Snow Strippers: the American Dream

Tati wears bodysuit GUESS, jacket archive CHLOÉ courtesy of 20XX ARCHIVE, necklace SWAROVSKI and sunglasses talent’s own Graham wears jacket SUPREME, top (worn throughout) stylist’s own, trousers RALPH LAUREN and hat DSQUARED2

Snow Strippers are a gun-toting, weed-smoking, EDM-loving duo who were born and raised in cities you’ve possibly never heard of. Now they’re the hottest new band in New York City.

Taken from the new print issue of THE FACE. Get your copy here.

It’s 1:30am and Snow Strippers are about to hit the stage for their debut London show. But the crowd needs to calm down first. The American duo have been booked for Trance Party, the long-running club night curated by experimental producer Evian Christ at warehouse-like Docklands venue The Cause. It’s obvious who the main attraction is. Towards the end of a chaotic set by British rapper Phreshboyswag, so many Snow Strippers fans are squeezing onto the dancefloor that it starts to feel sketchy. Someone in charge goes on stage, grabs the mic and begs for everyone to take a few steps back.

The fresh-faced ravers who queued for hours outside are dressed to indicate their dedication to niche, terminally online subcultures, drawing from a mulch of 21st-century references. The looks sit somewhere between Dover Street and Camden markets: fishnet sleeves, furry leg warmers, diamante-encrusted caps, Playboi Carti merch, baggy jeans, chunky sneakers, Rick Owens. I think I spot Bladee from Drain Gang, but it could just be a lookalike. A lot of people are wearing sunglasses. There’s the occasional sickly whiff of Pineapple Ice vapour.

If people are on some hating-ass shit, I don’t even give a fuck”


Despite legit concerns of a crowd crush, when Snow Strippers kick off their set the vibe is anything but aggressive. Their garish trance-pop anthems are fast and bombastic, but also sensitive and melancholic, as if to soundtrack having your heart broken during the peak of an MDMA rush. In The Cause tonight, a wave of gentle euphoria floats through the phone-wielding crowd.

Technically speaking, the performance is nothing special. Snow Strippers’ producer Graham Perez spends a lot of time posing in front of the decks like an EDM star in the VIP section of a flashy Miami nightclub, rather than an underground buzz band playing in a barren industrial corner of East London. His outfit – aviators, Arc’teryx windbreaker and a trucker cap pulled backwards – completes the illusion. Singer Tatiana Schwaninger jumps around in her white, gold and green Lebron Nike sneakers, which are colour-coordinated with her oversized green Hoodrich hoodie, frilly white shorts and knee pads with gold spikes. On record, her ghostly vocals are pitch-shifted and drenched in so much reverb that the vaguely romantic lyrics are barely decipherable. Tonight, she doesn’t seem particularly concerned about singing in tune.

Graham wears jacket SUPREME and hat DSQUARED2

Shit was turnt,” says Graham of the London show, Zooming in a few weeks later from within a cloud of smoke in Snow Strippers’ barely furnished New York apartment. Hell, yeah,” adds Tati, smirking underneath a fur-lined parka hood that’s pulled over most of her face. Trance Party was the penultimate date of Snow Strippers’ UK and European tour, which saw them instigate strobe-lit euphoria everywhere from Bergen to Bristol. The entirety of the tour was fire,” continues Graham, recalling highlights such as the crowd singalong of Happy Birthday for Tati in Brussels, almost getting arrested in Manchester for smelling of weed” and accidentally bringing some high-quality Amsterdam produce on the flight home, despite getting a pat down from airport security.

We’ve been working jobs for a long-ass time, so just to be able to support ourselves doing this is a blessing,” says Graham. Our supporters are sick as hell.”

Graham tries to work on beats every day and since the duo have a few weeks before they hit the road again, they’ve got even more time to knuckle down in the Snow Strippers hit factory (i.e. their living room). It’s so dirty right now,” Graham apologises, flipping his phone screen to show me their DIY setup. It’s fucked up.” On a large coffee table, there’s a laptop, a mic and an interface to connect them, sitting among grinders, RAW rolling papers and snack debris. Tati will be singing over there,” he says, pointing to a speaker monitor in the corner of the room. I’ll be sitting here.” He shrugs and gestures towards the couch, where their DJ and tour manager is laid out horizontal, scrolling his phone.

Tati wears top, shoes and hat DSQUARED2, skirt courtesy of 20XX ARCHIVE and socks (worn throughout) stylist’s own Graham wears hoodie TURNABOUT, trousers RALPH LAUREN, watch OMEGA and shoes, hat and belt talent’s own

Extracting information from Snow Strippers isn’t particularly easy. It’s not that they’re hostile in conversation – in fact, they’re friendly and totally flattered that anyone is taking an interest in them. It’s just that they’re much keener to answer throwaway questions about their go-to drunken meal (cheeseburgers), favourite cigarette brand (American Spirit) and mixing vodka with Red Bull (Tati: That’s the first step to having a good time”) than revealing basic info about their backgrounds and private lives. But after some probing and online sleuthing, I pull together a timeline: Graham and Tati, both 28, found each other on Tinder in 2018 (the pair declined to confirm whether their relationship is still romantic).

Graham, born and raised in Belleville, an Illinois city around a 25-minute drive from St. Louis, had just moved to Clearwater, Florida. Tati was a local. Although she describes Clearwater as a warm and pleasant paradise, the pair got bored and began searching for a new city to live in, eventually settling on Detroit. At the time, Graham was trying his luck as a rap producer – under the name DelivertheCrush he’d placed a few beats with underground artists and made connections with rap producer EvilGiane and Harrison from NYC label Surf Gang, who he briefly lived with in Los Angeles in 2020.

Tati wears top, shoes and hat DSQUARED2, skirt courtesy of 20XX ARCHIVE and socks (worn throughout) stylist’s own Graham wears hoodie TURNABOUT, trousers RALPH LAUREN, watch OMEGA and shoes, hat and belt talent’s own

In 2021, Graham started experimenting with an EDM-leaning sound, encouraging Tati, who’d never been in a band before, to pick up the mic. I don’t really know anything about making music,” she says. But I’ve always liked to sing.” For Graham, this was his creative breakthrough. The first shit I put out that I really am proud of is Snow Strippers,” he says. Since dropping their first single, Keep Holding On, on New Year’s Eve that year, they’ve released more than 100 songs, either via Surf Gang or their own label, Nice Bass Bro.

A Snow Strippers release tends to be a musical chimaera of genres from the recent past. Across their already-deep discography, there are pieces of trance, Eurodance, electroclash, witch house and chiptune. So What If I’m a Freak, the lead single from their new EP Night Killaz Vol. 2, merges uplifting piano house with chainsaw synths reminiscent of Skrillex in his early-2010s brostep era.

Scroll beneath their YouTube videos and you’ll find a flood of comments from nostalgia-loving listeners trying to pinpoint the specific year Snow Strippers borrowed their sounds from. They’re constantly compared to the electro-punk duo Crystal Castles. But Graham and Tati claim they only started listening to them recently and that, during the late-mid 00s MySpace era which Crystal Castles dominated, their lives were instead soundtracked by rap anthems generated by the Brick Squad and Young Money collectives.

Do all the comparisons bother them? If people are on some hating-ass shit, it’s whatever,” Graham says dismissively. But sometimes people say it on some love shit. I don’t even give a fuck. I don’t care… I don’t think we try to reference a specific year or anything, because we get all different years on our shit. People are like, Oh, this reminds me of 2004’, or This is, like, straight out 2016.’”

Tati wears top and shoes DSQUARED2

Snow Strippers’ videos – many of which were shot in and around Detroit – allude to sex, violence and transgression in mundane middle America. Their most popular video, for last year’s Just Your Doll, is like Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers on a tight budget. Tati and her girlfriends empty the shelves of an off-licence and party in a lakeside holiday home before the singer turns murderous. In the clip for their anthemic trance-chiptune hybrid It’s a Dream, Tati brandishes Glocks, Uzis and machine guns in a dark basement, where pizza boxes are strewn across the floor and an American flag hangs on the wall.

In the video for the track’s remix featuring Lil Uzi Vert – one of Snow Strippers’ favourite artists of all time – the trio dance around in a desolate car park on an overcast day, as Tati wields a chainsaw and Uzi rocks a suit with a stars and stripes tie. The duo have said that guns are a recurring theme simply because they look cool, while Graham says the American flag doesn’t evoke that much of a feeling” in him.

Like any successful new music act these days, Snow Strippers are good at Instagram, and they feed their cult fanbase with a constant stream of loud looks. Tati’s fits are part Russian raver, part American Apparel ad, and she often looks like she’s jumped out of the dos and don’ts” section of a late-’00s issue of Vice. I definitely have some expensive shit, but I like to shop everywhere,” says the singer, who ran a successful Depop store until late 2022. I like to shop at the mall. I like to shop at Target. I like to shop at the thrift store.”

She swats away my question about fashion influences. I’m my style icon and I always have been. I’ve always had swag.” Graham, who’s perched on the sofa behind Tati, carefully constructing a spliff, cheers her on like a sports fan: Go big Teeee!

Even before they’d moved to New York, Snow Strippers had strong affiliations with the city’s fashionable underground music scene, thanks to the Surf Gang connection and regularly sharing line-ups with much-hyped local acts. When they played the second of two NYC shows in March, the green room at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere venue was stuffed with notable names in the local music community: Surf Gangers EvilGiane, Harrison and Eera; internet rappers Clip and Xaviersobased; and Ren G of hedonistic club-pop duo Club Eat.

But although they’ve travelled from Clearwater to Detroit and then to New York in pursuit of success, Snow Strippers don’t exude the kind of arrogance you might expect from adopted coastal elites. EvilGiane thinks their relatability is part of the reason they’re reaching so many fans. They’re not out there flexing on everybody or anything like that,” he says over the phone. They could be like you or me. They’re just like regular people, at the end of the day. It’s not a gimmick. What you see is what you get with Snow Strippers.”

What’s more, it’s working. Their recent North American tour was bulked out with added dates and upgraded venues, making for 27 shows in total. Not bad for a pair of small-town kids making music from their couch. I always thought it would be sick to be a rapper, like a producer or some shit – I just never thought I was cool enough,” Graham admits, before lighting up another American Spirit. I never pictured myself getting to this point with this shit. For real.”



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