makes me feel like I climbed to the top of amountain. That’s a good feeling. WinningaGrammymust be aphenomenal experience, but you have as many as three! - Itwastotallyandutterlyunreal. Iwassure wewouldn’t win the rst Grammy.When they calledout our name, I was really in shock.Winningtheother twoawardswasalsoanextraordinary experience, but the rst time was special. Prizes can be a trivial thing and you never knowwhatwillhappen–especiallywhenother artists inthesamecategoryaresuchgoodand in uential musicians. One year wewere in the samecategorywithBillFrisellandMarcusMiller! Iwas almost ashamed thatwewon.Wehad to thank themduring the acceptance speech for the inspiration we found in their music. What are your further plans? - Ihavelotsofdi erent ideas:abookabout ourearlydays;adocumentaryaboutthespreadingofmusicaltraditionsaroundtheworld;afully acousticalbumetc.The list continues. Let’s see if we have time to do everything. We had our rst gig in the basement of a pizzeria and we’ve never stopped performing, says frontmen of this unusual band Michael League Imali smo prvu svirku u podrumu jedne picerije i nikada nismo prestali da sviramo, kaže frontment ovog neobičnog benda Majkl Lig