THE SPYRALS - JEFF LEWIS
It’s always difficult to answer the ‘Who’s your favourite band at the moment?’ question with just one band. You usually say one and back it up with several others to support your indecision. Lately, San Francisco’s The Spyrals have been at the top of the list and with two incredible albums to keep going back to, it’s likely to stay that way for a while. Their 60s inspired rock is diverse in both sound and emotion. Whatever your mood, these guys are relevant. It’s upbeat, vibrant and entirely raw. The Spyrals released their second LP last year (2013) and are currently working on new material. We caught up with frontman Jeff Lewis to see what they’re up to at the moment.
How did The Spyrals come about? I started the band in 2009. I had some songs I recorded on my own and it came out of that. We’ve had a few different lineups and I’ve been lucky to have great musicians and friends be in the band.
What’s it like making music in San Fran? Like being punched in the face while wearing google glasses. No, it’s not that bad. It’s inspiring and challenging.
Your first two albums differ slightly in sound. Do you think you’ve harnessed The Spyrals’ sound now? Are you happy with the direction? I’m happy to keep it moving. I’m glad people see a difference in the first two albums. I wouldn’t want us to repeat ourselves too much. The songs we are working on now will be different too. That keeps it interesting for us and we are always changing. Especially live, even the older songs we play sound different from how they were recorded. It’s always evolving and it needs to feel fresh each time.
Are there any weird instruments and/or techniques that you’ve used during the recording process? Not really. We mostly record live tracks together and then add some extra stuff later on. There are some backwards things that are on the albums and that’s pretty fun to do. Like the intro to 'Out Of Sight’.
What’s the secret to making such catchy tunes? I must of listened to ‘Such A Pain’ more times than I can count… We just play what feels right and try to not make it too complicated. If we can strip a song down to a basic idea it builds itself up from there pretty easily.
You guys put out a very authentic vintage vibe. Who are your biggest influences? I can’t stop listening to Blonde on Blonde. Neil Young. There are lots for me. The rest of the band is a little more diverse. I just get stuck on 60s stuff and old blues like Elmore James, Howlin Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Robert Johnson. Blues, Country and early Rock and Roll.
Who are some newer bands you’ve been enjoying at the moment? Any recommendations? I haven’t been listening to much new stuff lately that sticks but our friends in Jesus Sons from Los Angeles and the Cool Ghouls from San Francisco are both great bands.
What’s plans for the rest of 2014? Can we expect to see you in the UK soon? We are working on finishing up some new recordings right now and recording a bit more later in the Summer. Then we’ll put together a new album and see when we can get that released. I’ve wanted to get to Europe for a while now and it would be great to do that once we have a new album out.