RGV Sounds: Experimental pop artist meshes various genres to create unique sound

RGV Sounds

If you know an RGV band or musician who should be featured, email KVEO-DigitalDesk@nexstar.tv.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — All of us have a favorite type of music.

Whether it’s rock music, hip hop, Tejano, punk, techno, or something in between, most of us can all point to at least one of a few genres that stand above the rest as our favorites.

Some musicians similarly find inspiration from an abundance of musical artists and forge together a sound reminiscent of all of their favorites.

Pillowsnake performing in 2019

San Benito’s Pillowsnake is a good example of this as their music meshes various styles to create a unique sound.

Pillowsnake was formed by Jacob Lafollette in 2018. Lafollette recorded music as early as 2016 but started the Pillowsnake name two years later.

The name of the project is taken from the “Jake the Pillow Snake” character from Dr. Seuss’s I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Lafollette’s first releases delved into the trip-hop category, which is described as a mix of psychedelic music, electronica, and hip hop.

Once the Pillowsnake name was settled on in 2018, the music stayed trip-hop but began leaning in other areas as well, with songs like “Space ‘IS’ The Place” taking on a slightly more traditional rock sound thanks to some well-timed guitar riffs.

Lafollette’s main instrument is the guitar so many of his songs are written using the instrument before the track is blasted with reverb, bass, noise, and a slew of other effects.

Pillowsnake pushed out more trip-hop releases and put out his first full-length album under the name in 2018 with RVD Botox. The record is an electronic journey of catchy beats, ambience, and tight production.

The following year came Pillowsnake’s second album hmminBYRD which carries the same electronic vibe as the first record but with a psychedelic twist.

Pillowsnake continued releasing singles throughout 2019 and 2020 with different songs carrying different vibes.

Some tracks like “Reality is the Caution” have indie rock overtones while others like “Toxic” are mostly pop-based.

The artist’s most recent release, “A Brown Recluse’s Exclusive Return Trip 2 Sanity, Pain, and Promise” is self-described as ‘alternative rock’ but still features the electronic effects found on other Pillowsnake songs.

Pillowsnake released about singles every few months from 2018 to 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic slightly slowing things down for the artist due to a lack of motivation without being able to play his music live.

During live concerts, Pillowsnake will typically play it solo, bringing just his guitar and a backing track of effects to play along with as he delivers an energized performance on the stage. Occasionally, Lafollette will bring along a drummer to enhance the experience.

While originally Pillowsnake songs formed off beats created solely by Lafollette, he has since started experimenting with sampling to use tracks to go off of.

Pillowsnake performing in 2019

Sampling is the method of using recordings by other artists and editing them in various ways to create your own backing track. This formula was essential for 1980s hip hop artists and continues today in many music genres.

Lafollette will pull sounds off obscure vinyl records he finds to create a base for a track and blend other sounds from other records to generate his music. Add in some electronica effects and a hodge-podge of lyrics from Lafollette, and you have a sound that is uniquely Pillowsnake.

This process is described as alchemy by Lafollette as he carefully pieces together sounds to create music.

While this method typically lays the foundation for Pillowsnake, it slightly limits the artist’s exposure. Lafollette almost exclusively uploads his music to SoundCloud and Bandcamp as the bigger streaming platforms, like Spotify and Apple Music, are likely to flag his songs for copyright strikes.

Regardless, Pillowsnake has garnered a decent following in the music scene.

Many of his singles have earned thousands of listeners on Sound Cloud alone with listeners raving about the songs and their production.

Lafollette says he is satisfied with the feedback he has received on his music. He acknowledges that the music is not for everyone but he’s happy with the response it has attracted.

He encourages anyone with an artistic vision to pursue their passions and create content regardless of how eclectic it may be.

His future goals are to tour across Texas and beyond and to get his music heard by as many people as possible.

Pillowsnake can be found on Sound Cloud, Bandcamp, and YouTube, with older releases streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.

You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

To submit a band to be featured on RGV Sounds, email KVEO-DigitalDesk@nexstar.tv.

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