If you are an opening band, chances are I could possibly be your worse nightmare.
Right on the front row if you look out you will see me with my head laying on the cold metal barrier… Taking a nap. Seriously, just ask the girls. I do not care for most opening bands.
So much so I have questioned the lead bands decision on why they would drag some of these smaller bands along with them. Do they find the worst small band possible to make themselves look better? Just a thought.
On August the 2nd, we stopped by Lee’s Place in Toronto to catch a Temples show. With drink in hand, I sat on a bench along the back wall as the opening band, Spires, took to the stage. I was ready for my nap after driving in from Chicago (if not a nap I had planned on getting a bit drunk).
I never got my nap. Didn’t get drunk either for that matter.
By the time New York based Spires had made it through their first song, I had been sucked in to their trippy world of psychedelic sound.
This was a first in a long time. Needless to say, I was curious about this band.
I just HAD to get to know this band, we caught up with Spires member, Matt, to find out more….
GATRS: Can you give us a bit of background on the band, such as how you started and who the members are?
Matt: The band was formed at the end of 2012. We played our first show that same month in the basement of the house I was living in in Brooklyn. Since then we’ve had a few members come and go but the line up right now is Me, Jack Collins, Carter McNeil and Michael Goodman.
GATRS: Psych rock seems to be very popular at the moment. Since the emergence of Tame Impala, more and more bands have popped up in this genre.
What do you think the attraction is for both the musician and the listener?
Matt: I think it’s some of the best sounding music to experience live….. Very colorful and full of texture. I think that definitely has something to do with the attraction for both the musician and the listener. Although I wouldn’t say that all of our songs fall into the “psych” category.
GATRS: Who were the musicians that had the most influence on you, growing up and still?
Matt: It’s hard to say, there’s so much music that I used to love and still love that’s definitely influenced me and the band. Off the top of my head…. The Kinks, Chapterhouse, Ride, Cleaners from Venus, The Olivia Tremor Control, Suicide, The Creation, The Stone Roses, Television, Kevin Ayers, Sparks, La Dusseldorf, Neu!….. I could go on forever.
GATRS: Matt, I read that you wrote Candy Flip during a subway ride. When it comes to writing, is it something you think on , or is it a spur of the moment idea that pops in your head and you have to get it out? I am no writer, but I imagine for me, it would be hard to start a song, or poem, or anything and go back later. I think because you are no longer in that time period or mind frame and I don’t feel it would flow together. Does that make sense? LOL
Matt: Well I only wrote the lyrics for Candy Flip on the subway, not the whole song. Normally when writing I’ll have to come up with about 2 or 3 different songs before I find something that I feel is even half way decent. And in terms of revisiting stuff- yeah, it’s pretty difficult. I recently found an old recording of pre-Spires instrumental track labeled “Gaunt” that I like but I’m not quite sure how to finish.. I’m not sure what I was going for with it but listening back it sounds a lot like “Out of Control” by U2. Who knows if that’ll ever see the light of day.
GATRS: I know you have been touring recently, with one of GATRS favourite bands, Temples, how has that been going for you?
Matt: We played about 4 shows with them last week and they went really well. It’s nice for a little band like us without a record to be able to reach audiences that big, and I really can’t think of a better band for us to be opening for.
GATRS: Do you enjoy the tour life? Or do you prefer being in the studio the best?
Matt: We haven’t really done a whole lot of touring. I think the longest was something like two weeks, but yeah, I enjoy it a lot. I like being in a different place every night. A three month tour might change my opinion on that, though. We’ll see.
GATRS: Can you tell us any funny stories about tour life? Obviously us girls here tour on a different level than you, as we go all over the country to see bands and get stories, we have loads of crap we could tell, so I am sure you would have even more. Hopefully, your touring experiences are a bit more glam than ours!!
Matt: A lot of crazy shit has happened to us individually on the road but getting stuck outside of Macon, Georgia for two days after our van broke down would probably be the most intense thing that’s happened so far.
GATRS: Do you and the band have any strange pre-gig rituals you partake in?
Matt: At the moment, no. Just a lot of waiting around. I wish we did. Maybe one day we’ll come up with some sort of ritual.
GATRS: If it were possible to open for any band past or present, who and where would you chose?
Matt: That’s a tough one. Our music takes a lot from the past but it’s altogether pretty modern sounding so I don’t think going back in time and opening for the Stones or Bowie would make much sense. Guided By Voices would be a cool band to open for.
GATRS: We always love finding new music here on the blog, so tell us, what is playing on repeat over in your world?
Matt: Our friends in New York play in this band called Cool Serbia. They’re great, you should look them up.
Describe Spires in 3 words……..
“Hot, Hot, Hot” -Jack Collins
GATRS: Lastly, everyone we interview, we ask this question, and we always love the answers we get…so..don’t be embarrassed we all have these…Tell us what is the most embarrassing song you have on your iPod or phone…
To find out more about Spires you can go here :
or check out their Insta: @spiresgram