INTERVIEW: Spectator

Photo credit: Nate Burrell

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey thanks for chatting with us! We’ve been great, but maybe a little sleep deprived. We had our baby girl about 5 days after we wrapped up this album in the studio. So the last several months have been spent getting it ready for release while, as our producer would say, raising a human baby child.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Waves”?

Sure thing. Waves sort of manifested itself one evening, which is something really special that’s happened a couple other times for us. We worked on it over time to expand the theme, but at its heart it really is a love song to each other.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Really just expressing the push and pull of our relationship, of any relationship. Maybe there was a small argument involved at some point…

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We did an album release video in a longer format that covered most of the song, and that’s probably it for Waves. That video ties into the album art, so we’re excited for that story to come together, even if we’re the only ones who see it.

The single comes off your new album Charlie, Baby – what’s the story behind the title?

Well, the words mean something very specific to the two of us, but what they represent is the concept of how loss inspires growth. And maybe not even inspire, because that implies conscious decision-making. Loss can be a driver of growth, the way death feeds soil. It’s not a choice, it’s inevitable.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was awesome. We switched things up on this project and worked with a new and dedicated producer, Kevin Bachmann (who also plays bass, synth, guitar, and more on this album), and also recorded in a new (to us) studio called Native Sound in St. Louis. We also tried to be a lot more deliberate than in the past. As opposed to writing and revising in the studio, we did a lot of work on the front end making demos and then working on the songs with Kevin before ever heading in to the studio. Most of the songs started when we lived out in Oakland, CA for a couple years.

How Wild Nothing and Daughter has influence your writing?

These are bands that people have mentioned as having a similar sound….kind of like ‘if you like so and so, you’ll like us…” Our influences lie more in going to back to Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, and more recently bands like Cotton Jones, Damien Jurado, and Beach House.

What role does St. Louis play in your music?

Collaboration. Almost everyone we worked with is either from or currently lives in St. Louis – from the recording, to the mastering, to the artwork, to the photos. There’s just a very deep and talented pool of artists here, it’s all very interconnected, and people are always willing to connect and share resources.

What aspect of relationships and nostalgia did you get to explore on this record?

So we wrote most of these songs while living in Oakland, CA, away from our hometown. When we returned we reconnected with the scene here and got right to work on the album. So it was like a homecoming and moving to a new town all at once. Lyrically a lot of the album relates to that central theme of loss – so nostalgia is inherent in that. Holding on to moments, thinking about the past, and eventually creating a new present.

What made you want to touch on these themes?

It stemmed from our experience. We were living in a new city and then returned, Meg does work with refugees who inherently have experienced loss and started over, we experienced our own losses and also new beginnings. We find that our albums tend to reflect that period in our lives, and this was the predominant theme of the past couple years.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Our songs usually start out melodically and then we refine the lyrics. Once we step back, we look for larger themes that serve as the concept for the album. So again we really just relied on our life experience, and tried to tell stories that touched on more universal feelings and themes.

Any plans to hit the road?

Haha probably nothing too extensive because of our new little one! But we might do some mini-tours where we can hit a couple cities in a weekend. We released this album on Nordic Records in Scandinavia and Europe, so of course if an opportunity came up over there we’d be all over it.

What else is happening next in Spectator’s world?

Right now we’re focusing on the release and shows to support it, maybe some videos and other interesting multimedia projects. Probably a jaunt or two outside our hometown. And we’re already hard at work on demos for our next project, which we hope to have out WAY quicker than the gap between this album and the last one. And raising our little baby. Thanks for talking with us!

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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