ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Spoy
An eclectic night of local music hit X-Ray Arcade Sunday night; pop sensation 9 A.M., indie folk rockers Bug Moment, and experimental-noise rockers Spoy all took the stage.
Spoy consists of vocalist/guitarist Jack Lange, bassist/vocalist Harry Willow, guitarist Keegan Phillips, and drummer Graham Collings. We talked to Lange after the show, first asking him how the band came to be.
“Harry, Keegan and I have been playing since about 2015; we had another band that was fresh out of high school for us and that broke up in like 2016, so we were used to jamming and improvising and making albums together. We sort of reconvened after a while and started jamming again, and we realized that we had to keep doing this because we have something special. Every time we get in the room, some kind of magic happens, doing what we do. Graham we met through our friend Charles, and he basically offered us a practice space and occupation for drumming. He didn’t really have a drum kit (laughs) and hadn’t played in a while so he sort of picked it all up as we were writing these songs. It aided in the craziness of him smashing things to pieces as we went. We’ve been in this formation since 2019 and have been doing it nonstop since. “Spoy” is a made-up word that Harry had in a dream.”
The band had only played two shows prior to the pandemic, one at the Murray Attic and the other at Bremen Cafe. Their debut album “From the Three” came out this Halloween.
“We recorded with our friend JB Burke, who has an independent studio in Waukesha; he’s all analog, all tape. I’ve been working with him since high school and so it was basically by familiarity that we latched onto him. We’re comfortable there; he knows how weird and difficult we can be (laughs). We started recording it in November of last year and it was an absolute crapshoot to try getting in and doing it in a timely manner because everyone was working, COVID was still going on, and it was winter in Wisconsin where the roads are dogshit…everything was crashing in on us. We’d basically take time that we had and it took a really long time but we hammered it out. Here we are, almost a year after we started. Even when it was done it didn’t feel like it was because it took so long (laughs).”
The band’s attitude towards their work doesn’t take itself too seriously; they aim to have as much fun as possible while playing and writing.
“We had realized by the time we were almost done with the album just how absolutely ridiculous everything we were doing was. Once you record the songs you’re like “oh shit, this is what we sound like? This is fucking weird!” so we sort of ran with the “do now, think later” mindset. Whatever’s the funniest and most entertaining thing at the time, we truthfully just want to have the most fun possible, as dumb as that sounds (laughs).”
Spoy share vocal duties mainly between Lange and Willow, although Phillips does sing on one track from their album. Lange shares what the band’s humorous songwriting process looks like.
“It’s pretty sporadic. This album there were three songs that Harry and I had written together in another band we formed before Spoy happened. Those were set and done and everyone just had to write their other parts respectively. We forever have enjoyed writing songs through improvisation; there’s a certain magic that comes with sitting in a room with people sweating and staring at them and playing absolutely nothing particular for hours. That just brings out little bits of lightning here and there, and we just try and exploit any bit that we think is the most engaging or interesting. Then we’ll suture things together and improvise the lyrics over it; songs like “Gabe”, that’s how stuff goes. Then there’s other songs where someone comes in with a chunk of a song and tell the band they want to do something specific. In “Basement Creeper” the lyrics are different every time, and that kind of epitomizes what we do. We’d just play the same riff over and over and Harry would say what he wants to in the microphone.”
Spoy plan to play shows with some Chicago bands in the near future as they continue promoting their album. They also have material they’re picking at and playing with for album two.