Follow Friday: Spirit Animal
    • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013

    • Posted by: Anton Barcelo

    Spirit Animal are a NYC based band that's been causing a stir as of late. Their upcoming EP entitled Kingdom Phylum, is full of old school rock songs that connect instantly to any memory you have of fun and good times. They have a unique mix of musical inspirations that mesh to create an entirely different and new sound. Along with their collection of influences, they use a classic way of recording by playing together in the same room at the same time to create the energy shown in their tunes.

    We caught up with Steve Cooper, lead singer of the band, just before sound check to see how things are going, talk about the new EP, and find out what exactly is their spirit animal.

    How long have you been together? What was the inspiration behind the band name?

    Two years. For us we wanted to have a band name that people can determine themselves.

    When you guys write the music, do you record together by jamming or separately?

    For most of the recordings, we've done basic tracks live. We record drums and the bass at once, as well as one of the main guitars. Sometimes we keep it, sometimes we don't. I sing a scrap vocal throughout that process so we can follow. Then I go back in and do all the vocals later and of course we do all of the overdubs and guitars and stuff.

    All of your music sounds so fun, is it as pleasurable in the recording process?

    Well there's definitely those moments where you know one was the best one, or that one was the keeper. Doing it this way, you get to look around and enjoy it together rather than waiting until three weeks later. But that adds excitement and a fun element to the recording. But like anything else, there's still an intensity and commitment to the process. It goes between super focused and elation.

    Have you guys ever taken any of those spirit animal tests online?

    No. [Laughs.] But we have developed our own spirit animal. It's a hump back whamel, it's at once the most and least thirsty animal on the planet. There might be a metamorphosis but we don't know yet.

    Is that the next album cover?

    Well it's funny you ask. We did have a concept for an album cover of this EP. We're going to try to commission it later. It's going to involve commissioning a pretty high end art piece. I think we're going to hold off for now, but epic-ness will be promised.

    You're on tour right now, how's it going? How is it compared to those prior? Any stories to share?

    It's the longest we've done, and we come right back on another one almost in similar length in November. We've done a couple of one-weeks and a few two-week tours , so this one and the next are our longest tours. By the end of the year we might creep up on 60 or 70 shows. We have a pretty robust van culture. There's a pretty famous story of a guy in Ohio trying to change our windshield wipers, but his belly prevented him from reaching.

    Did he have a shirt on? And did he give you any inspiration for any songs on the EP?

    He had a shirt on, but what was crazy is that he just destroyed it. This is the kind of like dedication we aspire to. He wasn't a jester he was more of a king. This guy sacrificed, body and cloth so we could get home safe. He was successful in not only changing the windshield wipers, but also in having a smokers cough so entrancing that we've tried to recreate is and impersonate it up to 45 times. The songs were recorded prior to this [laughs], but we might have to do some back up vocals in his voice.

    Do you do a lot of East Coast tours, or do you go everywhere?

    Ohio, we've done five times now. We'll be returning to a bunch of places in November. This will be our fourth Chicago show of the year tonight. Then of course we do a lot of New York and DC shows. DC and LA are sort of our surrogate homes.

    If you could live in another city where would it be?

    We're all pretty nature happy. It would be hard to answer because there's so much gorgeous stuff in the States, but I've had amazing experiences in Oregon. You get the best of every place you go because you're driving through. You don't really get a chance to experience the bad. We've made a couple nature stops, and we're probably going to do Northern Wisconsin near the Canada border, probably Yellowstone on the way home.

    Do you do band camping trips?

    I have two cans of chili in the van that I'll be eating with a plastic fork, so that's as close to camping as you're going to get. We have tents and we do outdoors sleeping under the stars. I once slept on someones front lawn at SXSW, but that wasn't by design. That was kind of like camping next mixed with depression.

    Are you planning on doing a full length after you release this EP?

    Definitely. We've started to play some songs that are post EP. They're experiencing a really positive response which is exciting. That's what we'll be doing today actually, we won't be rehearsing, we'll be working on some new stuff for tonight. We've already got two songs in the set that aren't recorded at all and we'll be adding a third in November, so we'll be introducing a whole new EP to our audience. Probably early next year we'll start tracking and recording those songs. It's just interesting how people respond to the music, the inclination of releasing things is something that you have to deal with as an artist, there's also this idea of having a clear story to tell. You have to balance that with the creative juices that are flowing.

    Where can people find your music?

    We do it all. We do Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes, we do BandCamp. In terms of SoundCloud, I usually use it a lot to find new bands and new music. We use Spotify tons to share music with each other.

    Keep up with the latest news and updates from Spirit Animal by checking out their Twitter and Facebook pages.

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