DOWNLOAD: “Summer Vibes”
When I devised “Wakefield Week” last week, it was after listening to Occam’s Razor (out now on Philophobia Music), the debut LP from The Spills, for at least the 100th time. They were a band I had come across a few years prior, but I did nowt to follow up on them. It’s quite a shame really because I’ve yet to hear one bad tune from them, and whilst their debut was released last year, it’s still in heavy rotation around these part. It’s a fully-realised disc from a honest lot who have become at expert at writing punch, jagged pop nuggets. Read on for the natter we had with Rob about the new album and Wakefield in general.
1. Please tell us about the band’s formation. Where did you meet, and when did you realise you were in a proper band?
We all met at school then started playing as a band towards the end of high school/college. I guess we started to become a ‘proper band’ as we got a little bit older and started getting gigs in real venues. It was good fun from the start but there’s obviously been a massive progression.
2. How did your debut album come about, and how did it reflect a progression from your early material?
We released an EP in 2010 and that was the longest record we’d done at the time. Having only done a 2-track 7″ up until that point, I think we all really enjoyed the freedom that the continuity of a slightly longer record gave. After the EP there was talk of us doing another EP or mini-album. This mini-album idea slowly developed into a full album. It just seemed the natural progression at the time. In terms of how it differs from earlier stuff, I think it’s a follow on from the sound of the EP. We took things slightly slower when we first started University – then after a year or so we released our 7″, and then released the EP once the majority of us were about to go into our final year. I think it was during this time that we started to develop into what we are now.
3. How do your local surroundings and scene effect your music? Where are your favourite spots to perform or write? Who are some of the artists you enjoy gigging with?
Many people have tried to explain Wakefield’s bizarrely good music scene, but I still don’t fully understand it – so in terms of geography I’m not sure. If you’re talking about community then that has a massive influence on us. There’s a really strong DIY music scene in which all the bands, promoters, producers, artists etc help one another out. It’s a really good example of self-made opportunities in a city that perhaps would otherwise be a bit boring. There’s loads of ace bands we love playing with. We’ve done a couple of little tours with Runaround Kids, and Imp are always amazing. There’s too many bands to mention though really.
4. What are some of Wakefield’s best kept secrets, whether they brews, places to eat, bands, or parks?
Jamie Lockhart (one of the guys who produced our album) and Adam Killip (of Treecreeper and formerly The Tailors) are currently putting some really cool shows on at a little place called The Orangery, which normally houses arts events and things like that I think. It’s hidden away behind the prison but has a really nice garden! There’s also an amazing falafel stand in Wakefield market that people should definitely check out. The owner’s had a real fight in managing to secure a place when the new market was built, I guess because the people in charge didn’t think there was much demand for falafel in Wakefield. It’s great though and they’re really nice and give you massive portions. I was really pleased when I discovered they got their spot. If you’re not big on falafel they also do fried chicken in pita breads, which is also great. A lot of our favourite music pretty much revolves around the local Philophobia Music label and Rhubarb Bomb zine. Philophobia have a bunch of ridiculously talented bands, i.e. Imp, Runaround Kids, Piskie Sits, and a bunch more. And Rhubarb Bomb puts on a seemingly endless amount of great gigs in Wakefield – including the marvellous Long Division Festival that’s returning for its second year in June. Very exciting shit.
5. What do you like most about gigs? Any memorable experiences you’d like to share? Any bands that you would really fancy playing with?
Obviously besides the music, it’s really nice to go to a gig and know that you’ll see nearly all your friends. In terms of our own gigs, one of the best ones we’ve done was for our album launch, which was in a tiny chapel on a bridge in Wakefield. It’s got a tiny capacity and no stage so that was a really fun one to do. One of the best gigs I’ve ever been to in Wakefield was The Old House’s single launch, which was a similar environment although this time at The Red Shed. There’s tonnes of bands we’d love to play with, and also tonnes of shows where we’ve been lucky enough to play with ace bands – Let’s Wrestle, who we did two dates with; also Cymbals Eat Guitars, Sky Larkin, and Eagulls; and the tours with Runaround Kids are a few cool ones that spring to mind.