Conducted July 2018

Paul Bonomo, the man behind SNAX, holds a true spunk in his personality when it comes to his stage presence and music production. From Maryland D.C. to Berlin, SNAX has transformed his stage personality into his final form as a performer which is visible through his most recent album, Shady Lights. It was a complete joy to sit down with a person who perfectly embodies the essence of life and freedom from the 90s New York scene.

In this interview, Gnarles got the inside scoop as to how SNAX came to be, the process that goes into each track, and the influences that helped shape who SNAX is today.


“Despite all the changes, it’s still a great place to do music in Berlin.” – SNAX


Where did the name SNAX come from?

“Well, I gave myself that name a long time ago when I moved to San Francisco. I’m originally from Maryland, D.C. I moved to San Fransisco way back in the 90s [laughs] and I was in this gay, art-punk band called Fag Bash. We gave ourselves all our nicknames. One of the guys was named Pony Boy and the other Rich Bitch and I called myself SNAX because I’m just very funky [laughs] and I just liked the ring of it. I spelled it a certain way because I just like four-letter names. So then I moved to New York after that and decided to put DJ before ‘SNAX’ because I started DJing and making electronic music. But it just ended up being ‘SNAX’.”


What genre do you consider SNAX to be? What other genres are appealing to you?

“I think I synthesized that answer down to electronic soul because it’s electronic and it’s soulful. It’s dancing but it’s also pop music and songwriting. I think those two words together explain it pretty well but I’m also influenced by a lot of artists actually. My biggest influences are within RNB, dance, and funk artists from the 70s/80s. Prince, George Clinton, and Slide Stone are probably my three biggest heroes but I’m also very into glam rock from the 70s like The Stooges, Bowie, T. Rex, and Kiss. That sort of personality music is really what I’m into because I like characters, scandal, and glamour. I also love house music and the ‘bedroom producers’ kind of culture. Also hip-hop, I’m into that. Also punk was in my influence, especially attitude-wise.”


I saw that you are releasing a vinyl version of the album Shady Lights. What pushed you to release it on vinyl alongside digital?

“I haven’t received the vinyls yet, but I just approved the cover so it’s being made and everything. The album has definitely been a labor of love and it’s been a long process. I mean, I started officially making the album three or four years ago. I take my time with albums. I’m not one of those who crank them out one after another. It’s been a long time since I’ve made a full complete album, so this one I was very adamant about putting it out on vinyl. I knew it would be a really long album too. Ultimately, I released it in the fall of last year. Surely after that, I started a ‘pledge to music’ campaign to help afford to put it out on vinyl. I just got the test pressings and they sound amazing so the vinyl version will be available for everyone soon.” 


What themes does the album incorporate? Would you say this is one of your most meaningful albums?

“It covers a lot of ground theme-wise. I’ve been through a lot the past few years. On the good side, I got married. But on the bad side, I had a good friend of mine die. A lot of personal issues are represented in the album alongside the usual fun, partying, sex introverted concepts. There’s a lot of cultivated personality in the album. I’m really proud of it. I think it’s the best thing I’ve done so far. I love finishing things and seeing things come together. One of the most fun things to do is when you start sequencing an album and then you’re really seeing it take shape. It’s a great feeling!”


What is the process when creating your tracks?

“I don’t stick to anything really. I’m making tracks, both instrumental and musical, all the time. It’s not easy, but with the help of electronics and computers nowadays, it’s easier to just make stuff up. Lyrics come to me all the time though, so when I come up with something I make sure to jot it down somewhere. Then after, I usually have some tracks ready for adding lyrics on top of them. But sometimes it happens all at once and the songs just write themselves. Sometimes I dream about them actually. [laughs] During the making of this album, I actually dreamt a lot of the songs on it. I was just in that state of mind coming up with stuff and it just went into my subconscious. It’s great that I don’t even have to think about the lyrics at times.”


What year did SNAX come to be? What made you get into the music industry?

“Well, ever since I was a kid I’ve been playing music. Especially with the piano. Even in high school, I was trying to figure out a way to make it and get into the scene. I’ve always had bands and we had always tried to make it. So, I guess I’ve been trying to be in the industry for years ever since I was in my teens. But making a name for SNAX started really happening around the mid-90s. Then here, in Berlin, is when it really started happening. I moved to Berlin in 2002 and I was in a group called Captain Komatos which is when SNAX started.”


Is that why you came to Berlin?

“Yes, I came to make my music here. Despite all the changes, Berlin is still a great place to do music. I used to live in New York in the 90s and that changed dramatically. How one city can just be a totally other place in the span of 10 years. It happened so fast in the 90s, so when someone says ‘Oh berlin is changing so much’ I just take it with a grain of salt compared to New York.”


To change the subject, what is the funniest thing that has happened to you while performing live or with a fan?

“A lot of things actually. [laughs] It’s hard for me to pick one, but one thing that came to mind right when you asked me this question was just this really great show I had with Captain Komotose in 2005. It was at a club in Barcelona. We were playing a party for Across Town Rebels Record Label and it was a really nuts night. Crazy backstage environment. Tons of people. Everybody just off their tits! As everything was running really really late, it just got crazier and crazier. We finally got on around 5 am and right in the middle of our set, all of the power went out and all the lights came on, but nobody stopped. They just kept going. So I started stomping my foot and we just went along with it and just kept singing until the power came back on again. It was really cool. Almost like a spontaneous acapella sort of moment until the lights came on again. It totally brought us to the next level. It was amazing.”


What is the biggest accomplishment in your career as SNAX?

“One of the biggest ones is when I toured with the Scissor Sisters. That was phenomenal. I toured with them after I released my second album, so it was around 2006 I think. They asked me to go on tour with them through Europe and asked me to open up their shows. It was wonderful. The biggest crowds I have ever played for. Super professionals and like, super on it. The crowds were great and they are all really great people who I’m still in contact with today.”


Are you working on any new projects, albums, or songs? If so, when do you plan on releasing them?

“Shady Lights is my latest album and that’s done. I’m currently doing gigs and stuff to tour the album. Now, I have one more single coming from that album called Hands Dirty and I have a video premiere coming up for that. I think I’m going to make a couple more remixes from the album. I have a label Random Records and one of my main songwriting and production partners, Mavin and I were working on his album around the same time I was working on mine. So we’re emailing each other back and forth and so in releasing his album called Love. That’s going to be very pop, RNB orient album with a lot of 90s influence. I got the rights back to my second album, so I’m going to be re-releasing my album called Love Pollution which is the one that I toured with the Scissor Sisters.


 If you had one piece of advice for any solo DJ, what would it be?

“It’s such a cliche, but really concentrate on what you love doing. Realize that it’s going to be a lot of ups and downs. There’ll be a lot of peaks and valleys, but the valleys are the moments where you really get to be confronted with your passion. How much of it is really for passion and how much all of it is for other things. If you’re doing it because you’re really passionate about expressing yourself, and it’s the way you really want to do it, then that is sort of the decision you need to make and stick with it. Is that alright? [laughs] I sound like an old-timer.”


You can find SNAX’s latest uploads and posts through the following links and on the Gnarles platform:





*This interview has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to give the artist a proper voice from audio to writing. For the original version, please contact the author.