Art Whore

Art Talk – David Laverty of Multi-Media Art and Music Project ‘Snake in the Jar’

David Laverty is a 27 year old Australian musician and the big cheese behind multi-media music project ‘Snake in the Jar’, who have just released their debut LP Saddle Backs from Beyond the Stars.

Growing up in the Blue Mountain region of NSW, Australia in the 1990s, David got introduced to the guitar at the age of 15 and discovered his life purpose.  Soon after David began forming, and playing with a slew of heavy metal bands in the region – groups such as ‘Machine Spirit’, ‘Resonator’, ‘The Aussie Metal Knights’, ‘Sodomize’ and ‘The Moist Ones’ – gaining experience, fans and local recognition.

However, during these years David’s psyche kept returning to the idea of an epic-sci-fi-metal-multimedia project… So he worked and slaved on it for over 9 years in his spare time. Developing the universe, characters, narrative and very importantly, the music.

To bring his project to life, David recently assembled a group of musical and artistic collaborators. This motley crew has recently released their aforementioned debut album, with plans afoot to eventually release other media such as comics, books, games, cartoons and more!

Saddle Backs from Beyond the Stars, the debut LP from ‘SITJ’ is a 19 track musical concept album exploring the (mis)adventures of a bunch of space bounty hunters. It’s equal parts power metal, comedy LP and intergalactic space opera. It is made up of skits, narrative pieces and more standard form rock songs. Think ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ interpreted by a bunch of Frank Zappa loving, power-metal playing musicians… and you’re maybe half way there.

Discussing the ‘SITJ’ project himself, David states,

If Gwar, revived and kidnapped Prince, Lemmy, and David Bowie, drove back to the 80’s to steal the costumes of earth wind and fire, whilst making a pitstop for a bunch of Ren and Stimpy/Teenage mutant ninja turtles/Flash Gordon VHS tapes, plus 3 season of Rick and Morty, and went on a joy ride to the star wars universe. That would be a fairly accurate picture that defines Snake In the Jar.

Snake In The Jar is a Sci-Fi comedy about a group of alien bounty hunters (Saddlebacks) whom have this vast story packed with adventures, they main bulk of it revolves around them trying to save their universe called Aityees, from the dreaded Canaliens, who are trying to take over the universe senate, and lead to mass genocide of many races/species.

The main story begins at the birth of Snake in The Jar and ends when they ended up here on earth, of course, they have been here for a long time, however, and have influenced mankind’s history. Such as wiping out the dinosaurs, accidentally founding earth religion, inspiring many technologies of mankind. Loads of stuff…

It’s a crazy story involving many organizations and characters, there are about 50 or so main characters including the 8 illustrated in the first album: Commander Shaddrach, Headditch, Shredasaurus, Techno Shred, Agatha Fauxx, Dic, Rahh, and Dave.

With the Kickstarter successfully funded, and debut record released – now is the perfect time to get to know all about ‘Snake in the Jar’ via our interview with the creative mastermind behind it all, Mr. David Laverty, below…

Basics/Getting to Know

Name + D.O.B?

David Laverty AKA Lightning Fingers AKA Commander Shaddrach

City, State n Country you currently call home?

Blackheath, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.

City, State n Country you’re from?

Hazelbrook, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.

Describe a memory from some stages of your life ….basically trying to piece together pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, romance, school, politics, crime… ANYTHING really!

* age 5 – beginnings:

Being at a family picnic and having a magpie consistently swoop me all day.
I learned early that life is cruel and unjust.

* age 10 – continuations:

Changing from public school to a Catholic school, scored the first kiss.
Whoo Whoo! (Yes it was a girl in my year)

(Photo below of David as a kid)

* age 15 – getting serious:

Literally! That’s around the time I picked up a guitar properly and found the fundamentals of my life purpose.
Whilst I had my first hard dosage of life.

* age 20 – young adult:

But seriously. Beginning Tafe and becoming “The crazy one”, learning from amazing mentors whilst dealing with some more heavy life shit.

* age 25 – adult mode:

Ended up in a bad place while having a very depressive work lifestyle in the western suburbs of Sydney, not that the western suburbs are horrible.
Had to get out, moved back to the mountains, was the best choice I could have made.

* age 30 – fully formed:

I envision, when I am 30, I’ll have a memory involving something along the lines of doing a gorgeous woman doggy style, with a tray of lamb roast on her back, complete with salt + pepper shakers. A Lancashire sauce/relish drawn smiley face on her right butt cheek, paddle marks on the other. All whilst Huey’s Cooking Adventures is blaring on a giant tv in front of us with the occasional Coles commercial.
Fuck yeah!

* age 35 – meanderings:

I’ll be sitting in a studio, thinking of creative outlets for an album production, I’ll go back to that memory of the innocent lamb roast, and the creative juices start flowing again.
Fuck yeah!

(A recent photo of David below)

Personal motto?

“If it’s from Mount Druitt. Don’t do it!”
“So long for now, yet gone too soon.”

Art n Music Questions

Favorite artists/musicians and why?

Ah, fuck.. This questions always a pain to answer, mainly musically cause I have far too many for different reasons, like Arjen Lucassen, Jorn Lande, Edguy, Herbie Hancock, Opeth, Dance with the dead, Sleep makes waves and Devin Townsend for album/songwriting.
Michael Ammot, Dimebag Darrel, Joe Satriani, Muhamad Suimez, Jorn Viggo Lofstad, Guthrie Govan, Mattias IA Eklundh, Alexandra Zerner for guitar.
Alice Cooper, David Brockie, David Gold, Peter Steele, Phil Anselmo, Oney, Till Lindemann, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Mark Hammel for vocals/voice acting.
Then you have visuals, bands… Those I mentioned are just off the top of my head. We’d be here all fucking day so next time bring a slab or two.

Worst aspect of the art / music hustle?

When working with musicians becomes a daycare center haha….
But in all seriousness. I find the hardest aspect is when you have people in your life that don’t understand how much work you put into it. I’m a very driven and determined artist, when it’s work mode, I don’t fuck around. And It really does mean living 3 lives when you’re work mode kicks in, you explain to people you can easily work 100 to 110 hours a week doing this and your day job, they don’t get it, they think it’s just a hobby, I fucking loathe that, “oh no, but it’s work you enjoy”, well, actually no.
There are lots of parts to it that are very hard and aspect you don’t enjoy doing, like doing 70 hours of edits for voice dialogues in a week while going to work. Or especially the heavy isolation, potential lack of fitness/routine/social life, the number of sacrifices that come relationship wise… But you have to do it in order to achieve, cause if you don’t no one else will do it for you.

Best aspect of the art / music hustle?

Getting paid. Hahahaha! Ahh, funny ironic inside joke *wink*.
But seriously, I have found if when people actually buy and put money into your work because they love you as a person/your creative outlets. And when people approach you telling you how you’ve made an impact on them? I’ve got a very small fan base but I’ve already had people approach me in the street asking if I was “The lead guitarist in Resonator!?” to just be baffled in shock and awe.
Or friends telling me they’ve had sex with my music (luckily it wasn’t a comedic track), and even people crying from being so deeply touched.
We just had a Kickstarter campaign, and we sold all of our $250 packages because of die-hard fans!!
Seriously, it’s the best feeling ever and it’s a really good fuel to keep you going. Whether or not you get paid. If you can move even just one person or cat. It makes it worth it.

When and why did you first start making art or music?

Well… I’ve always been very creative since I was a little boy, always had a big imagination, it really helped that both my parents are great artists who really supported/fueled that.
For music though. That was the first time in my life I really felt like I had a purpose. “Okay, I can actually be good at something if I work hard at it. So let’s go!”
When I kicked off building my music world, there was some really full on stuff that happened around me for a teenager, and even inside my head, it was all in one period of time too which didn’t help my psychological state.

Any pivotal artistic / musical moments and influences?

Oh, loads! But The three that made me take up electric guitar seriously we’re these (not mentioning the crazy shit at the time):
  1. My polish grandfather (dziadzia) left me a few awesome things, one was an amazing handcrafted classical guitar by Lindsay Churchland (The Black Devil) which is probably going to be one of if not the greatest guitar I’ll ever play.
  2. My brother burnt me a CD that was written “Ozzy Osbourne Tribute, Black Sabbath live”, and the guitar playing blew me the defiant fuck away. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. 2 Years later I found out it was actually the Rhandy Rhodes tribute album. Which is super creepy, factoring in reason number 3.
  3. When I was 15, I had a job at Retravision, and while working there I stopped even listening to music. Like it really sucked it all away. It wasn’t long before I got replaced though (although in fairness the place closed down 6 months later) and I was really pissed of, realized how replaceable you can be. And I had a bunch of materialistic crap I didn’t need lay-buyed there. So I canceled all the orders. Got my money together, and bought a cheap home brand guitar, which was a knock-off Rhandy Rhodes flying V… Which I Didn’t know till two years later after that CD.. Freaky right?

What are your thoughts on the general Australian art and music scenes today?

I’m more familiar with the music scene than the art scene, but that said, I haven’t been part of the local scene properly in a while. Although to my understanding it’s quite alive as a whole.
Sydney is still there doing great things, even though a number of venues are closing down the live music and it’s got a bit of trouble thanks to lockout laws and such, let alone pokies.
Personally, I like Melbourne’s music culture/scene more, I can’t say much about elsewhere sadly, would love to fix that!
In saying that I’m referring to metal, but you also have amazing places for metal in Sydney, like Utopia, I mean come on! That place is awesome! I know Blues and country is HUGE and really thriving in Australia, as well as electronic genres.
As for the Art scene, I’ve found a number of people lead me to not want to approach it, I’m not massive on bad Ego’s, though it’s great when you find visual artists you really click with and love their work, for me personally that would definitely be The Anti Dan, a number of my family members including Peter/Ursula Laverty, and Joel Lambeth.
Oh and you know.. Art Whore, I follow you 25 hours a day!!!!

What does an average day making music involve for you?

Okay, so this one has a number of answers, so strap yourself in…
As An isolated musician I primarily have two modes:
The casual mode which will just be getting a thought and indulging somehow, with a drum machine, guitar, bass, vocal, whatever. It could be anything, a guitar run, a quote/scene from a show/book/graphic novel, the idea of a carnivorous sandwich. It goes on. A good example was a few weeks back I was listening to a Herbie Hancock album, and in 5 minutes I had to stop, nek minnit I write an 8 part guitar harmony.
Work mode which is where I basically switch on when I work for clients/my own projects in a timeline. Essentially I turn into a machine and go to town. A good example for working with a client would be when I worked as a mate, making a heavy theme song for his youtube channel in the works. In 8 hours I took a document of notes and began constructing. key, time signatures, polyrhythmic work, you have the writing mode which leads to composition, then that leads to recording all the audio parts, guitar, bass, programming the drums, getting them to sound not so artificial (if required) followed by dynamics, re-recording the final takes, a quick mix, and brief master if they want it. Bam, there’s a theme song made before dinner gets served.
Alternatively, when I write my own creative works, I have gotten quite good at sitting in one spot for endless hours at a time mowing through work, having little breaks when required. And doing some fitness too. Very helpful for when you have to write out story scenes, character backstories, all that kind of stuff. And even when your creative writing stage goes for a few weeks. So long as you don’t burn out.

Whilst we know you through your music and the upcoming Snake in the Jar project – care to share with those at home the details of your other creative endeavours… if any?!

Oh fuck, strap yourself the fuck in reader, grab a few drinks, a smoke, and a sandwich.
Briefly I’ll mention a bunch of bands/groups I have played in.
  1. Machine Spirit (high school band)
  2. Resonator
  3. The Aussie Metal Knights
  4. Sodomizer
  5. The Moist ones
Currently, my whole creative endeavour world is Snake In The Jar. But…
I originally had a Band called Resonator, when I set off with heavy visionary determination into my music work. This became a death metal band and a lot of people really liked it. Sadly… Key members left and it all fell apart, even getting thousands of people online going “Who the fuck is Resonator!?” wasn’t able to help save it… As a band! I proceeded to make it as a music project, and was trying to revive it for a while, this involved an 18 track death metal opera concept album I wrote out with a full-on concept that would lead to sequels, prequels, short novels and even an offshoot graphic novel with a different story, same character names/roles, and one fucking intense story. Although it was all too much and a number of setbacks happened.
It’s still on the shelf though.
I set out to make a project that was inspired by my Tafe days, called “The Delinquients” (deliberately spelled with an I) which basically, is Looney Toons, Ren & Stimpy, and Housos, all rolled into one fucked up series. It revolved around 9 or 10 dudes who had spent years bludging/exploiting Centrelink/welfare through tafe courses, all whilst living a really messed up and highly illegal lifestyle. Based in Commodore County.
I had the first season’s script written up, still have it, one episode involved a local sports tournament called “kettle Bell jousting”, where the locals turned the Superbowl stadium into their own thunder dome esque arena for their home sports such as lawn mower ankle cacking. Basically, Kettle bell jousting is like Jousting, only you substitute the horse with a Demolition derby car packing a V8 engine, and your lance with a box of kettle bells in the back seat. Two of the Delinquients enter as a team (the pacifist patches and the more “mental than the others” one Valve) and compete leading to a match with this Mega European/5 time Kettle bell jousting champion.
Valve and Tea Party (the shady dealer) actually are the ones that appear on the new Snake In the Jar – Saddle Backs from Beyond The Stars Album that’s coming out at the end of March. And yes, this project is also on the shelf.
That said, I am also looking to expand Snake In The Jar – we’d love to make it into a franchise, an animated series, novel series, games, the big one actually is live shows atm, looking at making a tour involving making costumes and props. And always looking for artists!

Snake in the Jar Questions

For those at home who may not be aware… please explain the what, why and who of Snake in the Jar.

If Gwar, revived and kidnapped Prince, Lemmy, and David Bowie, drove back to the 80’s to steal the costumes of earth wind and fire, whilst making a pitstop for a bunch of Ren and Stimpy/Teenage mutant ninja turtles/Flash Gordon VHS tapes, plus 3 season of Rick and Morty, and went on a joy ride to the star wars universe. That would be a fairly accurate picture that defines Snake In the Jar.
Snake In The Jar is a Sci-Fi comedy about a group of alien bounty hunters (Saddlebacks) whom have this vast story packed with adventures, they main bulk of it revolves around them trying to save their universe called Aityees, from the dreaded Canaliens, who are trying to take over the universe senate, and lead to mass genocide of many races/species.
The main story begins at the birth of Snake in The Jar and ends when they ended up here on earth, of course, they have been here for a long time, however, and have influenced mankind’s history. Such as wiping out the dinosaurs, accidentally founding earth religion, inspiring many technologies of mankind. Loads of stuff.
I have been working on this concept for about 9 years now. If you were to take the main story and put it into an animated series, you potentially have 10 seasons worth of content, books. Potentially 12 to 18 novels to my understanding, after talking to a friend who writes for a living. So you know. I have my work cut out for me! cries…
It’s a crazy story involving many organizations and characters, there are about 50 or so main characters including the 8 illustrated in the first album: Commander Shaddrach, Headditch, Shredasaurus, Techno Shred, Agatha Fauxx, Dic, Rahh, and Dave.
I am just trying to bring this whole thing out and entertain/inspire people. Which, 2018 really is the year that the public starts learning all about this crazy story. And we really set out making the snowball bigger and bigger. Not only that too, but there’s a history behind Aityees, as well as Snake in The Jar’s story over a number of years. Aityees history so far spans over 6 thousand years? I need to double check.

(Some ‘SITJ’ promo images below)

Who is involved in the project – and in what capacity?

So I’m gonna be the egotistical spotlight prince here and say, primarily, it’s all been me. Up until this last few years, I’ve spent a number of years being quite isolated as a musician/composer/writer.
Currently though. I have an awesome crew of people dedicated and keen, on board, such as the Anti Dan Daniel O’Connell/Vojtech Moonroot for illustrations, Blake Crisford as a sound designer/audio engineer (and we’ll be opening more to co-writing the music for the 2nd album). The mates involved for the voice acting, KJ, Allan O’Rourke, Tom Johnston, Vee Crisford, Gavin Todhunter and Brad Power. New voice actor members Andrew Blair and David Gerry. Also people outside of that, such as Kenna Films, Graham Walters. Liam Bellette. Calum Anderson, the lists go on with me.

How far along is the whole project at this stage, and when will it all be ready for release?

Well, the project has come a LONG AS CRIKEY FUCK way. As for expanding into other creative outlets, it’s all coming along bit by bit, the first album “Saddlebacks From Beyond the Stars” release date is March 29/3/2018. We do want to do the second album later this year, where I’ll be opening to other people getting involved with the music writing stages. And for more voice actors. As for the concept, its all still me. But it has come very far to get to where it is now.
Let’s aim for say… 3 more years before we start selling the action figures haha.

** EDITOR: You are probably aware, that since this interview was conducted, ole ‘SITJ’ is out and all systems go! Check it all via their official site. **

Odds n Ends

Who was your 1st crush and why?

Can’t remember her last name, I was 6?
kids be kids.

Does sex change everything?

Does sex change everything mood wise when you’re round up too tight and need to chill, and have an awesome partner for it? shit yes!
Does it change everything when it’s so mundane for you and/or your partner/lover? No. It’s all about investment into each other.

Please describe what you think the Australian zeitgeist is today?

There’s an Aussie zeitgeist? I literally just discovered it now, reading web pages as I type this. Guess I’m late to the party… Awkward.

Which cartoon character, would you most like to see in a tribute sex toy, and why?

Okay. So this has had some thought in the past over beers with mates. I recall a discussion of Marvel/DC dildos. The spiderman would shoot web, the batman had two prongs at the top, the incredible hulk was 17 inches with a massive vainy fist at the end, the Deadpool was wrapped in sandpaper. Etc..

(Art below of David’s tribute comic character dildos)

But… I’d definitely like to see a Mr. Meseeks blow up doll, one. That’s mega messed up, like why would you fuck that? And two, before you finish it can scream at you “I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE, I JUST WANNA DIE!” or “EXISTENCE IS PAIN JERRY/[INSERT NAME HERE]”

(Art below of David’s tribute Mr Meseeks sex doll)

Who would win in a fight and why: Bon Scott Vs. a Kangaroo?

Okay. So…
Bon Scott would scream wildly about T.N.T. Disgruntling this Roo, It would pick a fight with Bon, Angus and Malcolm would play battle music in the background while a few people watched something their mates would never believe. But after a few shared blows, stabbing the Roo with a  broken beer bottle, and taking a kick in the guts from a Roo, Bon would just scream so high it would crush the Roo’s head and its guts would explode out.

(Art below of the battle in all it’s violent beauty!)

Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?

I dunno about the concept of gateway to the universe, I mean, we’re already in the damn thing! Unless you want to chuck a few astral projections on your next camping trip. Go bananas. I definitely don’t think a number of drugs are a waste of time though. I feel the waste of time is when it becomes substance abuse. All about moderation.

What role did toys play in your childhood?

Lego was my bible as a kid. And I do recall having a triceratops Zoid being “back mounted” by a Goldberg wrestling action figure for a few years. Although I flipped them around eventually. Wanted a change of scenery, that was how I moved stuff around in my room as a kid. Not “let’s face the bed this way” but “yeah, Goldberg injured Bret Hart, fuck him!”

What are the top 3 items you own?

(Please include photos or art of them!)

Top 3? Gee. That’s a tough one.
I’d say at the moment musically…
(1) My 9 string guitar T-Rex. It’s an Ibanez RG9 that has been heavily modified. It’s set up to use actual bass strings, and it really signifies my playing levels. I’ve been working on chapman stick techniques with it (if you don’t know what a Chapman stick is? Go look it up on youtube right now!), playing bass/guitar at once, The string gauge I use/tuning is unique to 9 string players that I have met and seen, yet quite simply, on a 28 inch scale length. It’s:
E – .008
B – .010
G – .015
D – .022w
A – .030
E – .040
A – .064
E – .085
B – .115
It’s great cause with my whammy DT pedal, I have one instrument that can do bass range, drop tuning, standard guitar tuning and open tuning in any key I want. Ultra-efficient. And anyone who can play 6 string guitar or 5 string bass can still play this thing. I also get my strings in custom sets from StringJoy. Awesome people!

(Photo below of David’s favorite guitar – T-Rex)

(2) My Mic/stand combo – A Sennheiser Evolution 945 mic/Gravity weighted base stand, complete with gooseneck attachment.
I say this as a combo cause this signifies to me my singing/vocal work. In the last 2 years, I finally started to really push and take my singing/voice acting seriously. Even though I get out of tune still (nothing practice can’t fix) A good friend suggested the Sennheiser mic for my personal voice type, and even just with practicing with this thing, it’s helped me a lot with mic training, and figuring out my range. I have nearly 5 octaves so far, and my highest note I’ve hit currently sits at a A#6 (by pitch reference, Judas Priests Painkiller, when he screams that high painkiller note at the last Solo, is an F#5). Plus the stand is great, I love the weighted base. The gooseneck works wonders with me too and combined the whole thing can go as high as 210cm. So If I’m on jumping stilts, I can still theoretically use it.

(Photo below of David’s mic + stand combo)

(3) I was going to say something else, but I just spotted this book I am reading, which was a gift from a good mate of mine/die-hard fan.
It’s a print of Hellraisers, an awesome book that goes through the history of heavy metal music. It’s quite well done actually. But my mate signed it for me with an awesome personal message, stuff like that from die-hard fans, are definitely very important to me.

(Photo below of David’s much loved copy of Hellraisers)

Please describe your latest dream in detail…

Goal wise, it’s making Snake In The Jar into a successful franchize, touring around the world with it, and making the books/ animated series, all about entertaining people.
Sleep dream-wise. I’m with my entire nightfall crew I work with in my night job. And the whole thing is based in a giant shopping mall. It’s post-apocalyptic with zombies/outsiders trying to get in. And everyone’s forced to work together to survive, slowly people die off over the days. But there are full character development scenarios that occur. Like I’m learning how to shoot for fuck sakes. I woke up today before the conclusion… Just when my work colleagues thought I was weird enough.

Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for and why?

I would most like to be remembered. For Being me. Doing what I did, entertain and touch people. I mean, the idea of me being in the rock hall of fame or something like that would be beyond incredible! And I would definitely push to try and get to that. But ultimately, I want to be someone remembered, try to make a legacy from my work for after I’m gone. Hall of fame or not.

If people wanted to collaborate, work with you or just buy some art – how should they get in touch?

The best way would be to follow us via:
Instagram: @commanderShaddrach

The Future

Any collaborations on the horizon?

So far, the only thing is more and more Snake In The Jar work. The 2nd Album which we’d love to release by the end of the year. If Possible.

Any major projects you want to hype?

SNAKE IN THE JAR! Also my friends/projects/bands, off the top of my head:
The Anti Dan – @anti.dan
Kenna Films –
The Aussie Metal Knights –
Dry Dock –
Upside down Miss Jane –
Red Bee –
Red Sea –
Cameria –
Noveaux –


  • ‘Snake in the Jar’: Website
  • ‘Snake in the Jar – Saddle Backs from Beyond the Stars’: Amazon
  • ‘Snake in the Jar – Saddle Backs from Beyond the Stars’: Spotify
  • ‘Aityees Labs’ (David Laverty’s Production Company): Patreon