Words by Jonathon Poulson.
If you haven’t already heard, critically acclaimed US rock band Spoon have hit Australian shores, straight off the huge launch of their brand spankin’ new album, ‘Hot Thoughts‘.
Spoon are no strangers to the spotlight, having had their music featured in well-known TV shows such as How I met your Mother, The Simpsons; and in films like 17 Again and Horrible Bosses. It is almost guaranteed that you would know and be able to sing-a-long to one or ten of their songs!
Since forming in 1993, the band have risen to great success and their ninth studio album has proven to be no less great than its eight predecessors.
With the funky foundations of a galloping bass line, catchy lyrics and hip-swinging rhythms; this Austin band have once again shifted into new territory with Hot Thoughts. A new territory that is laden with groove and a touch of acoustic and electronic flavours to cater for all musical tastebuds. It doesn’t disappoint!
I had the pleasure of speaking to band bassist Rob Pope about his time in Spoon, the album release, how he handles fan attention and who his dream collaboration would be with.
What have you enjoyed most about being in Spoon?
Jeez well I’ve been in the band almost 11 years, I mean the most fun I have is when we’re on stage being able to play in front of a real audience, that’s the rewarding part. Making music is fun and recording is fun, but the part I have the most fun with is being on stage.
So I understand you were a fan of Spoon before you joined!
Yeah! I had a couple of their records and I’d seen them play maybe four or five times before I joined.
With your previous musical background and knowledge of Spoon, what do you think you’ve brought to the band since you joined?
I mean I think the band over the years has gotten a little leaner and meaner and tougher! We’ve toughened up the sound a little bit but at the same time kept the catchiness and dancy feel to the music.
So the name of the new album, ‘Hot Thoughts’, what was the inspiration for choosing that name? Where did the idea stem from?
Well it came from the song, the song came first we’d been talking about what to name the record for months and months and once we really started working on that and the song was getting close to completion, it really felt like a strong one and we talked about putting it first on the record and then it was pretty obvious that we just needed to call the record that too.
Does it have any ties to the names of your previous albums at all?
We always love to have a kind of a bizarre, catchy wormhole name of a record that kind of sticks in your brain a little bit. I mean we named a record GA GA GA GA GA! Hot Thoughts just kind of rolls off your tongue and we want it to stick in your head.
So in your writing process for ‘Hot Thoughts’, how do you trigger your creativity to get the lyrics, beats and chords all flowing to make an album?
Well Britt (Daniel) presented (Hot Thoughts) to the rest of us, and it was pretty far along. He’d done a lot of work on it on his own and a lot of demoing, and then presented it to us in different ways and we suggested a few different arrangement ideas and talked about putting other instrumentation on top of it, but yeah a lot of it had been done previously by him.
And so for us ‘non-musos’ out there, what sort of style or genre of music would you call your new album?
Jeez I have no idea we’ve been calling it, in a ridiculous manner ‘vape wave’ just because it seems like everyone is asking us to create a new genre, and genres can be kind of generic and everybody wants to label it! We all listen to all different types of music and I try not to label things.
As you’re heading into your 9th album, how do you feel the band has changed and adapted ‘Hot Thoughts’ to cater for your ever-changing and growing audience?
It’s interesting I mean we always just try and make the best record we can at the time that we’re around and I feel like we’ve done a really great job of that. There’s been some people that have really latched on to this record and are thinking that it’s quite a bit of a departure because there’s not really acoustic guitar on it there’s not a lot of guitar on it.
Yeah it’s a very new sound and the electronic textures that match in are just beautiful!
Yeah we worked on a song called ‘Inside Out’ for our last record, and that one didn’t have any guitar on it and it was the last song we made for our eighth record and we felt like it was a really cool direction to continue in and that’s kinda where we went.
So what upcoming shows are you most excited about following the new album release?
Well jeez we’re playing in Sydney tomorrow night and we’re in Melbourne on Saturday! We’re happy to be here you know usually we put a record out and then we don’t get to go to Australia for like eight months or something. But we wanted to be here right after so I’m excited to play these shows this week. We just got done with a bunch of shows in Texas and I feel like the band is sounding really really great right now usually when we put out a record it takes us a little bit of time to get going and figure out how to play the new songs the right way but I think we’re really hitting it right now which is good.
Perfect time to be in Australia then hey!
There we go!
If you had to choose a dream destination to perform, where would it be and why? Because you tour a lot!
I haven’t thought about that! We tour all the time we’ve been to a tone of places I’m trying to think what would be the best…
How about your favourite so far, which is probably even harder to choose! We know you’re looking forward to Sydney!
That does become hard! Let’s see, I mean Australia is one of our favourite places to tour, it always is. We have a blast here, so yeah. The band overall has such great memories of being here. We did the Big Day Out tour years and years ago, and yeah we’ve been over here quite a few times.
You would obviously get a lot of female attention being in a US rock band, how do you manage female and general fan attention?
Um, haha you know we’re on our ninth record and we are not a band that became popular over night. We’ve seen the attention from audiences and I guess from females kind of increase very slowly over the years so it never has been something that we felt like it needed to be dealt with haha! We welcome a little attention you know.
Future vision for the band?
I don’t know I see our band going on tour for like a year and a half. We’re going to be very very busy we’re gonna try and play a lot of shows.
And finally if you had to collab with any artist, who would it be and why?
Well I mean that’s too bad because Chuck Berry and David Bowie are dead! I mean David Bowie would have been incredible. None of us were fortunate enough to meet him. I saw him play which was unbelievable, I mean I think that would have been the big one, but yeah sadly those two guys are no longer around.