I interviewed Spector in Brussels!

 :: SPECTOR :: Band Talk

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I interviewed Spector in Brussels!

Post by vanhomrigh on Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:16 am

I had the amazing opportunity to interview the band with a friend for the German online music magazin Schallhafen. The band and everyone with them were amazingly nice (shout out to Elliot!) and we talked about their favourite new music and the new upcoming album!

You can find the interview on our blog [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

Spector about Kanye West, golf carts and wider frequencies in mixing.

It’s late summer and the UK band Spector are playing a gig at the intimate Witloof Bar at the Botanique in Brussels.
Using the EU flag as their band symbol (and with their front man sporting it on a baseball cap), this is a kind of home coming gig for them.
With already several tours of their country and Europe behind them and the singer Fred Macpherson previously having fronted the now defunct Les Incompetents and post punk Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man (on a hiatus), they are no strangers to the music business.
They spared some time to have a chat about their upcoming second album and what motivates them to travel the world and let us have an inside view on their favourites of the year in music before the show.

Can you introduce yourself first?

Fred: Absolutely. This is the four of us. Tom who plays bass. I’m Fred who sings. Danny is drums. And Jed plays keyboard… uh. Guitar! (laughs) Plays guitar.
The type of music we play is just different types of pop music with a kind of indie rock and 80s synth influence like our first album had.

And you’re about to record a new album?

Fred: Yeah, were still working on our second album. We’ve got it all written, pretty much. We’re just kind of finishing the writing and we’re hoping to have it all finished by the end of the year to come out in the first half of next year.

The new tracks were recorded in New York with Devonté Hynes. He’s a friend of yours. Did he have a special influence?

Fred: Absolutely. Of all the new tracks, we’ve only recorded a couple in that process but he’s definitely being an influence by being the producer and as an artist. But until we finished the album, we won’t know to what extent he is an influence. I think it was really fun to go away to another country and record – having only recorded in London before. To go to another city was different. And I think our head space now is slightly more international; now that we’ve toured around in the UK so many times and got to know so many of the cities. We’re ready to take influences from other places and people.

You said that you’ve already written a lot of the songs for the second album. What can we expect from the second album? Were there any certain musical influences?

Fred: Without nailing it to closely to one thing, I think there’ll be definitely more of an electronic and dance influence. There might be a bit more heartfelt, raw melodic emotion and songs that are considered less melodic. There already were certain tracks like that on our first album – like Grey Shirt And Tie, Grim Reefer and the more soulful No Adventure. We want it to be more minimal and more interesting.
I guess in terms of influences…
Tom: Wider – a lot more.
Fred: Wider, yeah.
Tom: A lot more influences. And deeper. Speaking of the sound and the lyrical themes.
Fred: Yeah. I think it’ll be more interesting sounding but it’ll hopefully also sound more like pop in a way. It’s refined pop song writing that we’re working on. The songs are taking longer to write, which I think is a good sign that were not just taking the first demo.
A bit more complexity.
Fred: Yeah, exactly. But also I think still with a sense that other people will still be able to connect with it.
We said that we were influenced by David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, Drake and Kanye West when we made the album. That influence wasn’t necessarily showing so much though.

When you said that you were influenced by Kanye West, I first thought that you were influenced by My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and maybe not College Dropout.

Fred: Exactly (laughs). I think we tried it. That’s the music I listen to the most. I don’t really listen to other bands. I like other bands. New bands like Swim Deep are good but I’m not really interested – I don’t really love any modern bands that much. I like Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire – they’re some really great bands but I’m not really interested in local bands or music scenes around the world. There’s nothing that blows my mind more than the music I enjoy listening to when I’m walking down the street or sit in a car.

Let’s talk about your first album – Enjoy It While It Lasts. When and where did you record it? Do you think it has influenced the ambience of the album?

Fred: We recorded it all in London, which I think made sense because it was where we were all living and where all of the songs were written. Most of the songs were probably recorded within a mile of where they were written so I don’t think it affected the ambience.
I think it suited it the way we felt in between touring at the time. The energy that went that went into the album was very bright. It was that kind of manic energy going on at the time because we were between touring, still rehearsing and putting the band together.
And maybe not so much the geography, but definitely the time - what we were going through with the band - influenced it. We just poured a lot of kind of energy and bombast and pomp and pump and pimp into it.

The theme of Enjoy It While It Lasts is more about a young man being in his 20s. What do you think about the link about your music and your age? Of course your music is always going to evolve as you’re getting older.

Fred: I’m glad to put this out. This album wasn’t written from a kind of teenage perspective. Because that would exclude all other experiences.
It’s not just about being young. It has a certain nostalgia. A lot of the love songs were songs of pain and things that everyone feels. Lyrically - when I’m forty I might look back on these lyrics and smile.
A lot of the lyrics are quite cynical and quite downbeat.
And I think that gives it kind of a bit of maturity. There’s almost a bit of pessimism but then there are little windows of hope coming through like in Never Fade Away.
It’s also about undoing clichés like with Never Fade Away. It makes this big statement about never fading away but then immediately undermines it by saying that you would, if someone asks you. Which kind of completely defeats the point of promising to never fade away.
It’s like playing with the clichés with of love songs. It makes sense that it was written around the age of twenty-two, twenty-three and hopefully our next album will be a bit more mature without that meaning kind of boring or slow or quiet. Which often mature means with bands.

Chris recently left the band. What is he doing right now?

Danny: He’s in Shanghai, China. And he’s got his own musical project now, Visual Basic. They just played a show at the Apple store. He’s doing really well, I think.

There’s not a recording of that, yet or is there?

Danny: No, they’re not allowed. You can’t film in China.
Fred: Thank god.
Danny: You can film but you can’t put it on the internet so if people filmed it there’s no way to put it on the internet. So someone in China will have footage of it so we can’t see it. But it will surface some day, I’m sure.

Did you already find anyone yet to replace Chris?

Fred: We’re playing with our friend in the band at the moment. I don’t know if we’re gonna replace him fully and have a fifth band member at any point. There’ll be just one left with the bass.
Tom: Because we need to save money.

Maybe you could hire someone new every week.

Fred: Exactly. Something like that. I’d like to boil it down to like a three-piece eventually.
Tom: Someone else is going (laughs nervously).

Fred, I read on your blog from years ago that your brother wanted to join the band.

Fred: He came to do some rehearsals at the beginning but I don’t he’ll join any time soon. But - you never know. He’s a very intelligent guy. I’d like to do music with him because I think he could push things to a different place. Maybe he could get involved in a b-side.

How is the tour going so far?

Danny: Which night is this?
Fred: The third.
Danny: I think this is the best tour we’ll ever do.
Fred: Really?
Danny: Yeah. I think so.
Fred: That’s good. A bit of positivity. Danny is enjoying it.
Danny: Yeah, I really enjoyed it.

Amsterdam last night was insane.

Fred and Danny: It was really fun.
Fred: When the guy jumped off the stage and almost fell on the ground. I felt a bit sorry for him.
The tour is going well. We’re happy that in Europe people turn up like in Paris and in Amsterdam. We didn’t know if we’ll be playing to no one because we haven’t kind of properly promoted our album much out here.

When are you coming to Germany?

Tom: Tomorrow.
Fred: We’re doing one show in Hamburg. Then we’re going to do an extensive European tour at the first quarter of next year for at least 20 days. But potentially before the album. And then we’ll bring lots of merch and records and stuff.

Oh yeah merch. I want to spend my money on you guys.

Fred: I know. We want to take your money.

I can send you a check.

Fred: Ha ha, perfect. (everyone laughs)

Do you have any venues you’re looking forward to?

Fred: Oh yeah, some of them are already sold out.
There are certain cities that are always great to go to like Manchester or Leeds. We always have a really good time in those. Sheffield. But I think I’m looking forward to the whole tour.
I’m also looking forward to it because it’s gonna be our last tour for a while and we’re gonna make our next album so it’s the very last bit of the Enjoy It While It Lasts campaign.
Nothing will be the same after this. It could get a lot worse. Maybe no one will care. It’s good to be able to play shows while people still wanna go. And we’ll see if people even wanna go more in the future. Hopefully they will.

What’s the best experience you had so far thanks to the band?

Fred: There have been so many incredible experiences. Me, my favourites are probably going to Coachella in California and Japan, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Just because those were the three different, most different experiences that were the furthest from England. But there’s still a lot of experiences. I’d like to go to Australia, Mexico, Brazil and Russia. That would be amazing.
What are your guys favourite experiences?
Jed: I liked it when you get to ride golf carts to the stage at festivals. And I like Brussels.
Fred: Seeing anywhere for the first time is amazing. Seeing anywhere for the second time is also amazing when you know it a little bit. By the fifth time that’s all it. So I guess this is great, it’s our second time here.

Is there any new release in particular you’re excited about at the moment?

Fred: The new Arctic Monkeys album, Kanye West – Yeezus, the new Arcade Fire album.

What’s your favourite song from Yeezus?

Fred: Can’t Handle My Liquor. That’s the one that hits me the hardest.
What other new releases are you people excited by?
Jed: Uh.
Fred: Everyone’s in a very talkative mood. (everyone laughs)
I like half the Drake album.
Danny: Yeah, half the Drake album. Half of it is good.
Fred: I wanted more from it. Some of the tracks from The Weeknd album; it’s not as good as I hoped it would be.
Danny: It’s been quite a good year though. There’s loads of albums. The King Krule album.
Fred: It’s not perfect.
It’s amazing!
Danny: You think it’s amazing?
I liked it a lot but… I thought it was really good.
Fred: Okay, how many amazing albums have come out?
Danny: Yeezus is the best album.
Fred: Or Nick Cave’s new album that came out this year. One of his best ever, Push The Sky Away. That was in my top 2. That and Yeezus. My 2 favourite albums.
Maybe AM would be in the top 5.

Not even Daft Punk?

Fred: Not that album. These New Puritans’ Field Of Reeds would be in my top 5. It’s very difficult to listen but a kind a of transcendental one.
And yeah, the next Blood Orange album that comes out…
Danny: Yeah! That will be good.
Fred: That’s good.
And a guy called Kirin J Callinan from Australia. He’s worth checking out.

Oh yes. He’s amazing!

Fred: Yeah, I think he’s gonna be a slow burn but I think he just needs to play in some more cities and be seen.

He should really tour.

Fred: Yeah. I think he will tour and I think in 10 years time… in 5 years time a lot more people will know him than now but I think it’s gonna be one those long paths.
And FKA Twigs is amazing! For me, she’s the best new artist. You should look her up on Youtube. Amazing video.
Oh! And the Swim Deep album, of course.

Okay, let’s have a fun question: We just had elections in Germany. If Spector was a political party, what would you promise the people who vote for you?

Fred: I don’t think you should ask me that question. I don’t really believe in democracy. You should speak to one of these two (points to Danny and Jed).

You’re a communist!

(everybody laughs)
Jed: I would promise that everyone gets speakers to help encourage wider frequencies in mixing. And I would also promise to increase jobs…
Fred: Maybe standardize all musical equipment to ensure you knew exactly what you’re mixing on.
Jed: Yeah.
Fred: So only one type of speaker and one type of headphone was allowed. You’d create a monopoly over your government control. In that way when you came to mixing records, there would be no question about what it would sound like on different systems. And you would ensure that everyone heard everything…
Danny: …in the same way.

Have you ever met any of your idols?

Danny: Jamiroquai.
Fred: Jamiroquai. Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Danny: Snoop Dog. James Blunt.
Fred: Snoop Dog, James Blunt. And…
Danny: Ricky from the Kaiser Chiefs. Rizzle Kicks. Dappy from N-Dubz. We met loads!
Fred: We met most of our idols, if you put it like that.

Okay, that’s it. Thank you very much!

Fred: Amazing, excellent – thank you!

When the show starts (after giving us a nod by playing Kanye’s Yeezus just before), the venue is well attended and everyone is evidently enjoying it; singing along.
This night, they play two new songs – Decade of Decay of which Ian Curtis would be proud of and Reeperbahn – a song inspired by Hamburg’s legendary red-light district.
The energy is intense and when the Brits play Chevy Thunder for the second time in a row, there is no one in the room who isn’t dancing. Their connection to the audience is remarkable, which due to the low stage makes the evening a perfectly intimate experience.
Frontman Fred is never short of a witty remark and after revealing to the audience that he won’t be mad if they listened to them on Spotify, he tells everyone attending that if they had illegally downloaded their album that the band would like to have a word with them backstage after the show.

We can’t wait to see Spector the next time.

What You Wanted
Upset Boulevard
Friday Night
Decade Of Decay
Twenty Nothing
Grey Shirt And Tie
No Adventure
Grim Reefer
Chevy Thunder
Chevy Thunder
Never Fade Away


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Re: I interviewed Spector in Brussels!

Post by Tyler on Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:01 am

This was really cool to read. Thank you for posting!

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