This Spector article was written by Liss Boot-Handford, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse. Footer photo by Ash Kingston
Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms welcomed London indie rockers, Spector, for the third night of their 2015 UK tour. The band were supported by post-punk Mancunians Spring King, recently known for being the first band played by Zane Lowe on Beats Radio. The 450 capacity venue was verging on packed for the gig, a poignant mark of the success of the new direction Spector seem to have taken with their new album, ‘Moth Boys’. A few hours before doors, the band are settled backstage and discuss the change since their first album, ’Enjoy It While It Lasts’.
‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ and ‘Moth Boys’ are very different in terms of their sound and lyrical content; I think this album has a far more discernible theme. What inspired it?
Fred Macpherson: Enjoy It While It Lasts’ captures the energy of growing up, and has a sense of nostalgia of when a year comes to an end and you can’t believe that something which has been so impactful on your life can come and go so quickly. It’s that feeling of when you look around and suddenly you don’t feel so young. ‘Moth Boys’ is more about that in-between stage I guess, when your elders still see you as young, but you don’t feel young, although you’re still acting young.
In doing so, you’re not as footloose and fancy-free, and you’re a lot harder on yourself; you want to have these very enjoyable experiences, but the flip-side makes for a quite unsettling reality. You have to start dealing more directly with things like heartbreak, or ageing… drugs, money and jobs… all things which can be a big psychological drain.
So the first album is ripe with positivity and adventure, where as this album is more a mixture of trying to take responsibility for things whilst having temptations around you that are no longer quite as exciting or adventurous as they were when you were younger.
Jed Cullen: I think that there’s also an unspoken hopefulness in it that comes across somehow, there’s something uplifting about it.
F.M.: It’s like with the lyric “I don’t wanna make love I don’t wanna make plans” [from ‘All The Sad Young Men’], it still sounds like it’s not just negating everything. It’s about the journey to try and find some alternative to what you’ve been told your life would be, and that thing, especially in your mid-20’s, when you’re holding onto the last bits of your ideals and the belief that there is an alternative to the drudgery and kind of…single road to death.
…How old are you guys?
F.M.: We’re all in our mid-20’s, I’m the oldest
Well, that’s concerning, I mean if people like myself, in their early 20’s, can identify with what you’re saying at our age…!
F.M.: Well, I mean, that’s the thing… I was 23/24 when we made our last album, and that was inspired by our late teens/early 20’s… I think we’re actually starting to come out of the doom and gloom phase. I think it actually gets better. ‘Moth Boys’ was that album that’s about growing up, and now having got those songs out of our system, I’m starting to feel a lot more positive again. I think when we wrote it, we saw a similarity of what Britain’s like at the moment, and what the time of life is like came together with the songs.
You’ve said before that you believe good music becomes a classic when it coincides with context, or happens to fit in with the times. Do you think you’e achieved that with Moth Boys?
F.M.: I think we’re catching up with the context. This album makes a lot more sense in its own time than the last did; I think it connects a lot more with what’s going on today. There will come a time when we make an album that will just match in terms of trends. That’s why we’re keen to stay on our own path rather than follow what’s happening, because we know that at some point if we make music that we think is as good as the music we’ve already made, it will have its own time. I’d rather have our time on our third or fourth album. The fact that people already [I think] think we’re better now than we were on our first album, makes me believe that we can have a career that’s more like bands in the old days, who would become the best version of themselves, rather than start as the best version and diminish.
What’s this tour going to sound like?
F.M.: It’s slightly more in favour of the new album, but with a good chunk of the first. We’re playing a slightly different set list every night, which means that if you shout for a song and it’s not on the set list, there’s a possibility we’ll play it. We don’t want to leave people without hearing that one song that they really want to hear.
What’s your plan for after the tour?
F.M.: We’re going to Mexico, and then hopefully New York, but in the interim we want to write some new stuff, to put something out next year… we’re not sure of the format yet, but I think we want to show that we’re in this now and that we’ll be delivering new music.
Spector’s set at Rescue Rooms confirmed what the band was saying; the audience certainly believes that the band is at least as good as, if not better, than ever. Coming out on stage after Spring King’s half hour set, the crowd welcomed the band with eagerness; there was a tangible sense of excitement from fans that had clearly been waiting for this night for a while.
The audience heated up as the set progressed; the new material was received fantastically, with the lyrics which some have only known for two months were being sung back to the band with passion. Even older hits like ‘Chevy Thunder’ and ‘Never Fade Away’ were rivaled by the response to ‘All The Sad Young Men.’ Fred is a fantastic front man, drawing his audience in and holding them in the palm of his hand at every turn; the show became an event rather than just a gig.
It became absolutely clear that Spector are very serious about progressing as a band, and are committed to taking their followers along for the ride. It was a privilege to witness the relationship Spector have with their fans, both during and after the show. I would absolutely recommend trying to get hold of some tickets to see these guys; it was a very personal evening with the band, no matter where you were in the room. Not only that, if you take the chance to see them now, you could be part of what looks like will be a very exciting journey for Spector.