Spring King

Interview – Stupid and energetic

Spring King spielen beim Reeperbahn Festival 2014

Spring King spielen beim Reeperbahn Festival 2014

Auch in diesem Jahr widmen sich das Soundkartell ausgiebiger dem größten Club-Festival Europas, dem Reeperbahn Festival. Dazu haben wir uns an die acht Band herausgesucht, die ihr bestimmt noch nicht kennt und möchten euch diese in einem Interview vorstellen. Den Anfang macht die Band Spring King aus Manchester.

2012 war es das erste Festival für das wir akkreditiert wurden. Damals schon waren wir begeistert von der Atmosphäre und den qualitativ sehr hochwertigen Bands, die wir sehen und hören konnten.
Das Line-Up des Festivals ist vor allen Dingen dafür bekannt, dass jede Menge unbekannte und sehr talentierte Bands gebucht werden.

Diesen Bands möchten wir uns im Rahmen des diesjährigen Festivals widmen und stellen euch ab sofort kleinere Bands vor, die ihr vorher wohl nicht kanntet. Beginnen möchten wir mit der Band Spring King aus Manchester. Wir haben uns hierfür mit dem Lead-Gitarristen Peter Darlington unterhalten.
Wir sprechen dabei über die Musikszene in Manchester, darüber wie alles begann und wieso die Band Spring King mit einem Effekgerät in Verbindung gebracht wird.

Soundkartell: Where are you from and how did it all start?

Peter: “Tarek wrote and recorded ‘Let’s Ride’ and put it online the same day. I was away visiting family but I listened to it on my phone in my brothers’ bedroom. It totally blew my mind. I rang him up and told him to keep writing that way. It felt different than the other stuff he was working on at the time … more distinct and energetic.
Two days later he sent me Potion and Dig Deeper. I told him we had to start a band. Over the course of the next few months he was writing and recording a song every day. So much of what Spring King is and has become is defined by those early moments of Tarek at home alone listening pretty much exclusively to the Beach Boys and crafting these weird pop songs.
Things shifted when we finally got the band together. We’re a four piece and we all feature on the recordings. Spring King is now more of a band in the traditional sense. It’s our escape.”

Soundkartell: Is it right that you offered your bathroom for the records you have made for your first EP?

Peter: “We released a mixtape online entitled ‘In All This Murk And Dirt’ a few months after Let’s Ride. All of the songs on it were recorded in the bathroom in Tarek’s house.
Although we decided to aim for something different with the set of songs on Demons, we wanted to maintain the spirit of our earlier online releases. Recording in the bathroom just feels natural. Me and Tarek have been recording there on and off for almost ten years.”


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Soundkartell: Which specific effect does this have to your sound? This isn`t really Garage­Rock…this is “Bath­Rock” right?

Peter: “The room itself is tiny and has this weird dryness to it. Tarek ripped out the bathtub years ago, but the toilet and sink are still there. It’s actually pretty handy if you want to take a piss between takes.
Although Garage rock was initially just a brief moment pretty much exclusively in the U.S. and Canada between the early and mid 60s, the spirit of those short lived bands and their recordings is a big inspiration for us. Although their recordings are not always technically correct, there’s a sense of freedom, fun and a kind of eccentric twist on 60s pop that’s still really exciting to listen to. Without those bands playing in their garages in the suburbs we may never have had punk. I guess we feel part of that lineage in some distant way.”


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Soundkartell: In which way it is opposing that you recorded in such a small room like a bathroom and want to sound as complex as you can?

Peter: “I don’t think we set out to sound or be complex. We just aim to capture our personalities. We all draw from a huge variety of influences and all play several instruments. Andy is a big jazz and bossa nova fan. James makes house music and is really into a lot of American lofi stuff. I guess the fact we’re music nerds widens our scope a little.
The bathroom doesn’t restrict us at all. In some ways it’s helps free us up. I think it’s often the case that if you have too much equipment, time and space you don’t know where to start. We have pretty strict parameters recording-wise but that suits where we’re at creatively right now.
Maybe this is an obvious point, but it’s the people involved rather than the space that’s important when it comes to writing and collaborating. James’ understanding of chords goes really deep. He’s a whiz kid. Andy has a really distinct jazz-inflected sound, uses a hollow body and space echo. It’s personality that counts.”

Spring King spielen beim Reeperbahn Festival 2014

Spring King spielen beim Reeperbahn Festival 2014

Soundkartell: Which three things characterize your music the most and makes it outstanding?

Peter: “If you spend enough time with our music you’ll probably agree that it’s the drums and the way the chords fall that define our songs.
Tarek is a weird drummer with a lot of pretty far our influences. He spent a while in west Africa learning Djembe. He’s also a huge fan of Keith Moon, a very fill-based drummer. On a lot of the earlier recordings Tarek would record a groove and a structure for a track before writing any chords or a melody. When we set out to learn them as a band, we started to realise just how weird some of the arrangements were. Loads of half bars and time shifts. I guess we like the idea of writing pop melodies backed by a twisted chord structure and arrangement. Keeps things interesting in a subtle way. We’re also really into gang vocals and harmonies. We listen to a lot of The Four Freshman and similar groups. Tarek has a great selection of records he bought from a carboot fair down the road. Our harmonies are rudimentary but we’re getting better. I love the idea of pretty blown out guitars and drums against intense gang harmonies.”

Soundkartell: In which way do you think Manchester has an outstanding music scene in europe? And how does Spring King apply to this scene?

Peter: “Everyone knows Manchester’s rich history. We consider ourselves to be a Manchester band, but today things are a little different.
It’s pretty garage-rock and punk based at the moment. We share a similar take on writing and releasing music as bands there like Mistoa Polsta and Gorgeous Bully. We don’t play as many shows together as we’d like but there’s a lot of love around.
What I love about Manchester is the variety of venues and eagerness of people to make something of their own. Whether that’s starting little tape labels or booking and promoting shows. It all feels very positive and organic.”

Soundkartell: Did you google your bandname? In which way your name is connected with a guitar­effect­appliance which we could find while we are searching “Spring King” at Google?

Peter: “A few years ago people started calling Tarek Spring King because of his love of Spring Reverb. It also happens to be the name of a pretty cool reverb pedal that we use a lot.”

Soundkartell: Do you think it is a problem that your music isn`t very danceable…?

Peter: “I think it depends on what you define as dancing. A lot of people who come to see us don’t do the Charleston or Lindy Hop. They jump into each other.”


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Soundkartell: For someone who is not very “in touch” with your sound. What is your hint when we are listening to your songs like “Mumma” or “Better Man” for the first time?

Peter: “Mumma is interesting for us because it’s a very very old song, written for an old band me and Tarek used to play in.
I lived in New York for a few months several years ago. Me and Tarek would Skype and catch up from time to time. I was playing drums in a band called Bored Walk with a couple of friends I met on Craigslist. I remember coming home from rehearsal and receiving an email with the first ever demo of Mumma. I loved it so much. It’s different from a lot of the stuff we have out there at the moment because lyrically it’s pretty dark and tells a story. I would suggest anyone listening for the first time to follow the lyrics pretty closely.
Better Man is all about Andy’s guitar solo. It’s so fierce! Weirdly, it’s actually another slightly dark song for us lyrically. It’s one of my favourite songs of ours.”

Soundkartell: Your greatest desire for the future?

Peter: “In the short term we want to focus on our debut album which we plan to get out next year.
Beyond that, we just want to play as many shows as possible and release a lot of music. It would be great to get more than just an album next year. Hopefully a couple of EPs too.”

Soundkartell: What can we expect from you at Reeperbahn Festival?

Peter: “Stupid and energetic.”

Soundkartell: Do you have a kind of special relationship to Hamburg and the Reeperbahn?

Peter: “None of us have been to Reeperbahn or Hamburg but it’ll be a very special moment for us. It’ll be our first show outside of the UK so it’ll be one we never forget.”

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