Samantha Schneider - IS-CORP
Samantha Schneider, the older of the two Schneider sisters, has been killing it both on the US national scene and internationally for what feels like forever and she's still only 27. We sat down with Samantha to talk getting busted for wanting to be a dancer for the Exotics in grade three, getting up the courage to sing the swear words to Alanis Morissette and failing to impress her husband with a live recording of The Doors.
Last week we interviewed your sister and she had a pretty wide range of tastes actually. I'm interested to see what crosses over and what's completely different. We’ll start with the usual, when were you born and where did you grow up?
SAM: I was born and raised in West Allis, Wisconsin and have yet to leave. I was born in 1990 and feel lucky to have been exposed to all of the great things the nineties had to offer.
What was the best thing, in your opinion, the 90’s had to offer?
SAM: I don’t think I can even begin to answer this one, I have absolutely no where to start. Beanie Babies, my prized Walkman (portable cassette player), AOL messenger, Gameboy Color, AND obviously the fantastic music would be some of my first things to note.
Those are all good things, the 90’s checks out. What is your Current City?
SAM: West Allis, WI aka Stallis
You spend a large part of your life on the road travelling, it’s no doubt influenced you, how does that extend to music? Do you pick up music from different cities and cultures when you visit?
SAM: For me, when I travel my music is what reminds me of home and gives me a sense of familiarity. As much as I would love to expand on my musical preferences and reflect on all my adventures through music, I do not really let it influence my taste since I normally will stick with what I am familiar with.
What was the last race you did? What music did were listening to to get you through the transfers and travel?
SAM: The last race I did was the Bucks County Classic after a 13-hour travel day to get there. I listened to a lot of music that weekend. I went through a bunch of music from Kate Nash, Vance Joy, Kaleo, and Matchbox 20.
Matchbox 20, Nice. There’s no wonder you won, Matchbox 20’s ‘Push’ on repeat is a sure bet. I’m assuming it was ‘Push’, because, did they even have any other songs?
SAM: Really?! Matchbox 20 had two CDs full of hits! 3 AM, If You’re Gone, Unwell, and maybe my favorite, Bright Lights. I even saw them in concert during a severe snowstorm, I’m a big fan.
Forgot about ‘3am’, and ‘If you’re gone’. Still, compared to ‘Push’ they’re forgettable. What music do you remember growing up around? Who was the first person to get you into music?
SAM: I was exposed to a lot of rock growing up. My uncle managed some bands so my dad and I would go to see a lot of the shows. My dad had a big role in the music I listened to and lucky for me I was surrounded by good music from early on. One of the first bands my uncle managed was a surf rock band named The Exotics. They had go-go dancers on stage at their bigger performances. They got to wear blonde wigs, big white leather boots, and adorable metallic (mini) dresses. I thought they were the epitome of awesome, so in third grade when we were to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up, my story was about being an Exotics dancer. My parents were called in for a meeting and from that point forward I needed to keep my aspirations on the downlow.
The Exotics sound awesome. How did you parents handle that?
SAM: Well, they did not inform me what this profession was until like five years later when I found out from some school friends what that meant. Then it all started to make sense. They just told me to not talk about the Exotics at school so I just didn’t bring it up, but really didn’t understand why because I thought they were SO cool. Luckily my third grade teacher found a laugh from the whole misunderstanding.
What is the first song you remember liking?
SAM: Hand in My Pocket by Alanis Morissette. I did karaoke to it at a young age and LOVED the fact that I was able to say ‘chicken shit’ if front of my whole family, but I bailed and skipped the bad word.
I used to love the song ‘Bitch’ by Meredith Brooks for that exact reason.
SAM: Cussing at a young age is such a big step in life, really testing the limits!
Did you play a music instrument as a kid?
SAM: I wished and wished I could play an instrument. I took guitar lessons for a couple of weeks and did not pick it up. I also had a go on the recorder in music class, but that failed as well. I have come to learn I have absolutely no musical talent besides rapping a few Eminem tunes, but even then, I’m occasionally offbeat.
Failing at the recorder is setting yourself up to succeed in every other aspect of life, so don’t feel bad about that.
SAM: Ha! Where was this advice when I was basically failing music class?!
If you could go back and learn a musical instrument, which would it be and why?
SAM: I desperately wanted to play the clarinet growing up, it was a popular instrument amongst my classmates. Now, I would love to go back in time and learn either the saxophone or piano. I took piano class earlier in my college days and struggled. I passed the class, but it was not pleasant.
How have your musical tastes changed and developed over the years since you were a kid? Did you ever get into any scene’s or the like?
SAM: My tastes have evolved a little bit. I occasionally do a throwback and listen to some of my first CDs and it amazes me how I listened to some of that stuff. I used to think Avril, The Donnas, Simple Plan were badass. But now I listen and it just seems like pop music. I never really got into the scenes.
What Avril tune was your favourite? I can’t believe she married Chad Kroeger, that’s like the Fibonacci sequence, an example of perfection within nature. Any other tunes stick out from your early days?
SAM: Well, I had to look up what Fibonacci sequence was, but yes, I would now totally agree that her marriage with Kroeger fits that description. Sky really likes Avril too, so we end up listening to all her tracks. Some of the great ones are: I’m with you, Complicated, The Best Damn Thing, just to name a few. We jam to Avril, sometimes we strain our voices, it’s fantastic.
What was the first album you bought with your own money?
SAM: The first album I bought with my own money was probably Simple Plan’s No Pads, No Helmets…Just balls. I got a lot of CDs growing up and have a good collection going, but I am pretty certain this is the CD I saved up for to get. I listened to I’d Do Anything on repeat, it was my jam for a good couple of months.
How old were you? We’re you doing house chores to save up the cash?
SAM: I was probably 12 or 13. I didn’t get paid for doing chores, somehow my parents talked me out of that whole payment idea. I got to keep some of my race winnings, so I bought CDs and my brother bought YU-GI-OH cards. I definitely made the better investment, as long as my CD player does not break.
I just looked up YU-Gi-OH cards and there’s some worth over $8000. Maybe your bro was onto something. What was the first gig / concert you remember going to?
SAM: I think that The Exotics would have been one of my very first shows, but Alanis Morissette was my first really big show.
How was it? Did you sing the swear words?
SAM: It was very overwhelming for me, it was the biggest audience I’d ever been in, the music was soo loud, and the cigarette smoke was awful. But I loved every minute of it. I slowly started singing along, once I realized no one could hear me or was watching me. I definitely sung the swear words at the concert, it was a big deal and all the adults screamed the swear words. I thought it was so cool to be amongst all the adults and fellow Alanis fans.
What's the best gig / concert you've been to?
SAM: I have been to quite a few concerts, and have many favorites. I would say the best was Houndmouth. I went liking the music, but left loving it. They had so much energy and were captivating to watch on stage.
Your sister said the same thing. Must have been an epic show.
SAM: It was really an awesome show. We just had a flashback pic on Facebook from the show, it was two years ago already. Time flies, we are planning to see them again when they are touring.
Is there anyone you’ve been on the road with who has had just brutal taste in music and you’ve been forced to suffer through it?
SAM: Yes. Although I respect it as a musical genre, it baffles me how people can listen to heavy metal. It is so angry (and scary), those music lovers often utilize headphones while in the team van.
Did you ever make playlists when you were younger as ‘psych up’ material for competition? Do you remember any tracks from those?
SAM: I was a big fan of ‘pump up’ playlists. Ha. Making the list were songs like LaLa from Ashlee Simpson, Take it Off by The Donnas, Hand in My Pocket, Everything is Alright by Motion City Soundtrack, The Real Slim Shady, Hips Don’t Lie (Shakira), and my prerace anthem (from way back) Dirrty by Christina Aguilera. My pump-up list was very, uh, diverse.
That’s a classic mix right there. All good songs. Good to see some Motion City Soundtrack in there as well.
SAM: Right! Gosh they were good.
What song would you listen to put you in the right place for a race?
SAM: When I was young, Dirrty was the tune, but now I like Til I collapse by Eminem
What about when you’re training?
SAM: I like training to T.I. No Mediocre, some of the lines are a bit explicit, but I like to have that chorus in my head.
What is the atmosphere usually like amongst the team pre-race? Is everybody doing their own thing listening to their own stuff or is there a more communal atmosphere?
SAM: Luckily for the past few seasons, everyone has very similar music tastes prerace. There have been a couple girls who opted for headphones to enjoy heavy metal, but for the most part we like to enjoy Lewis Del Mar’s Painting, Milky Chance’s Cocoon, Houndmouth’s Sedona, and then we switch the tune to a little more speed right before we head to the start. That switch normally contains Iggy Azalea (Work), Eminem (Till I Collapse), Lil Wayne…
What about post stage?
SAM: Post stage we typically go back to the Lewis Del Mar, Lana Del Rey, Vance Joy type music, which represents like 90% of what we listen to at any given time.
Have you ever had a ‘victory’ song or a track you associate with any performance, good or bad?
SAM: No, not really
Have you ever worn your ipod during a race?
SAM: No way José! I like to follow the rules
Oh, you’re one of those rule followers. But if you could would you?
SAM: I do live by the rules as lame as that is. If it was legal, I definitely would have an iPod with me. Nothing makes time go by and pain more manageable than a solid playlist to distract the mind.
What song do you play to get things started when you’re throwing a party?
SAM: If I am throwing a party (and Skylar does not take control of the playlist) I think Jumpin’, Jumpin (Destiny’s Child) is a perfect throwback song to get the party-goers in the mood.
Does musical taste influence how well you’re going to get along with someone?
SAM: Perhaps, I would have said heck no in the past, but I find I get along well with people that share similar tastes in music with me. There just might be a positive correlation between music tastes and friendships.
What’s a song that if someone played would instantly make you friends?
SAM: This is a great question and I’M SO HAPPY to have an answer to this. If someone plays Vance Joy’s rendition of You Can Call Me Al, we will be INSTANT friends. This song is gold and I dance and sing (awfully) along with it every time.
And inversely song that would instantly turn you off someone?
SAM: If someone likes heavy metal, my alarm bells are sounding.
Have you ever played a song or pretended to know a song to impress someone?
SAM: Does attempting to impress my husband count? On a New Years a few years ago, Sky came over and the three of us watched a recorded performance of The Doors. I thought this was totally going to impress my husband with my great music taste, but instead he fell asleep long before the new year rang in. Other than that, I really try not to impress or pretend with unfamiliar songs because if the situation were to backfire, I would not be able to talk myself out of it. (if someone were to ask “What is this song about?”…my response would be “uh…I don’t know…”)
That does still count. A song you’re embarrassed to admit you like, but listen to often?
SAM: Ciara- 1,2 Step with Missy Elliot never gets old. Love this jam, I used to watch the music video just for the 2-step tutorial.
One day you’re gonna have to put together a highlights reel of your career. How does it play out and which songs are you going to score it with?
SAM: I would like to think Phenomenal by Eminem, Pitbull Feel This Moment, C’mon Let Me Ride by Skylar Grey…
What’s the best way to listen to music?
SAM: On a hammock outside.
If you were colonizing Mars and could only take one album, what would it be?
SAM: This is a tough one, but Everclear: So Much for the Afterglow.
These are great. A good catalogue here. It was wonderful to chat, thank you.